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A World Out of Time (The State #1)

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  4,061 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
Jaybee Corbell awoke after more than 200 years as a corpsicle -- in someone else's body, and under sentence of instant annihilation if he made a wrong move while they were training him for a one-way mission to the stars.

But Corbell picked his time and made his own move. Once he was outbound, where the Society that ruled Earth could not reach him, he headed his starship tow
Paperback, 246 pages
Published March 12th 1986 by Del Rey-Ballantine (first published September 1st 1976)
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Riku Sayuj
Too much of Brave New World to start off with and too similar to The Time Machine (with the 'master and slave races' thread) for the rest of the book. It is tough to keep a book together with only one interesting character, especially when it is not the main character, and sticks around for less than a third of the story. All in all, the book had me bored out of my senses waiting for something new to happen.

Maybe it was a mistake to not read Ringworld first. It is going to be hard for me to come
Mar 05, 2009 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First he flies around a huge black hole and narrowly escapes being sucked into it. Later on in the book, they stick a giant tube into Uranus, turning it into some kind of planet-sized rocket, and use it to rearrange the Solar System's architecture.

I know so little about Freudian psychology that I imagine these scenes tell us something about the state of Mr Niven's psyche. Marvel at my naïveté if you will!

Sep 22, 2013 Ric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

(Re-read this as part of summer-long nostalgia trip of Larry Niven's Known Space books. Although A World Out of Time, takes place in a different fictional universe, I had good memories of the book and this felt like the right time to revisit.)

There is one major difference between this book and any of the Known Space series that you should know about --- no FTL --- hence no hyperspace, no Outsider drive, no instantaneous communication. What we have is the lightspeed-observing Buzzard ramjet - o

As always Larry Niven is better at coming up with great story ideas than actually writing them.

This one starts out feeling like a short-story, and as such it is fantastic. Without giving away too much of the plot, the first part of the story is a grand adventure of galactic proportions. Then the reader, along with the protagonist, comes back to a well-worn Niven cliche of blazing fast scene changes, obscure science and an ultimate adherence to the law of Chekhov's gun.

Some parts are fun, action
Dec 27, 2012 Banner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

I have always enjoyed a good Niven story. IMHO this is no exception. (I'll get to the 3 star rating).

I've often said nobody does aliens like Niven. Well this story takes a different turn. He shows us an alien earth after millions of years of evolution and genetic engineering. I think his use of relativistic time and it's effect on deep space travel is fascinating. He can take hard science and big ideas and write a story that is easy and enjoyable to follow.

Reasons for 3 star and not 4 or 5

This u
David Monroe
May 25, 2009 David Monroe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans, People new to Niven, People new to so-called Hard (science based) SF
Shelves: science-fiction
Jaybee Corbell, his cancer-ridden body frozen in 1970, is revived 200 years later in a body that is not his own. Stripped of his own free will, as well as his body, he is a servant to the all-powerful State. His one chance at remaining alive is to rise to the task set before him: pilot a one-way mission out into the universe to seed planets for future population. A last ditch effort at rebellion propels Corbell on a journey through space that will eventually lead him back to Earth…an Earth three ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Patti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I think I'm going to have to give up on Niven. I thought I'd read one or two of his books that I really liked, but maybe I'm thinking of some other writer.

A World Out of Time started off pretty well, with the very intriguing concept of bringing cryogenically frozen patients back to life by transplanting their personalities into convicted felons whose punishment is essentially being turned into empty vessels for other personalities to take over.

It continues to be an interesting read during the ma
Jul 06, 2010 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
Shelves: sciencefiction
Larry Niven is one of the grandmasters of science fiction. He knows how to weave hard science, characterization, and plot into an interesting and compelling tapestry. A World Out Of Time is rich in hard science but a little light in the plot and characterization areas. However, it is an entertaining blend of hard science and adventure story.

