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Ringworld (A Del Rey book) Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1985

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Editorial Reviews


''Tom Parker [aka Grover Gardner] captures the personalities of the travelers through individual vocalization and provides smooth, expressive narration. The listener is soon caught up in the adventures of these vivid characters as they struggle to survive . . . a rousing adventure.'' --AudioFile

''Niven's style is such that you can be awed, then titillated, then amused all on the same page. . . . After more than thirty years, the story remains interesting, and the ideas fascinating. I highly recommend this audiobook, whether you've experienced Ringworld already or not. I enjoyed every minute.''

''[Parker-aka- Gardner] skillfully uses inflection and timing to heighten drama or highlight humorous details as appropriate. Parker (aka-Gardner) deftly brings to life Louis Wu and other members of the 'motley crew' . . . This is SF--and narration--at its best.'' --Kliatt --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Publisher

8 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: A Del Rey book
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345333926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345333926
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (278 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

LARRY NIVEN is the multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces. He lives in Chatsworth, California. JERRY POURNELLE is an essayist, journalist, and science fiction author. He has advanced degrees in psychology, statistics, engineering, and political science. Together Niven and Pournelle are the authors of many New York Times bestsellers including Inferno, The Mote in God's Eye, Footfall, and Lucifer's Hammer.

Customer Reviews

The main human character is interesting, but his (young, nubile, and female) companion is not.
This book is head and shoulders above the Niven books I read and would recommend it to any science fiction fan!
Amazon Customer
There are many types of literature I enjoy good story, clever plots, and interesting characters.
Glenn E. Graham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Bradford Hull on January 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I picked this book up on a whim while serving with the Air Force in South Korea. Honestly, what attracted my attention was the idea of the ringworld itself. A ring with 6 million times the surface area of the Earth built by beings who have abandoned it just sounded so fantastic, I couldn't resist.
This book was anything but a dissapointment. It moved at a good pace and I hardly had to push through any of the chapters. The breadth of this collosal work of engineering is described with a good sense that leaves the reader in awe.
Having been the first of Niven's book I read, this was my first exposure to the Kzinti race which appear through Niven's "Known Space" works. And here is where my only problem with this work is. Honestly, the idea of gargantuan feline-like aliens just seemed a little cheesey to me. Although Niven works out nice background info for this race, I just thought he could have done better with the appearance.
Despite that, this book has some nice original ideas and even a few brilliant ones. It deserves the Hugo and Nebula badges that grace the cover. Very Highly Recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Hal Cheng on March 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A mysterious (and mad) stranger offers a rich prize to an apparently mismatched crew, if they will undertake a dangerous mission to a strange land - the Ringworld.
Far from a typical adventure yarn, Ringworld is a landmark science fiction story. The worlds and cultures, the future human history, and the technology conceived for this book (and for other related Known Space stories) are a major achievement of imagination. Larry Niven has a gift for making them all fit and work together into a cohesive and enjoyable whole.
The exploration of the Ringworld, a massive artifact of mysterious origins, forms the backdrop for a further exploration of the history and the cultures in Larry Niven's Known Space series.
Ringworld provides insights and intriguing clues about the two principal alien species of the novel, the Kzin and the Puppeteers, and the history of their interactions with the human race. The creation of alien viewpoints and personalities is exceptionally well handled here. Nessus and Speaker-to-Animals are credible characters with unique viewpoints.
I was particularly pleased with the handling of the warrior culture of the Kzin. Speaker-to-Animals is aggressive and proud, but also intelligent, articulate and judicious. Contrast this with the one dimensional, noble but simple minded Klingons of Star Trek NG.
Ringworld has my recommendation. Other Larry Niven books worth reading include Neutron Star and Protector.
I don't recommend Ringworld Engineers, the sequel to this book.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michigoon VINE VOICE on August 1, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As I'm a self-proclaimed nerd, so perhaps you can take this whole review with a grain of salt. But personally, I think Ringworld is some of the best SciFi out there.

Many points are raised in the other reviews here, and most of them are good. But I feel that far too many people missed the bigger message of it all. Yes, the 200-year-old main character (world-weary Louis Wu) winds up explaining technical jargon to a 20-year-old bimbo in a situation where characters obviously take a backseat to the great technical underpinnings of the universe... but a scene or two over, he also switches sides with a line something like: "The world's greatest lover was a friend of mine... we're going to need gravity for this."

The point of the novel isn't just to follow the typical drivel of who's starstruck for who or who's the best at splurting out technobabble WHILE you just happen to be in the future, it's to set back in awe of the setting and the world in which all of those little things happen. Truly, the Ringworld itself is the greatest and best character in this book, and everyone else (even Louis Wu) really is playing second fiddle to the main course- a structure so unimaginably complex that scientists will be (and have been) fueding over it for generations to come.

Marvel at the lasers and stasis fields. Wonder at the scenic vistas and the incredible settings. And maybe, just maybe, you'll get attached to the band of rogues caught up in all of this along the way. All in all, it's mostly about the journey and the setting, and just going along for the ride.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By not4prophet on June 27, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having just finished reading Ringworld, I'm still trying to sort out how I feel about it. There's one thing that I can say for certain: it's totally different from any other science fiction novel that I've read recently. If I tried to describe the premise of this book, it would sound absurd. However, Ringworld is not an attempt at comedy. At the same time, it isn't really a typical work of hard science fiction. It's set in the far future, and takes place mostly among civilizations run by aliens who possess amazing technology. However, there's not much attempt to explain how the technology works. For instance, we learn that the aliens can move entire planets, but we never find out how they do it.
The story concerns a team of two humans and two aliens who crash-land on a gigantic ring in a distant star system. The ring is millions of times larger than the Earth, and was clearly built by some very advanced society. Most of the novel concerns their exploration of the ring itself. However, very little time is spent on action or fighting scenes. Instead, there is a great deal of description. The creativity that Niven uses in creating the Ringworld is probably the novel's biggest strength.
Another concept that makes this work an original is the explanation of the relationships between humans and different alien species. This isn't a stereotypical us vs them adventure story, but it isn't a feel good, everybody works together scenario like Star Trek either. As I said, the ideas would sound silly if I listed them here, but Niven takes them seriously and works them into the story quite well.
Ringworld is an easy read, and at 350 pages, it's shorter and flows better than many SF novels.
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