Read Ringworld by Larry Niven Online


Pierson's puppeteers, three-leg two-head aliens find immense structure in unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders, they send a team of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, eight-foot red-fur catlike alien. Ringworld is 180 million miles across, sun at center. But the expedition crashes, and crew face disastrously long trek....

Title : Ringworld
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780575073395
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Ringworld Reviews

  • Katie
    2019-02-03 13:32

    A very interesting concept....BUT, I have to get on my soapbox for a minute. After reading a few of his books, I have to say that Larry Niven's attitude towards women, what they are like and what they are capable of, is sadly lacking. Though his male characters seem to be pretty well fleshed out (human--even if they are alien--fallible and interesting), his female characters are sadly one-dimensional. It seems to me that most the female character in his books are either clueless, idiot savants, helpless before the sexual attraction of the main character(s), or all the above. Ok, I'm off my soapbox now.Though this little issue nearly spoils it for me, the convoluted plot is well thought-out and the concept of the novel is interesting...blah blah blah...I will say that it's still worth reading. With a grain of salt. In response to all those that say that Niven should be excused for essentially being an old man... and for being born in the first half of the last century...I'd like to point out the following: A) This book was written in 1970, well after the feminist movement had taken root. B) There is a vast array of male sci-fi authors, both contemporary with Mr. Niven and writing earlier, that don't have this same issue. **cough cough Tolkien cough Douglas Adams cough Frank Herbert cough**. Excuse me. :)C) This is my opinion and a warning to other feminist-types (lukewarm or otherwise), not an attack on Mr. Niven's character nor overall ability as an author. Kind of. D) That being said, it's frustrating that an important character in this interesting novel would be so incredibly (and irritatingly) one-dimensional. Just saying.

  • Baelor
    2019-02-01 09:47

    I started this book expecting an awesome experience -- it won the Hugo AND Nebula awards, after all.Too bad it was a hot mess. The smile is because the book was lighthearted.What to say of Niven's prose, other than that it is horrible? The dialog is stilted; often it is impossible to tell what the characters are talking about because their references are unclear or new information necessary to understand WTF is going on passes through the cardboard cutout/protagonist's head only after the page-long conversation has ended. The narrative is equally confusing; at times it was impossible to visualize what was happening (e.g. with the shadow square wire) or what anything looked like.The protagonists have nonexistent emotional ranges, and when they do emote (each always in the same way, since all four are completely one-dimensional), the reader is told through adverbs and adjectives exactly how they feel (how many times is "fear" used in reference to Nessus, for example), eliminating any sense of complexity. Furthermore, there is no wonder. Everything is prosaic, which is a problem when the discovery and exploration of the unknown is the focal point of the book. When they finally see Ringworld, we are told that Louis will "remember this" (99), but it rings completely hollow since no visual impression or sense of awe is communicated in any depth. In almost every case, their response to the titanic and dangerous Ringworld is best described as dull surprise."OMG!!! An enormous artificial structure 600,000,000 miles long built by an unknown race a really long time ago!!!"Characterization is not much better. Louis Wu is two hundred years old, which has no consequence or manifestation at all other than internal reflections on how he is two hundred years old. We have Nessus, a two-headed alien, who changes from an intelligent coward with instances of bravery to an intelligent coward with instances of bravery who speaks an additional language. Speaker-To-Animals, a member of the feline Kzin species, experiences a similarly fundamental character change. All of them have no motivation whatsoever for anything besides a generic racial survival motive (supernovae will wipe everything out unless they can develop fast enough space flight) that is never explored in any detail or complicated in any way.The exception is perhaps Teela Brown, a young, naïve, lucky girl, whose development is obvious because Louis explicitly describes the inane ways in which she has changed. Why not SHOW us? Not that her character changed in a good way: she went from being oblivious eye candy for Louis to less-oblivious eye candy for another man. The only other woman, by the way, is a near-bald prostitute with the unfortunate name of Halrloprillalar Hotrufan. She serves essentially no plot function, but does often "touch Louis here and there," inducing the vaguest orgasms I have ever encountered in literature. As an illustration of gender in Ringworld, I will leave you with this gem:"He got very uncomfortable and stopped sleeping with me. He thinks you own me, Louis.""Slavery?""Slavery for women, I think. You'll tell him you don't own me, won't you?Louis felt pain in his throat. "It might save explanations if I just sold you to him. If that's what you want.""You're right. And it is."Niven's Enlightened WomanThe plot is not much better. Nessus the puppeteer rounds up three other crewmates haphazardly in order to explore Ringworld for unclear reasons. Then they crash-land on the surface. The rest of the novel is spent on Ringworld, a place so big and empty that it is dreadfully boring. The four leads fly around. Stuff happens that does not move the plot forward at all, or, worse, is discernibly contrived so that the plot does advance in the most mundane way possible without any real character growth or revelation. Nothing is explored in any depth and there is no payoff whatsoever. The Ringworld is ultimately irrelevant in every way, (view spoiler)[except for Teela, who saunters off with her Conan the Barbarian knockoff boytoy in order to 'grow as a person' or something (hide spoiler)]. The books ends with a whimper and little resolution. What makes this so ludicrous is that an enormous terraformed Ringworld (view spoiler)[on which civilization has regressed to hunter-gatherer groups (hide spoiler)] should be interesting in se. Niven's genius lies in executing marvelous premises in the most mind-numbingly dull and intellectually sterile ways possible.Niven touches upon some interesting ideas -- birth control, homogenization of cultures with increased contact, FTL travel, introduction of non-native species to a new environment (the Slaver sunflowers), breakdown of civilization -- but does nothing more with them. Most of the actual discussions about these issues take place in half a page and never resurface. There is essentially no world-building. Various alien races exist and have different dispositions; they are advanced. That is all we get. On Ringworld, we learn that (view spoiler)[a mold -- yes -- has spread over the structure and broken down all the technology, causing societal collapse. How do the people live? Is there a historical or cultural legacy? What are the detailed religious beliefs? How do the inhabitants respond to the infinite horizons? Have they noticed the enormous storm or the Ring material poking through? What is their conception of time? Are there any advanced remnants? What was the pre-fall civilization like? Ringworld manages to avoid providing answers to any of these questions, and more! (hide spoiler)] For a novel about "big ideas," there was a disappointing dearth of them.Visual representation of the bountiful depth of RingworldPerhaps the most egregious flaw of the novel is the malignant plot tumor of Teela's luck. By the end, the reader learns that (view spoiler)[Teela was bred for "luck" and her luck drove the entire plot, as Teela was meant to come to and stay on Ringworld (hide spoiler)]. First, how unnecessary. How more meaningful would her journey have been if she had started young and innocent and ended with her naïveté eliminated because she had matured into a real woman with real agency? Instead, any significance and growth is ripped away from us as Niven piles on the pseudo-fatalistic nonsense for pages and pages WITH NO PAYOFF.Second, what an absolutely garbage idea. Fate would have been more plausible because at least it is not empirically falsifiable. Niven studied math, so he should know better, and indeed he does: At one point Louis states, "All he's really found is the far end of a normal curve. Probability theory says you exist...Lady Luck has no memory at all" (126). Exactly. So why do technologically-advanced, intelligent characters maintain to the end of the book that Teela is extraordinarily lucky and that past INDEPENDENT events were somehow predictable because she has ALWAYS been lucky? They all know it is mathematically impossible, and no elaboration or explanation is ever given.Seriously, what am I missing?This book was just BAD. Niven does get props for the cool idea of the Ringworld and the few mentions of its history (view spoiler)[including some sort of ruling caste in floating castles (hide spoiler)], but nothing else. I cannot imagine why this was well-received; I can only assume the reviewers like the idea and ignored everything else. Just read the plot summary and be proud that you have experienced everything this book has to offer.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Kemper
    2019-02-04 06:46

