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Ringworld (Ringworld #1)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  54,609 ratings  ·  1,641 reviews
Pierson's puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 9th 2005 by Gollancz (first published January 1st 1970)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katie
Nov 14, 2009 Katie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Katie by: Olivia
A very interesting concept....BUT, I have to get on my soapbox for a minute. After reading a few of his books, I have to say that Larry Niven's attitude towards women, what they are like and what they are capable of, is sadly lacking. Though his male characters seem to be pretty well fleshed out (human--even if they are alien--fallible and interesting), his female characters are sadly one-dimensional. It seems to me that most the female character in his books are either clueless, idiot savants, ...more
Kemper
I’d wanted to read this because I’m a fan of the Halo video games, and I’d heard that it was a big influence on those. I gotta say that I’d have liked it more if the Master Chief would have shown up and started chucking some plasma grenades around.

Set in 2855, human Louis Wu is recruited by an alien named Nessus to go on a hazardous mission to explore a strange structure that rings a distant star. Another alien called Speaker-To-Animals from a warrior race apparently descended from some really t
...more
TK421
On Luis Wu’s 200th birthday, he is approached by Nessus, a quasi-equine alien species knows as Puppeteers because of the two heads sprouting from their backs that are tethered by strands of skin, to undertake a remarkable journey. Being 200 years old, Luis has seen his share of the universe, so he is a bit skeptical when Nessus asks him to join a force of beings to explore the mysterious Ringworld.

So far so good.

Enter the rest of the cast.

First off, I have no problem with how any alien is cre
...more
Baelor
I started this book expecting an awesome experience -- it won the Hugo AND Nebula awards, after all.

Too bad it was a hot mess.


The smile is because the book was lighthearted.


What to say of Niven's prose, other than that it is horrible? The dialog is stilted; often it is impossible to tell what the characters are talking about because their references are unclear or new information necessary to understand WTF is going on passes through the cardboard cutout/protagonist's head only after the page-l
...more
Greg
I can't believe this won three big awards.

The story is about as interesting as the trade war minutia of Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars. In non-geeky terms, not very interesting. Actually as I went out to buy a cup of coffee this morning I thought that if Larry Niven had teamed up with George Lucas the prequel episodes of Star Wars could have been totally ruined, and maybe episodes 4-6 could have been reworked too to make them completely insipid and unwatchable. How? Well, Larry Niven seems to be rea
...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Not much I can say about this.

It blew my mind.

In order for you to truly appreciate Ringworld you would have to mentally backtrack forty-odd years.

Big Ideas in Science Fiction are a dime a dozen.
Today.

But in 1970…?

Perhaps Niven’s vision upstaged his characters. Perhaps. But I could still lose myself on the ring. It fascinated me then; it fascinates me now. This novel made authors sit up and pay attention to just how big you could think if you really applied your imagination. Also, I’ve spent y
...more
Mark
this book was silly. the ringworld was a cool idea, and the interplay between the species was intriguing, but there were a lot of strikes against this book.

* anthropomorphic cat people that are fierce proud warriors; i imagine the furry contingent had a field day with this one
* not much happens in the latter half of this book - mostly a lot of traveling across the ringworld
* at several points there are lengthy sections where i'm unable to tell what's going on because i can't visualize the strang
...more
Keely
Radio waves move at the speed of light. This is not particularly noticeable on Earth, but if you were at the sun, it would take eight and a half minutes for a signal to reach you, which would make a phonecall rather awkward. It would be even worse at the next closest star, Proxima Centauri, where messages take four years. Thus, the speed of light is the rate at which information moves, at which change change can propagate.

But most people don't think, when watching Star Trek, that Captain Picard
...more
Paul
Jan 10, 2014 Paul rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 12 year olds
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
I have a lot of faith in science fiction but this one dented it - it's a daft cartoon of a novel in which there's this really big, you know, I mean giant big big enormous, like, world, and these aliens go there, and they droop and mumble about in it, and it's really big, and one of them looks like a carpet and the other looks like a diplodocus, and the other like an old chinaman cause you got to have an old chinaman in your far future novels, yeah. It was showered with awards but i would have sh ...more
Jonathan

What is Ringworld?

Ringworld is a curiously contradictory science fiction novel. For a novel so concerned with the finer details of the exact science of alien technology it also features some bizarrely pseudo-scientific fantasy conceptions. However, it's use of technology and its ideas are an indication alone as to why it should be read despite some major flaws which become more obvious as the reader delves further into the story.

