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Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
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BOTM READER > August 2018 READER Ringworld by Niven

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message 1: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
The July 2018 READER pick is Ringworld by Larry Niven Ringworld by Larry Niven. Please use this thread to post questions, comments, and reviews, at any time.

Official description:
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.


message 2: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Doggett (ldwriter2) | 60 comments I read that one interesting concepts


Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 19 comments A classic. And as much as I hate saying this, I suspect most of this group were not yet born when I first read it... be great to revisit this.


James Baddock | 7 comments Classic SF - Niven at his best. You've got two of the best imagined alien species in SF history (the Kzinti and Pierson's Puppeteers), a world concept that's been done since, but never as well and a fast-moving story to boot - what's not to like? Pity none of the sequels quite lived up to this standard (although Engineers was a worthy effort, where Niven opened up the 'can of worms' he avoided here), but then how many sequels ever do? Not sure he ever did anything as good after this (at least, not on his own - Mote In God's Eye with Jerry Pournelle is also a classic).


Trike | 575 comments Will wrote: "A classic. And as much as I hate saying this, I suspect most of this group were not yet born when I first read it... be great to revisit this."

^5 for old geeks. Carefully, though; we don’t want to break any bones at our advanced age.


message 6: by Trike (last edited Aug 09, 2018 03:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Trike | 575 comments James wrote: "Not sure he ever did anything as good after this (at least, not on his own"

I’m a huge fan of Protector, which was a few years later and gave us more Pak. It’s also one of the few prequels for anything that I actually like.

Other than that exception, I concur with Ringworld being a high point in Niven’s career.

Edit: just realized I wrote “fane” instead of “fan”. As I am not a big shrine, I have changed that. :p


message 7: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
I loved Ringworld when it was fairly new, and reread it several times over the years. It’s been over a decade since my last reread and I tried starting recently it but it just wasn’t holding my interest.

I have fond memories of Protector, but dangit there’s no legal ebook edition, so I can’t reread it yet.

(Another old geek)


Betsy | 880 comments Mod
Another old geek here, I think I read this many many years ago. I can't remember anything about it except I don't think I liked it.


Jemima Pett | 146 comments Yep, another old geek here. I think I must try to find a copy. Then again, I found rereading the classics somewhat disappointing, when I was so blown away by all the new (to me) concepts when I was a teen. At least, that's how I felt when I reread The Ship Who Sang.
But I must give it a try!


message 10: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 19 comments Starting the read I've come across the phrase TANJ that I recall so qwell. But I also thought I'd got it from an Ursula le Guin novel too. Any ideas?


message 11: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
Wikipedia article credits Niven with TANJ but that isn’t proof he was only one who used it, or even first.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profani...


message 12: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 19 comments Thinking overnight, I seem to recall le Guin using it in The Dispossessed, but annoyingly my copy never came back from an illconsidered loan.


(For the collection of Hugh Bracegirdle, from a contributor, applies!)


message 13: by C. John (new) - added it

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 494 comments Teresa wrote: "Wikipedia article credits Niven with TANJ but that isn’t proof he was only one who used it, or even first.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profani..."


That article was clearly written from an Anglo-Saxon perspective. Your classic French swear words are religious in origin.

I have the book on hold with my library. Hopefully it gets here before August. I am 63 years old but have yet to read this one.


message 14: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (last edited Aug 05, 2018 09:46AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
I’m attempting to reread Ringworld. I’ve already gotten further than my previous attempt.

The Birth Lotteries and breeding for luck makes me think that most of those 5th generation candidates managed to avoid being recruited because they were luckier than the one who did go on the mission. It also makes me think of the Liaden Universe books as the Luck tends to act strangely around Korval clan members.

Edit: and further on in the book there is MUCH discussion about the 5th gen “lucky” person’s luck and whether it is lucky for other people nearby or not.


Trike | 575 comments As silly as the “breeding for luck” idea is, it does lead to a fun moment.

(view spoiler)


message 16: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
This part made me giggle:
"They do not use lasers, they do not use radio, they do not use hyperwave. What are they using for communication? Telepathy? Written messages? Big mirrors?"

"Parrots," Louis suggested. He got up to join them at the door to the control room. "Huge parrots, specially bred for their oversized lungs. They're too big to fly. They just sit on hilltops and scream at each other."


message 17: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 19 comments Teresa wrote: "This part made me giggle:
"They do not use lasers, they do not use radio, they do not use hyperwave. What are they using for communication? Telepathy? Written messages? Big mirrors?"

"Parrots," L..."


Reminded me of Monty Python's 'Wuthering Heights by Semaphore' (On youTube if you don't remember it!)


message 18: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
And finished. Worth reading but not something I will reread regularly.

