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Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven Mass Market Paperback – November 12, 1985


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 12, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345334698
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345334695
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ranging from the 20th Century to the 31st, these interconnected stories trace Man's expansion and colonization throughout the galaxy...

Becalmed in hell
Howie's spaceship had a malfunction...but it might be only psychosomatic!

Wait it out
He was trapped on Pluto...and all his assets were frozen!

The borderland of Sol
Forward possessed the ultimate weapon...but no one would ever see it!

The jigsaw man
The organ banks want you...now!

Cloak of anarchy
They were free to be anything but violent...but that wasn't enough!

-- plus eight other great stories in Niven's spectacular cycle of the future...and, special for this volume, a complete Niven bibliography and a detailed chronology of all his Known Space stories!

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This collection of stories was the first book of the now renowned Known Space Series. A lot of the stories are from a long time ago, so they seem kind of outdated, but most of them are still pure Niven, pure cool. Especially liked that one, "Hole Man" I believe it was, where the scientist on Mars murders someone with a black hole. Man, this is some good stuff.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on November 28, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A collection of stories from Niven's multi-era Future History, which some introduction to each part. The stories themselves only average 3.23, but do show the interesting structure of this universe, from early solar system exploration, to interstellar conflict.

Tales of Known Space : The Coldest Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Becalmed in Hell - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Wait It Out - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Eye of an Octopus - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : How the Heroes Die - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Jigsaw Man - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : At the Bottom of a Hole - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Intent to Deceive [The Deceivers] - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Cloak of Anarchy - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : The Warriors - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Madness Has Its Place - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : There Is a Tide - Larry Niven
Tales of Known Space : Safe at Any Speed - Larry Niven

Ship brain Mercury trip.

3 out of 5

Ship brain Venus trip.

2.5 out of 5

Corpsicle decision.

3 out of 5

Martian mummy is da bomb.

3.5 out of 5

Martian indeceny.

1.5 out of 5

Organlegging escape.

4 out of 5

Martian mistake.

3.5 out of 5

Luncheon loop.

3.5 out of 5

Free Park experiment not bright.

4 out of 5

Cat ship fry.

3 out of 5

ARM to schizo arm.

3.5 out of 5

Wu Pak Big lure.

4 out of 5

Living in your car.

3 out of 5
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spaz Jaket on August 19, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
thought provoking examinations of the social effects of

technological change, which seems to me to be one of the

primary purposes of sci-fi, and can therefore be forgiven

for its failure to be perfectly accurate in predicting

what will happen when (plus, i like the old stuff, and am

willing to add 100 years to whatever the old stories come

up with). i highly recommend these stories since niven's

near-future look is worthwhile compliment to his distant

galaxy hopping work, even if it may not perfectly fit in

his later conception of his universe.
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Larry Niven's Known Space series of anthologies and novels covers a vast timeline of spacefaring adventures encompassing 10,000 years. This particular volume contains 13 stories. While it was interesting to see how richly populated and developed Niven's universe is, only about half of the tales in this collection appealed to me. All were interesting in their own way, but I found the other half to be anticlimactic. My favorites included:

"Eye of an Octopus" - Human explorers on Mars discover a strange well made of diamond bricks and the corpse of a Martian. How are the two connected? The answer is explosive!

"How the Heroes Die" - A murder occurs in the human "Bubbletown" settlement on Mars and a dangerous chase ensues across the surface of the red planet.

"Intent to Deceive" - At the Red Planet restaurant on Mars, robot waiters run amuck! You can never have too many shrimp cocktails...or can you? Maybe it's all just a fable...

"Cloak of Anarchy" - In San Diego's parks, anything goes--except violence, which is stictly punished by the all-seeing "copseyes" that patrol the parks, but what happens when every one of these hovering spheres loses power at once? Who will maintain law and order?

"The Borderland of Sol" - Beowulf Shaeffer is stranded on the deep space colony Jinx, until he comes across old friend Carlos Wu. Carlos offers him passage back to Earth aboard the Hobo Kelly, a starship belonging to wealthy trader Sigmund Ausfaller. The problem: ships have been disappearing in alarming numbers just beyond Earth's solar system. Could there by a ship-devouring entity lurking in interstellar space?

"Safe at Any Speed" - Our hero's test car is swallowed whole by a giant bird--with our hero inside!

Overall, Tales of Known Space is an enjoyable, if not entirely inspired, anthology.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Larry Niven is justly famous for his Known Space novels, but the short stories really flesh out the series. Niven introduces us to Puppeteers, Kzinti, and many of the other races, as well as the quirky humans who inhabit the small sphere of stars called Known Space. Niven is one of the masters of Hard Science Fiction, fiction with real physics and their effects at the center of the story. This collection is a winner and highly recommended for both the Niven fan and those who know nothing about Known Space.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Mathiesen on March 8, 2009
Known Space is the huge area of the galaxy in which man has explored, though not necessarily settled. In this vast area events occur that are filled with intrigue, wonder and adventure. In Howie's very unusual spacecraft has developed a fault that might require some canny thought to fix it. In <Wait It Out> the hero is marooned on Pluto trapped in an eternal vigil that may never end in rescue. In <The Jigsaw Man> Lew Knowles bemoans the unfairness of both fate and the law, but will he escape both? Niven has a knack for entertaining his readers by including the surprising and unusual. Of course I cannot give you any examples as that would spoil the book.

This is a collection of thirteen short stories, but has a little of the feel of a novel. Niven has invented a future history for mankind stretching from the 20th Century to the 31st. and all of these stories fit into that imagined chronicle. Some of these tales refer to one another, and others refer to other stories in this series that are published in other books. The book has a time line showing the major 'historical' events and most of the stories Niven has written in this series. This volume is arranged in time line order so the reader gets a sense of progression and development as he moves through the book.

The best stories in this volume are and <Cloak of Anarchy>. The first gets my vote because of its wide-eyed, aghast humor and the second because of its relevant social comment. The least interesting are <The Coldest Place> and <The Borderland of Sol>. <The Coldest Place> is Niven's first published story and unfortunately lacks plot. Niven explains in his introduction that he thought of rewriting it but eventually decided against that idea.
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