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(Ringworld #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  103,576 ratings  ·  3,463 reviews
Pierson's puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek.
Mass Market Paperback, 342 pages
Published October 1970 by Del Rey Ballantine Random House
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Jan 06, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katie by: Olivia
A very interesting concept....BUT, I have to get on my soapbox for a minute. After reading a few of his books, I have to say that Larry Niven's attitude towards women, what they are like and what they are capable of, is sadly lacking. Though his male characters seem to be pretty well fleshed out (human--even if they are alien--fallible and interesting), his female characters are sadly one-dimensional. It seems to me that most the female character in his books are either clueless, idiot savants, ...more
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013, science-fiction
I started this book expecting an awesome experience -- it won the Hugo AND Nebula awards, after all.

Too bad it was a hot mess.

The smile is because the book was lighthearted.

What to say of Niven's prose, other than that it is horrible? The dialog is stilted; often it is impossible to tell what the characters are talking about because their references are unclear or new information necessary to understand WTF is going on passes through the cardboard cutout/protagonist's head only after the page-l
Nov 24, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: space, aliens, sci-fi
I’d wanted to read this because I’m a fan of the Halo video games, and I’d heard that it was a big influence on those. I gotta say that I’d have liked it more if the Master Chief would have shown up and started chucking some plasma grenades around.

Set in 2855, human Louis Wu is recruited by an alien named Nessus to go on a hazardous mission to explore a strange structure that rings a distant star. Another alien called Speaker-To-Animals from a warrior race apparently descended from some really t
Well this book won both the Hugo and Nebula award in 1970/71 for best novel, and who am I to argue with the voting panels. In my view this book is astounding (SF pun intended), its characters are well built, and the story is just so far reaching with brilliant science to back it up.

I first read this sometime back in the late 70s and have re-read it a couple of time since, but it has to be 15 years since I last read it, oh how I have missed books this far ranging, this broad in their scope, this
Aug 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, pre-80s-sf
Ringworld is definitely a sci-fi classic, a monumental achievement in world building. Any sci-fi aficionados who don’t like it should be ashamed of themselves.

Argh! It’s never pleasant to go against the conventional wisdom but over at PrintSF (online SF discussion community) I see a lot of comments along the line of “I really want to like this book because everybody say it’s great, what am I missing?” I think a lot of people try too hard to like certain books and I don’t know why, it does not en
I can't believe this won three big awards.

The story is about as interesting as the trade war minutia of Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars. In non-geeky terms, not very interesting. Actually as I went out to buy a cup of coffee this morning I thought that if Larry Niven had teamed up with George Lucas the prequel episodes of Star Wars could have been totally ruined, and maybe episodes 4-6 could have been reworked too to make them completely insipid and unwatchable. How? Well, Larry Niven seems to be rea
Dirk Grobbelaar
Not much I can say about this.

It blew my mind.

In order for you to truly appreciate Ringworld you would have to mentally backtrack forty-odd years.

Big Ideas in Science Fiction are a dime a dozen.

But in 1970…?

Perhaps Niven’s vision upstaged his characters. Perhaps. But I could still lose myself on the ring. It fascinated me then; it fascinates me now. This novel made authors sit up and pay attention to just how big you could think if you really applied your imagination. Also, I’ve spent y
Aug 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
On Luis Wu’s 200th birthday, he is approached by Nessus, a quasi-equine alien species knows as Puppeteers because of the two heads sprouting from their backs that are tethered by strands of skin, to undertake a remarkable journey. Being 200 years old, Luis has seen his share of the universe, so he is a bit skeptical when Nessus asks him to join a force of beings to explore the mysterious Ringworld.

So far so good.

Enter the rest of the cast.

First off, I have no problem with how any alien is cre
Sep 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I'm afraid this made me want to punch Larry Niven in the stomach on the behalf of all women everywhere. Along with people who aren't so privileged that life bores them with its comforts, but mostly on behalf of women.

A 180 year old man sleeping with a 20 year old woman? Just so wrong, and it keeps going more wrong. He writes things about Teela like

"Her lips, he saw, were perfect for pouting. She was one of those rare, lucky women whom crying does not make ugly."

It is painfully condescending, ev
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Larry Niven published Ringworld in October 1970 to much acclaim – the novel won the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards for best science fiction novel in 1970.

Any fan of the genre will be familiar with Ringworld, it’s frequently cited as one of the best ever and I’ve seen it on countless bookshelves and it has long been on my radar to read. It’s a SF classic and has no doubt been wildly influential on scores of works since it first came out.

