- Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First edition (April 1 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765341026
- ISBN-13: 978-0765341020
- Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.1 x 17.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 136 g
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #275,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ringworld's Children Mass Market Paperback – Mar 24 2005
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“After a decade, Niven returns to that marvel of engineering, a world consisting of an enormous circling star. . . . Action and clever world building should captivate newcomers to Ringworld, while returners will appreciate picking up loose ends from the previous Ringworld volumes.” ―Booklist on Ringworld's Children
“A writer of supreme talent.” ―Tom Clancy
“Great story telling is still alive in science fiction because of Larry Niven, and his finest work is the Ringworld series.” ―Orson Scott Card on Ringworld's Children
“An involving and engrossing addition to one of science fiction's grand sagas.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Ringworld's Children
“Niven's world has an inner logic grounded in science.” ―Entertainment Weekly on Ringworld's Children
“For three and a half decades, nobody's done it better than Larry Niven. Ringworld's Children is his latest triumphant gift to his fans, filled with characters we've grown to love, set in a world we're dying to explore further, and brimming with an extravagant, insightful imagination that seems to grow sharper and stronger with every passing year.” ―Steven Barnes on Ringworld's Children
“If there isn't a Ringworld out there somewhere, we ought to build one someday. Until then we have Larry Niven's. A rich and fantastic story.” ―Fred Saberhagen on Ringworld's Children
“A marvelous book packed with enough mind-boggling ideas to keep a dozen lesser writers working for years.” ―David Gerrold on Ringworld's Children
“Another fascinating and intriguing look at Ringworld, its implications, and its history, all while telling a fast-moving page turner.” ―L. E. Modesitt, Jr. on Ringworld's Children
“Ringworld's Children is the most exciting Ringworld novel since the first, which makes it one of Larry Niven's best ever” ―Spider Robinson on Ringworld's Children
About the Author
Larry Niven is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces, and fantasy novels including the Magic Goes Away series. His Beowulf's Children, co-authored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. He lives in Chatsworth, California.See all Product description
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This is the story of how Louis Wu's hand-picked successor to the Ringworld "throne" preserves the Ringworld from the threat of annihilation by human cops, kzinti warcats and other folk we thought we had learned to like. The ARM agents here, for example, aren't upset when their antimatter tools blast a Manhattan-sized hole in the floor of the Ringworld, jeopardizing the lives of the Ringworld's 30 trillion inhabitants. The ARMs we meet note they can still learn a lot studying the deserted, desiccated shell if that happens. It doesn't, of course, but Larry, you've sure come a long ways in your attitude towards cops since the days of Gil the Arm.
Like Robert Heinlein in his last half dozen books, Niven has also taken to recycling old ideas from earlier books, even ideas his characters rejected then, and using them in "Children":
- Ship-eating monsters in hyperspace, rejected as a possibility in "Borderland of Sol," may turn out to be real. (Beowulf Schaeffer was right and Carlos Wu was wrong? Who'd have thought it?) So Puppeteers are right to fear hyperspace.
- Teela Brown's fabulous luck, discredited in "Ringworld Engineers," may be a matter of lucky genes after all.
- The anti-matter solar system in "Neutron Star" turns out to still be around.
- The "Longshot," the experimental advanced ship from "Neutron Star" and "Ringworld" turns out to still be around.
- Schizophrenic cops, an idea from the one original story in "Crashlander," appear again. (Larry, what is it about you and cops?)
- Carlos Wu's fabulous autodoc, also from "Crashlander" or maybe from "Ringworld Engineers," continues to play a starring role.
There are half a dozen other references from earlier works that I saw, and likely a lot more that I missed.
Niven's strong suit has always been ideas and the extrapolation of ideas, combined with good plotting. He's never been a strong character author, and he has the annoying habit of paying more attention to the scenery than to character development. That's an ongoing problem with this short novel, too. And an unusually large number of characters are abandoned by the author, having served there immediate function to the plot. (Larry, what was the purpose of having Louis Wu and his motely crew meet the Giraffe People? And that's Larry's pun, not mine.)
And spare me any more rishathra jokes. Please.
