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(Known Space)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,580 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Gil "The Arm" Hamilton was one of the top operatives of ARM, the elite UN plice force. His intuition was unfailingly accurate, his detective skills second to none, and his psychic powers -- esper sense and telekinesis -- were awesome. Now you can read all the classic stories of the legendary ARM operative, collected in one volume for the first time -- plus, an all-new, nev ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 360 pages
Published July 2003 by Del Rey (first published June 1995)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Manuel Antão
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Hold a Universe Together: "Flatlander" by Larry Niven

(Original Review, 1980-09-04)

Niven has linked many of the Known Space stories with genealogy.

In "World of Ptavvs" and some other stories focused on the Belt, we meet Martin Schaeffer, nicknamed "Little" or "Lit" because he is around seven feet tall. He has some marital problems: his wife doesn't get to Confinement Asteroid in time and the baby she is carrying hypertrophies and has to
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars for this collection of five SF novellas by hard science fiction master Larry Niven. These stories are basically SF mysteries with a uniquely psychically gifted detective as the main character. All of these interconnected stories feature detective Gil "the Arm" Hamilton, who lost his right arm earlier in his life in a spaceship accident. Once Gil recovers, he finds that his brain has developed PSI (ESP and telekinesis) powers to compensate for his lost arm - it's like he has an invisibl ...more
Gil The Arm!

Flatlander collects all five tales of Gil “the Arm” Hamilton, Larry Nivea’s topnotch blend of science fiction with locked room/ impossible crime mysteries. The star of these five stories is of course Gil, a Belter, who lost his arm in an asteroid accident and, although he has had an artificial arm grafted, before he could get to a medical facility.... well, his mind simply refused to believe his arm wasn’t there. So he has a third arm, invisible, but psychically powered and only limi
May 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I have added this book (and yes I do have a copy of it - partly because at the time I didn't realise how much of the volume is covered off in other books I have already read) but really there is only one story in it I needed to read having covered the rest of the book between reading "the long ARM.." and "Patchwork girl". The story in question is "The woman in del Ray Crater"

This story is set after the events of the Patchwork Girl but sees Gil Hamilton return to his role within ARM. As such its
“The thing about poetic justice is that it requires a poet.”

A series of self-contained mysteries involving a man with extra sensory powers a hundred years in the future. Most of the stories involve some sort of locked-room crime which Gil Hamilton must solve, often at personal risk, using his “imaginary arm.” Our hero is clueless about females but, unlike Mike Hammer, sensitive to three sets of ethics confusing lunie morals.

“Having a hole shot through him can make a man think.”

One unique problem
I had read, and as far as I can recall enjoyed, some of these stories in the past, but reading them now they seem very dated ... like something from the 50’s - misogynistic and shallow. Repeated instances of women not being smart or competent enough to do something ... in one case, Gil knew for that reason the attractive young woman in one of the locked room mysteries, who was the obvious suspect, couldn’t have been the culprit. The tech discussions and world-building also haven’t stood the test ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2018
Flatlander is a collection of five sci-fi mysteries by hard scifi master Larry Niven, set in the 22nd century of his Known Space universe, and featuring detective Gil 'The Arm' Hamilton. As expected, Niven is all about the logical extrapolation of his universe. Earth has 18 billion people, and organ transplantation has revolutionized healthcare. The death penalty is in effect for almost every infraction in order to feed the voracious demands of the transplant hospitals, and the resulting new cri ...more
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Difficult to follow

I have read the entire Ring World series and liked 90% of it. Great characters and easy to understand. The Mote In God's Eye, Integral Trees, Flatlander and a few others I have found difficult to follow. He jumps from one line of thinking to a point later on in the same line of thinking but leaves out whatever happened in the middle.
Mike Bright
May 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
For fans of Larry Niven's Known Space writings, this is a fun slice of the main organlegging era. This is a collection of sci fi murder mysteries. I appreciate Niven's strict adherence to believable science fiction - you bend a couple currently accepted science facts, but then stick strictly to the rules after that. Gil Hamilton is a detective for a specialized global police force. Gil has a particular psychic ability that gives him a unique insight into various situations and is always helpful ...more
S James Bysouth
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ubersleuth Gil Hamilton is Awesome!

It took me a bit to like Gil. His a detective, of sorts, and can’t let a puzzle go unsolved. He doesn’t ruminate, and never navel-gazes. He doesn’t think; he does. He does not dither; he executes. Because of this the pace of the writing can move very fast and if you’re not paying attention you can get lost very quickly. It’s the opposite of some of these romantic epic fantasies loitering around. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to. Larry Niven alwa
Kevin Murphy
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This handful of sci-fi locked-room mysteries, featuring a well-traveled detective with a little bit of telekinetic ability, makes for some good reading. (Also that's a lot of hyphenated words, but oh well)

"Death by Ecstasy" is a bit weak overall, but works as an introduction to the character of Gil Hamilton, his past, his abilities, and the world in which the stories are set. We're educated on the politics of an overpopulated Earth and the asteroid belt, and the organ bootlegging going on to kee
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
All the Gil “The Arm” Hamilton stories collected in one volume with a previously unpublished story. These are good SciFi murder mysteries set in the Known Space universe. It just goes to show that Niven has a devious mind. As he says himself, SciFi murder stories are tricky since the reader must know all the “rules” of the environment in order to have a shot at solving the mystery himself.

Note: Most of the stories were previously published in “The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton”.