The Plot

A man named Jaybee Corbell was frozen in the late 20th century due to incurable cancer. Since the freezing process destroys cells, Corbell is reviv
Pierre Menard
Dec 09, 2015 Pierre Menard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The followers of Archimedes of Syracuse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
David Sarkies
Jul 09, 2015 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi lovers
Recommended to David by: I saw it in a second hand book shop
Shelves: sci-fi
Charting humanity's future history
20 January 2014

There are a number of science-fiction books around where the author attempts to chart the future history, in a speculative manner of course, of humanity. Isaac Asimov does that in his Foundation universe (which begins with the Robot stories and ends with Foundation and Earth) and Larry Niven does the same thing with A World Out of Time. The theme that I see in this idealistic setting is how humanity can create the perfect society in the perfect w
Aug 01, 2014 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-sci-fi
This is my third Niven book and I just can't get enough. My favorite book so far as been Ringworld but I also found this one to be very interesting. It involves plenty of space travel, some AI, and plenty of dystopia. I loved how the novel technically takes place over a huge time period because the main character goes into cryo so often. This book encompasses so many theories of how the world could go in the future: What if girls ruled the sky and boys ruled the earth? What if adults were just u ...more
Several years ago (and by several I mean much more than 20!) I read Larry Niven's novel The Integral Trees and enjoyed it so much I went on to read The Smoke Ring. Now imagine my surprise when I found out that there was in fact a novel before these two. Now I am (at least) 20 years older since I read these "first" two novels, but I remember I loved the world building and the characterization. I went on to read what became one of my favorite novels of all time Lucifer's Hammer. It is with this La ...more
Phil Giunta
Mar 03, 2015 Phil Giunta rated it liked it
Jerome Branch Corbell awakens from cryonic freeze to find himself cured of the cancer that had begun to ravage his body two centuries ago. To his dismay, the reason for his cure becomes quickly apparent--his mind had been transferred to an entirely different body, that of a young felon whose memory had been wiped as punishment for his crime.

Corbell quickly finds himself a stranger in a strange land where the only human who speaks English is his caretaker, a harshly detached man known only as Pi
Sep 01, 2012 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-published by Blackstone Audio in 2012.
Read by Tom Weiner
Duration: 7 hours, 59 minutes

First published in 1976, A World Out of Time is a grand adventure that literally follows its hero, Corbell, across the galaxy and across three million years of time as he reacts to one twist after another that eventually finds him carrying the fate of the entire world on his shoulders.

The story begins with Corbell being revived from being frozen in a cryogenic chamber almost 200 years after he had been froz
Mar 19, 2014 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay boys and girls, are you ready for the ultimate water-controlling state? No? Well tough, because other boys and girls have become immortal and have misplaced the Earth next to Jupiter and you're a corpsicle and you're a LONG way from home. Or at least a short hop to the center of the galaxy and back can be considered a long way, if only in relativistic time.
Sure, the characters are sometimes spotty, but as a fantastic idea-generator, Niven excels. I think I might enjoy the novels even more b

part 2/9 - Fatally ill guy gets frozen, gets new body in the future. I thought it would be grisly, but then he gets into space. Woohoo! Kind of funny. Not that many characters so far. For an Sffaudio recording on Sunday. I'm still hoping to discuss 'The Soft Weapon' short story someday (was adapted in the Star Trek cartoon), but there's no audio version yet.

I finished it quickly for a discussion on Sffaudio. As usual in these things, I liked the outer space parts more than the on the ground in p
Einar Nielsen
I got this on a sale at Audible and have read a little bit of NIven and liked what I've seen so far. This book starts out interesting but then it goes in such a strange direction that it looses most of its charm. I have the feel ing that the author had no idea were he was going with this as it starts out as one thing and end as something completely different. Maybe that is the problem this book has a very inconsistent message or tone (at least in my opinion). But don't get me wrong it has some g ...more
Pat Cummings
Aug 18, 2016 Pat Cummings rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pat Cummings by: Amazon
Shelves: reviewed
It puzzled me for a while; when you look at the listing for the audiobook of Larry Niven's wonderful 1984 novel The Integral Trees on Amazon, it has a parenthetical comment, (The State series, Book 2). The Kindle and print listings note this same novel as (The Smoke Ring series Book 1). I began to get paranoid. Was there a pre- IT novel written about a powerful State for that ominous year?

