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World of Ptavvs (Known Space)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,199 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
A planet waited to be plundered.
Paperback, 188 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1966)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 30, 2015 Jeffrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Niven's known space stories
Shelves: my_ebooks
World of Pshaw... I mean, Ptavvs

Reread this recently during one of my many "Niven" binges. This is one of Niven's first novels (converted from a serial?) and it is NOT really one of his best.

The World Of Ptavvs is in Larry Niven's Known Space universe but is a stand alone adventure. You get to see some aliens & alien tech from the "early days" of the galaxy. As usual with Niven, there are lots of cool scientific ideas for the most-part well developed. Lots of space travel, hi-tech gadgets, a
Robin Tell-Drake
Niven is one of the real reliable science-heavy sci-fi writers--always exploring what might be legitimately possible. The funky ideas come at you awfully fast in this one. And the science is always plot-critical. To pick one example and leave the rest: the third act here is a big space chase within the solar system, and in a blessed antidote to Star-Wars-style fighter jet flying, the ships act as though they're in a vacuum crossing vast distances. You burn the engines as hard as you can until ha ...more
World of Ptaavs was Larry Niven's first novel, published in 1966, and with its 2106 setting it is one of the first stories chronologically in the Known Space canon. It is clearly a weak work, and offers only hints of the wonderful ideas that Niven was to write about only a year later.

The novel begins two billion years before the present with the alien Kzanol, a member of the Thrintun race. This race had the ability to control others telepathically and are the Slavers mentioned in later Known Spa
Jul 28, 2011 Manny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
"World of Ptavvs? Oh, that's one of the good ones, before he started co-authoring boring crap with Jerry Pournelle. So, there's this alien with mind-control powers who's been frozen in stasis at the bottom of the sea for, you know, a zillion years since his ship crashed... What? sure, another Margharita would be great. Ah, so of course the alien wakes up, and he takes over the mind of this human and escapes and... oh, thanks! Cheers. Now where was I? Had I got to the bit where they set Pluto on ...more
Mar 30, 2011 Allyson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this to learn the craft. I'm interested in how Niven deals with expository since his alien creatures and cultures are indeed very alien. I'm also interested in how he deals with explaining the aspects of every day human life that are futuristic and so different from ours. He has a way of talking about such things (like slidewalks, for instance) that succeeds in explaining/introducing them without becoming tedious.

Great little yarn, not exactly a classic of science fiction but a real
The World of Ptavvs concerns the re-awakening from stasis of an ancient alien who has the power of mind control, so when a human psychic tries to use a mind-to-mind contact machine to communicate it all goes a bit wrong. The alien escapes from stasis and goes on a chase across the solar system looking for something he left in his other stasis suit. That something, if he finds it, would spell enslavement for the population of earth.

Early Niven like this is big on ideas, big on science, full of pl
Kevin Metcalfe
After reading a few of the Ringworld books, I'm trying to catch up on Niven's "Known Space" books. This one was okay, but not great.
Aurel Mihai
This is a fun, pulpy scifi read. Lots of silliness and adventure with a dash of science thrown in. As a bonus there are references to Niven's other material and other scifi of the era. And it'll make you think, but only a little bit. Overall a really fun read.
Aaron Anderson
I so shouldn't give this a 5, quite, but I love the story and fictional-universe history. So so fun.

Writing alone should stop it from being a 5, but screw it.
Karen Chavez
Mar 10, 2012 Karen Chavez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was Niven's first novel, and I was not expecting too much. I was wrong. Read this book! You won't regret it.
Pretty good. I haven't read a lot of Niven's stuff though.
Oct 19, 2013 Casey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, aliens, 1960s
Since I had read Ringworld, I was more interested in The World of Ptaavs than I think I otherwise would have been.

The story is simple and straight to the point. A statue is recovered from the deep sea and is suspected to be an alien frozen in stasis. Scientists conduct an experiment to unfreeze the alien.

They release the alien, Kzanol, a thrintun, who crash-landed on Earth about two billion years ago. However, it all goes terribly wrong. Larry Greenburg, a telepath, is taken over by Kzanol's mi
Gabriel C.
Apr 13, 2012 Gabriel C. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: among-others, 2012
I keep clicking close instead of save. Also this review interface doesn't work in chrome. He is totally obsessed with hypnotism, to an embarrassing extent. An amateur hypnotist can get a hardened police chief to starve himself to death and shit his pants.