    I’d wanted to read this because I’m a fan of the Halo video games, and I’d heard that it was a big influence on those. I gotta say that I’d have liked it more if the Master Chief would have shown up and started chucking some plasma grenades around.Set in 2855, human Louis Wu is recruited by an alien named Nessus to go on a hazardous mission to explore a strange structure that rings a distant star. Another alien called Speaker-To-Animals from a warrior race apparently descended from some really tough tomcats is also recruited. A human woman named Teela joins the group almost by accident.When they get to their destination, they find a giant ring with a habitable inner surface that has an area many times greater than the earth. After an accident strands them on the world, they start exploring to find a way to get their ship back out into space.This had some really big sci-fi ideas in it, most notably the Ringworld itself. But this is one of those books where the social attitudes of the time it was written have become really painful to read. Because even though it’s supposed to be 2855, the women in this book exist only to: 1) Sleep with Louis. 2) Be good luck charms. 3) Act as ship’s whores on long space flights.You’ve come a long way, baby!I generally try to avoid judging a book by the era it was written, but 1970 couldn’t have been this bad, could it? And if so, I’d expect a guy who could come up with concepts this big to have put a little thought into gender roles in 800 years. Plus, while the Ringworld idea is pretty clever, I found the rest of the sci-fi kind of crude and dated. Maybe that’s just because there’s been 40 years of material since it was published, but I didn’t get much enjoyment out of reading this.

  • Apatt
    2019-02-06 07:41

    Ringworld is definitely a sci-fi classic, a monumental achievement in world building. Any sci-fi aficionados who don’t like it should be ashamed of themselves.Argh! It’s never pleasant to go against the conventional wisdom but over at PrintSF (online SF discussion community) I see a lot of comments along the line of “I really want to like this book because everybody say it’s great, what am I missing?” I think a lot of people try too hard to like certain books and I don’t know why, it does not entail that you are wrong or even that you are right and everybody else is wrong. You like what you like, leave it at that.OK, enough of the irrelevant opening. There is no denying that Ringworld is a major work in the history of sci-fi. A ginormous artificial ring-shaped planet encircling a star is an amazing concept, especially as Larry Niven is able to back up the concept with real world science. Gravity generated from the centrifugal force of the planet’s programmed rotation speed, an inner ring of shadow squares to create nights, a weird "horizon" due to the shape of the planet etc. These are mind blowing concepts and very influential for later generations of sci-fi authors.The Ringworld itself is a monumental sci-fi creation.Where it falls down for me is the story and the characters. Having built this amazing world I don’t think the events that take place on it make for a very compelling narrative. The characters do get into a lot of trouble but their adventures do not read like edge of the seat thrills. I am having a lot of trouble explaining why the plot does not excite me here, there are many wild inventions here which are almost as awesome as the basic premise itself but I just felt detached from the narrative. Certainly part of it is the characterization, characterization is not indispensable for good sci-fi, the likes of Asimov and Clarke were mostly able to get away with quite perfunctory character developments. However, I think they told very riveting stories with the right pacing and at modest page counts. Niven’s characters in Ringworld are quite colorful but I did not care for any of them and did not give a monkey whether any or all of them snuff it through the course of the narrative. One problem I perceive is that Niven uses the sci-fi trope of each alien species having one type of overriding character trait. The kzinti are all warlike, the puppeteers are all cowards etc. Why then are humans so diverse in personalities? Real aliens may turn out that way I don’t know but it is hard to believe in a species with one personality. Consequently the alien characters come across as a little “one note”, but come to think of it the human characters are kind of “one note” too. They don’t feel like vivid, complex believable characters, they are just there to drive the plot. By the end of the book I was feeling quite impatient to be done with it.For “Big Dumb Object” books I much prefer Clarke’sRendezvous with Rama, the characters are equally flat but the book somehow feels alive and the sense of wonder is more palpable. As for Larry Niven I am a big fan of his collaborations withJerry Pournelle, especiallyThe Mote in God's Eye which is one of my all time favorites.Ringworld is not “bad” by any stretch of imagination, it’s me, I’m the bad one.Rating:5 Stars for the Ringworld planet.3 Stars for the storyline2 Stars for the characters= 3.3333 (etc.) neutron starsNote:Another Ringworld art, this depicts a view from the surface of the planet:Ringworld's "horizon" is interesting to imagine. Given the shape of the planet it does not really have a horizon! The above artwork is probably inaccurate though because the Ringworld is many times the size of Earth (600 million miles in diameter, one million miles wide) so you probably would not be able to see so much any of the upward curvature. I am not sure what you would see but it would look awesome and weird!

  • Greg
    2019-02-01 14:32

    I can't believe this won three big awards. The story is about as interesting as the trade war minutia of Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars. In non-geeky terms, not very interesting. Actually as I went out to buy a cup of coffee this morning I thought that if Larry Niven had teamed up with George Lucas the prequel episodes of Star Wars could have been totally ruined, and maybe episodes 4-6 could have been reworked too to make them completely insipid and unwatchable. How? Well, Larry Niven seems to be really interested in stopping times for ships going really fast. For example he has some ship that can travel hundreds of light years in like three minutes or something like that, but then it takes months to slow down- now if the principles of deceleration were applied to the warp-speed (or whatever it was called in Star Wars), then so much unnecessary coolness of the first three movies could be eliminated and in the time it took say for the Millennium Falcon to slow down on a mission so much extra trade details could be included. Anyway, for all of the details given to deceleration and the math involved in figuring out the size of the ringworld (for those who don't really give a shit, it's really really big), Niven knows shit about evolution which would be fine except that he ties up the whole story in selective breeding nonsense that makes no sense at all, and actually works as a cheap literary device to get the characters out of any situation they might happen to find themselves in. I know this is called Deus ex Machina, but in this context I like to call it Dungeon Master bullshit. There is really no story here, except if one thinks of a story as 340 pages of how big a fucking ring is. There are things to give the asocial and undersexed hope for the future when apparently women will be dumber than a box of rocks but very very easy, and men will have to have constant companionship (be constantly getting their rocks off with these dumber than a box of rocks women) or else they might start raping aliens (yes this is mentioned twice at least, the main character will need a companion or he might rape an alien). This makes sense though because the male lead in this story is really not much smarter than a box of rocks either, we are told he is smart, but he's not. He's a hedonistic moron who constantly needs to be entertained and have his physical needs met like a hyperactive infant. When in one of the only scenes where something really happens, this idiot is in a dangerous situation he quickly starts whining to himself that there is no entertainment. Maybe this isn't so far fetched a future man though. Why two stars? Because for some reason the first 70 pages were actually kind of fun, but once the idea of this big ring was fully introduced there was nothing left in this book except for a plot line that was dumber than a box of dung.

