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Ringworld by Larry Niven
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Ringworld (original 1970; edition 1981)

by Larry Niven

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,900111525 (3.81)181
Member:melydia
Title:Ringworld
Authors:Larry Niven
Info:Del Rey (1981), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Read and Released
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction

Work details

Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)

  1. 111
    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (codeeater)
    codeeater: Another story about a mysterious alien artefact.
  2. 80
    The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another hard science fiction book about a fully realized world with lots of technical details.
  3. 40
    Eon by Greg Bear (santhony)
    santhony: If you enjoy the science fiction genre featuring huge, interstellar habitats, this fits the bill.
  4. 30
    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  5. 20
    Sundiver by David Brin (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  6. 31
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (nar_)
    nar_: Space travelling and interminable, huge lands and space... so huge !
  7. 20
    Titan by John Varley (lquilter)
    lquilter: If you liked the gee-whizziness and adventure / exploration of RINGWORLD, but couldn't stomach the sexism, try Varley's TITAN (and sequels in the trilogy, WIZARD and DEMON) -- all the fun but only a fraction of the annoying ideology.
  8. 10
    Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (Michael.Rimmer)
  9. 00
    A World Too Near by Kay Kenyon (mentatjack)
    mentatjack: One of the blurbs on the cover of A World Too Near compares The Entire and the Rose favorably to The Ringworld series by Larry Niven.
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» See also 181 mentions

English (104)  Spanish (2)  Hungarian (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
The story is set in the future, 2850 CE, and opens with Louis Gridley Wu is celebrating his 200th birthday. He is bored. He meets up with Nessus, a Pierson's Puppeteer who offers him a position on a exploration trip beyond known space. The other crew members are Speaker-to-Animals (Speaker), who is a Kzin, and Teela Brown, a young human woman. the expedition's goal is to explore a ringworld: an artificial ring about one million miles (1.6 gigameters) wide and approximately the diameter of Earth's orbit (which makes it about 600 million miles (1,000 gigameters) in circumference), encircling a sunlike star. This was a very enjoyable read. I listened to the audio version read by Tom Parker. This was a great adventure story. Ringworld won the Nebula Award in 1970, the Hugo Award and Locus Award in 1971. ( )
  Kristelh | Apr 30, 2016 |
Good reading, lot of humour, playing with the reader! ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Decent science fiction. Probably outstanding in its day, less so now. I reviewed it at http://alien-space-fiction.suite101.com/article.cfm/ringworld_by_larry_niven ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
The description of Ringworld takes some getting used to -- the scale of the ring and the interior is so immense that it's sometimes difficult to imagine. The story was interesting and well-done as I have found to be the case with Larry Niven's books. I have the next 2 books in the Ringworld series as well as the first in the Man-Kzin Wars that I'll read after the challenge. ( )
  bhabeck | Mar 6, 2016 |
The novel opens in 2855 with Louis Gridley Wu stepping out of a transfer booth, a teleportation kiosk, in Beirut, thus entering yet another time zone. Louis, after having escaped the festivities of his own 200th birthday, is now bar-hopping the world, jumping west and always staying behind the local midnight in order to extend his birthday as long as possible.

Despite his age, Louis turns out to be in perfect physical condition owing to a combination of advanced medical technology and boosterspice, a drug that extends human life. However, though healthy, rich and intelligent, it is becoming clear Louis is utterly bored. Having lived for two centuries, he has seen it all many times over and people in general are getting on his nerves. Between transfer booths he considers another sabbatical — a trip to and beyond the reaches of Known Space, all alone in a single ship for a year or more, until he begins to yearn for people's company again — when all of a sudden the transfer booth materializes him in a sunlit hotel room, rather than the nocturnal Seville he had set its control for. Facing him is an alien with three legs, no arms and two heads.

The alien introduces himself as Nessus and Louis recognizes him for a Pierson's Puppeteer, a species that had the most advanced technology in Known Space but vanished from the region before Louis was born. Being descended from herbivorous herd animals, their morality is essentially based on cowardice. Puppeteers that display any signs of bravery are considered insane by their peers, and in fact are insane since this bravery is accompanied by other symptoms of mental illness, such as manic-depressive cycles. With aliens being potentially dangerous, space ships exposed to vacuum, and their species' distrust of faster-than-light space travel, only a "brave" (insane) Puppeteer would leave home and go to a planet like Earth. These ones are still mostly cowards by human standards, so Nessus has been ordered to hire three mercenaries to do the things he himself dare not. Louis is on top of his list of candidates.

With Nessus being secretive about the mission, Louis is reluctant to join, but when the Puppeteer eventually shows Louis a blurry picture of a distant star with a ring around it, the bored Louis immediately signs up: this ring turns out to be the Ringworld, an artificial circular strip of world with spin for surface gravity, orbiting the star. The Puppeteers, fleeing from the galaxy, have spotted this artifact in their path; being cowards, the sheer power of whatever has created such a structure frightens them profoundly. Hence, Nessus' mission is to assemble a team, visit the Ringworld and see whether it poses a threat to his species. Payment to the expedition's members will be the Long Shot, the extremely fast ship depicted in the story At the Core, that Beowulf Shaeffer rode to the galactic core and back, centuries earlier.

Eventually the team is assembled. The third member, Speaker-to-Animals (Speaker) is a Kzin, a ferocious felinoid predator species which has, in the recent past, fought a series of brutal wars with humanity, eventually losing every time because of a tendency to attack before being quite ready. The Kzin, a translator, is a low-ranking official at the Kzinti embassy to Earth. He reckons obtaining the Long Shot for the Kzinti Empire is enough of an achievement to give him a name ("Speaker-to-Animals" being a literal description rather than a name), and therefore signs on too, as the expedition's security chief.

Finally, Teela Brown is a young human female whose role in the mission is not immediately clear. But Puppeteers do not do anything without a very good reason, and her significance is revealed as the plot unfolds. She is the result of a secret Puppeteer experiment in selective breeding for luck among humans, which generally helps her and her descendants. The Puppeteers reckon her luck will increase the probability of a successful mission, however it soon turns out that Teela's personal luck and the luck of the expedition seldom go hand in hand.

As they approach their target in their ship, Lying Bastard, the Ringworld turns out to be an awesome sight: a huge, circular strip of land, teeming with life and with entire oceans bigger than Earth. Between the Ringworld and its star, a series of squares (dubbed shadow squares by the expedition) are suspended in another ring, orbiting the sun faster than the Ringworld itself, thus providing the artificial world below with a day/night cycle. However, when their ship is hit by a powerful, automated meteor defense system and then strikes one of the near-invisible shadow-square wires, the severely damaged vessel crash-lands on the Ringworld . They now have to set out to find a way to get back into space, as well as fulfilling their original mission. They cross vast distances, witness strangely evolved ecosystems originating from many different planets, including Earth, and interact with some of the Ringworld's varied primitive civilizations. They attempt to discover what caused the Ringworld's inhabitants to lose their technology, and puzzle over who created the Ringworld and why.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 104 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Niven, Larryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, DonCover printingsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giancola, DonatoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, Steven VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sternbach,RickCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the night-time heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345333926, Mass Market Paperback)

A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Two humans and two aliens, who are traveling to distant reaches of space to prevent a future catastrophe, crash on a ringworld apparently created by superior technologies.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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