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Juggler of Worlds

(Fleet of Worlds #2)

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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,364 ratings  ·  121 reviews
For too long, the Puppeteers have controlled the fate of worlds. Now Sigmund is pulling the strings... Covert agent Sigmund Ausfaller is Earth's secret weapon, humanity's best defense against all conspiracies, real and potential - and imaginary - of foes both human and alien. Who better than a brilliant paranoid to expose the devious plots of others? He may finally have me ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Tor Books
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Dirk Grobbelaar
The galactic core had exploded?

What a tricky book to review! Is it a companion novel to Crashlander? Is it a sequel to Fleet of Worlds? It is the second book in the Fleet Of Worlds series, which again is intended to serve as a prequel to Ringworld.

Okay, here’s the deal. If you are completely unfamiliar with Niven’s Known Space, you should consider brushing up a bit first. You could read this novel without the aforementioned exposure, but it would possibly be a bit like drinking gin and toni
...more
Michael
Jul 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was rewarded with this as a satisfactory return to Niven’s world of “Known Space” several hundred years in the future. It’s pretty special to get a substantive expansion of his spectrum of interconnected tales forty years after he first created it. This is the second of a series of four prequels to 1970’s “Ringworld” that explore (invent) a complex interdependent relationship between humans and aliens known as Puppeteers. The latter are technologically advanced, generally peaceful herbivores w ...more
Ric
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Niven-ist, that's what I've been this summer and fall. I started re-reading the Known Space books to escape a harsh reality, but like a narcotic painkiller, I keep finding reasons to pick up another KS story long after the original need has passed.)

The paranoid ARM agent, Sigmund Ausfaller, does not believe that the alien Pierson's puppeteers have left Known Space. He and no one else. The equally paranoid puppeteer Nessus acts as rear guard to the Fleet of Worlds (Book 1 of the series), instiga
...more
Nick
Engineers often conceptualize new designs in a marathon whiteboard session. Juggler was the reading equivalent of walking into the end of an engineering session, seeing a huge whiteboard with scribbles, an overall flow, elements of concise detail, and some moments of brilliance. A first question could be "This looks interesting. What are the next steps to the finished product?"...In Juggler, the answer was "oh, this is the finished product!".

Juggler could have been repackaged as either several
...more
Shannon Appelcline
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a book that can not stand on its own. Most of it is a parallel story to Crashlander, but toward the end it moves on to parallel "The Soft Weapon", and then to act as a sequel to Fleet of Worlds. The result is Frankenstein-like construct that technically holds together but doesn't say much on its own and is entirely dependent on both Crashlander and Fleet of Worlds to make any sense.

To a certain extent, I think Lerner's prose is helped by the fact that he's forced into tight, constrained
...more
Casey
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2000s
Juggler of Worlds is the second book in the Fleet of Worlds series. This series of books are meant to fill in the backstory of the Ringworld books, so I would recommend reading through those first, and moving onto the Fleet of Worlds if you want more info.

Juggler begins at a time in which the Puppeteers are heavily involved in Earth and human activities. Sigmund Ausfaller, an ARM agent (something like CIA/FBI), is studying the Puppeteers and Beowulf Shaeffer, certain there are devious plots. Beo
...more
Ratiocination
Jun 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I went into this with pretty low expectations, not having been all that impressed with Fleet of Worlds. I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I'm assuming this is by and large Lerner's book written in Niven's setting. If so, he seems to have found his voice a bit more, and isn't really trying to duplicate Niven's style as much. That's part of the appeal. The two viewpoint characters here are ones that Niven created, but wouldn't have tended to use much as narrators. The Man-Kzin Wars books have ...more
Jim
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
The Puppeteers are fleeing and the fate of humankind is at peril. Who better to save the world than a paranoid ARM agent named Sigmund.

A multiple world, multiple entity battle of wits, intrigue and deception at truly galactic scales. We follow a set of three characters, one human and two Puppeteers as they jostle for power and control of their lives, their races and more.

Lots of high-tech gadgetry, and I found Sigmund a truly enjoyable paranoid.

Somewhere around the middle of this book I started
...more
Justin
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book (#2 in the Fleet of Worlds series). What really impressed me was how well integrated the plot was with the other Known Space novels, specifically "Crashlander," a collection of short stories Niven wrote back in the 60's. I keep wondering if he must have had these books in mind way back then, they fuse together so seamlessly. On the flip side, if you haven't read that book or any other Known Space novels, you might be really lost.

It's also really great to be able to
...more
Carl V.
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it

Who better than a brilliant paranoid to expose the devious plots of others?