  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    2019-01-18 11:29

    Not much I can say about this. It blew my mind.In order for you to truly appreciate Ringworld you would have to mentally backtrack forty-odd years. Big Ideas in Science Fiction are a dime a dozen. Today.But in 1970…?Perhaps Niven’s vision upstaged his characters. Perhaps. But I could still lose myself on the ring. It fascinated me then; it fascinates me now. This novel made authors sit up and pay attention to just how big you could think if you really applied your imagination. Also, I’ve spent years wracking my mind trying to think just how that horizon must look, curving up like that for millions of miles…Hugo Award – 1970Nebula Award – 1971Locus Award – 1971RespectLoved it thenLove it nowFavourites

  • TK421
    2019-01-20 09:18

    On Luis Wu’s 200th birthday, he is approached by Nessus, a quasi-equine alien species knows as Puppeteers because of the two heads sprouting from their backs that are tethered by strands of skin, to undertake a remarkable journey. Being 200 years old, Luis has seen his share of the universe, so he is a bit skeptical when Nessus asks him to join a force of beings to explore the mysterious Ringworld. So far so good. Enter the rest of the cast. First off, I have no problem with how any alien is created. By my count the possibility of alien life, and what these beings may look like, are limitless. So when Speaker-to-Animals, a Kzinti, is aptly described as being lion-like and ferocious I dig it; likewise, when Teela Brown is brought on board as the token (human) female with sexy attributes, I again dig it, but with a shameful misogynistic sneer. (Let’s be honest for a minute, folks. There are plenty of times in 60s, 70s, and even 80s science fiction where the female beauty is there for nothing more than sexual deviance; it was a curse of the times.) But I do have a problem with how this quartet came to be. For my money, I wanted more details of how these species interact, their histories, and even what they are like within their own cultures. Granted, Niven does give some of these details throughout the book, but, I’m greedy, and I wanted more…okay most of the book is about the interactions of these four, but I still wanted more backstory. So the story itself. Well, you see…uhmm….how about this: Plot: Mysterious sphere (reminiscent of a Dyson sphere) is floating through space and is begging to be explored. I wish I could tell you more; alas, there really isn’t more to tell. You see this is not an adventure novel of space exploration or alien world exploration. This novel is all about ideas. If you’re the type of reader that likes to have a solid plotline throughout a story, with nice resolutions at the end, you’re going to be disappointed. There are far too many questions that never get addressed again after being introduced, and the biggie question of them all: Who are the Ringworld Engineers? is never given. Basically, RINGWORLD is a novel about the characters insofar as the Reader is allowed to understand them. For instance, there is a wonderful bit of cosmic politics about why humans, and not the Kzinti, were given the knowledge of hyperdrives from the Outsiders. (Think war war war….kind of ironic when you stop to think about it). Furthermore, the mere scope of the Ring is mindboggling. The radius of the sphere is set at one astronomical unit; that is: 93,000,000 miles. Niven explores about .000001% (guesstimate only, put your calculators away) of this through his characters. Like I said, this is a story about ideas. And because this idea of a ringworld is so powerful and unique, this novel rightly deserves to be considered canonical. Just think, where do you think HALO came from? I digress.Niven had an idea with this story. Nothing more. Most of the time this would cause a novel to fall flat on its face, lose the reader…not here. It is precisely for this reason that the reader becomes trapped and awed by this story, never wanting to leave, and always searching for answers. Niven allows the reader to leave the novel with all of his ideas, and the permutations of ideas that the reader had while reading the novel…that is AWESOME! Granted, Niven did buckle. He did write a sequel ten years later (THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS) explaining some of the questions and giving all those that didn’t like the original book a nice, tidy bow as an ending. I can’t say that I’ve ever read this; I can say that I will never read this because I don’t want to lose the magic of this novel. If you liked Clarke’s RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, you’ll like RINGWORLD. If not, you best steer clear of this one. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

  • J.G. Keely
    2019-01-20 14:31

    Radio waves move at the speed of light. This is not particularly noticeable on Earth, but if you were at the sun, it would take eight and a half minutes for a signal to reach you, which would make a phonecall rather awkward. It would be even worse at the next closest star, Proxima Centauri, where messages take four years. Thus, the speed of light is the rate at which information moves, at which change change can propagate.But most people don't think, when watching Star Trek, that Captain Picard shouldn't be able to have a quick chat with someone back on Earth. For those who do think that, there is Hard Sci Fi. It's a subgenre where the author actually knows something about scientific theory and tries to use that knowledge to make his world seem more reasonable to other people who know something about science.It can be delightful to hear someone tell Commander Shepard that such communication is possible due to 'Quantum Entanglement', especially if you already know what that means (even if Shepard doesn't know, meaning you are now playing a character dumber than you). Thus, Hard Sci Fi is made up of a series of technological thought experiments, which can be very interesting, or very dull.For instance, you can play a fun game with the author and second-guess their ideas, which OCD aspies seem to get off on. I decided to play around a bit myself and test his repeated assertion that it would take a lot of time to populate the Ringworld, thoroughly solving overpopulation problems for a species like humans.Human beings on Earth double their population every fifty years, which is a geometric progression (x2, x4, x8, x16, x32), so that the growth gets faster and faster. The current population density of humans on the Earth is 45.3 people per square kilometer of land. Take the 6.8 billion humans on earth and move them to the ringworld (1.6×10 to the 15th square kilometers, but half of that's water), and you get eight and a half people for every million square kilometers of land. That is a lot of room to spare. But that's before we start doubling and redoubling. Since the Ringworld's land area is 1.5 million times the land area of Earth, we'd need 1.5 million times as many people to reach the same population density. We would reach a population of 1.5 million times 6.8 billion between doublings 20 and 21, which--at 50 years per doubling--is just over a thousand years; not really that long a respite, in galactic terms.And that doesn't even get into the migration rates, since, to get from one side of the ring to the other in a thousand years would require traveling 16 thousand miles per day, so you're probably starting to see both how distracting and how tedious Hard Sci Fi can be.But Niven's isn't that bad, and he rarely gets into the numbers. A lot of readers might not even consider him to be real 'Hard Sci Fi' today--he's got faster-than-light travel, after all, and without a complex explanation or anything. But if a writer wants to make an engaging adventure story, they can't let themselves get too bogged down in the Science of it all. And Niven doesn't, it's just a treat for the reader who knows what to look for--some of it's even informative.His characters are fairly straight-forward. We have a smart, introspective, science-minded guy who doesn't have a whole lot of personality. We've got distant, unusual logic alien, giant noble warrior alien, and a naive girl. It's not a bad exploration of these now-familiar tropes, even after all the intervening time.The woman I found rather annoying, in part because she reminded me of the type of girl I usually avoided at parties: someone who had been pretty and well-off her entire life and hence, never had the need to develop a personality. I much prefer people who started our weird and awkward and only became attractive later in life.But, at least Niven actually tries to explore this aspect of her character, instead of merely taking it for granted that this is how women are. I won't say his portrayal of women is ideal, she and the only other woman in the book are defined by their femininity and derive all of their power from sex. They do it somewhat knowingly, but it hardly makes for very complex characters or a challenging worldview, nor is it very 'alien'.The plot itself is passable, much more sober and well-constructed than Riverworld, but also less whimsical. It moves along at a quick pace, uncovering a few intergalactic political mysteries on the way, but we don't get a very solid conclusion at the end, so I must assume it's more of a lead-in to the next book in the series. We do get some closure, but I would have appreciated a stronger and more definitive arc.Altogether an enjoyable, unpretentious read, and it's not hard to see why it became influential in the genre. It's not going to feel revolutionary to sci fi readers, even compared to earlier works like Star Trek and the Golden-age authors, but it's a solid, well-executed piece.Comments below contain spoilers.

