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The Man-Kzin Wars (Man-Kzin Wars #1)

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  3,439 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Once upon a time, in the earliest days of interplanetary exploration, an unarmed human vessel was set upon by a warship from the planet Kzin. But the Kzinti learned the hard way that the reason humanity had given up war was that they were so very, very good at it. Thus began the Man-Kzin Wars.

1 · Introduction · Larry Niven · in *
5 · The Warriors · Larry Niven · s

Paperback, 289 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Baen Books (first published 1988)
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Jun 21, 2008 Kevin rated it liked it
Chicks get to read trashy romance novels as a guilty pleasure.
Dudes get to read sentient 8' tall giant space cats at war with humanity novels as a guilty pleasure.

Jan 07, 2012 Ross rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Die-Hard Niven Completists only
Short stories set in Niven's "Known Space" universe, in the time after Humanity and the Kzin meet and begin their wars that are completed by the time of most of Niven's novels.

This was a mixed bag - I enjoyed Niven's first, short short story, and then nearly fell asleep during Poul Anderson's piece. Just didn't grab me - in fact, I can't remember what it was about and I finished the book just today. Dean Ing's story was enjoyable but nothing extraordinary. Overall, this book is a borderline 2.5
Feb 03, 2013 Wormboy2000 rated it it was ok
Most teachers grade on a curve. For that matter, most evaluations (IQ, GPA, movie ratings) are expressed as some variation of a bell curve. So why in the world isn't that the case for Goodreads? Or, for that matter, Netflix?

That's because most people rate only that about which they are truly enthusiastic. That's the only reason I can explain the Man-Kzin Wars series having a higher average than 3.0 stars. You see, the initial story isn't even original: it was published long ago, in multiple plac
Mike (the Paladin)
I like military science fiction.....this is not military science fiction. The book might better have been titled: "Events Peripheral to the Man-Kzin Wars." The opening story is an old one by Niven telling the first meeting and hostile encounter between the two races. Niven in the Intro says he wasn't in the military so he doesn't try to write military scenes.


The second story (novella)by Anderson is basically a romance and the third by Ing is an odd little "relations between the species" tal
Kitty cats with rayguns and space-helmets fuck some shit up. Much as I love Niven's books, this is about the most unnecessary series ever, and it peaks here.
Niven's original story is decent but dated (the premise of a utopian humanity that has learned to suppress its aggressive instincts isn't one we worry about much anymore, is it?). Poul Anderson's story is pretty good, and Ing's is a wretched one-man-army type story that leans heavily on the cat puns.
Carl V.
Feb 22, 2015 Carl V. rated it really liked it
Everyone has their favorites, and author Larry Niven is one of mine. Although I have read comparatively few of his numerous short stories, novels and novel collaborations, I have a special connection to Larry Niven: he has the distinction of being the author of the first science fiction novel that I walked into a bookstore as a young man and purchased for myself. That novel, A World Out of Time, is one of my favorites, a book that I re-read every few years.

In Larry Niven’s Known Space universe,
Ned Leffingwell
Nov 08, 2016 Ned Leffingwell rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is some old-fashioned science fiction, in that science is very present throughout. The book is three stories about interactions between humans and the Kzin, a cat-like race of aliens. The stories are about the interactions of the species before and after the titular Man-Kzin wars. I liked that the stories explored the interactions of the species more than battles. There are some dated parts, such as spaceships designed to accommodate smoking. I liked it but I do not think I will explore the ...more
Charles Harrison
Dec 12, 2016 Charles Harrison rated it really liked it
Larry Niven is probably the first science fiction author I really raved about. I sometimes wonder if it was just that I started there and if I will have grown out of that love. Two thirds of this book are not even written by him but I still got just as adsorbed and excited. Nothing mind blowing just believeable aliens and good solid science (some lovely organic chemistry in there as well). Thankfully there are quite a few more of these books so they should keep me quiet for a while yet!
Dec 09, 2016 Caermon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Good As I Remember

Some of the most fun and thought provoking military sci-fi in the business. It's a series that shouldn't be missed.
Hugh Smalley
Sep 14, 2016 Hugh Smalley rated it really liked it


Once upon a time, in the earliest days of interplanetary exploration, an unarmed human vessel was set upon by a warship from the planet Kzin. But the Kzinti learned the hard way that the reason humanity had given up war was that they were so very, very good at it. Thus began the Man-Kzin Wars.

