Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Larry Niven - Ringworld
Larry Niven's Ringworld is one of the truly great science-fiction novels. It might lack some of the subtle commentary on contemporary society that grace some of the other works on that list, but it is a fantastic and fascinating read.
Niven introduces us to the Ringworld, a gigantic ring around a sun, massive in scale and scope, populated by the weird and wonderful and as is traditional in such matters, it is explored by a motley gang made up of humans and aliens, in an unlikely alliance.
Ringworld is part of Niven's "Known Space" future-history, but that aspect of the story is only really explored in the sequels. Ringworld here concentrates much more on the adventure, as well as introducing us to the concept of the world. The idea has been tremendously influential since - consider Iain M. Bank's Orbitals for instance. The Ringworld itself has provoked much debate and discussion - I like the story quoted on Wikipedia of the MIT students at a 1970s SF convention chanting "The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable" at Niven.
Nevertheless, this is an exciting and entertaining read. Perfect for an escapist weekend when you're lying sick in bed. Which is exactly what I've been doing.
Niven - Ringworld's Children
Niven - Crashlander
Niven - Destiny's Road