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Long Arm of Gil Hamilton [Mass Market Paperback]

Larry Niven
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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About the Author

Larry Niven has won the prestigious Hugo Award five times. He is known to millions as the premier modern author of rigorous, scientifically consistent hard SF, the champion of 'SF without a net'. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the future, medical science has perfected organ transplantation to the point almost anything can (and is) transplanted, bringing up an interesting problem: where do you get the "spare parts"? The society's answer, make just about any crime, including J-walking, a capital crime and make the criminals organ donors. Niven brings us 3 short storries which probe the ethics and morals of a world we approach and did it 19 years ago. A clear example of yesterdays science fiction becoming todays science fact, ie. how the Chinese sell hearts, kidneys, corneas, etc. of executed criminals for transplants. His insight into this new world gives us an idea of issues we may soon be facing in the near future. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 short stories of scifi/detective story merger, a good read July 20 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the future, medical science has perfected organ transplantation to the point almost anything can (and is) transplanted, bringing up an interesting problem: where do you get the "spare parts"? The society's answer, make just about any crime, including J-walking, a capital crime and make the criminals organ donors. Niven brings us 3 short storries which probe the ethics and morals of a world we approach and did it 19 years ago. A clear example of yesterdays science fiction becoming todays science fact, ie. how the Chinese sell hearts, kidneys, corneas, etc. of executed criminals for transplants. His insight into this new world gives us an idea of issues we may soon be facing in the near future. Highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is Science Fiction Mystery an Oxymoron? Aug. 12 2004
By Stephen Holland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Good mysteries are very hard to write. The puzzle is either too simple and the reader solves it long before the story ends, or the puzzle is too hard and the reader ends up feeling cheated. Finding the right balance is hard, which is why so many mysteries are unreadable, formula-driven hack jobs. Trying to write a good mystery in a science fiction setting is even harder because the background sociology, technology, history, and settings all need to be explained in a way that does not bore the reader to tears, and still allows the story's puzzle to be at the right level. This is a lot harder than it sounds and only a few authors have been able to pull it off.

Larry Niven is one of the few. "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton" is composed of

three novellas about Gil "the Arm" Hamilton, a detective operating the 22nd century Los Angeles. The stories are strong and, with the exception of the third story, the characters are believable. All of the clues needed to solve each mystery are in place long before the story ends, but solving the puzzle requires thinking outside the box.

The problems with these stories are the same as the problems with most of Niven's pre-Pournelle writings: the writing is bad and the society that he describes is a 1960s version of southern Californian university life transported into the future. It does not feel dated as much as it feels immature. The bad writing, however, is more than made up for by the steady flow of interesting ideas that Niven gives the reader. There are better mysteries, and there is better science fiction, but "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton" is one of the best fusions of these two genres in print.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool, like futuristic detective stories. July 7 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Gil "the arm" Hamilton, named so because of his prosthetic arm, and the strange telekinetic ability he has that was developed after he lost his real arm and before the replacement, is a detective for ARM, the United Nations police force. The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton is a few stories of deduction and logic involving weird technologies, monstrous crimes as well as equally monstrous punishments in a world obsessed with staying young at the expense of everyone else. Very cool addendum to the Known Space Series.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fusion of 2 genres Feb. 12 2006
By Caslo Cranston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book years ago and have ever after searched to find this kind of cleverness.

What we have here are locked door mysteries set in the future. An ARM (Amalgamated Regional Militia), the police force of the United Nations, detective named Gil Hamilton solves mysteries that seem unsolvable.

The extra added is that Gil , who lost an arm in a space accident was given a new arm, but comes to find that his lost arm is not entirely missing. What he's left with is a telekinetic arm that can sense things and manipulate light objects.

Great stuff.

The stories are a bit dated but the cleverness shines through.

Niven reprised Gil Hamilton in "The Woman in Del Rey Crater" (1995, Flatlander)) but stated that he will not write any future stories because the locked door scenarios are too difficult to create.

I recommend this book all the time hoping that someone will tell me of an author that can top it. So far no one has.

But just in case you are better read than my friends - let me know what you think.

caslono@yahoo.com

caslo
4.0 out of 5 stars very good sci fi mystery book but way too short. Dec 7 2011
By A. mickles - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved this book a lot, but it was far too short, i was expecting a full length novel two hundred or three hundred pages i wish it had been that long becuase the characters and the setting in the book are very unique and the technology very exotic. I love sci fi mysteries and i really hope and pray this genere grows becuase sci fi and mystery were made for each other despite what people say to the contrary. The quality of the writing in this book is somewhat weak but, the interesting plotting, characters, and technology make up for that. The story i really wanted read was the patchwork girl and i was dissapointed to see this story was not included in this collection of short stories. what should have been done to make this book better was to collect all the short stories and put them in this volume why bother just to have three short stories and not include the others? i wish larry niven would have made more hamilton stories the character is like a blend of james bond and the invisible man who has the elements of a hard boiled detective and a secret agent.
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