Sci-Fi Group Book Club discussion

Ringworld (Ringworld, #1)
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Books of the Month > Ringworld

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message 1: by Greg, Muad'Dib (last edited Dec 07, 2018 05:08AM) (new) - added it

Greg | 812 comments Mod
This is the discussion thread for the first book of the month, or group read, for December. Please remember to use the spoiler tags where necessary.

The other group read topics for this month (SS-GB and What Mad Universe) can be found here and here.


Jim  Davis | 48 comments I read this book in the early 80's and remember liking it very much back then. I will have to think about whether I want to re-read it again now. I'm sure I've forgotten most of it except for the major plot points (like Teela Brown's "good luck") and I wonder how well it will hold up today since it was written in 1970. It was my first introduction to a Pierson's Puppeteer although this alien species appeared in some earlier stories.


David Lutkins I have yet to start this one, as I am trying to finish up the alternate history selection by the end of this week. This book has been on my TBR list for at least two years, so I am excited to read it and talk about it. Good to hear that you enjoyed the book on your first read of it several years ago, Jim.


David Lutkins I'm now about a third of the way through the book. I like it very much, although having to look up a lot of the scientific concepts, such as the Kemplerer rosette, is slowing me down a bit. I will have the book finished by the 22nd, when I have to travel for the holidays and won't be able to get online.

It would be great if we have an engineer or physicist in our group who can point out the science in the novel that has been superseded and what is still valid.

So far, I think the book is fantastic. The writing is first rate and the characters (particularly, for me, Speaker-to-Animals) are quite well developed. I've found that characters in hard-science SF novels are not often well developed. Also, I was surprised as the humour. There is some very funny dialogue.

I hope everyone is enjoying the book, and look forward to discussing it this month.


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 45 comments From what I recall from reading it, admittedly a long time ago, it is more fantasy than science. Good story, though. Apart from the fact there is nothing you could make such a ring world from, the whole entity is not stable and would eventually slide a part into the star.


message 6: by David (last edited Dec 13, 2018 06:39PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

David Lutkins Yes, I have read that that is true (that the ring world is inherently impossible to maintain and that it would be unstable). It is a good story though, in spite of the impossible science, I think. Didn't Niven try to address the stability issue in a later book (The Ringworld Engineers)? I wonder if that kind of problem would make any megastructure or Dyson Sphere impractical.


message 7: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 45 comments The Dyson sphere suffers from the same problem. Actually, a real cloud of solid objects is also unstable, but if they are separate, they collide with each other. That is the standard theory description of how planets form - they coagulate to one major object or throw ones that won't coagulate in all directions.

I think Niven was also a little tongue in cheek - did he not "invent" unobtainium?


David Lutkins Thanks, Ian. I've been reading a few articles tonight that discuss how the ring, as a rigid structure, doesn't actually orbit its star. It'll be interesting to see how Niven dealt with this in The Ringworld Engineers.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 45 comments Enjoy. Don't let details spoil the fun :-) It is only when writing that you start to worry about details.


David Lutkins I finally finished the book last night. What an excellent novel! As the plot moves to the end, I can appreciate Ian's comment that the book "is more fantasy than science", but that doesn't diminish the story at all. I definitely want to read the sequel (The Ringworld Engineers) in 2019.


message 11: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 45 comments Glad you enjoyed it, David. There is nothing wrong with fantasy in stories - fantasy is probably the oldest genre - think of the Odyssey. The author sticking to "proper science" does not make a "better" story, but it does make a different sort of story, which is why I write that.


Thorkell Ottarsson | 209 comments I enjoyed the book. I kind of had a love hate relationship with the humor. As someone pointed out, everything here is "tongue in cheek".

What I liked most about this book was the idea around luck and how they start with using Teela Brown's good luck for their own benefits but it ends with her using them for her benefits. The whole concept of luck was a lot of fun. :)


David Lutkins I liked the theme of luck as well. Made the story more interesting for me


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