To be blunt: I was a little disappointed.

I liked it, don’t ge
Manuel Antão
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1980
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

R(t) = sqrt(r**2+dr**2-2*r*dr*cos(t)): "Ringworld" by Larry Niven

(Original Review, 1980-08-26)

A short analysis of the (in)stability of a Ringworld (digging deeper into the Math):

Let the Ringworld have radius r, mass m, and mass/length p. Let the parent sun have mass M. Put the center of the Ringworld at the origin, with the axis of rotation along the z-axis. Now, place the sun at dr along the x-axis (a small perturbation in the plane o
J.G. Keely
Radio waves move at the speed of light. This is not particularly noticeable on Earth, but if you were at the sun, it would take eight and a half minutes for a signal to reach you, which would make a phonecall rather awkward. It would be even worse at the next closest star, Proxima Centauri, where messages take four years. Thus, the speed of light is the rate at which information moves, at which change change can propagate.

But most people don't think, when watching Star Trek, that Captain Picard
Paul Bryant
Sep 27, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 12 year olds
Shelves: sf-novels-aaargh
I have a lot of faith in science fiction but this one dented it - it's a daft cartoon of a novel in which there's this really big, you know, I mean giant big big enormous, like, world, and these aliens go there, and they droop and mumble about in it, and it's really big, and one of them looks like a carpet and the other looks like a diplodocus, and the other like an old chinaman cause you got to have an old chinaman in your far future novels, yeah. It was showered with awards but i would have sh ...more

The magic intersection point of the old and new styles of SF... basically, Golden Age space opera with cool aliens, but also including sex. (The sex isn't with the cool aliens, in case you were wondering - that's James Tiptree Jr. you're thinking of).

If you are an SF fan and have never been to the Ringworld, try and visit them some time! If you're not particularly into SF, well, these days Iain M. Banks does the same kind of thing better, so I would recommend reading "Consider Phlebas", "Player
Stevie Kincade
Larry Niven takes a lot of shit. A lot. Without ever reading a word of his before I have heard him called a racist, a sexist pig and a dolt. If the racist statements attributed to him are true, well, that is deplorable but everything I can find about them is 2nd or 3rd hand and seems to be of fairly questionable authenticity. Even in the worst case I can enjoy a Roman Polanski or Woody Allen movie so I should be able to enjoy a Larry Niven book right? He is not that bad!

As far as the sexism go
Jan 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi, kindle
Upon re-reading I have upgraded this book an additional star.

I am starting to see a pattern that perhaps I wasn't aware of before, of older science fiction having very limited charterer depth and focusing more on the using the plot to explore scientific ideas. (The same hold true for a lot of older fantasy as well, except with fantastical ideas.)

This didn't use to bother me (when all I read was older, shallow character sci-fi and fantasy) but now, no matter how exciting the ideas are, I miss th
Leo Robertson
I find it hard to believe anyone got through this one, let alone its whole legion of sequels and spin-offs.

The Ringworld is such a cool concept but it's SO poorly described, I defy anyone to picture what the hell Niven is on about. It was black and on the horizon blue, a ribbon, several squares were hovering there like... WHAT?! Take some time to do this thing justice, mate! We're gonna be spending a deal of time there...

It takes too long to get to Ringworld, then when they do, nothing happens.
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Classic science fiction has always been hit or miss for me. I have always been told how great Ringword is, but I found it to be mediocre and kind of blah. It is a somewhat interesting story, but I never really cared about the characters or what they were doing, which is disappointing because the premise sounded really interesting.
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being an engineer by nature, and by training (10 yrs at MIT), when I read this book (in the 1970s) I went supernova. Massive engineering on an unimaginable scale, made real by Niven. Fabulous!

The concept of a ringworld is wonderful - Niven's story, not so much, yet good enough to entice me back into after the mega-structure on't otherside of the universe is currently topical (if indeed, anyone could use the term 'otherside' when talking about our curving and folding universe). Great fun for sci-fi week here on goodreads.

A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures most or all of its power output. TED Talk: Tabetha Boyajian · Astronom
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This was a blast to read. It was great, escapist, old school science fiction at its best. It's a pretty light read, with fast moving short chapters all in single narrative. The story is a classic exploration tale taking place on an alien artefact that is one of the most amazing concepts ever imagined in my opinion. The Ringworld is an enormous artificial ribbon one million miles wide with the diameter of Earth's orbit. It's basically a partial dyson sphere.

