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Juggler of Worlds: 200 Years Before the Discovery of the Ringworld Audible – Unabridged

3.6 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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By E. M. Van Court VINE VOICE on October 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a revisiting of a number of the "Known Space" stories, from the perspective of a professional paranoid. Sigmund Ausfaller is a UN law officer, and professional paranoid, albeit a natural paranoid rather than a chemically induced one, like some of his peers.

Sigmund gets a human face, as his sordid past is revealed, his romantic life is considered, and his fears for the human race are discussed. And the key question; 'is he paranoid enough' is addressed. Even uglier than his role as a paranoid cop is his background as... [say it in hushed tones] a revenuer. His girlfriend is industrial grade crazy (as bad as your story is, his takes the cake). And his worst paranoid concerns for humanity fall short of the reality.

I enjoyed it immensely. This one filled in the gaps between many of the 'Known Space' stories from a very different perspective, and shed light on the wherefores and whys behind the incidents described in other works. Because of this, the criticisms of recycled material are valid, as they included much earlier work, and invalid, as the material was needed to make the story work for someone who hadn't read any of this body of work earlier. And in the end, it heads off in a new direction.

An excellent addition to the "Known Space" series, and a worthwhile read.

E. M. Van Court
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Format: Hardcover
Niven and Lerner's "Juggler of Worlds" starts a bit before their Fleet of Worlds, intertwines with it (and with other works) for a stretch, and then finishes a tad after it. If you're going to read the pair, "Fleet of Worlds" should come first as the latter part of this book depends on what happened in the other book.

*Technically*, the writing, science and linkages to Niven's "Known Space" are very good. But, that linkage leads to this book's downfall. It feels more like a connect-the-dots chronicle than a story in its own right. Specifically, for two thirds of the book, there's really no explanation of why we're reading the book. It's just one thing after another relating to material in other Niven works with nothing explaining where THIS material is going. It's not until the last third of the book (after "Fleet of Worlds" ends) that anything resembling a motivation appears.

It pains me to have to rate the book down since it should have been a very good book. But, its choppiness and lack of motivation mean I can only rate it at an OK three stars out of 5.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Summary: This book stands out from its series by retelling many of Niven's old stories, most of which are collected in Crashlander, from the point of view of one of Niven's former background characters, Sigmund Ausfaller. As a result, it's much more like a collection of short stories than a novel. It's a lot of fun for fans of the Crashlander stories, but if you are reading this as part of the "Worlds" series and haven't read the earlier stories, definitely go get Crashlander and read that first.

Forty years or so ago, Larry Niven began writing a set of stories and novels set in "Known Space" - a portion of the milky way that was at least partially explored by the human race. Since then, he has occasionally let other writers into his playground, particularly in the The Man-Kzin Wars series.

This time, Niven has collaborated with Edward Lerner to write three books about the "Puppeteers", a race of technologically advanced herd animals, and their interactions with humanity.

The first book, Fleet of Worlds, re-introduces the Puppeteers fleet of five (now six) travelling planets for readers not familiar with them, and takes place largely on those planets, as does the third book, Destroyer of Worlds. This is the second in the series, and in some ways, the most daring.
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Format: Hardcover
What a waste of time. I love LN's earlier work, and I can understand that maybe he can use some extra money, but this rehash of earlier stories seemed like something knocked out for the money without Niven involved. That is, I couldn't escape the feeling that Niven had just given the right to recycle his old short stories to the other author, and that constituted the dual author credit. I didn't wind up with the impression that I'd read any new Niven writing at all. I feel like I was lured into this book somewhat under false pretenses.

Worst case would be to read this BEFORE you read the original short stories, since it features "spoilers" from an uninteresting viewpoint. So if you haven't read the old Niven books and stories, do so, and particularly do so before reading this one.

It isn't "known space" so much as "known plots".
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a return to Larry Niven's Known Space universe that he wrote so much about in the 60's and 70's. It aims to fill in some the gap between the adventures of Beowulf Schaeffer and Louis Wu's exploration of Ringworld about 200 years later. This book is the first in a trilogy that is examining that timeframe.

I'd say the main two characters are Sigmund Ausfaller (an ARM - think Homeland Security zealot of the UN) and our old friend, Nessus the Puppeteer. However, we also see quite a few of the old standbys from Known Space, including Beowulf Schaeffer, Carlos Wu, and the flatlander called Elephant.

Getting to see some additional adventures of these folks was nice, but like I said, it was a grind to get through this book. Why? For starters, it's a little on the long side, about 450 pages in print, and secondly, remember all those familiar characters? Well, we see them going through the same old adventures Niven wrote about back in the 60's and 70's as short stories.

It's not a straight text drop-in or anything. Rather, it's more of a "meanwhile, back at the ranch" thing, and I've got to tell you, it's boring back at the ranch, especially when you already know what's happening out with those neutron rustlers. It was like "see that really exciting thing over there? Well, don't look at it. Nope, we're gonna stay right here and talk about it afterwards."

I can see that given how the plot went, this was somewhat necessary, but it still felt very, very boring. I almost gave up on it twice, and every time I thought that surely we had gotten though all the old stories, it turned out that no, there was still one or two more that I'd forgotten about.
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