Yes, there was. It turns out that reading the first novel last is a good thing.

In 1976, well ahead of bui
Jun 05, 2016 Peter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A man with a terminal illness in the modern day has himself frozen as a last-ditch attempt to survive. He awakens hundreds of years in the future, in a completely new body and told that he must be in service to the State... or else. Soon, though, he gets a chance to escape and flee into Earth's far far future where many things have changed and survival is even more complicated.

This is 70s-era science fiction, and it shows. The science, while treated with a fair amount of rigor, doesn't really se
William Brenner
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kent Keifer
Jul 31, 2016 Kent Keifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun book. It explores the idea of resuscitating a long dead person hundreds of years into the future and placing them in someone else's body. It also explores RNA injections which allow an individual to learn things way beyond their capacity. Finally it looks millions of years into the future when the earth has been moved to a new orbit to save it, and where girls and boys found a way to live forever, but went to war with the result being a dominant boy class and a subservient dicta c ...more
Aug 07, 2016 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audiobook, scifi
Good. I can't quite give it 4 stars simply because there just quite isn't enough substance to the plot once you get about a third of the way through. It is interesting enough to keep going to see how it ends, but the majority of the interesting stuff happens in the first third or so. Still worth reading.
After spending several years building up a mythos of humanity's future in his "Known Space" series, science-fiction author Larry Niven chose a different setting for his 1976 novel A World Out of Time. J.B. Corbell, a cancer patient who had himself frozen in the 1970s in hope of a cure, finds himself woken up two centuries later when an authoritarian government known only as "the State" controls Earth. He's not even in his own body, for the freezing and thawing process destroyed the original Corb ...more
Ron Bunting
Feb 10, 2011 Ron Bunting rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i first read this when it was first published and now,in the 21st Century so many parallels to our world today were almost predicted in the fashion of a true Sci Fi classic.
If it were in my means i would make a anime movie of this book...
Sep 30, 2015 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Almost 3.5 stars, really, for this re-read. With a plot spanning millions of years, A World Out of Time is huge hard science fiction (you can make what you will of those adjectives)with an emphasis on the hard science the way it used to be written in the 70s when the world was young and writers could explore larger than life ideas within 250 pages. There is sense-of-wonder aplenty here. The only thing keeping me from adding a fourth star is its lack of many likable characters. Everyone seems to ...more
Federico Venturin
Qualche spunto interessante lo offre ma nel complesso l'ho trovato lento, noioso e inconcludente. La trama, dalla metà in poi, diventa sempre più una cagata pazzesca.
Feb 03, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing book.... What would happen if found yourself landing on earth. You have traveed about 30yrs your time, but, 1 million years has pssed on earth!!!
Trevor McGuire
As sort of a meta-review, I can say this book has some good hard sci-fi in it. I'm no expert in relativity, but I do think his time dilation scales were a little off, but it doesn't distract from the story. The only distracting thing is Niven's classic whacky names for his characters. Sort of 3 stories in one, with the first two substories just setting up the main story in the book, which takes about the first third of the book to do. You could pretty much skip the first third if you felt like i ...more
I was a little sad that this book had such poor follow-through of such a great idea. The premise is that a guy riddled with cancer decides to have himself frozen in the 1970s with the hope that science might one day catch up. His body is a freezer-burned mess, but a futuristic society salvages his brain and uploads it into the body of a convicted felon who has had his brain wiped. Rather than re-entering society, the former "corpsicle" is tasked with traveling throughout the universe to seed oth ...more
Jan 20, 2015 Blind_guardian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visions of the far future always fascinate me, even moreso than sci-fi that's set in the near future, simply because the vast expanse of time allows for far greater creativity. What might humanity be like in a million years, if it exists at all? What about three million? That's what Larry Niven seeks to answer in World Out of Time, through the eyes of a man from the 70's who awakens to find his memories implanted in a brain-wiped criminal two hundred years in the future.

An authoritarian governm
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*Spoiler* Why didn't the Boys know about? 4 35 Sep 07, 2015 07:51PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The State (3 books)
  • The Integral Trees
  • The Smoke Ring (The State, #3)

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