Larry Niven's novel is claimed as a major influence of the critica
...more
Ben Babcock
There's a word often bandied about when people discuss books, particularly fantasy and science fiction books, which often involve the creation of worlds unlike our own. That term is (perhaps unsurprisingly) worldbuilding. And if ever there were a paradigm case for worldbuilding, Ringworld would be it. The eponymous structure is not a planet but, for all intents and purposes, functions as one. With a simple concept and a little bit of physics, Larry Niven has a striking novum that's brand, settin ...more
Tatiana
I recently reread this and it's still delightful after all these years. Niven is so much fun because of his fascinating ideas, and the playfulness with which he approaches them. The ringworld is a beautiful work of art, technology, and imagination. Ditto time stasis fields, mirrored focusing sunflowers, using generated gravity as an art form, hurricanes shaped like giant human eyes. Even more fun are the glories of the Puppeteer home planets flying to the edge of the galaxy in a kemplerer rosett ...more
David Sven
The world is coming to an end. A chain reaction of exploding stars at the galactic core threatens to swamp earth and most of known human space. What!? When? Oh in 20000 years or so. Whew, don’t scare me like that. So what’s the rush? Well, there’s no point waiting till the last minute. Or so the cowardly Puppeteer aliens reckon as they hit the panic button, pick up stakes, and make like a chook with its head cut off – make that two heads.

Oh but wait, one brave (insane) puppeteer volunteers to h
...more
Andrea
I'm afraid this made me want to punch Larry Niven in the stomach on the behalf of all women everywhere. Along with people who aren't so privileged that life bores them with its comforts, but mostly on behalf of women.

A 180 year old man sleeping with a 20 year old woman? Just so wrong, and it keeps going more wrong. He writes things about Teela like

"Her lips, he saw, were perfect for pouting. She was one of those rare, lucky women whom crying does not make ugly."

It is painfully condescending, ev
...more
Guillermo Azuarte

This was a blast to read. It was great, escapist, old school science fiction at its best. It's a pretty light read, with fast moving short chapters all in single narrative. The story is a classic exploration tale taking place on an alien artefact that is one of the most amazing concepts ever imagined in my opinion. The Ringworld is an enormous artificial ribbon one million miles wide with the diameter of Earth's orbit. It's basically a partial dyson sphere.

"Take Christmas ribbon, an inch wide,
...more
Rob
Executive Summary: This book is a lot of big ideas, and not a lot of depth of character or plot. If you like that sort of thing, you may enjoy this.

Full Review
This book was a tough one for me. It makes it a tough one to review as well.

I had been meaning to check this one out for awhile, but didn't make time for it. It ended up being one of the picks for July in Sword & Laser so I finally fit it in.

I read it over the course of 2 weekends, which with the way I've been lately is a really long
...more
Erich Franz Guzmann

I liked this book, in fact I got hooked at so many parts. As I am a slow reader and me having finished this book in a couple of days should tell ya something. The book is mainly an exploration novel of another land during the earth year of 2850. The exploration of the Ringwold is magnificent and is detailed crisply into my imagination.
It is also about the characters too; a great character building story I must say. In a way I found that the characters in the book and their interactions between e
...more
Ric
Ringworld - a Young Adult book that exemplifies the key elements of technology-driven fiction, and so embodies the new generation of science fiction and SF writers. Ok, that may be how the review would start if this book were written in the 2010s. But Ringworld is from a different era (the 1970s), a different world altogether (pre-Microsoft Earth). What was then hailed as an innovative narrative style may now be viewed as stunted and disjointed. But for a young mind just opening to the wonders ...more
Nathaniel
Niven's Ringworld idea is really, really cool. Cool enough that he got the Hugo for this book in 1970. I know he got the Hugo for the Ringworld concept, because nothing else in the book conceivably justifies it.

Wading through the book was very difficult for me mostly because of Niven's Dirty Old Man Syndrome. That's the way I refer to his incredibly chauvinistic depictions of women. The protagonist is a 200-year old cynical man who manages to snag a 20-year-old, naive young lady as his sex-toy
...more
Michael
After re-reading Niven's most famous novel, one that I truly adored as a kid, I'm forced to drop one (one and a half, if I could) from my initial rating.

I still love SF books about Big Dumb Objects. There are some great stories about BDOs out there. Ringworld is still a good STORY with lots of great concepts. It's not a great book, though. The single female character is a dunce. The other characters aren't much more three-dimensional. The setup seems to take forever. I don't care how many nerds
...more
Manny

The magic intersection point of the old and new styles of SF... basically, Golden Age space opera with cool aliens, but also including sex. (The sex isn't with the cool aliens, in case you were wondering - that's James Tiptree Jr. you're thinking of).

