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Smoke Ring Mass Market Paperback – March 12, 1988


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (March 12, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345302575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345302571
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The setting of Niven's 1984 novel The Integral Trees was striking and imaginative, even for this acclaimed world builder; it's well worth the second visit made in this sequel. Around a neutron star an envelope of gas holds a breathable atmosphere and a strange profusion of plant and animal life, all floating in free-fall. Five hundred years after the crew of the Earth ship Discipline mutinied and deserted to this paradise, their descendants are still watched over by the ship's unbalanced computer mind. The machine is busy manipulating its one small contact group into exploring the larger city they have been avoiding for years. Aspects of this society are intriguingfor instance, the disdain of the better-adapted taller, thinner people for the "dwarfish" throwbacks, even though only the short can fit into the scientific relics of the old ship. As usual with Niven, character and story are just an excuse for working out the properties of his wonderful imaginary world, where people can fly like birds and ponds full of fish hang in midair. Unfortunately, in this book he fails to marshal the visual and dramatic flair needed to show it off to best effect.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

''The setting of Niven's 1984 novel The Integral Trees was striking and imaginative, even for this acclaimed world builder; it's well worth the second visit made in this sequel . . . . A wonderful imaginary world, where people can fly like birds and ponds full of fish hang in midair.'' --Publishers Weekly

''Niven has come up with an idea about as far out as one can get . . . This is certainly classic science fiction -- the idea is truly the hero.'' --Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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

SF at its best!
Michael Delaware
I can't really say how good the story was because the narrator was so bad on this CD that I had a difficult time following the story itself.
Crista S. Forest
I read this book years ago and still remember it!
sane@gte.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on August 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Chances are, when you think of a good Niven book, you don't recall the awe-inspiring plot or earth shattering dialogue exchanges or any of that sissy stuff . . . it's the ideas that hold your attention and make the book worth reading. Which leads to a love or hate relationship with the man . . . if you like your SF "hard" he's about as hard as they come and when he's "on" you'll find yourself dazzled even if you're trying to resist. And then there are those times when he's so in love with his ideas that he forgets to write a story to go along with it. This isn't that bad but it almost comes close. I'll admit the original concept of the Integral Trees was mind boggling, an entire civilization of human beings adapted to a zero gravity environment in a cloud of atmosphere that orbits a neutron star. It's been a few years since I read that book and so forgiveable that I don't quite remember what happened . . . but that concept. Whoa. Niven revisits it here, bringing back some of the people from the first book, adding some newcomers and exploring the world a little bit. The plot, when they bother with it, is fairly straightforward and really doesn't build to any sort of climax or peak, it hovers somewhere around episodic without even congealing into anything memorable. However, the ideas, those are the meat of this book and Niven whips them out on almost every page, taking full advantage of the scenario and running with the ball for all its worth. If you read your SF for the "science" part of it, you're in luck, he gives enough stuff here to keep a generation of physics graduate students busy for quite some time. Thankfully you don't need a doctorate in a higher science to understand all of it but like I said, ideas are basically all this book has.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ahmed Rizk on October 20, 2002
Format: Unknown Binding
This novel describes the life of human colonists in a very peculiar alien world. They live in the atmosphere of a neutron star that has no habitable planets!!. Although this the sequel to the novel "Integral trees", one does not need to have read it to get a grasp of "The smoke ring". The story has no real plot, but is very gripping nonetheless. The author reveals details of the world and way of life of colonists bit by bit, so one is always finding new concepts in every chapter. It is very good exercise for the imagination. This a mandatory reading for all hardcore SF readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bill Hensler VINE VOICE on August 3, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a nice follow up to the Intregal trees. Now, Larry built a quasi-universe with an all controlling "State" that was established in the novel "World out of time", a very odd novel that Larry took years to write from the time of 1975 until the late 1970s.

The Intregal trees is the immediate follow up to the Smoke world, people live in a zero G enviorment that looks like a giant Smoke Ring (or it's a Ring World less a ring). Basically, it's still Larry's flat characters in a world that is fantastic by any part of the immagination. Personally, I didn't think there was much of a story here. It was more a story about a tribe of humans adapting to life with no gravity. Since I'm a big Niven fan that's not a large deal. Also, since about 90% of the reviewers here are Niven fans it's no big deal. Now, if you're not a Niven fan the book is dry and not with a lot of purpose. If you're part of the Niven fan club then the book is a four. If you're not then the book is a two star book. On average the grade is three stars, a C grade.

Looking back on this book I'm a little perplexed on how the Smoke Ring could work. The radiation from Jupiter would be fatal to any human life in a matter of days. "Gold" is a good part of the mass of Jupiter, if Gold's radiation was a fraction of Jupiter, the radiation would kill off all life in the smoke ring in a matter of weeks.

But this is still a fair book. The characters are interesting. We get to see a tribe of teenagers turn into a group of responsbile working adults. Larry takes care of a question of the fatherhood for one character. Also, Larry gets rid of one of the most annoying computers since the infamous HAL of 2001. Somebody said they didn't get the ending. Actually, there is an ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gary M. Greenbaum on July 29, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Descendents of a starship crew populate the Smoke Ring, a ring of atmosphere surrounding a neutron star. The starship, Discipline (from a totalitarian state) and its self aware computer, Kendy, are still out there. . .
Twenty years have passed since the events of The Integral Trees, and the first native generation of Citizens Tree is reaching adulthood. When a merchant ship crashes from a civilization known as the Admiralty, the citizens' wanderlust is again piqued, and several head towards the Admiralty on a scouting venture. The mission: find out what they can, bring back supplies and knowledge, and try to avoid Citizens Tree's technology from becoming known . . .
A very good hard science fiction novel. Not perfect, though. What use does the Admiralty have for all that wood? The pieces of trunk that are brought in are often thirty kilometers long and several hundred meters in diameter. The population of the Admiralty is only a few thousand. You do the math. One integral tree would have all the wood they'd need for centuries.
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