The ending sort of cut off to my mind. That is it surprised me when it stopped. Granted, we know basically what’s going to happen next, but it feels unfinished.


message 19: by Will (new) - rated it 4 stars

Will Macmillan Jones (willmacmillanjones) | 19 comments It felt very unfinished to me (finished last night myself) and I was disappointed by the lack of resolution of the story.


message 20: by Rick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rick Allen | 15 comments One of my top three favorite sci-fi novels (yes, I'm an old guy). Great concepts: the Ringworld, Pierson's Puppeteers, and the idea of breeding for luck (yes, I agree it's hogwash, but still fun). Great characters: all of them. And the second best starship name: Lying Bastard (#1 is in the sequel: Hot Needle of Inquiry).


message 21: by Heather Lee (new) - added it

Heather Lee Lee Dyer (heatherleedyer) | 2 comments For me too, this is one of my top SF novels. Along with the Foundation series these are the only books I reread every few years. AND I finally got my copy signed by mr. Niven a few years ago. :)

There’s also a graphic novel out there for Ringworld. So it’s gaining a younger audience, which I find exciting.


Jemima Pett | 146 comments Well, I found it, I read it, and I was mystified. I remembered less of this than any other book I've read. Did I miss it out before? I don't know. Some things are fairly familiar, but most of it not. Which is not to say that I didn't recognise the awe-inspiringness of it when it came out. I just feel, like so many other classics of the time, that it hasn't aged well. Or I've aged too well, one or the other....
The world-building is still stupendous, though.


message 23: by Book Nerd (new) - added it

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 25 comments Will wrote: "Starting the read I've come across the phrase TANJ that I recall so well.
Also gave us the tern "Rishathra", which will become very important when we finally meet aliens. ;)


Trike | 575 comments Book Nerd wrote: "Will wrote: "Starting the read I've come across the phrase TANJ that I recall so well.
Also gave us the tern "Rishathra", which will become very important when we finally meet aliens. ;)"


In one of his story collections Niven said that at some con someone made buttons which read “Rishathra - have sex outside your species.” Later that night he forgot he was wearing it and received some concerned looks from strangers.


message 25: by C. John (new) - added it

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 494 comments Going to have to look at your post on my computer Trike as I think my phone has dropped some words which give a different meaning to the conclusion of your story.


message 26: by C. John (new) - added it

C. John Kerry (cjkerry) | 494 comments Yep my phone dropped some words. The phrase 'received some concerned looks from strangers' became "received some concerned strangers'.


Trike | 575 comments LOL


message 28: by Book Nerd (new) - added it

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 25 comments Trike wrote: "In one of his story collections Niven said that at some con someone made buttons which read “Rishathra - have sex outside your species.” Later that night he forgot he was wearing it and received some concerned looks from strangers."
lol why?


message 29: by Ally (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ally | 92 comments I read it few years ago and I think it's the best book of the Big Dumb Objet category. I felt a huge "sense of wonder", which is very important in this category. I was completely immersed in the Ringworld.


message 30: by Book Nerd (new) - added it

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 25 comments One great thing about Ringworld is it was almost comical. Not at the level of The Hitchhiker's Guide but it definitely didn't take itself seriously.


message 31: by Teresa, Plan B is in Effect (new) - rated it 3 stars

Teresa Carrigan | 2343 comments Mod
I recall the absurdity Niven put into some of his other books too. Footfall by Larry Niven Footfall in particular. In one scene there were aliens resembling baby elephants invading Earth using hang gliders and wearing platform shoes to absorb impact of landing.


Trike | 575 comments Book Nerd wrote: "One great thing about Ringworld is it was almost comical. Not at the level of The Hitchhiker's Guide but it definitely didn't take itself seriously."

If the long-promised TV series doesn’t feel like Thor: Ragnarok or Firefly at its most Big-Damn-Heroes-ist, I’ll be disappointed.


message 33: by Book Nerd (new) - added it

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 25 comments Teresa wrote: "I recall the absurdity Niven put into some of his other books too. Footfall by Larry Niven Footfall in particular. In one scene there were aliens resembling baby elephants invading Earth using hang gliders and wearing platform shoes to absorb impact of landing."

Oh man, I HAVE to read that!

Trike wrote: "If the long-promised TV series doesn’t feel like Thor: Ragnarok or Firefly at its most Big-Damn-Heroes-ist, I’ll be disappointed. "

Wow, where and when is that?


Trike | 575 comments Amazon is developing Ringworld. Only announced last autumn, so it’ll be a while.


message 35: by KJFSFFAN (new)

KJFSFFAN | 2 comments This should be an epic to outdo all epics but I fear it will become a weekly solve-a-problem in an ethical (USA) way.


message 36: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Doggett (ldwriter2) | 60 comments Trike wrote: "Amazon is developing Ringworld. Only announced last autumn, so it’ll be a while."

Interesting. See how they do it.


message 37: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Doggett (ldwriter2) | 60 comments Niven does like absurdities but I think that is part of the fun. He is also very ingenuous with his worlds. Such as "The Integral Trees"


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