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The Flight of the Horse
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The Flight of the Horse

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  1,567 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
Paperback, 212 pages
Published March 4th 1999 by Orbit (first published September 1973)
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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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 28, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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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
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