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RINGWORLD [Mass Market Paperback]

Larry Niven
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 12 1979
Pierson's puppeteers, strange, three-legged, two-headed aliens, have discovered an immense structure in a hitherto unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders of such a structure, the puppeteers set about assembling a team consisting of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, an alien not unlike an eight-foot-tall, red-furred cat, to explore it. The artefact is a vast circular ribbon of matter, some 180 million miles across, with a sun at its centre - the Ringworld. But the expedition goes disastrously wrong when the ship crashlands and its motley crew faces a trek across thousands of miles of the Ringworld's surface.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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In Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven created Known Space, a universe in the distant future with a distinctive and complicated history. The centre of this universe is Ringworld, an expansive hoop-shaped relic 1 million miles across and 600 million miles in circumference that is home to some 30 trillion diverse inhabitants. As in his past novels, Niven's characters in The Ringworld Throne spend their time unravelling the complex problems posed by their society. AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Larry Niven was born in California in 1938 and studied mathematics at Washburn University, Kansas. His first published science-fiction story was 'The Coldest Place' in 1964 and he immediately established himself as a significant figure in the science-fiction world, winning four Hugos for short fiction. Ringworld is the most important novel in his future history, Tales of Known Space sequence. He has also collaborated, most notably with Jerry Pournelle on The Mote in God's Eye, Oath of Fealty, Inferno, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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In the nighttime heart of Beirut, in one of a row of general-address transfer booths, Louis Wu flicked into reality. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things that make you go hmm.... Jan. 31 2004
Some sci-fi stories make psychological and social exploration their dominant them, others focus on scientific/technological themes. "Ringworld" has both elements, but it is unquestionably the scientific/technological that gives this story its strength. The heart this work is the presentation of the "Ringworld" itself, a manufactured world millions of times bigger than Earth, a technological accomplishment truly mind-boggling in its sheer size and audacity.
A huge part of any sci-fi stories' strength is what I call the "what if?" factor, the introduction of a new, or freshly presented, idea that really gives you food for thought. Niven's development of Ringworld itself and his idea of luck as a sort of psychic power has succeeded in this respect.
I give "Ringworld" 4 stars: it's good, but not THAT good---it's the concept of the Ringworld itself that gives the story its real strength. I think the character development, though adequate for the book's purpose, could have been stronger. I was also a little non-plussed with the powerful sphere of influence finally attributed to "luck."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true science-fiction masterpiece and series Feb. 17 2004
By Anthony
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The first time I read "Ringworld" was when I was in high school and I still own it and have read it, along with the rest of the series, several times. It is definitely that enthralling! I have placed it alongside other works of this type such as "Cryptonomicon", "Snow Crash", "Neuromancer", "Foundation", "Darkeye: Cyber Hunter", etc. Each as intriguing and gripping in their own rights.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great classic Nov. 24 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ringworld is a marvellously inventive story - two humans and two Aliens, a cariverous, Cat-like kzin and a herbiverous puppeteer - set out to explore a vast world built in a ring around a sun, with a surface area of billions of square miles on which all kinds of societies can flourish. Niven is a trained mathematician, and it makes the story more satisfying that the maths are worked out plausibly. It deserves its many awards for sheer non-stop inventiveness and action. The characters are plausible and fascinating, too. There is a website "Known space", devoted to Niven's works, if anybody doesn't know, and a brilliant new book of the wars of humans and Kzin, The Wunder War, set in the same universe, published recently. There have been two sequels to "Ringworld" published and another due out soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but I wanted more. Dec 22 2003
By foneman
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked this book a lot. Niven's aliens are some of the most creative I have ever encountered in s.f., particularly Nessus. However the story should have been much longer and more fleshed out. I hope I'm not over "Tolkienized", but I like background and explanations. Also, the author needed to make me care more about the characters. Still, it was a lot of fun and I plan to read Ringworld Engineers.
