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Neutron Star Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1986

4.5 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, February 12, 1986
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Come to Larry Niven's Universe and meet all the natives: Thrints, Bandersnatchi, Puppeteers -- and a host of other wonderfully created characters.
Visit Lookitthat, Down, and Jinx -- indeed, an entire galaxy of planets found only in these stories that trace man's expansion and colonization throughout Known Space.
A spectacular cycle of the future . . . a 10,000-year history of man on Earth and in space!

About the Author

Larry Niven has won the prestigious Hugo Award five times. He is known to millions as the premier modern author of rigorous, scientifically consistent hard SF, the champion of 'SF without a net'. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 113 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (February 12, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345336941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345336941
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 4.5 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 10, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although out-of-print, NEUTRON STAR is a book worth getting for any fan of science fiction. It collects several of Niven's "Known Space" short stories from his golden age of the late-1960s, including the Beowulf Shaeffer stories.
In 1966 Larry Niven created the ultimate tourist with his award-winning short story "Neutron Star." It was the tale of Beowulf Shaeffer, a laid-off pilot heavily in debt and easy to blackmail, and how the alien race the puppeteers convinced him to make a dangerous flyby of a neutron star. In "A Relic of the Empire," Shaeffer effectively creates the Known Space universe by binding his far-future stories to the near-future epoch of Lucas Garner. It deals with an xenoarchaeologist who uses his esoteric knowledge to defeat a band of pirates. In "At the Core", the puppeteers convince Beowulf Shaeffer to take an experimental hyperdrive all the way to the galactic core, where he makes a discovery that spurs the puppeteers into fleeing Known Space. "The Soft Weapon" is the only dud of the collection, a drawn-out struggle between husband and wife pilots with the mad puppeteer Nessus (who went on to become a major character in RINGWORLD) against Kzinti set on revenge. The third Beowulf Shaeffer story, "Flatlander", begins with the quixotic hero as a tourist on Earth, and takes him on a journey with a millionaire to a very unusual planet. "The Ethics of Madness" is the story set earliest in Niven's chronology, dealing with the creation of a Bussard ramscoop that can accomodate a human pilot, opening the galaxy for exploration. In "The Handicapped", the reader is introduced to the sessile Grogs on the planet Down, and given several clues as to the ultimate fate of the Slaver Empire.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I normally stay away from short story collections mostly because I would rather read novels than quick little tales. Larry Niven is one of the few writers I believe can write the short story and novel with equal ease and this collection more than proves it.
The tales are all founded on mostly hard science, but still maintain a flavor all their own, even with the task of fitting them in his Known Space series. They range from funny to scary to introspective to everything in between. All are excellent examples of what science-fiction has to offer.

Lately Niven hasn't been doing too well in the novel department, so maybe the time is right for him to release another short story collection. Even if they're only half as good as these, it'd be a great piece of writing. Highly recommended.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Niven is a major science fiction author, and probably the leading name to emerge in the 1970s. Neutron Star is a collection of his well-known "Known Space" short stories. The stories are interesting, feature pretty good prose, and a dazzling and optimistic vision of the future.
My main criticism of this collection is that one or two stories drag a bit, primarily "The Soft Weapon." However, overall this is a wonderful collection. The short story "Neutron Star" which won a Hugo, is simply outstanding.
The quality of Niven's writing deteriorates almost linearly as functions of two variables: 1) time; and 2) the length of the story. Most of his novels tend to be tedious, and novels seem to highlight Niven's weaknesses as a writer: poor character development and characters who don't act like real people. Niven hasn't written anything worth reading in many years, in my opinion. It is almost as though he forgot how to write.
On the other hand, Neutron Star, one of Niven's early works, lacks the foregoing deficiencies and mainly highlight's Niven's strengths: a vivid vision of the future, and skillful use of science and speculation.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
These are fun stories, light, and you should be able to breeze through the book in just one evening. Also, Larry Niven introduces us to Beowulf Shaffer, one of my favorite Sci-Fi characters.

The first of the short stories is Neutron Star. Basically, a pilot has to fly a superstrong space ship around a Neutron star. The trouble is the previous crew was killed in the attempt. However, the pilot, Shaffer, must do the mission for the super intelligent beings, the Puppetters, else risk going to prison because Shaffer is broke and debtors go to prison in the future (could have used this for present day Enron).

The rest of the short stories are fun, not too deep, and the pages just fly by. The Soft Weapon is a story with the introduction of the Kzin, a race of war-like cats. This story was later adapted to the old cartoon show "Star Trek", of the early 70s. In another fun story Shaffer is telling one character about women problems. Larry Niven, using one of the characters, gives some sound advise on love, get another woman.

All of the stories are set in Larry Niven's Known Space time period. Humans enjoy very long lives, excellent economic circumstances, and lots of chances for travel. Only if people are stupid or dishonest do they get hurt. Poverity is pretty much gone. Humans get to live in a golden age of Aliens.

Generally, I consider this book to be the best of the collection of Larry's short story books.

In the last Known Space story, Ringworld's Children, there is a direct tie in to a story in "Neutron Star". I really liked the fact that Larry was able to tie in a 35 year gap in story telling to Neutron Star.

The book does have some ill effects from the fact the majority of the stories were written in the late 1960s.
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