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The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (Known Space)

3.86  ·  Rating Details ·  2,926 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Gil Hamilton was more than an operative for ARM - the elite global police force. He was an essential. His intuition was peerless; his psychic powers were devastating. And his raw courage took him into the depths of inner and outer space where others feared to tread! But Gil Hamilton had enemies. Many enemies. Some were organleggers - those murderous dealers
Mass Market Paperback, 182 pages
Published May 12th 1981 by Del Rey Books (first published 1969)
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The Mote in God's Eye by Larry NivenRingworld by Larry NivenLucifer's Hammer by Larry NivenThe Legacy of Heorot by Larry NivenProtector by Larry Niven
Best Books of Larry Niven
22nd out of 31 books — 21 voters
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickThe Caves of Steel by Isaac AsimovThe City & the City by China MiévilleAltered Carbon by Richard K. MorganThe Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
Science Fiction Detective Novels
52nd out of 110 books — 91 voters

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Community Reviews

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May 12, 2016 Andrew rated it liked it
This was another journey in to Larry Niven's Tales of Know Space - a series of stories which share a common universe which over time formed in to a loose history - I say loose as characters which enjoyed solo stories eventually resurfaced in later stories- sometimes simply because they could and other times to act as a bridge drawing the stories in to a more coherent time line. Now I will admit sometimes its fun to see this - after all its aways good to stop by on an old friend and have one more ...more
Janine Southard
This book collects three novellas in the classic detective noir genre with a futuristic twist. Though, some of the ideas may be more paleofuture. Three things make this work, even though there are moments of "but we don't use moving sidewalks in our major cities!"

1) Our hardboiled detective deals with one type of major crime: organlegging. Long before Repo! The Genetic Opera, there was Gil Hamilton, part of the UN task force that makes sure your spare body parts aren't cannibalized from your nei
May 12, 2008 Jan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
More great Known Space stories. I could easily put myself in the role of Gil "The Arm".
***Dave Hill
Sep 25, 2012 ***Dave Hill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
Three Detective SF novellas by Niven starring Gil Hamilton, a UN "ARM" agent working mostly on "organlegging" cases (and who, for no particular reason, also someone who possesses a psychokinetic "arm").

The detective tales are, as such, fairly labored and overconstructed, usually with an SF twist. The actual narrative is straightforward and pleasant reading.

More interesting -- as is usually the case with Niven -- the most interest is with the world-building. The series is set in Niven's Known Sp
David Stuckey
Jul 10, 2016 David Stuckey rated it really liked it

Three stories, set in the Known Space Future History, which has dated fairly well compared to real life ( We have yet to discover a universal anti-rejection drug, however, so no organ banks and all that it implies ), deliberately designed to prove that science fiction and detective fiction can be made to work well.

Gil Hamilton is an ARM, the police force of the world-governing United Nations; their three major fields of action in increasing order of priority are enforcing Fertility Laws, inves
May 06, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing
Many years after first reading it in the mid 1980s, I still recalled it with great fondness though my copy had disappeared at some point. I re-bought it and read it again in the last couple of years. I still look upon it with fondness. It's perhaps the best future-sci-fi detective type fiction I can recall. Some of Niven's best.
Robert Dunlap
Feb 19, 2016 Robert Dunlap rated it liked it
Necessarily chopped, because it was assembled from other sources. The main character was enjoyable, Blade Runner-ish. It could have been longer, as there was more to explore about the main character's feelings about his arm and why he seems to switch between wanting a prosthesis and not.

There are a couple switches in tone and vocabulary, again from the assembled nature, but Larry Niven is one of those authors with whom you can't go wrong. Reading it next to some other less mature science fictio
Maryann Fläsch
Jan 29, 2014 Maryann Fläsch rated it really liked it
The first story is a reprint from a previous book. Really through me off when I started reading and I knew the story! Being an eBook made it a little harder to figure out if I were reading the same book, but the next story is original. I love the organlegger concept. It takes the "woke up in a tub of ice with no kidney" thing look silly in comparison! With 200 kids in the US being reported PER DAY AND PER STATE in the 20th and 21st century,it seems like the next logical step come the organ bank ...more
Victoria Pond
Mar 01, 2011 Victoria Pond rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction, noir
This book collects three novellas in the classic detective noir genre with a futuristic twist. Though, some of the ideas may be more paleofuture. Three things make this work, even though there are moments of "but we don't use moving sidewalks in our major cities!"

