Juggler of Worlds
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Juggler of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #2)

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  1,124 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Paranoid covert agent Sigmund Ausfaller is Earth's secret weapon against all conspiracies, real and imaginary. But he may have met his match in Nessus, the shadowy representative of the Puppeteer race.
Audio CD, 1 page
Published May 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published September 16th 2008)
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Michael
I was rewarded with this as a satisfactory return to Niven’s world of “Known Space” several hundred years in the future. It’s pretty special to get a substantive expansion of his spectrum of interconnected tales forty years after he first created it. This is the second of a series of four prequels to 1970’s “Ringworld” that explore (invent) a complex interdependent relationship between humans and aliens known as Puppeteers. The latter are technologically advanced, generally peaceful herbivores w...more
Ric
(Niven-ist, that's what I've been this summer and fall. I started re-reading the Known Space books to escape a harsh reality, but like a narcotic painkiller, I keep finding reasons to pick up another KS story long after the original need has passed.)

The paranoid ARM agent, Sigmund Ausfaller, does not believe that the alien Pierson's puppeteers have left Known Space. He and no one else. The equally paranoid puppeteer Nessus acts as rear guard to the Fleet of Worlds (Book 1 of the series), instiga...more
Nick
Engineers often conceptualize new designs in a marathon whiteboard session. Juggler was the reading equivalent of walking into the end of an engineering session, seeing a huge whiteboard with scribbles, an overall flow, elements of concise detail, and some moments of brilliance. A first question could be "This looks interesting. What are the next steps to the finished product?"...In Juggler, the answer was "oh, this is the finished product!".

Juggler could have been repackaged as either several...more
Shannon Appelcline
This is a book that can not stand on its own. Most of it is a parallel story to Crashlander, but toward the end it moves on to parallel "The Soft Weapon", and then to act as a sequel to Fleet of Worlds. The result is Frankenstein-like construct that technically holds together but doesn't say much on its own and is entirely dependent on both Crashlander and Fleet of Worlds to make any sense.

To a certain extent, I think Lerner's prose is helped by the fact that he's forced into tight, constrained...more
Justin
I absolutely loved this book (#2 in the Fleet of Worlds series). What really impressed me was how well integrated the plot was with the other Known Space novels, specifically "Crashlander," a collection of short stories Niven wrote back in the 60's. I keep wondering if he must have had these books in mind way back then, they fuse together so seamlessly. On the flip side, if you haven't read that book or any other Known Space novels, you might be really lost.

It's also really great to be able to...more
Jim
The Puppeteers are fleeing and the fate of humankind is at peril. Who better to save the world than a paranoid ARM agent named Sigmund.

A multiple world, multiple entity battle of wits, intrigue and deception at truly galactic scales. We follow a set of three characters, one human and two Puppeteers as they jostle for power and control of their lives, their races and more.

Lots of high-tech gadgetry, and I found Sigmund a truly enjoyable paranoid.

Somewhere around the middle of this book I started...more
Ratiocination
I went into this with pretty low expectations, not having been all that impressed with Fleet of Worlds. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I'm assuming this is by and large Lerner's book written in Niven's setting. If so, he seems to have found his voice a bit more, and isn't really trying to duplicate Niven's style as much. That's part of the appeal. The two viewpoint characters here are ones that Niven created, but wouldn't have tended to use much as narrators. The Man-Kzin Wars books have...more
Darth
I thought this was great.
I admit it is largely a rehashing of Beowulf Schaeffer stories, often from the ARM agent Sigmund's point of view, but I was okay with that.
There was a combination of enough new things throughout, and a different viewpoint to keep it from being stale, or feeling rehashy to me.
I am also fond of the knitting together of the far flung story lines of lots of past inven stories.
I guess that means the next volume should have Protectors right? Maybe Louis Wu will show his fac...more
kyknoord
I enjoyed the Ringworld series immensely, but despite its leanings towards "hard" sf, it was essentially a road trip in space. Ok, it was a little more than that, but I was going through puberty at the time, so some of the details are hazy.

Since 'Juggler of Worlds' is a sequel to the prequel of Ringworld, Larry Niven has to walk the rather uncomfortable line of trying to continue the prequel story, while staying true to the original series.

At the same time, he can't simply ignore the fact that o...more
Carl V.

Who better than a brilliant paranoid to expose the devious plots of others?