If you are an SF fan and have never been to the Ringworld, try and visit them some time! If you're not particularly into SF, well, these days Iain M. Banks does the same kind of thing better, so I would recommend reading "Consider Phlebas", "Player
...more
Candace
Dec 17, 2012 Candace rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Candace by: Lee
Disclosure - This is my first hard science- fiction book; so while I am unable to review it against other books in this sub-genre, I'm going to review it as I would any other book. The science was a little out of my league, but it was nothing that some computer searches wouldn't clear up.

Niven is a great descriptive writer. The book was well worth reading to meet Nessus and Speaker-to-Animals, the two aliens who make up half of the team of four travelers to Ringworld. This team (also comprised
...more
Sesana
On balance, I do like Ringworld, or at least the concept of the ringworld. The idea is that a forgotten race of wildly talented engineers have built a complete ring around a star and outfitted it with gravity, atmosphere, vegetation, animals, and even sentient life. The scale is so vast that it's nearly impossible to comprehend. (The ring, Niven tells us, has the surface area of roughly three million earths. There are mountains thousands of miles high.) I give Niven a lot of credit for the thoug ...more
Stephen
Jan 02, 2008 Stephen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hardcore sci fi fans
Shelves: sci-fi
This book is good when it comes to the science of science fiction.

The Ringworld is interesting and well described, but the book really falls short in explaining the how and why questions that are constantly coming up.

The characters are shallow and pretty boring in general and are merely weak vehicles in a vague and more or less unexplained plot for exploring the mysterious Ringworld.

Overall this book is ok. It has its fun moments when reading about the mechanisms and design of the Ringworld or
...more
Flink
Oh TANJ! Why did I read this book?! It should have been titled BoRingworld!
Dustin Reade
Okay, so, for the sake of honesty, I must admit that I did not finish this book. I read more than half of it and then lost it somewhere. I have no desire whatsoever to look for it.

This book is BORING!
Holy cow!

Larry Niven, I am surprised at you. THIS is the work you are most known for? Really?
Well, I guess the people who read this must've just skipped over your short stories, or even your other books because this is a stupid book.

Okay, not stupid. There are entire passages that I could read a th
...more
Jonathan Cullen
Jan 14, 2011 Jonathan Cullen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people worried about overcrowding
This is a hard science fiction novel to be enjoyed for its concepts. I read it to ensure that I had a good sci-fi foundation because it is of course on many lists of top works and was critically acclaimed. Who am I to critique Larry Niven and his shelf full of awards? Oh well, here goes. In doing so I keep in mind Niven's sixth law from Known Space: "It is easier to destroy than create.".

The introduction of the ringworld concept and it's engineering is the contribution of this book. I'm afraid
...more
Rumplestinky
Este libro me ha decepcionado un poco. La verdad es que quizas esperaba demasiado por los premios y recomendaciones de la gente, pero el caso es que la trama me ha parecido bastante infantil.

No me parece un mal libro, y en su epoca seguramente tendria bastante valor, pero hoy en dia, no aporta mucho aparte de un par de ideas curiosas.

Explicacion del numero de estrellas puntuadas:
(5) Excelente, una puta obra maestra.
(4) Libro muy bueno, lectura muy recomendada.
(3) Buen libro, me ha gustado.
(2
...more
Tom Merritt
One thing that struck me while reading this was how much the Next Generation episode "Relics" drew from this. In Relics it's an actual Dyson sphere not a ring, but a lot of similar issues and problems exist.

But that's only a sideline. I like Niven's aliens. They're believably alien and consistent. Not just humans with weird skin and a different culture.

I was struck with the importance of luck as a predictive value. It's *almost* magic. Niven does his best to worj through it logically of course
...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. The very definition of "big idea" science fiction. The Ringworld is one of those science fiction concepts that really stay with you and Niven does a superb job of describing it.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1971)
Winner: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1971)
Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1971)
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The Verge Book Club: 'Ringworld' by Larry Niven Part One: Discussion 1 57 Feb 05, 2014 01:52PM  
The Sword and Laser: Tell me it gets better 29 253 Sep 11, 2013 11:19AM  
The Sword and Laser: Zoomorphism - Oh yes, there are spoilers and complaints 19 163 Aug 19, 2013 09:17AM  
Sci-Fi Fantasy Bo...: Ringworld 1 13 Aug 18, 2013 03:48AM  
The Sword and Laser: Luck vs. Free Will (Spoilers) 20 146 Aug 07, 2013 06:06PM  
The Sword and Laser: Global Homogenization? 24 150 Aug 07, 2013 05:55PM  
The Sword and Laser: Rishatra 3 55 Aug 01, 2013 05:11AM  
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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...
The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1) Lucifer's Hammer The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2) Footfall Neutron Star (Known Space)

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