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The Ringworld Throne Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 1997

126 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

In Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers Larry Niven created Known Space, a universe in the distant future with a distinctive and complicated history. The center of this universe is Ringworld, an expansive hoop-shaped relic 1 million miles across and 600 million miles in circumference that is home to some 30 trillion diverse inhabitants. As in his past novels, Niven's characters in The Ringworld Throne spend their time unraveling the complex problems posed by their society. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

An honored SF writer returns to his best-known creation: the artificial world, built far from Earth by aliens over a half million years ago, in the form of a ring 600 million miles in diameter, hosting an astonishing multitude of inhabitants and cultures. This third fictional voyage to the Ringworld (after Ringworld, 1970, which won both the Hugo and the Nebula for best SF novel of that year, and Ringworld Engineers, 1980) offers two stories crowded into one. A motley array of hominid inhabitants are seeking to defeat a plague of vampires. Meanwhile, returning hero Louis Wu is battling what effectively is a plague of Protectors (superbeings common to many Niven novels) whose rivalries threaten Ringworld's existence. The battle against the vampires is the more exciting of the two stories, filled with action, scenes of the Ringworld and explorations of ritualistic interspecies sex. Wu's pursuit of the Protectors displays Niven's deft hand at portraying aliens, but the dialogue that fills in the backstory slows the narrative. Niven still ranks near the top of the SF field, but this outing is likely to satisfy determined Ringworld fans more than other readers.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345412966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345412966
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,012 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

92 of 97 people found the following review helpful By RansomOttawa on May 22, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970) is one of the truly great SF novels. A crew of four, comprising Louis Wu, a cynical, 200-year-old man; Teela Brown, a young woman bred for luck; Speaker-to-Animals, an aggressive, cat-like Kzin; and Nessus, a Pierson's Puppeteer, a technologically advanced race whose highest virtue is cowardice. The four of them go exploring on a recently discovered artifact: a gigantic ring a million miles wide and as big around as Earth's orbit.
The sequel, The Ringworld Engineers (1980), starts twenty years later, with Louis Wu and Speaker (now known as Chmeee) returning to the Ringworld with the Hindmost, the deposed leader of the Puppeteers, to find a supposed transmutation device that the Hindmost thinks will help restore him to power. Along the way they discover various alien civilizations, Vampires (non-sentient, blood-eating hominids), and Ghouls (eaters of the dead who trade in information). They also learn that the orbit of the Ringworld has become eccentric and it will destroy itself in a matter of years unless they can save it.
And then . . . there's The Ringworld Throne, where the only mystery yet to solve is, apparently, "Who are you, and what have you done with the real Larry Niven?" To say that Throne is a disappointing sequel is an understatement.
The story picks up about a year after The Ringworld Engineers leaves off. Louis Wu and his motley crew are still stranded on the Ringworld after human-turned-Pak-protector Teela buried their spaceship under tons of lava. Unfortunately, Niven has changed a major premise of the last book. Engineers ended with an unthinkable moral dilemma: whether to allow the Ringworld and its trillions of occupants to be destroyed, or save it at the cost of several hundred million lives.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Mindme on December 27, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The original Ringworld left a number of unanswered question that Ringworld Engineers attempted to answer. But by the end of Engineers one got the sneaking suspicion that Niven had pretty much exhausted his store of ideas for this world. Ringworld Throne only manages to confirm your suspicions that Ringworld is played out as a theme.

Engineers did leave one wonderful hook: the kzin plans to conquer earth. What is an earth conquered by the kzinti like? The book starts off with the Louis and the cat man sailing to the Ringworld earth to fulfill his dream but then the book veers off to follow the trials and tribulations of a caravan of boring Ringworld denizens. It becomes Ringworld meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Ten chapters in you begin to wonder why he wrote this book. People tramp around with little direction and kill vampires. Every third page one finds a little discussion on interspecies sex. You begin to wonder when Niven stopped being an innovative thinker and became a dirty old man, sweaty palms on a typewriter thinking sci fi fan boys still want this stuff. Newsflash, Lar. The fan boys have moved on to much "better" Japanese tentacle sex magna.

It's bad stuff from an author who should know better. It reads like Niven outsourced the whole project to Kevin J Anderson and never rises above Anderson's dial-a-novel method of cranking out bad sci fi.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read Ringworld 31 years ago, in the first edition that has Earth rotating in the wrong direction, and have reread it at least half a dozen times since then, each time with enormous pleasure. Today I see no reason to change my judgment that it is one of the 3 or 4 best science-fiction novels ever written.
If it were the only book Larry Niven had ever written, he would be remembered for it the way Walter Miller is remembered for A Canticle for Lieberwitz. But he followed it up the following year with Protector, which is nearly as good. And over the years he's written dozens of excellent short stories, especially those in Neutron Star.
Ten years after Ringworld, Niven wrote a belated sequel, Ringworld Engineers, which seemed curiously lifeless compared to the first one but which was still a competent, even interesting, job of carrying on where the first one left off. No one will ever argue that it is even one of the 500 best SF books ever written, but it was intelligent, intelligible, and added some interesting new ideas to the original Ringworld concept.
Then, seventeen years or so after Ringworld Engineers, Niven wrote (or programmed) this miserable third book in the series. The writing is so desultory, so ambiguous, so unclear, along with most of the action, that you actually begin to wonder if maybe he punched a number of coordinates into a super-intelligent writing program and then sat back to let it do the rest.
There are so many things wrong with this as a piece of fiction that I won't bother to enumerate them -- most of the other reviewers here have already done so. What I will say is this: if you haven't already read BOTH of the earlier Ringworld books, perferably several times, this book will make absolutely no sense at all.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bradford Hull on December 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off-I love Niven's work. I got hooked on him about a year ago when I read Ringworld. After that, I went back and read the entire Known Space series in a rough chronological order. This series is very good.
However, about 100 pages into Ringworld Throne, I had to log into this site and look up the reviews to make sure I hadn't landed in the Twilight Zone. Sure enough, most people had come to the conclusions I had...this book is horrible.
First off, he uses too many rediculously long names with shallow characters that you can't possibly keep track of (the cast of characters in the back of the book might help with this). About 30 pages in, I found myself just skipping over the names and trying to get an idea of where he was going with the plot.
Second, the narrative is so disjointed and difficult to read it is hard to believe this is the person who created the astounding original Ringworld novel.
It is very rare that I do not finish a book, but after 100 pages, I just couldn't stand it any longer.
Sorry Larry...this book hurt. Despite the love I have for your work, this novel receives one star.
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