  • Andrea
    2019-02-13 06:24

    I'm afraid this made me want to punch Larry Niven in the stomach on the behalf of all women everywhere. Along with people who aren't so privileged that life bores them with its comforts, but mostly on behalf of women. A 180 year old man sleeping with a 20 year old woman? Just so wrong, and it keeps going more wrong. He writes things about Teela like"Her lips, he saw, were perfect for pouting. She was one of those rare, lucky women whom crying does not make ugly."It is painfully condescending, even as her power is revealed, her thinking and aware self remains enslaved to it. But I said it got worse. The females of the feline alien race on the ship are non-sentient beings whose only purpose is to have babies, and it is intimated that the puppeteers might have a similar system. We finally meet one of the Ringworld over-race whatever and it's a woman who is not too bright and there were only three women there in a crew of 36 on the spaceship she worked on so obviously she is some kind of prostitute. Why else would a woman be on a spaceship? So apart from that infuriating fact, there are sentences like "Prill tried to explain to me what happened here, as one of her crew explained to her. He had oversimplified of course." And then: "Her touch was a joy as thick as syrup. She knew a terribly ancient secret: that every women is born with a tasp, and that its power is without limit if she can learn to use it..." And she will use it to enslave and control her man, of course she will, she has no other options. Worst of all? He names one of his creatures the frumious bandersnatch. My favourite Carroll creation, I did not appreciate finding it here. The ring world is very cool, Nessus too, but I couldn't get over the anger. Still, I finished it and it kept me turning the pages, so it is now two stars as I suppose one star is for the books I just couldn't even finish.

  • Mark
    2019-01-16 09:28

    this book was silly. the ringworld was a cool idea, and the interplay between the species was intriguing, but there were a lot of strikes against this book.* anthropomorphic cat people that are fierce proud warriors; i imagine the furry contingent had a field day with this one* not much happens in the latter half of this book - mostly a lot of traveling across the ringworld* at several points there are lengthy sections where i'm unable to tell what's going on because i can't visualize the strange concept the author's pushing - for example, my conception of the shadow squares was totally f'ed. unlike cyberpunk where you can ignore descriptions of data flying around the Matrix, in ringworld these difficult-to-visualize things were integral to the plot. * the book is a mite sexist: the male characters are either hyper intelligent or hyper buff-ass (there's even a He-Man type with an oversized sword), whereas one of the female characters is a ditz with SuperLuck so she lucks her way into advantageous situations and the other is a prostitute who's only skill is using sex to control men. naturally, both have about 5 pages from their introduction to when they sleep with the protagonist. ditch this shit

  • Paul Bryant
    2019-02-02 06:21

    I have a lot of faith in science fiction but this one dented it - it's a daft cartoon of a novel in which there's this really big, you know, I mean giant big big enormous, like, world, and these aliens go there, and they droop and mumble about in it, and it's really big, and one of them looks like a carpet and the other looks like a diplodocus, and the other like an old chinaman cause you got to have an old chinaman in your far future novels, yeah. It was showered with awards but i would have showered it with something else.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-01-30 08:32

    The concept of a ringworld is wonderful - Niven's story, not so much, yet good enough to entice me back into after the mega-structure on't otherside of the universe is currently topical (if indeed, anyone could use the term 'otherside' when talking about our curving and folding universe). Great fun for sci-fi week here on goodreads.A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures most or all of its power output.TED Talk: Tabetha Boyajian · Astronomer. Tabetha Boyajian is best known for her research on KIC 8462852, a puzzling celestial body that has inspired otherwise sober scientists to brainstorm outlandish hypotheses.

  • Stevie Kincade
    2019-02-04 12:32

    Larry Niven takes a lot of shit. A lot. Without ever reading a word of his before I have heard him called a racist, a sexist pig and a dolt. If the racist statements attributed to him are true, well, that is deplorable but everything I can find about them is 2nd or 3rd hand and seems to be of fairly questionable authenticity. Even in the worst case I can enjoy a Roman Polanski or Woody Allen movie so I should be able to enjoy a Larry Niven book right? He is notthat bad! As far as the sexism goes, these are not the strongest female characters you will ever read. They get mocked pretty mercilessly by Louis Wu while he is boinking them at every available opportunity. I do have a fundamental problem with judging a work from 1969 by 2017 moral standards though. I love Heinlein and his cast of buxom babes. Something about reading Niven’s description of boobies asconical and later, another set ashigh and heavytickles the inner schoolboy in me. I’m sorry. I can read dozens of recent books without a single description of body type and size. Larry Nivengoes there . As far as Niven’s failings of hard science go, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest that the Ringworld is an impossible structure. It bothers me that a central premise of the story is that luck is a genetically inherited characteristic. What I did like is the idea of the “tasp”, a pleasure based weapon that induces instant ecstasy and eventually addiction. I thought Niven had some terrific turns of phraseher eyes pierced him like a martini oliveand some giggle inducing dialogue. I loved this exchange between Tila and Speaker-to-animals - a giant Klingon cat: Tila:Why, does that challenge your manhood?Speaker:My ability to procreate is not in question Michael Dorn could not have delivered that line better.My absolute favourite Science Fiction trope is “humans encounter massive alien object”.Rendezvous with Ramais an all-time favourite. I loved Revelation Spaceand Arrival. Ringworldleft me cold though and I think it is because Niven’s writing style is so devoid of clear description (other than his memorable recounting of the shape of the women's boobies). For the Kjin I see a race of Klingon cats. The “Puppeteers” I see a cowardly “Mr Men” type alien with 2 heads. For the Ringworld I see the image on the cover and found it very hard to visualise based on the writing. So many times while reading it I was like “what are we doing” “who are these people” “oh we are not at the thing” etc. The plot wasn’t complex but it just seemed to jump all over the place without any clear descriptions and I had to pick up what was happening from context. The actual descriptions of things were bare bones thin and I felt my attention frequently wandering. The audiobook was narrated by Tom Parker and one of the few very old Audible audiobooks (1996!) that was very well done so no problems there.

