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A World Out of Time

(The State #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  5,338 ratings  ·  253 reviews
After 200 years in cryosleep, Jaybee Corbell awakens to find that his mind has been downloaded to another body and he's in servitude to a harsh future State. After his escape via a spaceship, he traverses such vast distances--with accompanying time dilations--that he returns to Earth 3 million years later to discover a world wholly alien to the one he'd left. A.E. van Vogt ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published (first published September 1st 1976)
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Amanda Ure No actually, because I think you can always handwave that away for the sake of the story. I do think, though, that creativity thrives on a certain deg…moreNo actually, because I think you can always handwave that away for the sake of the story. I do think, though, that creativity thrives on a certain degree of restriction, which absence of FTL can provide, and that Known Space had by this point restricted him in a less fruitful way and was making new stories harder to write. It could also be argued that it was established that FTL is impossible even in Einstein's day but it hasn't stopped many other SF writers.(less)
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Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First he flies around a huge black hole and narrowly escapes being sucked into it. Later on in the book, they stick a giant tube into Uranus, turning it into some kind of planet-sized rocket, and use it to rearrange the Solar System's architecture.

I know so little about Freudian psychology that I imagine these scenes tell us something about the state of Mr Niven's psyche. Marvel at my naïveté if you will!

Riku Sayuj
Too much of Brave New World to start off with and too similar to The Time Machine (with the 'master and slave races' thread) for the rest of the book. It is tough to keep a book together with only one interesting character, especially when it is not the main character, and sticks around for less than a third of the story. All in all, the book had me bored out of my senses waiting for something new to happen.

Maybe it was a mistake to not read Ringworld first. It is going to be hard for me to come
Nov 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

(Re-read this as part of summer-long nostalgia trip of Larry Niven's Known Space books. Although A World Out of Time, takes place in a different fictional universe, I had good memories of the book and this felt like the right time to revisit.)

There is one major difference between this book and any of the Known Space series that you should know about --- no FTL --- hence no hyperspace, no Outsider drive, no instantaneous communication. What we have is the lightspeed-observing Buzzard ramjet -

2190 AD.Two hundred years after he was frozen Jerome Corbell was revived into a new body. The State now owns him. His mission as a rammer star ship pilot is to discover new planets and seed them.
Only once in space Corbell has other plans


As he leaves the Solar System Corbell changes his flight plan for an entirely new deep space destination
He located the lunar base with his signal laser and began transmission.
“This is Corbell for himself, Corbell for himself. I’m getting sick and tired of having
As always Larry Niven is better at coming up with great story ideas than actually writing them.

This one starts out feeling like a short-story, and as such it is fantastic. Without giving away too much of the plot, the first part of the story is a grand adventure of galactic proportions. Then the reader, along with the protagonist, comes back to a well-worn Niven cliche of blazing fast scene changes, obscure science and an ultimate adherence to the law of Chekhov's gun.

Some parts are fun, action
David Sarkies
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sci-fi lovers
Recommended to David by: I saw it in a second hand book shop
Shelves: sci-fi
Charting humanity's future history
20 January 2014

There are a number of science-fiction books around where the author attempts to chart the future history, in a speculative manner of course, of humanity. Isaac Asimov does that in his Foundation universe (which begins with the Robot stories and ends with Foundation and Earth) and Larry Niven does the same thing with A World Out of Time. The theme that I see in this idealistic setting is how humanity can create the perfect society in the perfect w
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi

I have always enjoyed a good Niven story. IMHO this is no exception. (I'll get to the 3 star rating).

I've often said nobody does aliens like Niven. Well this story takes a different turn. He shows us an alien earth after millions of years of evolution and genetic engineering. I think his use of relativistic time and it's effect on deep space travel is fascinating. He can take hard science and big ideas and write a story that is easy and enjoyable to follow.

Reasons for 3 star and not 4 or 5

This u
Jun 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
Shelves: sciencefiction
Larry Niven is one of the grandmasters of science fiction. He knows how to weave hard science, characterization, and plot into an interesting and compelling tapestry. A World Out Of Time is rich in hard science but a little light in the plot and characterization areas. However, it is an entertaining blend of hard science and adventure story.

