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Playgrounds of the Mind

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  662 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews

Also see: Alternate Cover Editions for this ISBN [ACE]
ACE #1

The sequel to N-Space

Playgrounds of the Mind captures the startling range and variety of Larry Niven's spectacular career, from bestselling novels such as Lucifer's Hammer and The Ringworld Engineers, from his classic short stories of science fiction and fantasy, from his thought-provoking essays and non-fiction

Mass Market Paperback, 704 pages
Published July 15th 1992 by Tor Science Fiction (first published 1991)
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Bob Rust
May 24, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1 • Thraxisp: A Memoir • essay by Larry Niven
7 • A Teardrop Falls • [Berserker] • (1983) • shortstory by Larry Niven
16 • From Inferno (excerpt) • (1976) • shortfiction by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
25 • Rammer • [State] • (1971) • novelette by Larry Niven
49 • From "The Ethics of Madness" (excerpt) • (1967) • shortfiction by Larry Niven
53 • Becalmed in Hell • [Known Space] • (1965) • shortstory by Larry Niven
65 • Wait It Out • [Known Space] • (1968) • shortstory by Larry Niven
71 • A Relic of
Dec 11, 2008 Peter rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Hardcore Niven fans
Shelves: science-fiction
WARNING: Playgrounds of the Mind contains about 99% recycled material.

Sometimes, when a writer gets older, they start recycling their work. Heck, some of them even do it when they're young. They put out book after book of short story collections in which a large numbers of the stories are duplicates from previous editions, and only a few of the stories are new.

It's sleazy, of course; basically an obnoxious way to rip off the reader. Unfortunately, in his declining years Larry Niven started doing
Sep 20, 2007 Christopher rated it it was ok
This is Larry Niven’s second volume of various essays, short-stories, and various anecdotes from his 40 years in science-fiction circles. The first was N-SPACE.

Some of the material in Playgrounds of the Mind is very interesting, such as his essay "Bigger than Worlds", in which he sketches out a number of interesting ideas for large-scale habitats, including his now famous Ringworld. His recipe for Irish coffee is sure to delight fans of the drink.

Nonetheless, the bulk of the selections in Playgr
Jun 18, 2014 Daniel rated it it was ok
As usual, science fiction stories are the easily digestible and thought provoking fare, though I have to say I much prefer Asimov's and Clarke's short stories overall. This volume is definitely meant for those who are more familiar with Niven's writing and career. It's harder to appreciate for a newcomer like myself; too many anecdotes and references. I haven't even read Ringworld, but after this, I'm definitely looking out for a copy. The known space universe isn't much to my taste though, I ha ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Andreas rated it really liked it
If you’ve never read Larry Niven, these two collections are a great place to start. They are both a mix of essays, short fiction, and excerpts from novels. If you’ve already read practically all of Niven’s work, there is not a lot of new material, but the convention essays still make the books worth the read.
Erika RS
Feb 08, 2013 Erika RS rated it liked it
A book of short stories, excerpts, with a handful of random stuff thrown in just for fun. Much of the material was excellent, but like many collections, some of it was "meh". A number of the random items and some of the commentary read like special messages for people in the know -- all well and good, but confusing to outsiders. Overall, it was a lot of fun.
Mar 24, 2013 Foxtower rated it liked it
Shelves: neveragain
I would have been happy with a collection of short stories, instead it turned out to be excerpts from his novels, way too much commectary about the stories he didn't write (who wants to hear about bad story ideas!), and just a few short stories (mostly about magic instaed of sci-fi. Dissapointment!
Wole Talabi
Jan 04, 2017 Wole Talabi rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book mostly for the essays and short stories in it. Niven excels at thinking big, really big. However, excerpts from his novels left me confused in some cases and wanting more in others. I think the collection is really for fans of Larry Niven not really for new readers.
Kenneth Flusche
Nov 15, 2011 Kenneth Flusche rated it really liked it
Good short story book, If you read a lot of Niven you will recognize parts of many of his stories
Apr 06, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Just as good as "N Space". I love Niven's books, but I think he shines best in the short-story format.
Jan 24, 2009 Crmjolnir rated it it was amazing
I gave this 5 stars because while it's not a complete story arc, it is a great sampler for intro into Larry Niven, and it really turned me on to his stuff.
Jenna rated it liked it
Oct 03, 2011
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Kevin Trainor
Kevin Trainor rated it it was amazing
Apr 24, 2009
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Mar 31, 2012
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Sep 12, 2009
Stephen Scarpaci
Stephen Scarpaci rated it it was amazing
Jul 27, 2010
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Nov 10, 2007
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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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