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Flight of the Horse

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,566 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
'We don't know where on Earth you'll wind up,' Ra Chen had told him.

And the Director of the Institute for Temporal Research didn't know precisely when, either. ALl he knew was that Haville Svetz would be travelling back in time almost 2,000 years.

But when he returns, Hanville Svetz won't be alone. If his mission is successful he will be accompanied by a creature long extin
Mass Market Paperback, 0 pages
Published February 12th 1981 by Del Rey (first published September 1973)
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Community Reviews

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Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, short-stories
As a rule, I'm not a big fan of Niven's attempts at humor, and the first several stories in this collection, including the title story, confirm my opinion. Those tales of Svetz, a civil service time traveller, tasked at bringing extinct animals from the past, manage to combine weak satire and a good amount of silliness with an underlying grimness and pessimism into what I found an unpleasant mix.

On the other hand, the last two pieces are unrelated novellas, and they are significantly better. Th
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Niven was known from the start of his career as a writer of rigorously hard science fiction, so it was interesting and surprising to see a collection of what are primarily fantasy stories by him. The first edition featured a strangely Freudian suggestive cover by Dean Ellis, known best for his astronomical works. The five Svetz stories are time travel tales, which the science of the time held was impossible, so he mixed in other fantasy elements. They're fun and funny stories, short on character ...more
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crappy-fantasy
Acceptable, mildly diverting, but overall dumb.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Gave this book up until 125 pages. Just can not make myself pick it up any more.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I have been looking for this book for years. Finally found it and read it at a gulp. Just great stories, each with a twist and a pinch of humor.
This collection of short stories mostly describes the exploits of Hanville Svetz and his attempts to retrieve extinct animals to please the childlike ruler of this future world. Except nobody really knows what these animals look like, so nobody questions it when the Horse has a horn and likes young women; or when the Snake has wings and breathes fire.

These stories are mostly quite amusing as Svetz blunders about in time trying to retrieve whatever has taken the whimsy of the Secretary-General of
This book is unlike anything else I've read of Niven. He normally sticks to science fiction. This is most definitely fantasy especially the last story. However, I wouldn't let the label of genre dissuade the reader from trying it out. It's an interesting book because it is stretching the ability of the writer. It is probably a good exercise for writers to try writing in a genre that is not so familiar to them occasionally. You can point out the science fiction influences in the way he describes ...more
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Time-travel paradoxes played for laughs. This may have been the 1st Niven book I ever read, and I didn't pick it up because of him, but because I was intrigued by the title. The description of the 'flight of the horse' is more poetic than Niven's usual work.

I should point out that Niven seems to be laboring under a misapprehension about the speed of evolutionary change, and about the slowness of cultural change. He's scarcely alone in that, of course, but I hadn't really noticed it until I read
In this, hilarious short story collection, time traveller from the future Svetz has to go back in time and collect fauna from our time in order to populate the ruler’s zoo. Unfortunately, the time machine has the unexpected side effect of making him chase after mythical creatures. The horse is actually a unicorn and so on. The past is a fantasy version of the real past. Poor Svetz has to contend with quite a few mishaps with dragons and the like. A lot of fun, much of it with Svetz as the punchl ...more
May 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time travel is fantasy, the rules of physics don't allow it. At least when Niven wrote these stories. So, given it's a fantasy, what kind of things could happen. Niven loves to consider the societal implications of some counter-fact. These stories let his imagination run with the concept of travel through time, bringing back artifacts and life forms from the past. Travel to the future remains impossible.
King Ævil
Larry Niven's dystopian tales of Svetz the Time Traveler, all included in The Flight of the Horse, are not among his best. However, this collection also contains my favorite story from his fantasy universe: "What Good Is a Glass Dagger?", featuring the Warlock and an unlikely ally, that sets the stage for his more famous novella The Magic Goes Away.
Kristen Johnson
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Svetz's adventures into other times were fun, but I loved the story "Flash Crowd" about a newstaper (news journalist) who investigates the company JumpShift who makes teleportation devices. These devices have consequently enabled people from all over the world to congregate in one location resulting in the Mall riot. I got lost a little on some of the scientific explanations, but it was a fun read.

Sep 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: niven
I had read all the stories in this one already except for Flash Crowd - Most in Rainbow Mars, and Glass Dagger in Time of the Warlock - So I gave it a spin just for Flash Crowd. Having read all the Ringworld novels already this was a fun short story that went a good ways towards setting up the world of Louis Wu
Larry Niven's Flight of the Horse is a whimsical handful of stories about time travel, more fantasy than science fiction, and two novellas. Svetz, the "time retrieval expert," reminds me somewhat of Stanislaw Lem's "Pirx the Pilot." The first novella, "Flash Crowd," is an examination of what life could be like with "displacement booths," instant transportation devices.
Kasey Jane
This was one of those thrift store finds where you are never quite sure what you're going to get.

Turns out the answer is kind of lame time travel stories, one half interesting / half dull novella about teleportation, and a pretty neat story about magic. Someone else said that Niven isn't great at writing humor and I really have to agree.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tales of Svetz, the Time Retrieval Expert (and a few other futuristic tales tossed in for padding)
This is a small collection of Niven's stories about Svetz, and a few others. The way this is written would probably be much more enjoyable to a 10-to-12 year old demographic than grownups, but it's not bad.
I quite enjoyed the time travel short stories, in fact I'd like to read more in his book Rainbow Mars, and I also enjoyed his fantasy shortish story, quite good in fact, but it is the short story Flash Crowd which takes this book from the average to good of 3 stars to the 4 I have given it. Great story, that I remember reading in some anthology I think, many moons ago.
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of sociology and journalism
Certainly the most interesting short story in my opinion is Flash Crowd, which in its way predicted the short-lived internet meme of flash mobs 30 years before they started happening and examines the problems with instant journalism combined with instant travel...
Nov 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Larry Niven fans
Another oldie from SciFi. Strangely, I think I missed this one all these years. At least I don't recall it. It's fun to see references to tapes instead of DVDs, somebody having to find a telephone to make a call. Still, Niven is always entertaining.
Feb 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Enjoyable. Niven plays around with the idea that if Time Machines are fantasies, then a time machine will bring back fantastical creatures. Flash Crowd is a very interesting exploration of how technology effects our societies for better and worse.
Aug 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time travel to fantasy from totalitarianism. Highly amusing.
Flight of the Horse by Larry Niven (1999)
Jimmy Pedersen
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trq, fantasy
Weird little book, but I really enjoyed it :-)
Sep 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, short-stories
Still wonderful fun.
Liked "Flash Crowd" and "What good is a glass dagger". The other stories were eh... I'm not really a fan of Niven's sense of humor or how he ends stories with a "funny" comment.
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
2002 grade B

Related short stories

Series book S1
Dave Collins
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolute madness but very fun to read
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typically great Niven short stories.
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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...