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The Ringworld Engineers

(Ringworld #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  29,867 ratings  ·  593 reviews
Over twenty years after returning to Earth from the Ringworld, Louis Wu is kidnapped, along with a warrior kzin named Chmeee, by a Pierson's puppeteer, a brilliant 2-headed alien who calls himself the "Hindmost". The puppeteer hopes to regain status with his fellow citizens by traveling to the Ringworld to bring back treasures. Upon reaching the vast and mysterious Ringwor ...more
Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Spectrum Literary Agency (first published June 3rd 1979)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  29,867 ratings  ·  593 reviews

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1. Some Non-Trivial Calculus

As the MIT students sang back in 1971:
Oh, the Ringworld is unstable
the Ringworld is unstable
did the best that they were able
and it's good enough for me!
People who want the details should check out Non-Linear Dynamics of Ringworld Systems, by Colin McInnes ( It's
fascinating. If you like that kind of thing.

2. The Puppeteer Shock Doctrine

See, they engineered this disaster so that the Friedmanite Puppeteer government could
Apr 09, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like its predecessor, Ringworld, I really liked the overall ideas of this book: a massive, artificial, circular world that needs saving, varied hominid species filling all ecological niches, non-humanoid alien species that act in a truly alien manner, and a hodgepodge group of heroes. However, the main character, Louis Wu, is portrayed as God's gift to any female hominid; if it's anatomically possible for him to sleep with someone, he does, basically. The Ringworld revolves around sex between sp ...more
Manuel Antão
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Wireheads: "The Ringworld Engineers" by Larry Niven

(Original Review, 1980-12-20)

Reading some people's complaints about unpleasant events in SF (e.g. Louis Wu becoming a wirehead in "The Ringworld Engineers") reminded me of an article in Analog some time back. It was written by a founder of a company that would keep you in cryogenic storage until a cure was found for your disease, or the Messiah came or a John Bircher became president o
Kara Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
I don't know what happened in this book. I mean. The first book was decent. Not great, but not terrible. Most things followed from other things and you know, it was OK. This one was all over the place. There were lots of good ideas but most of them were just set out without any kind of proper foreshadowing or setup.

Take the origins of humanity (and the creators of Ringworld) - what would be a huge, fascinating reveal in any well-written tome - it's a huge flop here, an afterthought. AND I get ho
David Sarkies
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
A Return to Ringworld
5 February 2020

So, I enjoyed the original so much that I ended up going on a quest to attempt to locate the sequel, namely because I wanted to find out what happened after the first book. Well, that book certainly exists, and there are a few others as well, and these particular books are set in Niven’s Known Space universe, and as such there are a number of creatures that would be familiar to people who know this setting.

Well, we once again meet up with Louis, who has beco
May 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's taken me many, many years to figure out my problem with Niven's work, but in my defense, it was hard to get around the visibility he had in the SF world when I was younger. So much of what he does should appeal to me: a style very much in line with Analog authors of the 80s; a preoccupation with engineering-style problems in a far-future setting; the great fun of the Ringworld concept itself; and lots of lots of imaginative high-tech devices. I really should love the Known Space books.

But I
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sequel to Ringworld, this has a better story. The characters go on an adventure in which they explore, experience and come into conflict with a lot more people. Niven is incredibly original, designing entire cultures, civilizations, and unique creatures behind the history of Ringworld. This book explains a lot of the mysteries found in the first book, and introduces more. Niven fixes some engineering and ecological gaps that were left in the original, and expands greatly on the plot found in ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Updates the record on the original to explain some inconsistencies, focuses on wonderous engineering marvels. Lots of fun social exploration.
Malcolm Little
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-gems, favorites
And so we return to Ringworld, with Louis Wu and Speaker-to-Animals, who have both undergone character development in the interim. We get a new Pearson’s puppeteer, though I much prefer Nessus, who had some dynamism.

Niven is now free to present major obstacles in the Ringworld, and he does so within a typical, though exciting, plot. The stakes are high, no less than the fate of the Ringworld itself and its trillions of inhabitants. We get up close and personal with many of those inhabitants, to
Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space-opera, sci-fi
I wasn't sure if I wanted to read this book to start with because of the change to Louis Wu's circumstances at the start of the novel (he's a junkie, addicted to the pure pleasure of electrical stimulation of the brain). But that actually turned out to be one of the more interesting things about the book. Why would a character as obviously strong as Wu turn to the wire? That question does get answered, along with the other obvious question of what he does next. Perhaps his escape from addiction ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
second read - 8 October 2013 - **** In 2013/14, I read the complete Ringworld series, which had come to be four books long. This included a third read of Ringworld, a second read of The Ringworld Engineers, and a new-to-me read of The Ringworld Throne and Ringworld's Children. This is set 20 years after the first book. Louis Wu and Speaker-To-Animals return to Ringworld, to discover that it is no longer stable, and to find out who are the engineers who created it. If you have this book, without ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent squeal in that it answers almost every question that came to mind after people were done reading the first one. This book is about a voyage back to Ringworld, it gives much more detailed information on the Ringworld, and tells what happens to some old characters like Teela as well. If you were lucky enough to experience the first one, then you must experience the second.
J.M. Hushour
I really enjoyed the first Ringworld novel, but just like with the "Motie" series co-authored by Niven and another author, the excellent first novels were followed up by far weaker sequels. In this case, at least Engineers fares a little better than the dumb Motie sequel.
This sequel begins some time after the first novel, with the same two main characters, Louis Wu, now a drug addict over his guilt from what happened between novels dealing with the Ringworld, and the Predator-like kzin (they're
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