Who indeed, agrees Sigmund Ausfaller, one of Earth’s few remaining “natural” paranoids. His bosses feel likewise. Sigmund Ausfaller is the ace up the sleeve of ARM, the Amalgamated Regional Militia, whose Bureau of Alien Affairs on Earth employs a group of paranoid agents, most of them drug-induced, to ferret out the secrets of the Citizens, an alien race known unaffectionately by humans as the Puppeteers. Ausfaller sees...more
Chris
Niven basically goes through Beowulf Shaffer's chunk of the Known Space history, writing new backstory that assigns responsibility for everything that happens to (mostly) Sigmund Ausfaller and (sometimes) Nessus. This is a lot like a DVD featurette -- interesting if you like the story but not as much as new material, especially because this means Niven is changing his own history as he writes (unless he's just been 'lying' about his fiction for 40 years).

Additionally, it's much harder to remembe...more
Yael
200 years before the discovery of the Ringworld, there was Sigmund Ausfaller, covert agent extraordinaire of the UN . . .

For far too long, Pierson's Puppeteers have controlled the fates of worlds throughout Known Space. Now Sigmund is pulling the Puppeteers' strings, and they don't like it.

Sigmund Ausfaller is Earth's secret weapon, humanity's best defense against all conspiracies, real and potential -- or imaginary -- of both human and alien enemies. Who better than a genius-level paranoiac to...more
Dan
I didn't get into this one as much as the other Ringworld books. I think maybe there were too many "important" characters. They had a list of all the characters in the prologue, and I had to refer to it several times. "Who is that again?" It also jumped around in time and location a lot. I usually really enjoy seeing events from different perspectives. I think there was just too much jumping around for the book to flow smoothly.

The first half of this book takes place at exactly the same time as...more
Cynthia
Oh what fun, to return to the Puppeteers and the paranoids!
It has been a *long* time.

After finishing the book, I did like it - I would like to give it about 3.5 stars, but as I got towards the end, I thought the writing quality went down. There were several plot tricks used (at least one of which I sort of expected, as it shows up elsewhere in the same universe) and the choppy style got more so.

If you haven't read other books in the same "Known Space" universe, you'll have difficulty with this...more
Doug
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward
I love it when an audio book series uses the same narrator. I was right back in Known Space with Tom Weiner's voice taking me there.

I like a familiar voice but some of the plot seemed familiar too. Apparently, Juggler of Worlds pulls together and blends previously published material with some new stuff. Fine with me, I get lost in long series sometimes. This being one of the Ringworld prequels, there are many characters to track. Some like Beowulf Shaeffer, Nessus, Achilles and Sigmund Ausfalle...more
Craig
I really liked this one, but I'm not sure that anyone who hasn't read most of Niven's earlier Known Space series would be able to figure out what was happening. It's a nice companion piece to the previous FLEET OF WORLDS, giving back-story to the events in that book and then continuing the narrative once the side stories have caught up with one another. The pacing was much slower, with more political intrigue than I thought was absolutely necessary, and there's a lot of explanation given to conc...more
Terry
"Juggler of Worlds" is a second book to "Fleet of Worlds". I did not realize this beforehand so I have not read "Fleet of worlds" yet. Fortunately you don't have to, this book stand perfectly fine on it is own. As far as i can tell only the last little part of the book crosses over with the first book. "Juggler of Worlds" focus mostly on ARM agent Sigmund Ausfaller, a natural born paranoid. Sigmund tries to understand a series of events that involves the puppeteer race. In the meantime he is als...more
Rob Phippen
For me, reading a Larry Niven book is like a nice mug of hot cocoa: warm and comforting. I read Ringworld longer ago than I care to admit, thought it was fabulous, and have carried on reading books from Niven's 'known space' from time to time ever since. So I rather know what to expect.

It's tough to keep on reproducing the 'wow' factor that I got from reading Ringworld - but the 'Fleet of worlds' series is pretty good all the same.

That said: I found this book a little tedious in the first half:...more
Andreas
In this standalone sequel to Fleet of Worlds, ARM agent and professional paranoiac Sigmund Ausfaller is obsessed with the enigmatic Puppeteer race. The book follows his career from recruitment to ultimate savior. It is a long and complex tale that touches on many points and characters covered in Niven‘s Known Space stories from decades past.

