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Fleet of Worlds (Known Space) Mass Market Paperback – August 26, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel is set in "Known Space" and begins at a time shortly before the human race has discovered hyperdrive, although most of the story occurs after that time. A group of humans in space is essentially kidnapped by the Puppeteers, who intend to use these humans and their descendants as a slave race, albeit a fairly well treated one. The Puppeteers will use the humans in certain labor functions, and also as interstellar scouts, since the highly risk-averse Puppeteers are not well suited for risky jobs of this type. "Known Space" junkies will recall that the Puppeteers are fleeing our Galaxy because the galactic core will eventually flood the entire Galaxy with deadly radiation.
The novel essentially revolves around two themes. Firstly, the human servants are finding out that the Puppeteers have lied to them about their origins, and about humanity. Secondly, the Puppeteers are worried that other races, humanity included, will spot their migrating worlds and threaten them. This causes the Puppeteers to act preemptively and aggressively, and frankly, unwisely and implausibly.
The real core of this novel is to give the reader far more insight into Puppeteer politics and society than we ever got before. Some of this is interesting, but not enough to carry the novel.Read more ›
Three of the Colonists are being trained as scouts by Nessus, by no coincidence the Puppeteer who has had the most contact with humans. Puppeteers aren't cowards, exactly. They are, however, extremely risk averse. As the Puppeteers' Fleet of Worlds flees an impending galactic catastrophe - the subject of earlier Known Space stories - it would be handy to have scouts, so the risk of scouting ahead for danger isn't taken by Puppeteers. Human scouts. That starts a chain of events that reveal the Puppeteers' version of Colonist history to be a tissue of lies.
Along the way we get to see Nessus manipulate Earth culture and create, almost in passing, the Birthright Lotteries, which led to Teela Brown and the events of "Ringworld." We get a bit of the truth about Dr. Julian Forward and the events leading up to "The Borderland of Sol," one of Niven's best novellas. But the most interesting bits are seeing the society and politics of Puppeteers and the Fleet of Worlds developed and revealed. In an odd way, there's even a Puppeteer love story.
Perhaps it's Lerner's influence, but plotting and characterization are far better than most of Niven's recent work. Neither is terrific, but the characters aren't cardboard cutouts, either.Read more ›
Longer version follows. I'm biased, I confess. I've reread every work in the Known Space "series" for the past thirty years or so. The quality of each work can vary considerably but as a collection they may be without equal in the world of "pure" science fiction.
I believe I've read everything Niven has written, however, despite the fact I've haven't felt the need to reread any of his non-Known Space works for the past twenty years or so aside from the first Dream Park novel (which remains the only book I ever finished the last page of and then turned back to the first to read it again. Niven's other works aren't bad and are often quite good but none of them ever gave me that warm glow that some feel when they are returning to Middle-Earth, Narnia, or some other cherished place.
That said, this may be the best Larry Niven work since Ringworld itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kudos to Mr. Lerner for whatever part of that is his doing. The book could be considered a prequel to Ringworld save that it begs for a sequel of its own at some point, set in some future when certain constraints established by the other works in the Known Space universe have been removed. It would be interesting to see some of the human protagonists encountering Ringworld and Louis Wu perhaps, or possibly the Pak, or even Sigmund Ausfaller.
Anyhow, it stands alone fine but also fits within the history terrifically, tying into several short stories as well. Many mysteries are revealed and yet the Known Space universe is no less mysterious for it.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fleet of Worlds series are my favorite books from Larry Niven. Book 1 was the start of what I have described as a series of 9 (includes the three original Ringworld books) that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Haywood M. Gelman
I usually only like Larry Niven solo. However, this book is so awesome! There is no reason anyone should not read this book, unless of course you don't like good plotting, writing... Read morePublished 3 months ago by K. Peterson
The novel takes place in the "known space" setting, the same place that Ringworld is set in. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard Staats
Niven is a master. The fleet of worlds is a gateway story into a very engaging part of the "know space" universe and through the subsequent books of this series the reader... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kamau5
I used to love Larry Niven--still do love some of his older stuff. But this was really boring. Think it was needlessly drawn out so they could make 4 or 5 books or whatever this... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Adam
I was prepared to be excited as I was with the Ringworld stories. I found myself catching up on 200 years of Puppeteer/ Human etc. history before Ringworld was explored. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dennis Mark Burgess
Having been introduced to Puppeteers, Kzin, and Louis Wu via the Ringworld series, I began the Fleet of Worlds series with certain preconceptions. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sam Cochran