Who indeed, agrees Sigmund Ausfaller, one of Earth’s few remaining “natural” paranoids. His bosses feel likewise. Sigmund Ausfaller is the ace up the sleeve of ARM, the Amalgamated Regional Militia, whose Bureau of Alien Affairs on Earth employs a group of paranoid agents, most of them drug-induced, to ferret out the secrets of the Citizens, an alien race known unaffectionately by humans as the Puppeteers. Ausfaller sees
...more
Craig
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one, but I'm not sure that anyone who hasn't read most of Niven's earlier Known Space series would be able to figure out what was happening. It's a nice companion piece to the previous FLEET OF WORLDS, giving back-story to the events in that book and then continuing the narrative once the side stories have caught up with one another. The pacing was much slower, with more political intrigue than I thought was absolutely necessary, and there's a lot of explanation given to conc ...more
Darth
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: niven
I thought this was great.
I admit it is largely a rehashing of Beowulf Schaeffer stories, often from the ARM agent Sigmund's point of view, but I was okay with that.
There was a combination of enough new things throughout, and a different viewpoint to keep it from being stale, or feeling rehashy to me.
I am also fond of the knitting together of the far flung story lines of lots of past inven stories.
I guess that means the next volume should have Protectors right? Maybe Louis Wu will show his fac
...more
Eric Stodolnik
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great read from one of Sci-Fi's unsung masters... Perhaps the greatest of the underrated and underappreciated except by real hardcore Sci-Fi afficionatos. Yeah, of course Ringworld is one of the more cited novel that isnt by the "big 3" of Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein... but most likely the average reader won't go much further than Ringworld... which is a crying shame, because the deeper I get into the Known Space universe, the more enthralled I get, and the more sucked into it I get.

Thi
...more
Robert
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brendan Coster
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
It was fine - about a half or maybe 2/3 was pulling in Nivens OG works from back in the day into the main Known Space series, giving it solid dates, and basically (using a different point of view) retconning to make the stories work. The rest, and specifically the end, actually nudges all that in to the Fleet of Worlds series. In terms of tying together a long lifetime of writing and past successes, it was necessary. Onto itself, I'm not sure it stands up as a good novel. It's incredibly long, w ...more
Jonas Salonen
May 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: previously-owned
Oh well. Another Niven. And again, thankfully no rishatra. But thats probably the only good thing about this one.

Well, ok. The writing is fluent and the book isn't bad as such. The problem is that there isn't anyhting interesting happening! It was the same with the first book in the series. I just did not care about the main characters or about what was going on. There are no surprises and everything seems lame.

At first I was introduced to Niven by Neutron star, which was superb. But after readi
...more
Heath Lesjak
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
First off, this book did an excellent job of further fleshing out Known Space. I enjoyed reading all of the various stories from Crashlander from a different perspective. That being said, it seems like the act of having to adhere to the existing stories was a bit too much. Juggler of Worlds ended up feeling a bit broken up and disjointed (not surprising, considering the stories in Crashlander were all originally separate). I did like the stories, but it didn't have a very cohesive storyline. Hav ...more
Stephen Smith
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it
So, s big chunk of this book was like a flash back to before the fleet of worlds book 1 and meandered its way to tying into the first book. I would not say that is a bad thing but it seemed slower to me then the first book.
It sort of reminded be of how Asimov later in life worked to tie his foundation books into his robots books with spattering of his other stuff thrown in as well to create continuity and ultimately completion of his life’s significant works. He was criticized for it by many bu
...more
Henry
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found it boring compared to the first book. Also there were two events which to me screamed "look I'm throwing this into the plot to show that I know about science!" without actually adding much of interest to the plot. Also there was a jarring flashback scene which seemed to have been added only to provide a reason for something that happened in the following scene. Was it added later when the author realized that scene didn't make sense? Overall, seemed like a rushed, poorly edited sequel.
Harding McFadden
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another solid read in a series that I'm enjoying quite a bit. Though it must be stated that this book is not a thing in and of itself, and I don't mean only in that it's the second book in a series of five. It relies heavily on earlier works by Niven, and has such a great Secret History vibe to it that it is wonderful. So, grab it, but also get copies of Crashlander and other chronologically early Known Space books and stories to fill in the gaps and get ready for a great time. In short: highly ...more
Fred
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Overall another solid entry and another solid example of Nessus being a chaotic good prick. He does things mostly on the right side of morality but screws up many along the way.

Now I look forward to jumping into the older known space books and getting to know more on Ausfaller and Beowulf.

Would recommend to those that enjoyed other Know Space books.
John D.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yay! More of Nessus, a little more of Carlos! Larry Niven is quickly climbing into my favorites list of all time for sci-fi. This story lets you into the mind of a natural, functioning paranoid detective and how he saves a world. I will take a break in this series to cleanse my palette with another book but will return to read number three in the series.
Lou Giannuzzi
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
The first 3/4s of the book deals with a 'different point of view' to some of Niven's Known Space Series books, already published... not my cup of tea...so I was bored... but if someone likes that kind of stuff, the first 3/4s of the book, would be very good.
Eric
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
First half was interesting but retreads a lot of ground from the previous book. Second half was much better. I appreciated the appearance of Niven's excellent and timeless character Beowulf, and the increased focus on Sigmund Ausfaller.
Randy
Dec 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Awful. Clumsy attempt to incorporate a large group of Nevens early short stories into a larger narrative. It’s pointless because they are already part of that larger narrative in the retelling is both boring and pointless.
KevinS
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Setting the stage for the rest of the series. Drags on a bit in spots.
Jack Repenning
As a prequel to the Ringworld series, the continuity of the principal unifying character, Nessus, is quite weak. Whereas in Ringworld he's pretty strong, here he's a blithering wimp.
Sibylle
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
re -read for second time
Eddie D. Moore
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the reviews were rather harsh on this book, but I found it to be much better than they claimed. Some of the jumps in time left me confused at times, but I soon caught up.
Ken Pajala
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ties together most, if not all, the Known Space short stories. Love being in this universe.
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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

Fleet of Worlds (5 books)
  • Fleet of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #1)
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #3)
  • Betrayer of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds, #4)
  • Fate of Worlds (Ringworld, #5)

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