Niven continues to do one thing consistently well: Protectors, the folk who probably built the Ringworld, are mostly superintelligent, in addition to having some other skills. How can a writer of normal intelligence, writing to a reader of normal intelligence, portray believably a superintelligent being? It takes more than one technique. Niven uses several effectively, perhaps more effectively than he has done in the last two Ringworld books. It's the best and most effective aspect of this novel.
The motivation of Protectors is less well, or at least less consistently, developed. You knew - come one, admit it - that the Ringworld would have a surviving original Pak Protector. But how is that Proserpina is still alive? And why did Bram - the former occupant of the Ringworld "throne," killed at the end of that book, let the Ringworld deteriorate to its present sad condition?
Still and all, this is an entertaining yarn. Niven ends it ambiguously, with the Ringworld safer, if not safe, and enough satisfying new ideas to give a reader something to chew on. There's enough trickiness, plots-within-plots and general scheming to keep a reader guessing. And only Louis Wu and Nessus have the means to return to the Ringworld.
I'd expected this to be the story where Louis Wu meets Carlos Wu, who is almost certainly his father (see: "Crashlander") but that didn't happen. Stay tuned.
Is this a classic Niven story? Nope. But it's something of a return to form after disappointments likes "The Burning City." Strongly recommended for "Ringworld" fans. This is not the book for newcomers to Niven's universe; start with "Ringworld" the novel. If you're not a science fiction fan, you should probably skip this one.
For a good many years Larry kept his word about not writing about Ringworld and wrote about Smoke Rings, Alien invasions, and monsters-on-speed. Then he "licensed" out his Kzinti aliens for the various war novels. Finally in the late 1990s Larry wrote "Ringworld Throne". I didn't like the novel but gave it a fair review. Face it, Hillary Clinton could have ghost written "Throne" and I would have given it a fair review.
Well, "Children" is just as good as Ringworld and Engineers. Louis Wu returns fit, tanned, and rested. He is a delight. Larry keeps the Puppetteer "Hindmost", Chmee's son, a new protector called Tunesmith, and introduces us to both new Pac Protectors and personnel from ARM.
Larry did a great job of writing. The origins of the auto-doc that saved Louis Wu's life is expained. The technology for the uber-auto-doc didn't exist back in 1970 when Larry first wrote the Ringworld Novel. This auto-doc is copied to do many wonderous things.
Larry also explains the Ringworld a lot better. The Pac are now fully extablished as the rightful guardians of the Ringworld. The ram-jets used for control of the Ringworld in the plain of orbit were to be replaced. Why they were not replaced is a great read. The protector Bram, killed in the previous novel, is found to have been a dreadful protector in charge of the maintenance of Ringworld.
Larry really goes to examine the quasi-culture of the Pac protectors. In many of the novels involving Pac they are merely seen as ultra-bright killing machines. However, in this novel they work together to save the Ringworld.
Yes, this time the Ringworld is threatned by ARM, the Kzin, and Outsiders. Years past I would have wanted ARM to win. However, Larry does a great job of filling in some of the blanks about the operations of ARM. The people who run ARM are not nice and a little ruthless. Imagine the UN as an all-powerful government agency with all of the caring of the IRS or Enron. A typical reader will end up wanting the allied forces of the Ringworld to win.
Larry also ties in anti-matter to the Ringworld. Where is this anti-matter found and how does it tie into Known Space? You have to go ALL THE WAY BACK TO NEUTRON STAR!!! Yep, the anti-matter of a short story in Neutron Star is tied to Ringworld. That is over a 35 year gap in story telling.
Larry keeps the natives of Ringworld out of the action to a lessor extent. Why? Well, breeders are sort of like pets. There is a full war going on in the Ringworld star system. When massive forces fight, the only thing that happens is lots of innocents are killed. Anti-matter is nasty and ARM has a big supply of it.
I'm not going to give away much about this novel except these two facts: Larry pretty much takes any possibility for a Ringworld follow up out of the picture but Larry leaves open the possibility of lots of new Know Space adventures. Read the novel and find out why!!!
Larry, if you ever read this review I want to tell you that "Children" is lots better than "Throne". Oh, I'm no longer a "broke" college student so I can finally buy you and Dr. Pournelle that good dinner.
Amazon.com readers and Larry Niven fans, You will like "Children", trust me.