A World Out of Time
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A World Out of Time (The State #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  3,040 ratings  ·  125 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...more
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...more
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!


(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 - on


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...more
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...more
David Monroe
May 25, 2009 David Monroe rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
Jul 06, 2010 Mark rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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 revive...more
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 froze...more
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...more

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...more
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
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...
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!!!
David Sarkies
Aug 21, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Raymund Eich
Fans of Niven's Known Space universe should be warned this is set in a very different future, in which a totalitarian regime dominates Earth and reaches out to the stars. (It's the same universe as The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, though you don't need to read those to appreciate this or vice versa).

This novel has a lot of Niven tropes: revived frozen dead, immortality treatments, and unpronounceable names. But it generates some real sense of wonder: Corbell's time dilation flyby of the G...more
Kevin Groosalugg
My first Larry Niven novel (I think). The plot is so broad and changing it's hard for me to describe it here. Frozen man from the 70s has his mind put in another man's body, tricks the current governing body of the earth into giving him a ship, steals it, flies off, and thus begins his adventure (don't want to give spoilers to I will leave it at that). Everything was too convenient, too easy, there was no real tension or struggle. Perhaps it was just written with a 70s cavalier attitude. For me...more
Clark Hallman
A World Out of Time, by Larry Niven, was published as a book in 1976. However, part of it had been previously published in Galaxy Magazine and another part had been previously published as a short story. The protagonist, Jerome Branch Corbell, had been cryogenically frozen in 1970 because he was dying from cancer. He was awakened in 2190 and discovered that his mind had been extracted from his dying body and had been transferred to the body of a criminal whose mind had been wiped. Corbell learne...more
First, you should know where I'm coming from: I like my science fiction light on science, heavy on characterization and humanity. A tome that goes in depth on the physics of space travel and leaves the characters shallow and unrealized is not my cup of tea.

Now that you know what kind of reader I am: I keep reading A World Out of Time. I picked up a copy in 1983 when I was 13, enjoyed it, read it again a year or two later, and have probably read it seven times altogether. Since I rarely read a bo...more
Invadozer Saphenousnerves Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
Jaybee is a corpsicle that gets his body demolished and brain stuck in
a criminal's body. In crowded quarters on Earth he
is trained to be a full on good joe to dump algea
zip lock packs on planets that have Sol type stars.
He's all set to be the good state wanna be
citizen...and gets in the ship....and bails. Looping around a
black hole after being thawed out he goes back to Earth
(a coupla million years later) with his computer who
talks about the state, the state, the state. The state
has met it's fat...more
Dec 02, 2013 Bernard rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bernard by: Eric Bloemeke
The core science nugget in this book--which can be guessed at from viewing this edition's cover--has to do with celestial mechanics, and an advanced future-Earth civilization that manipulates the Sol system using such mechanics. Secondary elements include an essential kick off of the plot using time-displacement via near speed of light travel, biological explanation of immortality, conscience-transfer via RNA extraction and injection, and evolution. For these elements I rate it 3 of 5, firmly in...more
This isnt likely to ever be regarded as the best thing Niven ever cranked out, but it is a very fun read.
Having read most of the rest of Niven, this was interesting too in that I could see the seeds of several other things he later spent more time going into - tree of life, surprises at the galaxy core, etc...

The basis is available on the cover / synopsis, no reason to rehash here, and I wont say there arent problems. Like why no one in the center where JB awakens can speak english or understand...more
Jessica Clare
I read "A World Out of Time" right after I read "Stranger in a Strange Land," and though it may be sci fi blasphemy, I enjoyed "A World Out of Time" much, much more.

This book is pieced together from some of Niven's short stories--the first few chapters are really just his short story "Rammer," but in "World," Niven expands upon the semi-unwilling starship captain's rebellions journey, describing his return from his near-suicidal relativity trip around the black hole at the center of the galaxy a...more
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...more
Classic SF. While a few of the concepts of the future world are a bit dated (though one could argue that as most of the story is from the perspective of a man who died in the 1970's) it overall is an interesting romp that covers an impressive scope of time (not just throwing us hundreds of years into the future, but millions!!!).

Corbell begins this tale as a corpsicle, frozen on the off chance getting revived in the future. And lucky for him he does... sorta. Waking up in a new body he finds he...more
Ever watched a classic movie critics raved about but somehow left you feeling short-changed? That's how I felt about this short novel by Niven.

Perhaps it's so iconoclastic for the time that everything now feels cliched, but it doesn't have that feel somehow. It's almost a blend of Lord of the Flies-meets-Planet of the Apes, only without the simians.

My fault, I know, in part for not cutting it enough slack for tech predictions the author made in the 1970s when the book was written. But the charac...more
This novel is an expansion of the short story Rammer from the collection A Hole in Space. Jaybee Corbell wakes up after having being cryogenically frozen after death Now he must repay his debt to society (being cured of his cancer and woken up cost a lot of money) by piloting an exploratory ramship to seed planets around the galaxy, a mission that will take centuries. He rebels and takes his ship on a long tour of the galaxy at relativistic speeds, ending up back on earth millions of years later...more
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
Horse N.
OK, so it's not a perfect book. But I gave it five stars because the scope of the story blew my mind. Not only did he span an unbelievable distance, he also covered a vast amount of time. I literally could not put the book down while I was reading it. He introduced scientific concepts (world building) that would never have entered my brain on their own. I have thought about this book a lot since I read it. Every time I pick up a new book, I want it to blow me away like this one did...very few do...more
Ashley Russell
The beginning is fantastic, and it's no surprise it started life as a short story. It started to lose my interest after that which was a real disappointment. Still, it's worth a read for sci-fi & Niven fans if only for the opening.
Not in the least disjointed, this far-reaching tale has a tightly coherent and complex plot. It reaches out into a future where humanity has lost its way, having fought over and forgotten its very purpose. Wholly believable characters and vivid description bring the story to life.

Niven shows us a world, its advanced but decaying technology and its splintered culture in detail you can almost touch.

Riveting - a real page-turner, with the hero moving from one desperate scrape to another, as differe...more
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*Spoiler* Why didn't the Boys know about? 2 21 Jul 08, 2012 08:07PM  
  • The Crucible of Time
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  • Satan's World
  • Imperial Earth
  • Time Scout (Time Scout, #1)
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  • Buying Time
  • Deathworld 1
  • Shakespeare's Planet
  • The World Inside
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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