Once upon a time, in the earliest days of interplanetary exploration, an unarmed human vessel was set upon by a warship from the planet Kzin. But the Kzinti learned the hard way that the re

Dec 07, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it
Back when I was a member of the Science Fiction Book Club there would occasionallly be offerings in which a premise was posed and three prominent S-F authors were invited to write novellas about them. The ones I remember most were "The Day the Sun Stood Still" (about a day when the earth stopped rotating for a day - proof of the existence of God - and its effect upon society) and "Chains of the Sea (the premise was essentially about how the sea is overtaking humanity and absorbing us back into i ...more
Looking at the other reviews of this book, I see that the 4 and 5 star ratings are by people who just want to rate Niven a 5 star author. I've read other works of his that I loved, but not this one.

Seeing this made me think about my own rating system. I see my average rating on Goodreads is over 4 - that's for two reasons. First, I rated a bunch of 5-star books when I first joined so I could get better recommendations. Second, I don't like to rip on other authors. If I think something is 1 or 2
Jul 07, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing
I first came across the Kzin while reading tales of know space -(Warriors) and they have fascinated me ever since. I guess you could dissect and examine it all you like there are many reasons to appreciate and like them - huge feline killing machines which an alien outlook on life and the "hairless monkeys" who keep on failing to appreciate that they should have been subjugated by the Kzin years ago.
I think for me its their scream and leap approach - something that has stood them in good stead
Bruce McNair
Mar 24, 2014 Bruce McNair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Larry Niven's known space series
The first compendium of short stories written by a number of authors and set in Larry Niven's Known Space universe, except that it concentrates on the conflict between humans and their first alien encounter with the tiger-like warrior race called the Kzin.

1. The Warriors by Larry Niven - is an account of the first encounter between a unarmed human colony ship and an armed to the teeth Kzin ship. This demonstrates the Kzin propensity to under estimate their opponents.

2. Iron by Poul Anderson - st
Feb 20, 2012 Leo rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book is a collection of Niven's first published short story followed by two short novellas written by other science fiction authors. The first story was short and not as well developed as Niven's other works, but it was a quick read and somewhat interesting.