  • Guillermo
    2019-01-16 11:45

    This was a blast to read. It was great, escapist, old school science fiction at its best. It's a pretty light read, with fast moving short chapters all in single narrative. The story is a classic exploration tale taking place on an alien artefact that is one of the most amazing concepts ever imagined in my opinion. The Ringworld is an enormous artificial ribbon one million miles wide with the diameter of Earth's orbit. It's basically a partial dyson sphere. "Take Christmas ribbon, an inch wide, the kind you use to wrap presents. Set a lighted candle on a bare floor. Take fifty feet of this ribbon, and string it in a circle with a candle at the center, balancing the ribbon on edge so that the inner side catches the candlelight. (Niven, 71)"The ribbon is Ringworld and the candle is the alien sun. The inner side that cathes the lights is the habitable zone. Here's where it gets crazy: the habitable flat inner terrain has a surface area of about 3 MILLION Earth-like planets. This thing was built for some serious room. The mystery is who built this thing, and what the hell for? We follow four main characters each with a different motive on an expedition to Ringworld. The interaction between them is what really made me enjoy this book more than anything. There is a 200 year old human (in perfect physical condition due to an age extension substance called boosterspice) that has become bored with his life, a two headed, tripedal alien that comes from an extremely advanced civilization yet is painfully and comically afraid of everything, a tiger-like warrior species who has become semi docile after their species were nearly wiped out by mankind, and a young woman who is so lucky that she doesn't know what fear or pain is. The relationship between these four strangers as they try to understand each other while they simultaneously struggle to comprehend the majestic and enigmatic Ringworld, is really entertaining. I read somewhere that Niven is a master at creating aliens, and I can't disagree. Nessus (the two headed tripedal alien) is worth the price of admission alone, as he has become one of my new favorite sci fi characters ever. That strange paradox of coming from such a technologically advanced race while constantly turning itself into a ball at the slightest threat, was very fun and made me laugh out loud several times. The girl unfortunately was a really flat character that didn't really add very much except be the only other human's love interest/penis storage. I've read some criticism about whether or not Niven is sexist because he doesn't create very well rounded female characters. I dont think that's the case in Ringworld, but the muted female presence was something typical of that time (1970s) in science fiction, so I didn't think much of it. It's a stigma that has stayed with this genre because of those classic science fiction authors that didn't create complex female characters, whether by choice or simple lack of ability. I imagine Niven's target audience here was probably adolescent boys anyways. In fact, I wish I had read this when I was much younger, because it would've been in my wheelhouse. It's far from perfect, however. I think alot more could've been done with what was actually found on the Ringworld, and would like to know a whole lot more about the natives. Sure there were killer sunflowers, flying buildings, and a storm created from a meteor strike that looked like a gigantic human eye, but for some reason, the last third of the book was kind of ho hum. The ending felt a bit rushed too. You know, it's strange to have nostalgia for a book that I just read for the first time, but oddly enough, that's exactly what I feel. Maybe I even read it when I attended Hammocks Middle School and went across the street to the library almost every afternoon during my golden age of reading, and I simply forgot after all the decades of hard drugs, booze, sex, and rock and roll.There's something comforting and familiar in this book. Or maybe its going back to that much simpler time in science fiction where aliens spoke English, the speed of light could be broken, and we could come to understand the biggest mysteries of the universe. There is great optimism in Niven's universe. It reminded me in alot of ways to Gene Roddenberry's vision of mankind's awesome future. In these bright futures, mankind has grown up from its infancy of constant warfare and self destruction and instead has begun to explore a relatively unhostile galaxy. In these bright futures, the stars are reachable and we're no longer alone. It may be that there really is nothing groundbreaking in Ringworld 43 years after it was published. We've seen a ringworld in the famous HALO videogame franchise, and wierder more interesting aliens have been depicted elsewhere. There are much better writers out there with much more fluent beautiful prose and deeper characters that in Ringworld, but there was something that just felt right,comforting, and genuinely fun in Ringworld. For that I will give it one more extra star than it probably technically deserves.

  • Leo Robertson
    2019-01-29 08:29

    I find it hard to believe anyone got through this one, let alone its whole legion of sequels and spin-offs.The Ringworld is such a cool concept but it's SO poorly described, I defy anyone to picture what the hell Niven is on about. It was black and on the horizon blue, a ribbon, several squares were hovering there like... WHAT?! Take some time to do this thing justice, mate! We're gonna be spending a deal of time there... It takes too long to get to Ringworld, then when they do, nothing happens. Plus I couldn't work out how they'd landed? Wasn't there supposed to be glass on the inner surface or something? Did I read that? So confused.It was kind of fun to see how male writers handled female characters in the 70s though ;) Ahaha, so badly. Worst sex scene ever ("impaled herself"? More like "flattered YOURself"!)—it just came outta nowhere and ended just as abruptly.Can't recommend.

  • Ben Babcock
    2019-02-08 10:26

    There's a word often bandied about when people discuss books, particularly fantasy and science fiction books, which often involve the creation of worlds unlike our own. That term is (perhaps unsurprisingly) worldbuilding. And if ever there were a paradigm case for worldbuilding, Ringworld would be it. The eponymous structure is not a planet but, for all intents and purposes, functions as one. With a simple concept and a little bit of physics, Larry Niven has a striking novum that's brand, setting, and mystery all in one. If only Ringworld lived up to that potential. . . .The first half of the book wasn't bad. Watching Nessus recruit Louis, Speaker To Animals, and Teela was a fascinating look at Niven's far future. I can't say I was able to visualize the puppeteers very well, but I got the idea of transfer booths, cat-like Kzinti, hyperdrive, etc. This is my first science fiction book by Larry Niven, and it instilled in me a good opinion of Niven's ability to balance carefully hard science fiction concepts (like an adherence to relativistic travel) with soft science fiction (an emphasis on the sociological effects of spaceflight and unexplained plot devices like hyperdrive). Specifically, I loved his sociological asides, such as Louis' speculations about how much Nessus and other Puppeteers have interfered with human and Kzinti development. Niven makes good use of the time it takes to reach and explore the Ringworld itself to show us his version of the future.Alas, once the action is restricted to the Ringworld and the new goal is to discover any remaining pockets of Ringworld Engineer civilization, the only thing remarkable about the story is the alacrity with which it becomes unremarkable. It's apparent that something happened to cause civilization to "fall" on the Ringworld. Louis' speculation about a microbe that ate away at complex compounds eventually proved correct (and very cool, I'll admit). That isn't enough to save the book from a mediocre trip from the crash site to an abandoned city, where they meet up with a surviving Engineer (who is more like a prostitute, posing as a god). Along the way, we had to endure torturous talk about how Teela was "bred for luck". As a result, she has almost zero free will, because nearly all her actions result from chance. I'm sceptical about accepting this whole "breeding for luck" idea, but suspension of disbelief compels me to shelve the matter and ignore Niven's incessant speculations. If only Niven hadn't similarly ignored the most interesting part of Ringworld itself: its inhabitants!I'm talking about the fallen descendants of Engineers, of course, not the original inhabitants. Louis himself, near the very end of the book, reflects on the fact that the Ringworld is so vast as to support a great diversity of cultures. And Nessus makes a valid point that, because it isn't a planet and the Engineers could just transmute matter from one form to another, the Ringworld has no metal ores to mine. The only way to make tools is to scavenge what's left from abandoned cities. It would have been interesting to see how those diverse cultures and see how they've adapted to the unique challenges of living on a ring (which they think is an arch). Aside from a few scenes where Louis and the others pose as gods and meeting Seeker, we don't get a lot of face time with the natives. Niven and his characters are more obsessed with what happened to the Ringworld Engineers and (understandably) getting off the Ringworld.It might seem strange that I didn't share their obsession. After all, I'm a technophile. The Ringworld is an awesome idea, and I was curious to discover who had built it. Nevertheless, I'm jaded enough that I was sure—especially after learning that civilization had fallen—that the answer wouldn't be very satisfactory. I was right.After shrouding it in so much mystery, Niven reveals that the demise of Ringworld civilization wasn't nearly so mysterious. Louis was right about the microbe. The Engineers are dead, mad, or integrated into the fallen societies scattered around the ring. Only Pril is left to tell her story. But because Louis and Nessus had already unravelled much of that story on their own, there wasn't much left to serve as a surprise or a twist.But it's the journey, not the destination, right? Aside from my complaints about not showing us more Ringworld culture, it's true that Niven gives us plenty of episodic events on the way toward the rim wall. We get killer sunflowers, a massive storm, and a floating castle with a holographic map. Ringworld would be an awesome place for a roleplaying game, just because it's such a wonderfully built world.So in case I haven't browbeaten you enough yet, I'll be explicit: Ringworld is great because of its worldbuilding and sucks because of its story. If you're one of those people who likes reading about intriguing hypothetical constructions like rings, Dyson spheres, etc., then you should probably read this book. However, one cannot draw much satisfaction from the mystery of the Ringworld or the characters who try to solve it. Unlike the Ringworld, they aren't built nearly so well.My Reviews of the Ringworld series:The Ringworld Engineers →

