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Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld (1970)

by Larry Niven

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ringworld (1), Known Space (8)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,745137687 (3.8)217
  1. 121
    Rendezvous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (codeeater)
    codeeater: Another story about a mysterious alien artefact.
  2. 90
    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. 41
    Foundation by Isaac Asimov (nar_)
    nar_: Space travelling and interminable, huge lands and space... so huge !
  6. 30
    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.
  7. 20
    Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (Michael.Rimmer)
  8. 10
    Ring of Swords by Eleanor Arnason (libron)
    libron: Cat people! Sentient bipedal tiger aliens!
  9. 21
    Sundiver by David Brin (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  10. 10
    The Algebraist by Iain M. Banks (LamontCranston)
  11. 00
    Gateway by Frederik Pohl (sturlington)
  12. 00
    Dune by Frank Herbert (sturlington)
  13. 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 217 mentions

English (128)  Hungarian (2)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 128 (next | show all)
This was a thoroughly engrossing book and one of my most satisfying picks from the Science Fiction and Fantasy book club (the others being Heinlen's future history stories and a Year's Best Fantasy collection), the others being a lot of Valdemar books...ah the perils of youth.

Anyway, the whole concept of the book, the characters (well, the male ones - I have to agree that the women aren't too dynamic in this book) fleshed out and I really liked the aliens Niven invented, especially the Puppeteers and their culture.

This is the only Ringworld book that I've read, but I was really impressed by the full sense of history present in this book - no wonder it became a series. Very enjoyable, definitely a classic. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Es una novela sobre personajes, quizás un poco estereotipados, pero son una riqueza de relaciones que no es difícil encontrar en la literatura de los últimos años. ( )
  maxtrek | Jan 30, 2019 |
In Ringworld, a small party of different races from "known space" visits an alien megastructure never before encountered--a giant ring around a star at earth distance, with the inner surface of that ring habitable and generally pleasant. The exploration party is marooned on the surface by an automated defense mechanism, and discovers that technological society has fallen among Ringworld's inhabitants, which is a problem as far as fixing their spacecraft. The rest of the book is largely an exploration of the various peoples of Ringworld, with a little insight into why the world was built and how it fell. However, a large part of the latter half of the book goes into the character of Teela Brown, a human who was supposedly "bred for luck" by a conspiratorial alien power, and how her luck influences their escapades. Personally, I thought this wasn't a particularly interesting diversion, and would have much preferred to go into deeper questions that were ultimately left unanswered, such as the story of the Ringworld's origin and why it was populated by humans. I do generally enjoy reading about exploration though, so this was an interesting read for me. ( )
  Phrim | Jan 11, 2019 |
The sexism is a big, big issue, but aside from that, this book is great. ( )
  Ubiquitine | Nov 24, 2018 |
(Original Review, 1980-08-26)

The speculations about Known Space anomalies are interesting. However I think they point to a conclusion that everyone is overlooking: The Pak are not the original Ringworld engineers. Remember that all our knowledge of the Ringworld comes from the observations of 2 small exploration parties and the conclusions Wu and Ch'mee draw from them. They could be wrong and the anomalies seem to indicate that they are.

Instead consider the following outline which accounts for what we now know. Long ago there was yet another race within Known Space. They may be unknown to the current cultures within Known Space. They built the Ringworld for reasons that we can only guess at with the evidence at hand. (For some interesting speculation see the article on large structures in Niven's ALL THE MYRIAD WAYS.) Then they disappear. They may have died out, or they may have dispersed. Again we can only speculate with the evidence at hand. At some later point in time the Pak discover the Ringworld which they colonize. In time they proceed to adapt parts of the Ringworld to themselves creating the evidence which Wu uses to conclude incorrectly that the Pak were the Ringworld engineers.

There are many different ways of filling in this outline. I think it may be possible to extend it to account for all of the anomalies. It is guesswork at this stage. However, there may be further evidence on the Ringworld or elsewhere in Known Space. And perhaps Niven will tell us one day.

I sincerely doubt the Pak are the Tnuctipun. The Tnuctipun were masters at genetic engineering but the Pak who led the first migration to Earth were unable to deal with the problems with Tree-of-life virus. It wasn't until Brennan that a Pak (in this case I include Brennan) solved the problem.

For those of you who shy away from equations, here is a summary of the instability of the Ringworld without the equations to prove it. Suppose you build a Ringworld and put it around the sun. Now, suppose there is a little perturbation, or that you didn't place the sun EXACTLY in the center; instead, the sun is closer to some point X on the Ringworld than to any other point on the Ringworld. That is, the sun is slightly off center, pushed a bit towards point X. If you calculate the gravitational force between the sun and the Ringworld, you find that there is a net force tending to pull the sun and point X closer to each other. That is, the sun moves closer to point X. Thus, it moves farther off-center: things get worse. The closer it gets to point X, the more it is attracted to point X, and things will just get worse and worse until they crash into each other.

A short analysis of the (in)stability of a Ringworld (digging deeper into the Math):

Let the Ringworld have radius r, mass m, and mass/length p. Let the parent sun have mass M. Put the center of the Ringworld at the origin, with the axis of rotation along the z-axis. Now, place the sun at dr along the x-axis (a small perturbation in the plane of the Ringworld). Call the distance from the sun to the part of the Ringworld at angle t, R(t). By one of the triangle formulas, we know that

R(t) = sqrt(r**2+dr**2-2*r*dr*cos(t))

Using the well known formula for the gravitational potential energy between two masses, we find that the potential energy in the ringworld-sun system is:

/ 2 pi
| r dt
U = | --------------------------------- * (-GMp)
| (r**2+dr**2-2 r dr cos(t))**(1/2)
/ 0

This beast can be integrated exactly in terms of elliptic functions of the first kind; if you are interested, look in "Tables of Integrals, Series, and Products" by Gradshteyn and Ryzhik, page 154 (4th ed). However, for dr small compared to r, we can expand the integrand in a taylor series in dr about dr=0 and integrate term by term. The result is:

4 pi r**2 + pi dr**2 -GMm dr**2
U = -------------------- * (-gMpr) = ---- *(1 + ------)
2 r**3 r 4 r**2

Note that as you move off-centre, the potential energy of the system decreases; thus the system is unstable. Note that the rotation of the Ringworld does NOT affect the motion of its center of mass.

A similar analysis shows that for motion along the axis of the Ringworld, the potential energy is:

-GMm r
U = --- -
r R

Here R, the distance from the sun to the Ringworld, is constant. Note that as the Ringworld moves off-centre ALONG ITS AXIS, R is larger than r, so the potential energy increases (becomes less negative), and the system is stable (to perturbations along the axis of rotation) [2018 EDIT: I didn’t have any Math Physics at the time; it’d have been nice to have developed the Lagrangean of the motion along the axis of the Ringworld; alas, I had no such tools in my bag at the time; maybe I’ll do it now if I read it again.]

[2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a “BBS language”.] ( )
  antao | Nov 13, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Niven, Larryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baumann, BodoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cullen, PatrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, DonCover printingsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foss, ChrisCover artistsecondary 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.

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