Also, can we talk about how a ten year old wrote this shit? Some mind-controlling alien has killed and maimed hundreds and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage but we're not going to, I don't know, kill him with overwhelming
While I _LOVE_ this author and his universe, I recently re-read this novel and found it a bit "sub-par" compared to many of his other works. It's an OK read and goes pretty fast, but just a bit more clunky than a lot of his other works. Neat ideas though.

I would say "not his best effort", but I just went back to see when it was written. Turns out to have been one of his first... Clearly he developed as a writer over time. Mind you _I_ would have been very pleased with myself if I'd turned this o
Mar 04, 2009 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of Larry Niven's lesser known novels, and I had actually put off reading it for some time since I figured if it was lesser known it was probably not one of his better novels (and though I love his good novels, he has also had a couple that I've *really* not liked). Having read it, however, I think it's one of his best: retaining the strong flavour of science, with a much tighter and constantly twisting plot line. It had me from start to finish, as trite and hackneyed as I know that s ...more
Akira Watts
A fine enough plot, but the writing is incredibly sloppy. Characters are indistinguishable, and the storyline, more than once, verges in incoherent. How did an editor not catch this?
Jul 15, 2014 Ari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Surprisingly good, given how whimsically goofy the plot it.

2014: Something that struck me, rereading it for the first time in a while -- The plot hinges on spaceships listening to each other's radio messages. There's something charmingly anachronistic about a spacefaring civilization that doesn't encrypt communication as a matter of course. There's a reference stuck late in the book to "social norms against the use of code", but this is a feeble defense by the author. (I am unsure if this refer
The tragic tale of an interstellar traveller who went into stasis, and stayed there far, far too long.
May 24, 2014 ArtYOm rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A mind-controlling alien. Will this one enslave humans?
Mar 04, 2015 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
1977 grade B
1995 grade A-

Series book P66
Edwin Kort
Jan 21, 2015 Edwin Kort rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
ben er maar meegestopt
Jimmy Pedersen
Yet another Niven bites the dust on my bookshelf :-)
Jun 21, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous big ideas.
Nov 30, 2011 Hoyt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic, straightforward sci-fi, set sometime in "the future". It took a few pages to get past some odd terminology and names, but then I really got into this story, which is Niven's first novel. Engaging characters, cool ideas, and I was even able to look past the fact that this must have been written (1966? that wasn't known back then?) before it was widely known that Neptune was not a solid planet (either that or he didn't do his research ;) ). Highly recommend this quick read.

Chronologically the first of Niven‘s Known Space books, and also his first published novel. An alien who has been frozen in stasis for eons is awoken. He comes from a former master race (quite literally) and poses a grave danger to humanity.

Solid adventure SciFi with some very clever concepts.

Note: Various editions have the title with or without initial “The”.

Jan 27, 2009 Hien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The Slavers were a species that ruled our galaxy long ago. They died out about a billion years ago (you can read the reason for this in other Niven stories). Earth was once a farm world of the mighty Slaver empire. Anyway, somebody uncovered the last remaining Slaver on earth. The Slaver was frozen in stasis. Once they brought him out of stasis he proceeds to enslave people.
Sep 21, 2015 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
As a book it's uneven - the start of the book is a little clunky, the characters don't quite convince. But towards the end there's a terrific bit of space spectacle that made the whole thing worthwhile for me.

Come for the sci-fi, stay for the chemistry...
Jul 21, 2015 Steef rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nederlands, sci-fi
Okay book, wouldn't read again. Maybe it was the (oldfashioned) Dutch translation, but I had a hard time keeping up with who was who and what ship did what.

Funny coincidence was that while I read about their space race to Pluto, there was the real world fly-by of Pluto.
Jul 07, 2009 Lowry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Niven always poses such interesting thought experiments on alien contact and ways in which alien thought process could be so different than human. I read this book in chunks, and think I would have been better to sit down and read through and really think. Not bad, though.
Aug 22, 2008 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
World of Ptavv's is set in Larry Niven wonderful future world where humans are subject to the whims of many different alien races. In this case, a member of a race that wants to subjugate humankind as slaves. A good read and lots of fun.
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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

Known Space (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (Known Space)
  • Flatlander (Known Space)
  • The Patchwork Girl (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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