"Take Christmas ribbon, an inch wide,
Dazzlingly huge in space is Ringworld
An artificial construct three million times the surface area of the Earth

image: description

The explorers;
Louis Wu - an old crafty human
Teela Brown - a human bred for luck
Speaker-to-Animals - a warrior Kzin alien - imagine a giant tiger
Nessus - a puppeteer alien - from a paranoid, high tech race

image: description

Think big
The rim of the ring expanded in their view. It was a wall, rising inward toward the star. They could see its black, space-exposed outer side silhouetted against t
Jason Koivu
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
"Read Ringworld!" she said.
"Read Ringworld!" he implored.
"Read Ringworld you lazy muthafucka!" I chided myself.
"Okay already! I'll read it. Now lay off!" other me shouted back.

Larry Niven sci-fi classic is not filled with a lot of action. It's mostly about exploration, some space theory and some alien character development. By the time you're done with it, you can definitely see that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the series that followed makes sense.

I really enjoyed this, but I kno
May 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Oh TANJ! Why did I read this book?! It should have been titled BoRingworld!
Jonathan Terrington

What is Ringworld?

Ringworld is a curiously contradictory science fiction novel. For a novel so concerned with the finer details of the exact science of alien technology it also features some bizarrely pseudo-scientific fantasy conceptions. However, it's use of technology and its ideas are an indication alone as to why it should be read despite some major flaws which become more obvious as the reader delves further into the story.

Larry Niven's novel is claimed as a major influence of the crit
Jul 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
I recently reread this and it's still delightful after all these years. Niven is so much fun because of his fascinating ideas, and the playfulness with which he approaches them. The ringworld is a beautiful work of art, technology, and imagination. Ditto time stasis fields, mirrored focusing sunflowers, using generated gravity as an art form, hurricanes shaped like giant human eyes. Even more fun are the glories of the Puppeteer home planets flying to the edge of the galaxy in a kemplerer rosett ...more
I'm always told that I have to make concessions for books written before a certain time. And I try … but in this case there were just too many of the things that irk me thrown together.

First off, the idea of the ringworld and the various astrophysical explanations were clever and innovative, that's for sure, but …

… there was too much explanation going on. Characters explaining things to one another all the time. Sometimes jumping to conclusions where I had to re-read some paragraphs to make sure
Nandakishore Varma
I don't remember anything of the story, let me say at the outset. I think it was entirely forgettable.

The only things I remember are the kzin - the huge catlike alien - and Ringworld itself. From an engineer's point of view, this world is an absolute delight: a ring circling a sun at the centre, a whole world existing on it; with shades provided at uniform intervals to simulate night...

What I wouldn't have given to be part of the engineering team that designed it!
Kara Babcock
There's a word often bandied about when people discuss books, particularly fantasy and science fiction books, which often involve the creation of worlds unlike our own. That term is (perhaps unsurprisingly) worldbuilding. And if ever there were a paradigm case for worldbuilding, Ringworld would be it. The eponymous structure is not a planet but, for all intents and purposes, functions as one. With a simple concept and a little bit of physics, Larry Niven has a striking novum that's brand, settin ...more
Jul 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Niven's Ringworld idea is really, really cool. Cool enough that he got the Hugo for this book in 1970. I know he got the Hugo for the Ringworld concept, because nothing else in the book conceivably justifies it.

Wading through the book was very difficult for me mostly because of Niven's Dirty Old Man Syndrome. That's the way I refer to his incredibly chauvinistic depictions of women. The protagonist is a 200-year old cynical man who manages to snag a 20-year-old, naive young lady as his sex-toy
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Goodreads Librari...: Edit "Ringworld #1" summary 2 17 Jan 14, 2020 03:46AM  
Reddit UES Bookclub: "Ringworld" discussion questions 1 2 Jun 08, 2019 12:38PM  
Fans of Interesti...: Spoiler-free impressions 1 7 Apr 29, 2019 10:19PM  
Sci-Fi Group Book...: Ringworld 13 18 Dec 23, 2018 06:21PM  
Space Opera Fans : August 2018 READER Ringworld by Niven 37 56 Aug 24, 2018 10:10PM  
Where was this book banned? 2 53 May 23, 2018 04:08AM  

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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)
  • The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld, #2)
  • The Ringworld Throne (Ringworld, #3)
  • Ringworld's Children (Ringworld, #4)
  • Fate of Worlds (Ringworld, #5)

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