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Old 5th April 2007, 11:40 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

I've just finished reading this book for the first time and I must say that I'm a little disappointed. The emphasis of this book was definitely on the technology and the characters weren't portrayed particularly well. This is definitely what I would call hard science fiction.

I thought the other main concept of the book was Teela's luck and a contemplation on the effects on people that being bred to be lucky might have.

I noticed that many people here have said that the book can be appreciated more as part of a larger tapestry but sorry, that doesn't cut the mustard for me. A book should be able to stand in it's own right.
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Old 5th April 2007, 11:46 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

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I noticed that many people here have said that the book can be appreciated more as part of a larger tapestry but sorry, that doesn't cut the mustard for me. A book should be able to stand in it's own right.
Oh, I think the book works well enough on its own for what it was attempting to do; but as part of the larger picture it takes on more levels, and that's true with just about any series of works worth its salt, I think. Also, the book was meant to give a glimpse of something definitely alien, and that I think it did rather well... the colder approach, I'd say, enhanced that effect by making the characters rather small in comparison....
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Old 10th April 2007, 07:16 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

Glad you like my Chronology! Sorry for not listing the Man-Kzin War stories. I link to Marc Carleson's Chronology on mine, if you want more dates his has many, many more. I was mainly just trying to figure out a consistant dating for Niven's stories, as a prelude to working on a Concordance. (I can't use the label "Encyclopedia"-- someone's already used that.)

What is Ringworld about? Well yes, it's-- I think-- the first book about what David Gerrold calls "an Enormous Big Thing"

But more than that, it's the reaction of four very different characters to that EBT, and how they interact with each other while exploring the Ringworld, that makes the story.

It really does make the story more interesting if you read the stories in the Neutron Star collection. Sadly, that is out of print. But don't despair-- you can order used copies thru Amazon.com, or at my favorite place to look for used books on the Internet-- AddALL Used and Out of Print book search
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Old 10th April 2007, 07:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

As far as the book "standing on its own", all I can say is that was the first thing I read by Niven and it's still one of my very favorite novels of all time. I think it stands perfectly well on its own, altho the Neutron Star collection stories do add background, so for anyone new to Known Space I'd recommend starting with that and then reading Ringworld.

Yes, Ringworld does leave very many questions unanswered. And Niven fans are still debating points after all these decades. Larry has said Pak protectors (see Niven's novel Protector) built the Ringworld, in fact there's a brief account of events leading up to its construction on pp. 196-200 of Ringworld's Children. Unfortunately we never get to "see" the actual construction, nor do we ever find out how scrith was made. Larry apparently wants to leave some things "open" to give fans some things to speculate about on their own.

The first sequel, Ringworld Engineers, is quite good also, and like Ringworld it won a Hugo for best novel. A lot of questions are answered there, altho far from all!
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Old 13th April 2007, 11:05 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

The story was incomplete, for me, not just because all was not explained, but also because the story of the characters themselves seemed incomplete. I felt like I've just read a chapter of some larger story, not a complete story in itself.
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Old 25th April 2007, 09:32 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

*Shrug* It's one of the very few novels to ever win both the Hugo (awarded by fans) and the Nebula (awarded by professional writers) award. Sorry it didn't work for you.
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Old 13th February 2008, 12:47 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

I enjoyed ringworld (only read it a week ago). Never having read Niven before, I easily slid in to the ideas and picked up the technology, language and character traits of the people in the book. I liked the idea that Nessus, being slightly braver than the rest of the puppeteers is actually insane and undergoes manic / depression cycles as a result.
The book left me wanting more, so come payday i'm off to waterstones to get some more of his work.
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Old 13th March 2009, 12:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

I think Niven had a great idea for an "Enormous Big Thing" then cast around for a story to go with it. Once he decided to place it in his Known Space universe, the characters and basic plot were self evident.

His problem becomes who actually built the thing. I still don't think he's answered that satisfactorily. The obvious answer are the Pak. But personally I have a hard time swallowing that, at least as presented so far.
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Old 13th March 2009, 12:52 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

I read Ringworld and I think (it was a very long time ago) I found it satisfying in itself (although I wanted to know more). I do recall being blown away by some of the ideas, including the ringwold itself.

Later, I read The Ringworld Engineers, which was fine. I've never been able to get more than a few chapters into The Ringworld Throne; perhaps if I read it immediately after the other two, I might build up enough momentum to get into it.
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Old 13th March 2009, 01:19 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

Ringworld was a fabulous and delicious read. I will definitely re read it sometime. But I wasn't bothered too much by the fact that we didn't find out who or what built it,because his characters and landscape were so wonderful. I remember well the sunflowers that turn bodily as the sun does and also,being highly reflective,could use the sun's rays as a defence against potential grazers. Brilliant! The sequel was good too but got a bit heavy and I didn't understand all that went on,particularly the business with the Pak protectors and the luck lotteries. The third book left me cold and took me ages to finish it. Bored me to death,it was just a book about vampires. What?! Didn't bother after that.
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Old 13th March 2009, 07:39 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

You can skip 3 and move on, remainder of the books to improve
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Old 13th March 2009, 09:06 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

I'm glad to hear that the problems I was having with The Ringworld Throne were not all down to me.
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Old 13th March 2009, 10:52 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

Like the first book, Throne is just an adventure story set on the Ringworld.

Unlike Ringworld, it does not portray the EBT very well. After all, by the time you get to throne, you understand the Ring pretty well.

It needed a major cataclysm on a Ring scale to make it interesting.
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Old 29th September 2009, 08:10 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

Well, overtly, the ringworld exploration was because the galaxy was doing a number on itself. The puppeteers had already fled for an area that would keep them safe before the shocvkwave hit. they knew the rest of the races would sit around until the danger was imminent then do something hasty etc.... Nessus grabbed the two humans and a Kzinti that fit his bill. one human and Kzinti were to his thought direct results of the Puppeteer redesign of the species. Louis was the longest lived human I believe. So he was thought to be the most efficient survivor. The reason for the ringworld exploration was because the pupeteers were fleeing and their exodus was passing too close to it, so they wanted it explored for threats.

Ringworld had some undercurrents, where the Pupeteer homeworld was, the involvement of the puppeteers in human and Kzinti species. there were some further explanations and implications in engineers. But for the most part a lot of things were species level, not personal interactions. the closest was speaker to animal's response to Louis getting out of his crash balloon on the flying craft.
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Old 11th May 2012, 09:14 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Exactly what was Ringworld about? (Larry Niven)

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no body's likley to read this I think. But well anyway all your questions should be answered by "Protector" by Larry Niven.
Protector, and then The Ringworld Engineers. It's the latter that really brings the two together.
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