The Plot

A man named Jaybee Corbell was frozen in the late 20th century due to incurable cancer. Since the freezing process destroys cells, Corbell is rev
David Monroe
May 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF fans, People new to Niven, People new to so-called Hard (science based) SF
Shelves: science-fiction
Jaybee Corbell, his cancer-ridden body frozen in 1970, is revived 200 years later in a body that is not his own. Stripped of his own free will, as well as his body, he is a servant to the all-powerful State. His one chance at remaining alive is to rise to the task set before him: pilot a one-way mission out into the universe to seed planets for future population. A last ditch effort at rebellion propels Corbell on a journey through space that will eventually lead him back to Earth…an Earth three ...more
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I think I'm going to have to give up on Niven. I thought I'd read one or two of his books that I really liked, but maybe I'm thinking of some other writer.

A World Out of Time started off pretty well, with the very intriguing concept of bringing cryogenically frozen patients back to life by transplanting their personalities into convicted felons whose punishment is essentially being turned into empty vessels for other personalities to take over.

It continues to be an interesting read during the ma
Okay boys and girls, are you ready for the ultimate water-controlling state? No? Well tough, because other boys and girls have become immortal and have misplaced the Earth next to Jupiter and you're a corpsicle and you're a LONG way from home. Or at least a short hop to the center of the galaxy and back can be considered a long way, if only in relativistic time.
Sure, the characters are sometimes spotty, but as a fantastic idea-generator, Niven excels. I think I might enjoy the novels even more b
Phil Giunta
Jerome Branch Corbell awakens from cryonic freeze to find himself cured of the cancer that had begun to ravage his body two centuries ago. To his dismay, the reason for his cure becomes quickly apparent--his mind had been transferred to an entirely different body, that of a young felon whose memory had been wiped as punishment for his crime.

Corbell quickly finds himself a stranger in a strange land where the only human who speaks English is his caretaker, a harshly detached man known only as Pi
Pat Cummings
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Pat Cummings by: Amazon
Shelves: reviewed
It puzzled me for a while; when you look at the listing for the audiobook of Larry Niven's wonderful 1984 novel The Integral Trees on Amazon, it has a parenthetical comment, (The State series, Book 2). The Kindle and print listings note this same novel as (The Smoke Ring series Book 1). I began to get paranoid. Was there a pre- IT novel written about a powerful State for that ominous year?

Yes, there was. It turns out that reading the first novel last is a good thing.

In 1976, well ahead of
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bernard by: Eric Bloemeke
Shelves: lit-intimacy
The core science nugget in this book--which can be guessed at from viewing this edition's cover--has to do with celestial mechanics, and an advanced future-Earth civilization that manipulates the Sol system using such mechanics. Secondary elements include an essential kick off of the plot using time-displacement via near speed of light travel, biological explanation of immortality, conscience-transfer via RNA extraction and injection, and evolution. For these elements I rate it 3 of 5, firmly in ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A man with a terminal illness in the modern day has himself frozen as a last-ditch attempt to survive. He awakens hundreds of years in the future, in a completely new body and told that he must be in service to the State... or else. Soon, though, he gets a chance to escape and flee into Earth's far far future where many things have changed and survival is even more complicated.

This is 70s-era science fiction, and it shows. The science, while treated with a fair amount of rigor, doesn't really se
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vintage-sci-fi
This is my third Niven book and I just can't get enough. My favorite book so far as been Ringworld but I also found this one to be very interesting. It involves plenty of space travel, some AI, and plenty of dystopia. I loved how the novel technically takes place over a huge time period because the main character goes into cryo so often. This book encompasses so many theories of how the world could go in the future: What if girls ruled the sky and boys ruled the earth? What if adults were just u ...more
Storyline: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 3/5

Niven was one of those talented authors that focused more on quantitative output than qualitative depth, and it was evident here.

A World Out of Time had a lot of great ideas. It dabbled in hard science fiction, politics, near-future prediction, far-future speculation, as well as sociological questions. Each element, however, read as a placeholder. It was if Niven had intended to go back and fill in the details and develop the sections but
This was a decent audio book. I especially liked the first half, which is very different than the second half. The first half has Corbell awakening in a new body and finding out he is basically a slave of the State -- 200 years after he had himself frozen before he died of some sort of cancer. Corbell, through the use of a RNA drip, is taught all he needs to know to carry out a mission that will take hundreds or thousands of years. He'll be alive to return because he will take a lot of suspensio ...more
Ever happened, how you're just strolling down the street and suddenly get that feeling: you coul really do away with a little old good science fiction book, space opera, or something like that?

