Neutron Star (Known Space)
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Neutron Star (Known Space)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  7,289 ratings  ·  64 reviews
Come to Larry Niven's Universe and meet all the natives: Thrints, Bandersnatchi, Puppeteers -- and a host of other wonderfully created characters.
Visit Lookitthat, Down, and Jinx -- indeed, an entire galaxy of planets found only in these stories that trace man's expansion and colonization throughout Known Space.
A spectacular cycle of the future . . . a 10,000-year history...more
Mass Market Paperback, 285 pages
Published August 12th 1977 by Del Rey (first published October 1966)
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Hyperion by Dan SimmonsEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardCassastar by Alex J. CavanaughDune by Frank HerbertFoundation by Isaac Asimov
Best Space Opera
44th out of 281 books — 649 voters
Old Man's War by John ScalziStarship Troopers by Robert A. HeinleinPandora's Star by Peter F. HamiltonRevelation Space by Alastair ReynoldsOn Basilisk Station by David Weber
Excellent Space Opera
94th out of 260 books — 1,293 voters

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Holy crap was this ever good. I'm not sure how I missed reading any of the Ringworld series before, but with this being the 40th Anniversary, I figured it was time.

With epic series like this, I usually hit the 'net to see if there's a recommended reading order, or anything that will help me to "get it" a little more easily. Every site I visited recommended starting with Neutron Star. This is an anthology of 8 short stories (each novelette length,) set in the universe of Ringworld - the future o...more
I'd been in the mood to read some classic sci-fi: something distant and cynical, taking place in deep space, where there was fantastic technology and alien races and not many people to mess it all up. This was perfect. Neutron Star is a collection of short stories from Niven prefacing Ringworld and highly worthwhile if you like the latter. I'll be re-reading Ringworld soon with these stories in mind. Plus let this also be a good reminder to just read more Larry Niven. There aren't many writers s...more
Neutron Star is my favorite short story collection, with quite a few gems from Niven’s Known Space universe. Unfortunately it is out of print. Luckily though, all the Beowulf Shaeffer stories have been republished in Crashlander with the addition of two newer stories.
Nov 26, 2008 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Adam by: Dad
Great book of short stories, which I usually don't care for. The difference here, I believe, is that most of the stories relate in some manner or if nothing else they are all set in the same sci-fi universe. Good stuff.
Jun 27, 2008 Emma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
Niven sure has a wild imagination. And a really bad taste for puns, but also some really intellectual humor. His ideas are genius even to this day and age. His science-fiction is so realistic, it's disturbing at times.
William Franks
I first read this quite some years ago and was blown away by it. It stands up well to repeated re-readings.
The title story - a Hugo winner - introduces us to star pilot Beowulf Shaeffer (who appears in three other stories in the book, "At the Core," "Flatlander," and "Grendel"), as well as the Puppeteers who also feature in Niven's later Ringworld series. These are the tales that introduce us to Known Space. I particularly enjoyed the Shaeffer stories for the character's voice (told first-person...more

For people who haven't read the book, a quick physics test. The hero agrees to put his ship on an orbit that will take it to within one mile of the surface of a neutron star. His employers assure him, correctly, that the ship's hull will stop any form of radiation. Nevertheless, it's a really stupid idea. Why?

If you didn't get it, don't feel bad. Beowulf Shaeffer doesn't either, and finds out the hard way.
Feb 03, 2009 Patrick added it
Shelves: books-i-own, sci-fi
A collection of early short stories by Larry Niven that take place in his "Known Space" universe (i.e., Ring World). Mostly of a "hard science" sort of story lines, where actual aspects of physics are a part of the plot line. I really enjoyed at least half of the stories in this book. Would recommend for fans of the hared science short stories of Asimov and Clarke.
Some of the great short fiction from Niven's "Known Space" universe - just enough hard science to make you believe this could all happen one day, and more than enough engaging writing to make this a book I read again and again.
what a great way to start my crusade into the ringworld series. i plan on reading all of the books of the known space. Niven seems to have a great knack of telling stories. i enjoyed this book very much
Larry Niven has a great imagination and he is a really nice person. Love his books.
Brent Werness
A highly entertaining collection of great sci-fi short stories!
This is almost the same book as Crashlander, but since they each have exclusive material, I'm listing them both. They're both short story collections in Niven's Known Space setting, and they're both largely focused on the adventures of Beowulf Schaeffer (space adventurer!). Despite this, the stories have a pretty good range in styles. In some of them, Schaeffer is down on his luck, in others he's famous, so they didn't feel like rehashes. Neutron Star is the older collection, and contains a coup...more
Another fix for my Niven addiction! More Known Space tales, most of which are mentioned as backstory in many of the other Niven Novels and the Man-Kzin Wars Anthologies. These are core stories that any Known Space history buff should read. Not to mention how awesome they are.

Story Summary of the stories in this book (hopefully without spoilers):

Neutron Star - Nothing can get through a General Products No. 2 space hull, but something around the 1st known neutron star did, and the Puppeteers are b...more
Shannon Appelcline
My rating of Neutron Star is based entirely on the four stories which were not re-collected in Crashlander:

The Ethics of Madness. An interesting look at mental illness, a great ending, and pretty slow getting there. [6/10]

The Handicapped. This contains a great secret of Known Space and some interesting ethics, both at the end of the story. Unfortunately getting there is pretty slow. [5/10]

A Relic of Empire. Though Niven's ideas about interplanetary plants are interesting, they're not enough to m...more
Although out-of-print, Neutron Star is a book worth getting for any fan of science fiction. It collects several of Niven's "Known Space" short stories from his golden age of the late-1960s, including the Beowulf Shaeffer stories.

