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Flatlander

(Known Space)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,128 ratings  ·  53 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
Paperback, 360 pages
Published July 2003 by Del Rey (first published June 1995)
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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
...more
Andrew
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
...more
Chip
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
Ron
“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
...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi
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
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
...more
Andreas
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”.

http://www.books.rosbo
...more
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
...more
Margaret
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'
...more
MarkH
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
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.
Durval Menezes
So so book. Read it about 20 years ago, and I remember almost nothing.
Rick
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.
Efren Antunez
Huh?!

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.
Andrew Bernstein
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5
Brett
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Brett by: Bungie
Collects all of the Gil “The Arm” Hamilton stories, which are sci-fi detective stories set within Known Space. Four short stories and one novella. The anthology is bookended by its weakest entries – which are decent – but everything in the middle of the book is great, including the sizable novella.

Death by Ecstasy 3/5
Good mystery, with a particularly interesting setting – it establishes the practices of organlegging and droud addiction, which become core facets of Known Space. However, the writi
...more
Patrick
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
A friend recommend the exploits of Gil Hamilton, ARM detective, to me. My own series is focused on a detective, so I like to read other science fiction detective stories. The five novellas/novelettes included here were written by Larry Niven between 1968 and 1995. The stories are:

Death by Ecstasy
The Defenseless Dead
ARM
The Patchwork Girl
The Woman in Del Rey Crater

Gil was born on Earth and emigrated to the Belt, where several years later he is injured in an explosion while trying to move an astero
...more
Traummachine
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of 5 stories, varying from 50-115 or so pages each. Niven did a great job of fleshing out this point in his Known Space timeline, and with the main characters constant in these tales it allowed him to spend more time on plot and social commentary and less on developing new characters over and over. Actually, it also allowed him to flesh out the main characters more fully -- with 5 stories, there were 5 different sets of circumstances for them to react to.

Again Niven reminded
...more
Leo Knight
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
A collection of stories in Niven's "Known Space" universe, featuring Gil "The Arm" Hamilton, essentially noir-ish detective stories with SF elements. For sheer science fiction mindbenders, Niven always delivers. However, some of the stories feel a bit dated, having been written mostly in the '70s. I especially noted his pre-AIDS view of casual sex. Also, Niven seems to want to slide in political digs, e.g. one particularly reviled group are called "Naderites", most of the problems of the world a ...more
Jen
Jun 19, 2011 rated it liked it
There was some overlap to this book and Ringworld, yet I'm glad that I read Ringworld first as Larry Niven didn't explain Puppeteers, Kzintzi, or the inhabitants of Jinx at all. He just sort of assumed you knew what they were about. He also did very little by way of explaining General Products hulls. Nonetheless, this was a charming little novella and great fun to read as a sequel to Ringworld.
Steve
Oct 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book over 25 years ago and as I reread I realized I remember how the mysteries were solved. Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed rereading and it reminded me why I like Niven. He does a great job taking one or two guesses and writing about how they would change people. In this universe it is what would happen if organ transplants become an easy way to save lives. In this book the world becomes more and more willing to kill criminals (and put them into the organ bank) for lessor and lessor ...more
Camille Stanford
The compiled stories of ARM detective Gil Hamilton. This book is placed in Earth's future, the years around 2123. Gil has an invisible third arm made via psychic powers, from when he lost one of his arms mining in space. This unique power helps him solve interplanetary murders.

There were a couple moral things in this book that made me disappointed; However, overall I liked the concept, and found it to be an entertaining read.
Charles Harrison
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I do love a bit of Niven and this one was a safe bet mainly because I have read one of the stories before. The mystery is solid for a set of short stories you are playing guess the murderer right up until Gil gets attacked every time! What really stands out is the inventive use of the science. Suppose esp existed what would be it's practical outlay? This is how proper science fiction works. The futuristic morals and new crimes (organ legging etc.) make this near future work all too believable.
Darth
Feb 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: niven
Gil "the ARM" Hamilton stories are not my faves in the Niven-Verse, but they are still better than average, and a lot of writers have made careers out of writing lesser work.

Set in the future these are more social commentary than hard edged sci-fi, though the world they take place in are well constructed and fleshed out, if not all that creatively imagined.
In short, this isn't the SMOKE RING, or RINGWORLD in terms of setting, but it is well worth reading if you are a Niven fan.
Jimagn
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't what it is about Larry Niven that I enjoy his writing so much, but there it is. If I were on a desert island and could have books from only one author, they would likely be his. Gil Hamilton stories weren't always my favorites of the Niven oeuvre, but going back to them I find great enjoyment. This version also has some comments from Niven which only add to an appreciation of his craft and creativity. Fortunately for me Larry Niven has been a prolific author.
David
I'm not very keen on terrestial murder stories, much less murder stories on the Moon!

Gil, "the arm", Hamilton, is conceived as a kind of detective with an imaginary third arm.
l found the stories boring and I jumped over paragraphs occasionally, something I dislike doing. I was unable to finish the last story in the book!
Beverly
Oct 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Gil the ARM, a former asteroid belt miner (Belter) is now a policeman for the UN, hunting mostly organ smugglers, or organleggers. So in this series of stories about Gil, who has an "imaginary" arm that can feel around even when his real arms are tied (which sometimes happens), you have space based detective stories.
stormhawk
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is really just The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton with two added stories .... The Patchwork Girl, which was an illustrated novella when I read it, and The Girl in the Del Ray Crater, a stand alone story. The stories are mysteries in a science fiction setting, and need the SF elements to work ... the solutions hinge on actions, settings, or technology unique to the future world.
Patrick
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi
Intriguing science fiction detective short stories... the discussion and implications of "organlegging" - forced organ "donations" of convicted criminals via the death penalty - didn't seem that far-fetched given the ethical and moral attitudes of our current culture.

Some unfortunate ancillary content of a sexual nature.
Peter Lento
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Given at his best

The Gil the ARM series has always been one of my favorites. Given makes his science plausible and his characters engaging. I love the whole Belter culture as it makes sense to have evolved that way and the characters are fun. These are also cracking good mysteries.
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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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