Larry Niven is a master of science fiction. His created worlds always amaze ... with classic science fiction. Alas, his characters are usually so one sided, no development, no, well character. The plot is choppy, to put it mildly. And though some may say, misogyny is a huge problem in classic science ficti
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very intriguing book.... What would happen if found yourself landing on earth. You have traveed about 30yrs your time, but, 1 million years has pssed on earth!!!
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in Niven's The State universe (along with The Smoke Ring and The Integral Trees), which is an interesting counterpoint to his far more famous Known Space books. The sociological explorations are reminiscent of the best of Mack Reynolds' books from the previous decade. Niven's scientific speculations are challenging and thought-provoking, and though his world-building and puzzle-posing tend to put his character development on the back burner, I found this one to be a very entert ...more
Cameron Stewart
Entertaining moderately-hard SF. Cool if you like time travel, Rip Van Winkle, gender wars, AI, interplanetary empires. Pretty short, just a couple hundred pages.
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing

A book that could be many, smaller, books. The changes wrought throughout are impressive and immerssive. I found the boy culture especially fascinating. Want to read more.
Clark Hallman
Aug 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A World Out of Time, by Larry Niven, was published as a book in 1976. However, part of it had been previously published in Galaxy Magazine and another part had been previously published as a short story. The protagonist, Jerome Branch Corbell, had been cryogenically frozen in 1970 because he was dying from cancer. He was awakened in 2190 and discovered that his mind had been extracted from his dying body and had been transferred to the body of a criminal whose mind had been wiped. Corbell learne ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-published by Blackstone Audio in 2012.
Read by Tom Weiner
Duration: 7 hours, 59 minutes

First published in 1976, A World Out of Time is a grand adventure that literally follows its hero, Corbell, across the galaxy and across three million years of time as he reacts to one twist after another that eventually finds him carrying the fate of the entire world on his shoulders.

The story begins with Corbell being revived from being frozen in a cryogenic chamber almost 200 years after he had been fr
Several years ago (and by several I mean much more than 20!) I read Larry Niven's novel The Integral Trees and enjoyed it so much I went on to read The Smoke Ring. Now imagine my surprise when I found out that there was in fact a novel before these two. Now I am (at least) 20 years older since I read these "first" two novels, but I remember I loved the world building and the characterization. I went on to read what became one of my favorite novels of all time Lucifer's Hammer. It is with this La ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: niven
This isnt likely to ever be regarded as the best thing Niven ever cranked out, but it is a very fun read.
Having read most of the rest of Niven, this was interesting too in that I could see the seeds of several other things he later spent more time going into - tree of life, surprises at the galaxy core, etc...

The basis is available on the cover / synopsis, no reason to rehash here, and I wont say there arent problems. Like why no one in the center where JB awakens can speak english or understand
I was a little sad that this book had such poor follow-through of such a great idea. The premise is that a guy riddled with cancer decides to have himself frozen in the 1970s with the hope that science might one day catch up. His body is a freezer-burned mess, but a futuristic society salvages his brain and uploads it into the body of a convicted felon who has had his brain wiped. Rather than re-entering society, the former "corpsicle" is tasked with traveling throughout the universe to seed oth ...more
Invadozer Misothorax Circular-thallus Popewaffensquat
Jaybee is a corpsicle that gets his body demolished and brain stuck in
a criminal's body. In crowded quarters on Earth he
is trained to be a full on good joe to dump algea
zip lock packs on planets that have Sol type stars.
He's all set to be the good state wanna be
citizen...and gets in the ship....and bails. Looping around a
black hole after being thawed out he goes back to Earth
(a coupla million years later) with his computer who
talks about the state, the state, the state. The state
has met it's fat
No Longer Active
I picked up "A World Out of Time" because I've always felt a little guilty about not finishing "Ringworld" when I was thirteen years old. After all, "Ringworld" was (and kind of still is) so popular, and it won so many awards--yeah, you know the feeling I'm talking about: a reader's fear of being left out, or R-FOMO.

I should have trusted the instincts of my younger self.

"A World Out of Time" had such a great setup, with a protagonist who has nothing to lose making a stand against an authoritari
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. 1970s Science Fiction Novel Boys Teleportation. [s] 6 23 Aug 15, 2020 02:47PM  
Goodreads Librari...: wrong isbn on larry niven 4 18 Jul 12, 2017 07:54AM  
*Spoiler* Why didn't the Boys know about? 4 43 Sep 07, 2015 07:51PM  

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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

The State (3 books)
  • The Integral Trees (The State, #2)
  • The Smoke Ring (The State, #3)

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