1) Our hardboiled detective deals with one type of major crime: organlegging. Long before Repo! The Genetic Opera, there was Gil Hamilton, part of the UN task force that makes sure your spare body parts aren't cannibalized from your nei
William Korn
Apr 12, 2014 William Korn rated it liked it
A police detective whose lost arm is replaced by a "phantom" arm that actually works. Pretty pedestrian work from Niven, who can do much, much better.
Nov 15, 2015 Frank rated it liked it
Prolific Piers Anthony kept my 'to read' pile filled for years. The Xanth novels are a fun forray into whimsical, clever magic.
Nov 03, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing
Nice use of suspension of disbelief, a limited psy power. A spin on the detective story few could match.
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Three excellent stories from the "Organlegger" period of Niven's Known Space novels
Mar 02, 2015 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
1978 grade B
1997 grade B

Series book P76 and GH1

Short Novel
Brad James
Jul 30, 2015 Brad James rated it really liked it
These stories are also contained in Flatlander.
David Wright
Mar 14, 2015 David Wright rated it really liked it
Pretty good detective fiction.
Neil Decker
Required text to clear date
Jimmy Pedersen
Niven when he is close to best :-) You should read this!
Jun 04, 2013 Frogqueen rated it liked it
Three old school SFnal detective stories inspired by (then recent) advances in organ transplant technology.
Our hero tracks down organleggers, solves murders and even faces the odd ethical quandary. They're a bit 'backwards into the future,' but it's interesting speculation combined with competent whodunnits and hold up better than I expected.

The person writing the back cover copy is way off on a tangent though.
Nov 28, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
Futuristic cop. Good.
Feb 13, 2015 Paul rated it it was ok
Decently written, not one of Niven's best. As he mentions in the postscript, "They said it couldn't be done." He refers to combining the science fiction and detective genres.

I can be done. This book doesn't answer the question "should it be done?".

2 stars because it was OK, but I would not recommend it.
John Lawson
Larry Niven's Man-Kzin War/Ringworld universe is sprawling, and this is the first book. Consists of three novellas about the ARM agent, Gil Hamilton. Sadly, I've read one of them. Also, I'm not a huge fan of Gil. I don't find his adventures or his job or his "invisible" hand powers all that interesting. Oh well.
Matthew Carlin
Sep 22, 2011 Matthew Carlin rated it really liked it
This is a very pleasant read. The writing is imperfect but fairly entertaining, the murder mysteries are thoughtful, and the setting as a whole contains some new and interesting ideas. Burn through it in an afternoon, give it to a friend, and enjoy the discussions that will result.
Oct 10, 2010 Terry rated it really liked it
Classic Niven. Three short stories revolving around the titular Gil H., a detective in the not-so-distant future. Plenty of interesting speculation about stasis fields, illegal organ suppliers, and multiplying universes. Well worth a read.
Rosalind Hartmann
Jun 25, 2008 Rosalind Hartmann rated it it was amazing
First read about Gil Hamilton in '13 crimes of science fiction'. Hamilton is an agent on a futuristic earth with a population surging over 13 billion. Lots of organ-leggers and mother hunts.
Jun 03, 2016 Stan rated it really liked it
The first three novellas of Gil Hamilton, a telekinetic UN detective. Interesting twist of the detective story, with a limits placed on the special ability.
Dec 07, 2013 Mark rated it liked it
A bit like Dick Tracey in space. I liked the characters and the stories but found it a tortuous read, I normally love nivan but found it too easy put it down.
Mar 18, 2009 Jack rated it really liked it
Read this awhile back and many times before then. One of Niven's better efforts. This is one I like to re-read every once in awhile.
Oct 07, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites. Would like it in audio form so I could listen to it over and over.
Natasha Troop
Jan 11, 2013 Natasha Troop rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite of Niven's works. I pay homage to this book in my own series.
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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
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Other Books in the Series

Known Space (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • Flatlander (Known Space)
  • The Patchwork Girl (Known Space)
  • The World Of Ptavvs (Known Space)
  • Protector (Known Space)
  • Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven
  • Neutron Star (Known Space)
  • A Gift from Earth (Known Space)
  • Crashlander
  • Ringworld (Ringworld #1)
  • The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld #2)

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