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Man-Kzin Wars [Paperback]

Larry Niven , Dean Ing , Poul Anderson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1988
"Colorful characters and pulse-pounding narrative drive. Niven is a true master!"
--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Review

." . . grimly funny . . . irony and heroics. . . ." --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

Larry Niven (left) is the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of such classics as Ringworld, The Integral Trees, and Destiny's Road. He has also collaborated with both Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes on The Legacy of Heorot, Beowulf's Children, and the bestselling Dream Park series. He lives in Chatsworth, California.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle were the joint winners of the 2005 Robert A. Heinlein Award. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Ummmmm...... Avoidable Nov. 21 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was vaguely interesting. It is actually three seperate stories. None of the stories are connected other than through a common theme of a long term war between the Humans of Earth and the Kzin civilization.
The idea is a good one. The Kzin are a catlike race that has become the rulers of all they survey. The premise is that they are raised from birth to fight. Very aggressive. They always think it is better to kill the unknown rather than try to understand it.
However, the execution of the idea didn't work out so well. The first story was pretty good. Short, but good. It should have been a book by itself. It would have been a great starting point for a series. I even read the second book in the series just in case....
The second and third stories were not very good. I read about 30 pages in the second story. It felt like work to read it. I kept trying to come up with excuses to not read it. Finally, I gave up and skipped to the third story. Same thing.... A couple of pages in it and I closed the book and put it in the trade in pile.
Anyway. Use your own judgement. Read a few pages of the second story. It is a majority of the book anyway.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Man Meets his Match! June 8 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have to warn readers of this novel! You will become addicted! Prepare yourself to buy all books in the Man Kzin war series!
Humankind is still in the infancy of type 2 civilization and is still lumbering around in Reaction Mass Relativistic Starships, not having discovered how to manipulate gravity yet. At least we have learned to control our own predatory inclination toward war. Or so we thought.
In the middle of nowhere, humans encounter a technological race. Assumptions about star faring civilizations nearly cost us our hides, literally. The Kzin are not only aggressive, they are carnivorous. Man learns war all over.
Larry Niven uses the concept of parallel evolution to create a world in which the Great Cats, not primates, evolve into intelligence. The Kzin bring back the ancient battle between primitive man and the saber tooth. and the excitement of the hunt.. Only this time the cat has Gravity Polarizer starships! This novel is only the beginning of the fun! read on!
Niven does not use a progressive time line in his novels. These are individual, albeit connected stories of the Man Kzin Wars. The characters might or might not know or associate with one another, and the series encompasses long periods of time.
But once you read the first book, and get hooked on the rest, You will never look at kitty the same way again!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable. April 20 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Kzinti are a sentient race of spacefarers of similar intelligence
to man, with a similarly evolved technology, who are evolved from
carnivorous hunting cats, rather than omnivorous monkeys. As such,
they are a warrior culture, valuing strength and expertise at
violence, rather than intellect. (So just HOW did they evolve that
spacefaring technology? Good question, and one that isn't
answered.)
This book is the first in a series of collections of
stories about the interactions of humanity and the kzinti in a world
created by Larry Niven, but in which he allows other writers to
create. The first story in this book is by Niven himself, the original
story of the first contact between humanity and kzinti. At the
beginning of this story, humanity has only recently developed space
travel, and has for centuries been so peaceful that most cannot even
imagine participating in violence. In spite of this, they survive
their first encounter with the warrior kzinti, and learn from the
encounter that they cannot remain fanatically pacifist if they wish to
survive in the universe.
There are two problems with this story:
one being that I find it highly dubious that such totally domesticated
people would be able to switch the mental gears required to defend
themselves successfully quickly enough, and the other that, frankly, I
find the kzin more "human" than the humans at the outset.

The next two stories are by Poul Anderson and Dean Ing, respectively,
and they are, frankly, better than the introductory story by
Niven. Still, while this is an enjoyable read, it's not a particularly
impressive one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like I say about most Niven stuff: Utterly cool. July 23 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the future, an antidepressant-pacified and docile humanity, (sound familiar? Look around), goes into massive culture shock when the first aliens they meet don't even attempt contact, but only try to kill them from the getgo. Once again, utterly cool, and I agree with the message I think that is embedded in these stories: Don't get TOO comfortable in peacetime, and DON'T start believing that you're safe, or it'll come back around again and get you!!! WWI, the war to end all wars!!!!???? WWII anybody? It'll happen again and again, as Niven nimbly demonstrates. Plus the Kzinti themselves are vastly interesting creatures, because you have to wonder how a society based solely on violence and dominance rituals remains stable enough to conquer space, and then keep it. Read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Start of a neverending story... Feb. 22 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Watch out monkey boys! This is the first book of a still growing series. Short stories, many of them linked by events or characters, showing the Man-Kzin Wars, how they started and who won them. A lot of the stories also deal with the Kzin alone, as many of the later stories DO show how the Kzin became a space-traveling race of warriors. Many of the shorts have been collected into full novels. Get the whole series. Some stories you can't help but read again and again, yet a few I can't re-read because I feel pity or even pain at some of the endings. Remember, the stories are about war and some of the author's hold nothing back, with very realistic plots and battle scenes.
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