(2013 was turning into a stale year for SF. That summer, I really needed the solace of good, hard SF to escape, if just fleetingly, some harsh realities, same reality having given me long days and nights to read and listen. So, without really making a decision to do so but compelled by circumstances, I started a re-read of the Ringworld series. The publication history of the series was such that one book came out every ten years, on average. And so each book read provided a reflection of a de

Zoltán Kelemen
I can hardly remember the original Ringworld anymore (it's been a few years already), but I really hope it was much more better than this. I seem to have given it (out of memory, as I read it pre-goodreads) a rather large score.

The Ringworld Engineers ... well, if I want to be kind, I'd say perhaps its naive or simplistic. Otherwise, I'd have to rant too much here. Pointless sex scenes, the humans will solve everything (the sci-fi version of Americans solve everything), we'll also figure out vas
Nuno R.
The feeling is too much of a sequel and it's so uneventful and unsurprising that all I could say would be spoiling. I was really captivated by the fisrt so I went ahed of my self and bought the second and third book. Now I have the 3rd and I have to say the the last 50 pages of this one were already quite hard to finish. The Ringworld was such a great idea that it become the prison (so far) for the narrative and the characters, it's like all the imagination was confined to this construction and ...more
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
As the series progresses, I continue to enjoy Niven's clear style of writing. He makes the hard science interesting. We learn more about the Ringworld and get a little deeper into the character Louis Wu. While I recommend this as an enjoyable read, I couldn't give it more than 3 stars because of the predictable plot. But there are enough surprises and revelations to entertain the Ringworld / Niven fan.

As an example of what I like about Niven is the scene where the puppeteer looks into his own ey
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't love Ringworld. It was with much goading that I read the second one. With so much love for the series, I do wish that I liked it more. But I had fewer instances in this volume where I felt bored. I have not yet connected strongly to the characters, and I'm still a bit put out by the tendency for women in the series to be relegated largely to the role of thing for the main make characters to have sex with. ...more
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book in the Ringworld series. Niven writes an easy to read but engrossing SiFi Story. Very recommended
Captain Kirk's alien love encounters - a fanfic. ...more
Joseph White
Sep 03, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
this shit sucks
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, read-npr
Louie Wu is addicted to the electrical current drilled into the pleasure center of his brain. But when attackers come to capture him - he is still capable of taking care of himself. At least for the first set.
Louie Wu and Speaker-to-animals are hijacked by a puppeteer and taken back to Ringworld to search for the mass transformer.

When they get there, they find that Ringworld is on a slow decline into the sun. Louie promises to do something about that and this is the story of this act of herois
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, 2018
I like the continued exploration of the ring. More details about the people and the ring itself really expand the world. I also found it interesting how the origin of the ring was explained as well as how it tied to humans.

I think it’s cool how the author took analysis and input from the fans of the first book and incorporated them into the story.
This book is a sequel to the classic Ringworld and was written by Larry Niven when a group of MIT engineers realized that Ringworld was unstable. This book highlights a lot of the problems I have with Niven's writing, he has great ideas, mediocre plots and horrible characterization. The different types of aliens and cultures in the book are great, the concept of the ringworld instead of a dyson sphere is interesting and the revelations about the nature of this universe and the meddling of the Pi ...more
Oct 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much like being awed by the spectacle of say the first Jurassic Park and sequels pale in comparison because the novelty has worn off, so too does the Ringworld sequel. I remember the first time I read Ringworld, I was mesmerized by the sheer immensity of the structure that I was immediately blown away by this original concept that it made the story a joy to read as I pondered what it would be like to walk on this artificial world. The Ringworld Engineers suffered in that the newness of the conce ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It started off great. The sweeping adventure feel of the first book, a grand adventure back to the ringworld; a sad twist of fate for Louis Wu, now a junkie of sorts and so in need of such adventure more than ever. Ringworld Engeineers was fantastic and equal to the first novel in every way except for two fatal points for me.

1.) The rishathra is too strong with this one. A surprising number of reviewers on Goodreads whined about this with the first novel, which baffles me because he's essentiall
Samantha Soper
Retiree Louis Wu bangs his way through the universe.
Tom Hudson
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Far more interesting than the first installment of the series. So far, Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers are the only books I've read set in Niven's "Known Space" universe. The first book may have taken certain things for granted that weren't sketched out fully enough for me to appreciate the nuances of characters, places, events, whereas I felt this book did a better job of introducing ideas from the background shared by the Known Space books.

There's especially one ancient alien race that is i
Johan Haneveld
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Niven is great in combining the can do spirit of classical SF with modern physics and has the imagination and knowledge to make up something like the titular Ringworld and people it with the most fantastic inhabitant. The idea of an ocean so large that 1:1 maps of earth and other planets are just islands in it, is truly awe inspiring. And I liked the ecologies of adapted humanoids, the battle againt the sun flowers and even the 'cold equations'-like dilemma ...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

Other books in the series

Ringworld (5 books)
  • Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
  • The Ringworld Throne (Ringworld, #3)
  • Ringworld's Children (Ringworld, #4)
  • Fate of Worlds (Ringworld, #5)

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