  • William
    2019-02-13 10:39

    Being an engineer by nature, and by training (10 yrs at MIT), when I read this book (in the 1970s) I went supernova. Massive engineering on an unimaginable scale, made real by Niven. Fabulous!

  • David Sven
    2019-01-28 06:18

    The world is coming to an end. A chain reaction of exploding stars at the galactic core threatens to swamp earth and most of known human space. What!? When? Oh in 20000 years or so. Whew, don’t scare me like that. So what’s the rush? Well, there’s no point waiting till the last minute. Or so the cowardly Puppeteer aliens reckon as they hit the panic button, pick up stakes, and make like a chook with its head cut off – make that two heads. Oh but wait, one brave (insane) puppeteer volunteers to head a mixed alien/human expedition to investigate an unusual artefact discovered in their headlong flight. An ancient construction that may be the key to surviving the coming cataclysm. Welcome to Ringworld. What is it? You’ll have to read to find out exactly but its big and you can live on it – in fact 3 million Earths could live on it – Lets explore!There are a lot of concepts in this book that I like. The Ringworld itself of course. But also things like human longevity drugs. Teleportation. Bioengineering and playing God. Advanced ancient civilizations and more. I’m not too clear on all the science or supposed science around the various technologies, but Niven does enough for suspension of disbelief to kick in and the imagination to run wild.The problem I have with the book, which won’t be a problem but a plus to some, is it is very concise and at times too clinical for me. The characterisation was ok but not that great. A lot of the dialogue of the book was delving into and expounding scientific theories and ideas which will appeal to the hard scifi crowd I imagine, but I would prefer the weight of dialogue to lean more in favour of character development than it did. Also the book focuses a lot on the engineering of the Ringworld which is great, but I would also have liked to delve more into the culture of the people/alien groups they meet, even if it meant adding a hundred pages or even two hundred with a more developed plot. I also have to mention that the female characters were laughable, and I was only laughing because I was glad Niven wasn’t insulting my gender. The females in this book seemed to exist mainly for sex – and as a good luck charm/accessory.On the plus side, if you loved Asimov’s Foundation, you will probably enjoy this book. I hated Foundation, (My review but I did enjoy this book more because Ringworld leaves Foundation for dead in terms of characterisation and suspension of disbelief (though that’s not saying much). If you’re into hard scifi this is a must read. I’m not so much but the book still did enough to keep me interested.3 stars

  • Nathaniel
    2019-02-10 12:24

    Niven's Ringworld idea is really, really cool. Cool enough that he got the Hugo for this book in 1970. I know he got the Hugo for the Ringworld concept, because nothing else in the book conceivably justifies it. Wading through the book was very difficult for me mostly because of Niven's Dirty Old Man Syndrome. That's the way I refer to his incredibly chauvinistic depictions of women. The protagonist is a 200-year old cynical man who manages to snag a 20-year-old, naive young lady as his sex-toy in the first chapter. She spends the entire novel completely dependent on him in every conceivable way. There's a big reveal at the end that--in addition to being lame and predictable--is supposed to reverse all this and make her out to a powerful figure after all. Only it doesn't. At all. The big reveal (SPOILERS!) is that she's very, very lucky. So lucky that everything that has happened in the book so far has been for her benefit. From the discovery of the Ringworld to her falling in love with the protagaonist, to her finding a swarthy, sword-wielding hero to purchase her (no kidding!) and then protect her: it's all been to help her grow as a person. If you're rolling your eyes: you should be. And obviously it doesn't actually empower her, because she's ignorant of how lucky she is, and her luck is purely the consequence of a few generations of covert selective breeding by an alien race. It makes her a dangerous, unpredictable experiment, but still just that: someone else's experiment. Yay, feminism. Am I right?Aside from the annoyance with gender discrimination, the book just wasn't that good. It's just another example of some very smart guy coming up with some cool ideas and then spending 300 pages saying "Look how awesome my ideas are! They are so awesome!" Frankly, the Ringworld idea IS cool, but the plot just doesn't live up to the concept. Not even remotely. You have this awesome, innovative setting and then you basically have a boring tour-guide instead of a story.There were some glimpses, right at the end, of some interesting concepts. Enough so that I will probably read the sequel. But I would recommend no one else read these unless you (like me) have this weird goal to read all the Hugos.

  • Tatiana
    2019-01-16 08:29

    I recently reread this and it's still delightful after all these years. Niven is so much fun because of his fascinating ideas, and the playfulness with which he approaches them. The ringworld is a beautiful work of art, technology, and imagination. Ditto time stasis fields, mirrored focusing sunflowers, using generated gravity as an art form, hurricanes shaped like giant human eyes. Even more fun are the glories of the Puppeteer home planets flying to the edge of the galaxy in a kemplerer rosette... stepping disks, mile high skyscrapers, and the planetary problems of waste heat. I love Puppeteers and Pak Protectors, Kzin, Outsiders, and Gummidgy Reachers. Niven lets us revel in this glorious xenophilia that he has. His aliens are delightfully non-human.I did find myself surprised by how sexist many of the underlying assumptions were, which I don't remember thinking the first few times I read these books back in the 70s. I guess that shows we are making some kind of progress in our society. =)It's interesting from a history-of-science perspective as well. Back in the 1970s, room temperature superconductors seemed a lot more technologically advanced than they do now, and the idea of Lewis Wu clacking away on a typewriter in college circa 2200 is laughable. It reminds me of Heinlein's "The Rolling Stones" from the 1940s which had the Stone family calculating interplanetary orbits on their slide rules. =) I love thinking of how ludicrous some of our own ideas of the future will seem in 30 more years.This and Protector are my two favorite Niven books. I find Niven alone to be far superior to the Niven-Pournelle collaborations that came later.