The second story in the book, "Iron" was horrible. It was written by Poul Anderson who is a prolific, award winner author, but it's hard to image how he made a living if his other work was similar to his effort here. The science is inte
Nov 08, 2013 Michael rated it liked it
This book is at least 25 years old. I've seen it around so often, I finally picked it up and read it. It was very mediocre. The Man-Kzin wars are a shared universe series of anthologies set in Larry Niven's Known Space. Each book is short stories (or novellas) that describe encounters between a space faring humanity and the cat-like, aggressive Kzin. The first story was a VERY early Niven piece that introduced the Kzin. It was meh. The second, long novella was about a human exploratory mission t ...more
May 22, 2016 Arlomisty rated it really liked it
I bought this book on a whim... I had seen it for years in the book stores and was always curious to what it was... as the years passed I forgot about it... until recently while browsing on amazon, looking at books. I thought I'd give it a try... (there are at least twenty books to this series)... and loved it! It's not a masterpiece or anything, but the fun value in the three short stories was great! It has the feel of old time sci-fi stories and what I like is that it has no real modern franch ...more
Lisa Francis
Aug 09, 2013 Lisa Francis rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Larry Niven was quite the star along with Jerry Pournell back in the 80's when it came to SciFi. Niven created a universe he called "Known Space" and nearly all his novels took place within that. The Man-Kzin Wars is a collection of 3 novellas written by either himself or co-written by his SciFi author buddies of the era. The final story in this volume is "CatHouse" and is in my opinion, the best of the 3 stories. All chronicle the history of the wars fought between humans and a cat-like alien r ...more
Aug 26, 2007 Rob rated it liked it
Recommends it for: scifi fans, gamers, cat-lovers
Came across this while knee-deep in Wing Commander gaming. Some obvious cues borrowed across. (Militant sapient felids much?) When I cracked the cover, I expected volume one of a trilogy or some other enumerated series of novels. Instead I found a bunch of short stories bound together. At the time I remember being disappointed but upon further consideration, this seems to have been a wise choice. The stories are each quick-moving and easy to digest. It's a good book to keep at the bedside for wh ...more
May 05, 2015 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in a series that introduces humans to another race in space: the Kzinti, a race of large warrior cats. In the first tale we learn of the encounter with humans who win the battle because they have superior technology. The second tale is exciting as a human commander finds himself and his crew out manned and outgunned by the Kzinti. On a scientific expedition, she find an outpost of the race that strives to destroy them before they can relate their discovery to the home plan ...more
Keil Hunsaker
Aug 16, 2013 Keil Hunsaker rated it it was ok
I started this book in an attempt to get back into Science Fiction for a change. I ended up having to force my way through this book just because I was too stubborn to not finish this. I am glad I did. The book consists of a short story and two novellas or long short stories however you classify things. The first one if very short, mildly interesting. The second one I found exceedingly tedious, with a few interesting moments and interesting ideas. The best part for me was the third story which I ...more
Scott Holstad
May 31, 2013 Scott Holstad rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I couldn't finish this book. It just didn't interest me enough. It's three stories based on Larry Niven's first short story about the Kzin, a cat-like alien out to destroy humans. His first short story in the book was somewhat interesting. Then came Poul Anderson's piece. It just didn't resonate with me. It was boring. It was uninteresting. It wasn't even about a war, really. In fact, I can barely remember what it was about. I quit before I finished it. I never made it to Dean Ing's story, which ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Damien rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it, scifi, known-space
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the first book in the long running series inspired by the characters from Laryy Niven's "Known Space" universe. In this volume is a very short introduction to the wars and then two novelettes follow. The first titled "Iron" is the better of the two. It has a great mix of action and politics along with the dynamics of a crew under duress. The second story "Cathouse" is less interesting as it really doesn't deal that much with the Kzinti once the location of the story changes. Overall I wa ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Banner rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
No body beats Larry Niven when it comes to aliens! So I wanted to see how other authors do with his concept. There are three stories; first one by Larry Niven (I gave a 4); the second by Poul Anderson (I gave a 2 1/2) and the third by Dean Ing(I gave a 4). I guess you can tell which story I didn't like. I'm sorry I know Poul is a well like author, I just couldn't get into it. He used conversation to move along the plot and it just didn't flow, I couldn't figure out what was going on. But maybe i ...more
Aug 23, 2011 Andreas rated it liked it
A long running anthology series with stories set during the Man-Kzin Wars in Larry Niven’s Known Space universe. Niven started this thing up because while the Wars were very significant in the history of Known Space, he himself was not adept at writing about conflict. Niven has written some of the stories but most are by other authors. The writing ranges from average to excellent. Recommended if you are a fan of Known Space.
Mar 13, 2012 DaveA rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. This is actually 3 novellas, and I had read it before. I am reading the Niven books that he's written within the past 10 years, so I have to re-read the ones he wrote 30 years ago so that I know the background. This is still an excellent book 30 years later. One novella is written by Poul Anderson and one by Dean Ing (the first of the three by Niven). All three are great. One of the best in SF
Jason Bloom
I think I was entirely smitten by the idea of this novel. That, and the awesome cover art! But unfortunately, this fizzles for me. based on a short story by Niven, this collection holds that original story and two longer novellas set in the same shared universe by two other authors. Needless to say, it falls flat for me. Even with like 10 volumes, I ended up turning to Wikipedia to read the summaries instead. NOT A GOOD LOOK.
Mike Orlowicz
Aug 07, 2015 Mike Orlowicz rated it really liked it
First, Larry Niven is probably ,favorite sci-fi author. This book is actually a series of short stories written by different authors, using Niven's earlier concepts. Fascinating use of scientific ideas wrapped around conflicts with a new alien species. Interesting, smart characters, including the aliens.
Rex Libris
Aug 13, 2014 Rex Libris rated it really liked it
I was not sure I would like this book because I find the Kzin characters can be pretty tiring after awhile. But it turned out to be pretty good after all. One of the authors was Poul Anderson and he did his usual good job in the novelette in this anthology. Dean Ing wrote the third story which was also enjoyable. Thefirst story was by Niven, it was of course also very good.
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Small Government ...: The Man-Kzin Wars 3 5 Oct 31, 2012 09:36AM  
  • Destiny's Forge (Man-Kzin Wars, #11.5)
  • The House of the Kzinti (Man-Kzin Wars)
  • Brother Assassin (Berserker, #2)
  • The Sharp End
  • Way of the Pilgrim
  • Honor of the Regiment
  • A Darker Geometry (Man-Kzin Wars, #7.5)
  • First Flight (Nicole Shea, #1)
  • Bolo Strike
  • The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Vol 2B (Science Fiction Hall of Fame #2B)
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

Man-Kzin Wars (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • The Man-Kzin Wars II (Man-Kzin Wars, #2)
  • Man-Kzin Wars 3 (Man-Kzin Wars, #3)
  • Cathouse
  • Man-Kzin Wars IV (Man-Kzin Wars, #4)
  • The Children's Hour (Man-Kzin Wars, #2.5)
  • Inconstant Star (Man-Kzin Wars)
  • Man-Kzin Wars 5 (Man-Kzin Wars, #5)
  • Man-Kzin Wars 6 (Man-Kzin Wars, #6)
  • Man-Kzin Wars 7 (Man-Kzin Wars, #7)
  • The Best of All Possible Wars

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