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Neutron Star (Known Space)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  10,591 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Come to Larry Niven's Universe and meet all the natives: Thrints, Bandersnatchi, Puppeteers -- and a host of other wonderfully created characters.
Visit Lookitthat, Down, and Jinx -- indeed, an entire galaxy of planets found only in these stories that trace man's expansion and colonization throughout Known Space.
A spectacular cycle of the future . . . a 10,000-year history
Mass Market Paperback, 285 pages
Published August 12th 1977 by Del Rey (first published April 1968)
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Community Reviews

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Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
[Original review, Feb 2009]

For people who haven't read the book, a quick physics test. The hero agrees to put his ship on an orbit that will take it to within one mile of the surface of a neutron star. His employers assure him, correctly, that the ship's hull will stop any form of radiation. Nevertheless, it's a really stupid idea. Why?

If you didn't get it, don't feel bad. Beowulf Shaeffer doesn't either, and finds out the hard way.

[Update, Jul 2014]

Since postin
Holy crap was this ever good. I'm not sure how I missed reading any of the Ringworld series before, but with this being the 40th Anniversary, I figured it was time.

With epic series like this, I usually hit the 'net to see if there's a recommended reading order, or anything that will help me to "get it" a little more easily. Every site I visited recommended starting with Neutron Star. This is an anthology of 8 short stories (each novelette length,) set in the universe of Ringworld - the future o
May 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading this years ago when I was first exploring science fiction - the artwork by Peter Jones - the doorway in to Known Space even today still appeals to me. But I get ahead of myself I can tell.

Okay this was part of a series of books I picked up at a carboot sale (British thing trust me) and where there was an old suitcase full of books. Well I could not resist not realising what I was letting myself in for.

Anyway this is a series of interconnected stories - if you accept the connec
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'd been in the mood to read some classic sci-fi: something distant and cynical, taking place in deep space, where there was fantastic technology and alien races and not many people to mess it all up. This was perfect. Neutron Star is a collection of short stories from Niven prefacing Ringworld and highly worthwhile if you like the latter. I'll be re-reading Ringworld soon with these stories in mind. Plus let this also be a good reminder to just read more Larry Niven. There aren't many writers s ...more
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Neutron Star is arguably Niven's best Known Space collection, containing stories that appeared over a relatively brief span but introduced a vast array of fantastic puzzles and fabulous stories. Beowulf Schaeffer, a likable rogue who's one of Niven's best characters, appears in many of them, and planets such as Jinx, Down, and Lookitthat provide classic science fiction settings. This is hard sf at its best.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Neutron Star is my favorite short story collection, with quite a few gems from Niven’s Known Space universe. Unfortunately it is out of print. Luckily though, all the Beowulf Shaeffer stories have been republished in Crashlander with the addition of two newer stories.
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
Niven sure has a wild imagination. And a really bad taste for puns, but also some really intellectual humor. His ideas are genius even to this day and age. His science-fiction is so realistic, it's disturbing at times.
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Adam by: Dad
Great book of short stories, which I usually don't care for. The difference here, I believe, is that most of the stories relate in some manner or if nothing else they are all set in the same sci-fi universe. Good stuff.
William Franks
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this quite some years ago and was blown away by it. It stands up well to repeated re-readings.
The title story - a Hugo winner - introduces us to star pilot Beowulf Shaeffer (who appears in three other stories in the book, "At the Core," "Flatlander," and "Grendel"), as well as the Puppeteers who also feature in Niven's later Ringworld series. These are the tales that introduce us to Known Space. I particularly enjoyed the Shaeffer stories for the character's voice (told first-person
Feb 03, 2009 added it
Shelves: books-i-own, sci-fi
A collection of early short stories by Larry Niven that take place in his "Known Space" universe (i.e., Ring World). Mostly of a "hard science" sort of story lines, where actual aspects of physics are a part of the plot line. I really enjoyed at least half of the stories in this book. Would recommend for fans of the hared science short stories of Asimov and Clarke.
Some of the great short fiction from Niven's "Known Space" universe - just enough hard science to make you believe this could all happen one day, and more than enough engaging writing to make this a book I read again and again.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
what a great way to start my crusade into the ringworld series. i plan on reading all of the books of the known space. Niven seems to have a great knack of telling stories. i enjoyed this book very much
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Larry Niven has a great imagination and he is a really nice person. Love his books.
Brent Werness
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
A highly entertaining collection of great sci-fi short stories!
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Neutronster van Larry Niven, ISB nummer 90 290 5707 6, eerste druk maart 1998, Uitgever Meulenhoff SF.