  • Nandakishore Varma
    2019-02-08 09:38

    I don't remember anything of the story, let me say at the outset. I think it was entirely forgettable.The only things I remember are the kzin - the huge catlike alien - and Ringworld itself. From an engineer's point of view, this world is an absolute delight: a ring circling a sun at the centre, a whole world existing on it; with shades provided at uniform intervals to simulate night...What I wouldn't have given to be part of the engineering team that designed it!

  • Manny
    2019-01-22 06:32

    The magic intersection point of the old and new styles of SF... basically, Golden Age space opera with cool aliens, but also including sex. (The sex isn't with the cool aliens, in case you were wondering - that's James Tiptree Jr. you're thinking of). If you are an SF fan and have never been to the Ringworld, try and visit them some time! If you're not particularly into SF, well, these days Iain M. Banks does the same kind of thing better, so I would recommend reading "Consider Phlebas", "Player of Games" or "Use of Weapons" instead. But Ringworld is still a fun book.

  • Flink
    2019-02-05 14:29

    Oh TANJ! Why did I read this book?! It should have been titled BoRingworld!

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2019-02-11 13:27

    What is Ringworld?Ringworld is a curiously contradictory science fiction novel. For a novel so concerned with the finer details of the exact science of alien technology it also features some bizarrely pseudo-scientific fantasy conceptions. However, it's use of technology and its ideas are an indication alone as to why it should be read despite some major flaws which become more obvious as the reader delves further into the story.Larry Niven's novel is claimed as a major influence of the critically acclaimed Halo videogame series. It is not difficult to see the inspiration taken from this novel with the ideas of the Engineers and the large Ring shaped world which make up the central component of this novel. The nature of exploration and the discovery of a mysterious history on the world also bear similarities to the game series. However, where Halo is the tale of wars between humans and aliens this novel is the tale of aliens working together with humans to work out what the mysterious ring structure is.FlawsThe flaws of the novel are numerous and indeed detract from the magnificence of the ideas present. After all, it is staggering to think about the fact that it could possibly take ships travelling at lightspeed practically ages to slow down again. And that is one of the groundbreaking scientific thoughts that Niven analyses in his novel. Yet, unfortunately the flaws detract from this and make it a slog at times to read through the book.Deus Ex Machina: Niven, unfortunately, relies upon this heavily criticised literary technique in several key moments of the book, creating a patchy conclusion to his novel. Even worse, he utilises it badly and without the comic grace and ability of a Douglas Adams. His deus-ex-machina comes across merely as merely filling in the gaps with an explanation beyond the realms of understanding or the novel's own internal logic.Pacing: The novel stays at a relatively constant slow pace, held there by the dryness of Niven's prose style. The beginning of the novel, however, is served rather well by this beginning, as it draws the reader into the richly imagined future of Earth where overpopulation, alien races and new technologies exist.Prose: Niven at times resorts to periods of telling rather than showing in his narration. This turns out to be the greatest weakness in his style because apart from that he shows a rather workable ability to utilise description and elements of suspense and surprise in his writing. That said, there were also one or two noticeable lapses in the tense where it shifted from past tense to present.Pseudo-science: The pseudo-science of Niven's novel is irksome and bemusing. As mentioned above, it is fascinating to see how a writer so concerned with locking down physical understandings of alien technology could so rapidly move towards ideas closer linked to fantasy. The inclusion of this pseudo-science (and possible lack of understanding of natural selection/selective breeding) weakens the structural integrity of the novel and removes the sense of brilliance imposed by analysing how hyperspace engines could work in reality. Romance: The romance in the novel was unfortunately rather ham-fisted in its execution. Though one can see why Niven writes the way he does the romance comes across as merely about uncaring sexuality rather than about loving individuals as they are. Niven also, unfortunately overemphasises the romantic elements to the point where they become tedious, restating the same ideas in the exact same words.The Deeper IdeasIt has been proposed by theorists that science fiction can be examined (and potentially fantasy as well since the two genres are highly linked) as performing literary cognitive dissociation. This being that science fiction takes the ideas and ideologies of reality and transposes them into fictional, imaginary worlds. One can read Lawrence Durrell and observe what Alexandria was like when he wrote, yet one cannot necessarily read John Wyndham and understand what world he writes about from his literal writing. However, through understanding cognitive dissociation one could see that Wyndham incorporated elements of the fear of socialism into his novels.The major ideas in Ringworld are those of greater classics such as Frankenstein. Namely a warning about the dangers of using science, or using any power, in a godlike fashion. In Ringworld the results of experiments create an individual who wields power in a way as to control others as puppets. There is also an unfortunate sense of sexism within this novel. Though Niven tries to create a sense of equality with transexual aliens one cannot help feeling that the romantic angle is a male-dominated relationship revealing how Louis Wu uses the sensitive, child-like Teela Brown. At the end it seems that Niven attempts to correct this (view spoiler)[through revealing that Teela had been using Louis (hide spoiler)] however much of the damage has already been done and the 'fix' comes across as wish fulfilment, with the problem merely moved to a different character.ConclusionA novel with plenty of promise and one of the finer openings in any science fiction novel. However, the failings of the novel ultimately drag it from the realms of being rated as a truly great masterwork and into the realms of merely existing as an influential science fiction novel. At times, however, Larry Niven, resembles P.K. Dick at his best and hence it may be worth observing a different novel by Niven.

  • Ric
    2019-02-07 09:33

    Ringworld - a Young Adult book that exemplifies the key elements of technology-driven fiction, and so embodies the new generation of science fiction and SF writers. Ok, that may be how the review would start if this book were written in the 2010s. But Ringworld is from a different era (the 1970s), a different world altogether (pre-Microsoft Earth). What was then hailed as an innovative narrative style may now be viewed as stunted and disjointed. But for a young mind just opening to the wonders of science and discovery, Ringworld was like a door into a new way of thinking, out-of-the-box and imaginative. So taken by its story, I was ready then to take the closest stepping disk to the land of rishathra, leaving the tumultuous world about to be engulfed by the first oil crisis behind. Without a doubt, it made its mark on me, and even today, I think of it as the best SF novel ever-written.But, I realize this may not be the case for those weaned on Peter Hamilton and Neal Stephenson, so suffice it to say, it's a worthy read despite the datedness. For today's readers, this will perhaps be an archivist effort rather than the life-engaging experience it was. Alas, the world context has changed.