Riju Ganguly
I had expected some compact and well-paced stories. Instead I found copious amounts of backstory, emotion, male-bonding, talk-talk-talk... etc. More importantly, the whole concept of a psychic detective doing telekinetic action in an otherwise realistic projection of the present times, appeared to be ludicrous.
The interconnected works contained herein are:
1. Death by Ecstasy
2. The Defenseless Dead
3. ARM
4. Patchwork Girl
5. The Woman in Del Ray Crater
The mysteries, if written in hard-boiled style,
Adam Leon
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: full-novels
Flatlander Review


The theme for the Flatlander novel centers around the value of a human life both literally and metaphorically. This is accomplished via the problems of the broken world that the main protagonist finds himself in and the conflicting nature of his job working as an Arms agent. The theme is explored via the comparisons made between being an ARMs Agent and an Organlegger, as both supply the world with organs to be used for longevity treatments.

Although each short story is an
Delia Binder
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
::This is not a Beowulf Shaeffer collection, but a Gil Hamilton one::

I'd read the first three novellas in this book years ago in a paperback collection called The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (Known Space) by Larry Niven The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton, by Larry Niven. In this series of previously-published novellas, Gil Hamilton, Agent of Amalgamated Regional Militia (ARM), investigates crimes involving the kidnapping and removal of organs and body parts from victims for sale on the transplant Black Market ("Organlegging"), investigating the use of new
Larry Niven has long been one of my favorite authors, particularly his Known Space books. The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (containing the short stories Death by Ecstasy, The Defenseless Dead, and ARM) was first published in 1976 and I read it about that time. Patchwork Girl came out in 1980. As I recognized that title, I likely read that, too.

Flatlander itself was first published in 1995 with these four stories PLUS a new story Woman in Del Ray Crater. I likely read Flatlander that year (but I don'
Mar 24, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably my third time reading it. And to note, I have never read anything else by Larry Niven (Ringworld really doesn't seem like my cup of tea).

I was wondering how it would hold up as in the last 5-10 years we've been blessed with a bounty of diverse, creative sci-fi written by a variety of authors. Overall it holds up pretty well, although it's clearly being told through the filter of an old white guy. Apart from a few "yikes" moments when describing some characters, the world building is pla
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend told me about Gil, The Arm, and I was intrigued enough to seek out this collection. Only four stories here, though the first one took over three quarters of the audiobook's length! What struck me most were the shades of The Expanse showing up in the stories (belter, Ceres, Anubis, etc) which made me wonder if the writing team of James S. A. Corey were readers of the Known Space books and thereby influenced to some extent. Flatlander predates The Expanse by decades, so it obviously not t ...more
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
An interesting collection of scifi detective stories. I liked the premise of the universe, once again I thought the world building Larry Niven gives the reader is intriguing. I thought the writing was a little dated after so many years but that helped add to the feeling of noir and I didn't mind as much because of it was a collection of shorter stories. I also liked that the stories all followed the same main character in the same world. I thought the longest story was the weakest, but I enjoyed ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five stories of Gil "The Arm" Hamilton from known space.

I usually love stories by Niven, but this one was a struggle. I finished it because I started it, and I don't know if I will climb this particular mountain again.

I liked the characters in the stories, but I am thinking the "lunies" vs. "belters" vs. "flatlanders" language was a bit too much for me. Each culture had a different approach to life, love, and organ transplants, and the level of detail was just enough. But there was so much "us v
Earl Truss
I have likes and dislikes with Niven's work. I first read the Known Space stories a long time ago and really liked them. I tried Ringworld and did not care for it so I did not read any of the other books. I did read the Fleet of Worlds stories (all of them) and did not really care for them either. This book was sort of OK. It was attention grabbing but I don't really like murder mysteries in general and that's what these stories were about. ...more
Isuru Dhananjaya
Jun 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a mix of good and bad short stories. Starting story is boring, but as it lays the foundation to the main charactor you have no choice but to go through them. If you don't follow the order of the short stories, you will have hard time understanding some terms and references at some points. Overall it is a lightweight read. Classic sci fi stories with good twists. However all most all the stories are locked room myateries thanks to the future technology. ...more
Jonas Salonen
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
This one collects all the tales about Gill the Arm. These are fot the most part some kind of crime mysteries. So, short stories by Niven.

The stories are again great. Again Niven gets to write short, sharp and witty tales that really keep your interest.

I really enjoyed these and if you are a fan of Nivens work or would enjoy scifi crime mysteries, this is a good choice for you.
Robyn Blaber
Well, I was on my way to giving this 4 stars, but then two more stories got tacked onto the end and I realized that this book was just a repository for stories and not a... book. So, I was going to forgive the varied life of our hero on the book as a part of Niven's world building, but he took it a bit too far. ...more
Hm, why can't I give half stars, as on Vivino? 3.5 stars for this book.

The first two stories were really great (1. Death by Ecstasy - 2. The Defenseless Dead), the other 3 stories were just so-so.
Efren Antunez

A bit long and very confusing to keep up with when reading in pieces. Plot is good but stay tuned in or get left behind.
Durval Menezes
So so book. Read it about 20 years ago, and I remember almost nothing.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tne Goodreads description is incorrect - this isn't a Beowulf Shaefer book. It's a Gil (the arm) Hamilton collection. Whodunits in space. ...more
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection.
Set in a near-distant future, the worldbuilding is (unfortunately) plausible and the mysteries are well-plotted. Characterizations are thin but not particularly necessary.
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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

Other books in the series

Known Space (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (Known Space)
  • The Patchwork Girl
  • The World of Ptavvs (Known Space)
  • Protector (Known Space)
  • Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (Known Space)
  • Neutron Star (Known Space)
  • A Gift from Earth (Known Space)
  • Crashlander (Known Space)
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2)

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