De omschrijving op de achterzijde van het boek:

Larry Niven, voluit Laurence Van Cott Niven, opgestaan in de jaren 60 en meteen herkend als spannend vernieuwer, verwierf in Nederland bekendheid met zijn Ring Wereld-Romans - Ringwereld, Bouwers van Ringwereld, Beschermers van Ringwereld.
De verhalen in deze uitgave spelen zich alle af in het universum van de Ringwereld-romans, Larry Nivens zogehet
Jonas Salonen
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Wow. I had never read anything by Niven but had naturally heard a lot about his work. This is probably the first book in the Ringworld (or Known Space) series. It tells some tales from the same universe in which Ringworld happens.

I was blown away. I mean... I have heard that Nivens theories are not all plaucible and some of his mathemathics is off. But I wouldn't know. I understand that the problem some hove with Niven is that his work is labeled as hard scifi (which I think it mostly is). Add t
Peter Jones
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd forgotten just how much I like classic Niven
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Loved these!
Nicholas Bobbitt
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just really enjoy Larry Niven's writing style, and these short stories are excellent examples of it. Someday I really should try to read his series.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderful science backed science fiction.
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wishing I had known more about Known Space before picking up Ringworld, but enjoying going back and catching up with these short stories.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These stories are a fun blend of diverse aliens and hard science, and Beowulf is funny :) Now I know what a Bandersnatch is.
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brett by: Bungie
A go-to primer for Known Space. Contains the three best Beowulf Shaeffer stories (which are also found in Crashlander, a complete collection of Beowulf’s stories), while the remaining stories offer a wide breadth of events and characters from Niven’s universe, most of them linked by the discovery of ancient Slaver relics. Several of my favorite Known Space stories are found here.

Neutron Star 5/5
Easily the best of the Beowulf Shaeffer stories. The style is sort of like a mystery, with the super-d
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Eis um inesperadamente bom conjunto de histórias. Não conhecia o mundo em que decorre, nem o autor, mas mesmo sem conhecer o enquadramento dado por outras histórias consegue ler-se sem necessidade de introduções – até porque a realidade expressa aqui é simples.

Num futuro distante a humanidade já colonizou vários mundos e conheceu outras espécies alienígenas, destacando-se os “Puppeteers” (uma raça de mercadores manipuladores que têm valor para tudo). Este
Sep 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Although out-of-print, Neutron Star is a book worth getting for any fan of science fiction. It collects several of Niven's "Known Space" short stories from his golden age of the late-1960s, including the Beowulf Shaeffer stories.

In 1966 Larry Niven created the ultimate tourist with his award-winning short story "Neutron Star." It was the tale of Beowulf Shaeffer, a laid-off pilot heavily in debt and easy to blackmail, and how the alien race the puppeteers convinced him to make a dangerous flyby
Another fix for my Niven addiction! More Known Space tales, most of which are mentioned as backstory in many of the other Niven Novels and the Man-Kzin Wars Anthologies. These are core stories that any Known Space history buff should read. Not to mention how awesome they are.

Story Summary of the stories in this book (hopefully without spoilers):

Neutron Star - Nothing can get through a General Products No. 2 space hull, but something around the 1st known neutron star did, and the Puppeteers are b
John Meredith
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is such a great book, and it's so easy to plough through the pages. This is my first read of this author and I am so pleased that there are many more to follow within the same universe.
It reminded me of Consider Phlebas by Iain M Banks.
Shannon Appelcline
My rating of Neutron Star is based entirely on the four stories which were not re-collected in Crashlander:

The Ethics of Madness. An interesting look at mental illness, a great ending, and pretty slow getting there. [6/10]

The Handicapped. This contains a great secret of Known Space and some interesting ethics, both at the end of the story. Unfortunately getting there is pretty slow. [5/10]

A Relic of Empire. Though Niven's ideas about interplanetary plants are interesting, they're not enough to m
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is almost the same book as Crashlander, but since they each have exclusive material, I'm listing them both. They're both short story collections in Niven's Known Space setting, and they're both largely focused on the adventures of Beowulf Schaeffer (space adventurer!). Despite this, the stories have a pretty good range in styles. In some of them, Schaeffer is down on his luck, in others he's famous, so they didn't feel like rehashes. Neutron Star is the older collection, and contains a coup ...more
Andrew Couzens
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great series of short stories. Most of them function as a kind of hard sci-fi mystery, where something mysterious occurs and the protagonist must figure out what it is. The stakes are high, the universe (Known Space) is developed very well and includes numerous unique and well-detailed features, and the stories build upon one another, developing a chronology that is a pleasure to read. Unfortunately, by their very nature, the mysteries are probably a tad simplistic to be believable. They need ...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...

Other Books in the Series

Known Space (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (Known Space)
  • Flatlander (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)
  • A Gift from Earth (Known Space)
  • Crashlander (Known Space)
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld #2)