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By debeehr
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The great thing about Ringworld is--you guessed it--the ringworld. The concepts of a world that is a ring, the huge size of said world, and the problems such a world might have are interesting and creative concepts, worthy of science fiction at its best. Too bad the characters are all one-dimensional and shallow. Louis Wu is a non-entity. Teela is unbelievable and the concept behind her (her hereditary luck) falls apart when you consider the fact that, even if luck *were* hereditary in some capacity, there's no reason to assume that she would be lucky in anything but reproduction (thus the whole premise of her luck being godlike and all-powerful immediately falls apart). Speaker-to-Animals is not an integrated character; he demonstrates ferocity and reasonableness by turns when the plot demands him to, not as developed character traits. The puppeteer Nessus is perhaps the most interesting character and I would have liked to see more of the puppeteers. This book was also clearly written pre-feminism (notice Teela's instant and unquestioning acceptance of a life of female slavery with the Seeker, the fact that Teela's reason for inclusion is solely because she is lucky, not that she has a useful skill to offer; that Teela follows because she loves Louis, not out of curiosity or interest; the fact that the Kzin and the puppeteers are species with non-sentient females; Prillar as ship's (...); comments such as "Every woman is born with a tasp," and so on.) There are some interesting ideas here, and some cool concepts to play with, but it would be nice, just once, to run across a hard-core science fiction book that did as good a job developing the characters as the science.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A science fiction classic... Aug. 26 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
which is very heavy on the "science" part of it.
Niven is a master of ideas: this novel alone touches on solutions to overpopulation, the possibility that luck is an inherited trait and a solid ring the size of Earth's orbit around another star. All his works tend to feature grand or unusual concepts: he also writes about the use of organ banks as capital punishment, a habitable ring of gas around a neutron star, and the effects of other worlds' environments on the human form itself. These ideas are always wonderful and fascinating, and they are always the focus of his stories.
This, unfortunately, results in a decided lack of depth in most of his characters. This can especially be seen in "Ringworld": while his characters are evolved further in the sequels (which I emphatically recommend reading!), none of them are particularly interesting in this work. Granted, Teela (the genetically-lucky woman) is <em>supposed</em> to be shallow, but the other characters aren't much better, despite the fact that Louis is two hundred years old and the alien Nessus is older and more intelligent than any living human.
Niven's treatment of his characters is not a fatal flaw: this work is fun and the concepts will stagger you, and many of his other stories are much better. He does extremely well with short stories (check out Crashlander and Flatlander, among many others), and his collaborations with Jerry Pournelle are outstanding. Pournelle's work, generally uninspiring (at least to me) benefit from Niven's grand ideas; and Niven does very well leaving many of the character interactions to his colleagues.
I do recommend this book to any science-fiction fan, or anyone who finds the title concept fascinating; but it is most definitely not literary in any sense of the word.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ringworld
One of those timeless books that is as relevant in its message then as it still is today... couldn't put it down
Published 19 months ago by vicky fanjoy
4.0 out of 5 stars Confusing but Good
I enjoyed this book very much even though there were many parts where I found myself not quite understanding what the author was saying. Read more
Published on May 27 2011 by B. Went
5.0 out of 5 stars I, too, found "Ringworld" a truly ingenious series
Just the pure scientific thought that went behind the so-called construction of this massive ring about a lesser-magnitude star is absolutely incredible, even without the storyline... Read more
Published on June 16 2004 by Eric
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute genius!
I rank Larry Niven up there with the other great science-fiction authors. His "Ringworld" books adding themselves to works by other such sci-fi masters: "Childhood's... Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Christopher
1.0 out of 5 stars What the heck was this?
I heard all kinds of good things about this book, so I decided to give it a try. Wow. The characters are somewhat thinner than cardboard, the writing is childlike, and very, very... Read more
Published on June 2 2004 by barbre
2.0 out of 5 stars A complete waste of time...
This book is a fine example of the kind of scifi I don't like. It's completely nonsensical(is that a word?) and incoherent. Read more
Published on May 27 2004 by LT Sharpe
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest Work of all time.
Ringworld is by far the best book I have ever read, that along with its sequel are my absolute favorite works from any author, throughout all time.
Insane? Maybe, Exadurate? Read more
Published on Sept. 8 2003 by Dan Nemirovsky
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