  • Rob
    2019-01-21 07:21

    Executive Summary: This book is a lot of big ideas, and not a lot of depth of character or plot. If you like that sort of thing, you may enjoy this.Full ReviewThis book was a tough one for me. It makes it a tough one to review as well.I had been meaning to check this one out for awhile, but didn't make time for it. It ended up being one of the picks for July in Sword & Laser so I finally fit it in.I read it over the course of 2 weekends, which with the way I've been lately is a really long time. The book is only 340 pages, and I read nearly half of it in one day. What was I doing the other 4 or 5 days that I was "reading" it?Well not, much. I'd get an email notification and I'd go off and spend 10-15 minutes on the tablet instead of reading. Or I wouldn't even pick the book up to begin with.I haven't read a lot of "classic" Sci-Fi, but most of them seem to be big on ideas, and little on much else. I liked the characters for the most part in this book, but there wasn't a ton of depth there. I think Speaker to Animals was by far the most interesting of the bunch.Somewhere around the halfway point though, some new facts came to light and the story just seemed to click in and I managed to finish it fairly quickly.I have a bit of a science background. My engineering degree has a lot of foundation in math and science. I haven't really used most of that in over 10 years, but I do find Hard Sci-Fi a bit interesting. I don't pretend to be smart enough to look at what Mr. Niven wrote and prove or disprove the science behind it.The concepts in this book are really cool. Building planets and instantaneous travel among others. The actual plot wasn't anything spectacular however.It's one of those books I'm glad I read, but probably won't read again, or go off recommending as something you MUST read.

  • Erich Franz Linner-Guzmann
    2019-01-23 11:22

    I liked this book, in fact I got hooked at so many parts. As I am a slow reader and me having finished this book in a couple of days should tell ya something. The book is mainly an exploration novel of another land during the earth year of 2850. The exploration of the Ringwold is magnificent and is detailed crisply into my imagination.It is also about the characters too; a great character building story I must say. In a way I found that the characters in the book and their interactions between each other had to be the most interesting part of the story.It had 4 main characters that were all very different to each other in many, many ways; and somehow made the perfect team. The 4 characters are Louis Gridley Wu, Nessus, Speaker to Animals, and Teela Brown.Wu is a 200 year old human man that is in perfect physical condition, due to life extending drugs.Nessus is a Pierson's Puppeteer which has two forelegs and a single hindleg ending in hooved feet and two snake-like heads instead of a humanoid upper body. The heads are very small, containing a forked tongue, extensive rubbery lips, rimmed with finger-like knobs, and a single eye per head. The Puppeteer brain is housed not in the heads, but in the "thoracic" cavity well protected beneath the mane-covered hump from which the heads emerge. They use the "mouths" to manipulate objects, as a humanoid uses hands. He is in charge of the operation to the ring world and the being that finds the team and puts it together.Then there is Speaker to Animals or just Speaker and is a Kzin. A Kzin is a very warlike and bloodthirsty race of cat-like aliens. The Kzinti are larger than humans, standing around 8 feet and weighing around 500 pounds. These tiger-sized bipeds have large membranous ears, a barrel-chested torso with a flexible spine, and large fangs and claws. He was responsible for the expedition's safety on Ringworld and because if that he was in charge most of the time.And last we have Teela Brown, a twenty year old human girl. Her sole qualification was that she was descended from "lucky" ancestors, six generations of whom were born as a result of winning Earth's Birthright Lottery. The Puppeteer saw this as a kind of artificial selection, tending to breed for a psionic power of good luck. He hoped Teela would bring luck and success to the entire expedition.The team was a great mixture of characters and the main reason for the 5 stars. What an imagination Larry Niven had!

  • Randy
    2019-01-20 08:22

    An interesting mix of Sci-Fi tropes - Big Dumb Object (BDO) mashed up with failed civilization. Niven gets points for an interesting blend of human and alien characters, but unfortunately during large portions of the book they just wander around sightseeing. The female characters' roles were stereotypical at the time the book was written (almost 50 years ago as of this review) and will probably be insulting to the modern reader. Niven's prose leaves a lot to be desired as does the pace of the narrative which drags unforgivably at times. As usual with New Wave Sci-Fi, there's a pile of interesting ideas but the execution is occasionally lacking.

  • Sesana
    2019-01-16 14:34

    On balance, I do like Ringworld, or at least the concept of the ringworld. The idea is that a forgotten race of wildly talented engineers have built a complete ring around a star and outfitted it with gravity, atmosphere, vegetation, animals, and even sentient life. The scale is so vast that it's nearly impossible to comprehend. (The ring, Niven tells us, has the surface area of roughly three million earths. There are mountains thousands of miles high.) I give Niven a lot of credit for the thought he's put into his concept. It seemed, to me, that he had thought through nearly every implication of the ring, what it would require to work as he needs it to, and how it would look. It makes the concept strangely believable, even as it's difficult to envision (again, the sheer scale of the thing gets in the way) and very, very memorable.The plot, on the other hand, was somewhat weak. Really, the book is just a sightseeing tour of the ringworld. And that's fine, because the ring on its own is fascinating enough to carry my interest. But not enough to get me well and truly invested so that I want to read on with other books set in this universe.I have a quibble about the characters, too. Not the male characters, as Niven did a fine enough job fleshing them out and making them living parts of the book, regardless of species. The female characters, on the other hand... They're shallow, shells of characters compared to the males. Teela is on the mission to sleep with the main character and because she might be a good luck charm. That's it. She has no useful skills to contribute, nor is she asked to. Sleeping with Louis is enough. And her personality is exactly as bland, shallow, and borderline dim as you'd expect, given that description. (view spoiler)[Her bland personality might be partly explained by her supernatural luck running interference and protecting her from all harms. But wouldn't it also be lucky for her to be skilled in exactly the ways that would be useful for the mission? Seemingly not. (hide spoiler)] The only other woman in the book, Prill, is met on the ringworld. Her ship crash-landed on the ring long ago. And as a woman on a ship full of men, obviously she must have been the ship's prostitute, right? I mean, why else would there be a woman on board? Logic that's fully accepted, never questioned, and is ultimately proved absolutely correct. Yes, this doesn't take me by surprise in a book written in the 70s. But it's still irritating.As a concept, Ringworld is one of the greats. The execution is lacking in plot and, especially, female characters. While I like the idea, the casual sexism left a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Laura LVD
    2019-02-09 10:27

    Dudé entre el 3 estrellas ("like it") y el 4 ("really liked it") porque después de años (décadas) de escuchar loas sobre este libro famoso, esperaba una historia que me volara la peluca. Pero no.En las misma línea de ciencia ficción absurda/cómica/delirante de casi todos los libros del género que leí este año, encuentro que este no me gustó tanto. El final es muy bueno, sí, quizás lo que hace que me incline por las 4 estrellas en vez de 3, pero el contenido en sí no me gustó tanto. Y para ser sincera, tardé horrores en avanzar por las últimas 60 páginas- un poco al estilo de la paradoja de Zenón, leía la mitad, luego la mitad de la mitad, la mitad de la mitad de la mitad, acercándome asintóticamente a la última página. Los personajes me parecieron poco interesantes, incluyendo el famoso Titerote, por el cual un querido amigo usa el nickname Nessus. No sé, siento que le faltó punch a la historia; la idea de las esferas y anillos de Dyson es atractiva, al menos científicamente está bien lo que plantea el libro. ¿Seguiré con Los ingenieros de Mundo Anillo? Mmmmm. No estoy segura.