Fleet of Worlds is a pretty decent book. More importantly, it really took me back to the Niven’s classic Known Space novels and short stories. Juggler of Wor...more
Phyllis
It has been way too long since I've indulged in a really interesting space opera. This was all that and a bit. I wouldn't walk into it without having read the previous book or planning to read more but I think it could stand alone if it had to. (Maybe with a bit of confusion at the start and a feeling there is more to come at the end.)

If you're into good, hard, fun science fiction, this is one of your tickets to ride. And I think you'll like the aliens. They certainly "look" completely unhuman a...more
Allen Garvin
After the wonderful Fleet of Worlds, I went out and snagged this in hard back. What a disappointment. This novel presents very little new material... instead, it provides new explanations for several Known Space short stories from the 60s and early 70s, that now involve a vast puppeteer conspiracy. The Beowulf Schaeffer stories, the soft weapon, the early machinations that lead into the original Ringworld, all get new backgrounds in the first half of the book. The second half mostly consists of...more
Jan
For Niven fans who have read most or all of the Known Space stories, this book will drop right into place. It chronicles the experiences of our favorite puppeteer, Nessus, a he goes faces to face with Sigmund Ausfeller (one of our favorite paranoids). This book ties together many of the loose stories in the Known Space collection while re-telling them from a different view point.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. It combines the old with the new and leads us to some happenings in the Ringworld seri...more
Jeff Rudisel
OK.
Three-fourths of the book is dedicated to the retelling of the most famous Known Space short stories; Neutron Star, the Core Explosion, Antimatter Solar system, and several others, from a slightly different perspective, from the perspective of a different character.
So, for the most part I felt like I was just rehashing things I already knew, and that wasn’t satisfying enough for me.
And trying to future project into a universe that was created in the 60s and 70s created awkward and not very re...more
Brad
In a lot of ways, this next installment was superior to the first. The ending might not have been as impressive, but I did enjoy the characters quite a bit more. Things didn't really revolve around the Puppeteer's worlds until late, but that was fine since I love the extended Niven universe and got a big kick out of roaming there again. Even getting to know the young Carlos Wu was very charming and exciting.
Were the novels nostalgic and tied tight to the rest of Niven's universe? Of course, and...more
Mike
After Fleet of Worlds which was engaging from the outset, I just couldn't get into this one. The Nessus character was the same prissy, self-centered bore that he was in Fleet, and there were no really interesting humans to offer an alternative view and the story did not seem to be going anywhere new or interesting.

If this trilogy leads up to the eventual Ringworld, I assume it gets there eventually. But the path seems too winding and dull for such a wonderful concept/idea as Ringworld -- I thin...more
Lynnda Ell
Juggler of Worlds is the middle book of a trilogy. In spite of that - and not having read the first book - I found this book satisfying. The key reason for this was the completeness of the story. It contained a beginning, a middle, and an end. No one can take that for granted in these days when a series of books can really be a serial book.

The characters are believable and the crazy connectivity of them all makes the plot twists fascinating. In spite of all these positive qualities, the book sti...more
Louis


If you've read quite a bit of Niven and The Known Space books, you will recognize many of the stories in this. The stories are observed by other parties though so the what you get from it is the same results, but perhaps different conclusions.

While this is better than someone republishing the same stories under different covers or groupings, with the recognition of the stories come the spoiler that you know the current endings. There are new parts with new conclusions but it's not a large part...more
Leslita
Oh, it's a sort of space opera plot but it doesn't matter. More than 30 years ago I read Ringworld, the first of many books in a Universe Larry Niven created. In that book was one of my all time favorite "aliens", Nessus, a puppeteer - a race of hoofed herd creatures who are very smart, very cowardly and the leader is called the hindmost. I enjoy this book because it is a prequil to Ringworld, and back on planets Jinx and We Made it, with Kzintis and Belters. I don't know that you'd find this bo...more
John Pamperin
About halfway though so far. It's a good thing that I've read a lot of Niven's Known Space books in the past, because this is NOT a stand-alone book. It's taken half the book to tie all of Niven's various short stories into a long continuous story-arc centering around ARM agent Sigmund Ausfaller, so now (hopefully) we can get into new territory in Niven's universe. Not nearly as enjoyable as Fleet of Worlds, which as a meh book anyway. If you're a Niven fan it's an OK read so see how Ed Lerner t...more
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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...
Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) The Mote in God's Eye (Moties, #1) Lucifer's Hammer The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2) Footfall

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