Known Space is the huge area of the galaxy in which man has explored, though not necessarily settled. In this vast area events occur that are filled with intrigue, wonder and adventure. In Howie's very unusual spacecraft has developed a fault that might require some canny thought to fix it. In <Wait It Out> the hero is marooned on Pluto trapped in an eternal vigil that may never end in rescue. In <The Jigsaw Man> Lew Knowles bemoans the unfairness of both fate and the law, but will he escape both? Niven has a knack for entertaining his readers by including the surprising and unusual. Of course I cannot give you any examples as that would spoil the book.
This is a collection of thirteen short stories, but has a little of the feel of a novel. Niven has invented a future history for mankind stretching from the 20th Century to the 31st. and all of these stories fit into that imagined chronicle. Some of these tales refer to one another, and others refer to other stories in this series that are published in other books. The book has a time line showing the major 'historical' events and most of the stories Niven has written in this series. This volume is arranged in time line order so the reader gets a sense of progression and development as he moves through the book.
The best stories in this volume are and <Cloak of Anarchy>. The first gets my vote because of its wide-eyed, aghast humor and the second because of its relevant social comment. The least interesting are <The Coldest Place> and <The Borderland of Sol>. <The Coldest Place> is Niven's first published story and unfortunately lacks plot. Niven explains in his introduction that he thought of rewriting it but eventually decided against that idea. At 47 pages <The Borderland of Sol> is by far the longest tale in the book and unfortunately the quasi-scientific hoo-ha bored me.
If you like this book, which on the whole I did, you will probably also enjoy Neutron Star, Protector, The World of Ptavvs (Tales of known space), Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld) all of which are in this future history series.