In 1966 Larry Niven created the ultimate tourist with his award-winning short story "Neutron Star." It was the tale of Beowulf Shaeffer, a laid-off pilot heavily in debt and easy to blackmail, and how the alien race the puppeteers convinced him to make a dangerous flyby...more
As I am already a huge fan of Niven's Known Space, I am not surprised I liked this. However, what did surprise me is how many hits there were. Normally, I expect a short story collection to run about 65% like, 35% meh or dislike. This one came in at about 85% like, and is a good start to my RIngworld re-read.
I read the short-story version (about 13 pages).

I like the premise and the plot, and the science as handled by Niven is realistic for its time period. However, I do not like the puppeteers. Call me anti-alien if you must, but they are not believable to me, not because of their amazingly useless body structure but because they are annoying in their personality traits. Why introduce them? In this story, they accomplish nothing that could not be handled by a human character.

Oh, well.

The story is go...more
Terrific short story collection, all occuring in Niven's "known space" milieu. Most probably known for his 'Ringworld' novels, I think Niven is underrated for his short stories. Known space is always a hoot, populated as it is with adventurers, oddballs, and those out to make a buck. I always find his aliens to be fun as well - extremely inventive but practical and mostly believable. Most of the stories in this collection revolve around Beowulf Shaeffer, a pilot who keeps managing to find himsel...more
This is what space opera should be. Massive movements, interesting flawed characters, firm science (space opera doesn't work with hard science, in my opinion). I've not been a very big fan of Niven. Ringworld and The Gripping Hand in particular stick out in my head as books I disliked. This convinces me I do need to find more of his short stories, though.
Janet K. Cook
Semi-connected group of stories

Not the best But certainly not the worst science-fiction I've ever read.I think they would Be more enjoyable if I hadn't expected them to be one story. Once I went back and realize it was a group of separate stories that were just semi related then it was a better feeling.
A go-to primer for Known Space. Setting aside the three Beowulf Shaeffer selections (which are also found in Crashlander, a complete collection of Beowulf's stories), the remaining stories offer a wide breadth of events and characters from Niven's universe, most of them linked by the discovery of ancient Slaver relics.

Neutron Star 5/5

A Relic of the Empire 2/5

At the Core 4/5

The Soft Weapon 5/5

Flatlander 4/5

The Ethics of Madness 5/5

The Handicapped 5/5

Grendel 3/5
Tim Deforest
A very entertaining anthology of hard SF novellas set in the Known Space universe. I'm a particular fan of "The Soft Weapon," probably for nostalgia reasons--I saw the adaptation of it on Star Trek: The Animated Series when I was a kid. But the original story has a Pierson's Puppeteer in the role given to Spock in the adaptation. Those two-headed and cowardly aliens are always fun to hang out with. Of all the nifty aliens Larry Niven created to populate Known Space, the Puppeteers are my favorit...more
I was wondering if I would start reading the Ringworld cycle, and decided to try some short stories by Niven first. I am not going to read Ringworld anymore. The first two stories, "Neutron Star" and "Flatlander", were so disappointing that I came to a conclusion which I am usually very reluctant to make. I had the feeling that I could have written both stories better myself, and I don't even consider myself as having a writing talent in particular.
These stories are mostly of Beowulf Shaeffer, and are all a bit longer than Larry Niven's normal short stories, but I quite enjoyed them. Up until now I had only seen references to Beowulf Shaeffer in Niven's other novels and short stories, so it was interesting to read the original stories. Though I probably prefer some of his other anthologies, the slightly longer format allows the characters in these stories come out much clearer.
I like Larry Niven. His material however can range from bloody brilliant to time wasting crap. This falls somewhere in the middle. The stories are pretty rough around the edges, as if written under a deadline without a chance to revise and improve. Some parts are a bit dated at this point. This collection will give you some background to the Ringworld series universe. Expect something of an academic read. For die-hard Niven fans only.
This short-story collection really got me into Larry Niven, even more than Ringworld (which I read first). Niven's most fascinating sentient aliens make an appearance: Pierson's puppeteers, Kzinti, Slavers, kdatlyno, and Grogs. Every story is wonderful, with one glaring exception ("The Ethics of Madness").
Chris Westin
Awesome collection of short stories. Interesting aliens, and interesting technology tid-bits.

All the Tales of Known Space series books are good; these are stories of Beowolf Shaeffer or Louis Wu, and includes the full length Ringworld series novels. But I would steer clear of Niven's works for the earlier period of galactic history, e.g., The Integral Trees, etc, those are lousy.
This is what originally turned me on to Larry Niven. EVERY story is great!
More Niven short stories from Known Space. This time focused around the life and times of Beowulf Shaeffer. More provoking Physics and science speculation, some of which provoked further research which eventually showed problems with the premise, but which take nothing from the story lines.

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Laurence van Cott Niven's best known work is Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) (1970), which received the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. The creation of thoroughly worked-out alien species, which are very different from humans both physically and mentally, is recognized as one of Niven's main strengths...more
More about Larry Niven...
Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1) Lucifer's Hammer The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2) Footfall

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