Long Arm of Gil Hamilton Mass Market Paperback – Oct 12 1986
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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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.
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.
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.
If you're just dying to get all the known space stories and similar stuff, there might be a simpler way to find them collected, but if you're old enough to remember these Del Rey paperbacks, there's something special about a stack of them on the bookshelf, and sitting down with one and finishing it in one fell swoop. They're the right length, he's a great author in an unusual way. His writing 'voice' is almost invisible, and he manages to dump the information in interesting ways and craft characters we care enough about to keep us reading. From that standpoint the Gil Hamilton stuff is possibly his best work.