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Three Books of Known Space Paperback – September 3, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Let three complete books in one take you on a dazzling journey into science fiction's most famous future history: Known Space!
Kzanol was a thrint from a distant galaxy. He had been trapped on Earth in a time-stasis field for two billion years. Now he was on the loose, and telepath Larry Greenberg knew everything he was thinking. Thrints lived to plunder and enslave lesser planets . . . and the planet Kzanol had in mind was Earth!
Shrouded in lethal mists, the world named Mount Lookitthat was never meant for humans. Life existed only on one plateau, unreachable except from space. But still the planet had been colonized, and the settlers struggled to survive under a ruthless dictatorship on a rebellion-proof world . . . until fate dealt them a wild card named Matthew Keller, whose secret talent might just be their only hope!
A classic collection of stories that traces humankind's expansion and colonization throughout the galaxy from the twentieth century to the thirty-first . . .
AND MORE: Larry Niven's latest thoughts on the evolution--both creative and "historical"--of known space, as well as an updated Timeline of Known Space and a complete Niven bibliography!


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 3, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345404483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345404480
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,019 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

38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on August 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
People interested in Larry Niven should not be reading his newer work, it is in early novels and stories like the ones portrayed here that they should start, for this is classic Niven. The writing and ideas that made Known Space so popular is easily seen here in a fine mix of novels and stories.

Some quick notes about the novels included herein:

World of Ptavvs is a great first novel and clearly shows off Niven's Known Space while providing a story that is part science-fiction, part suspense thriller. The alien is truly frightening, and the twist of having him in different bodies was great. Niven was off to a good start

A Gift From Earth was much better than World of Ptavvs for a number of different reasons. One, you sympathized with the main characters more, the plot was bursting with more ideas than the previous novel, and everything just seems to be better, which is how it should have been. The one great thing about reading this collection is seeing how his writing got better and better. And, oh yes, his next novel was a piece you might have heard of. Anyone remember Ringwold?

Tales of Known Space rounds out the collection, and Niven had a good idea in shuffling them in with the novels to keep everything chronological. Most of the stories are classic science-fiction and those that aren't are still pretty decent. This collection also adds notes by Niven and a chart along with a bibliography of everything he had written up to The Ringworld Throne, so new fans can easily figure out which books to get and where they fit in.

So, while these novels are not exactly out of print (I know A Gift From Earth and Tales From Known Space are still available), this is still the Niven fan's best bet, whether he be new or old, to get some great science-fiction tales. Highly recommended
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By RansomOttawa on June 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm sure I'm not alone in "cutting my teeth" on Niven's work by reading Ringworld, and then discovering that it actually assumed prior knowledge of the Kzinti, indestructible General Products hulls, stasis fields, and other weird stuff. Three Books of Known Space fills in some of the gaps in that knowledge.
This volume is an omnibus collection of three previous books, World of Ptavvs, A Gift from Earth, and the short story collection Tales of Known Space. Niven has rearranged all the stories in chronological order according to his future history.
World of Ptavvs is a decent novel - Niven's first - about an alien Slaver who attempts to escape from Earth after being trapped there for 2 billion years in a stasis field. Human experiments with stasis technology allow him to escape - but not only in his own body. When telepath Larry Greenberg attempts to communicate with whatever is in the stasis field, he comes away with a copy of the Slaver's consciousness in his own brain. A chase across the solar system ensues as the authorities attempt to capture the Slaver and the schizophrenic Greenberg.
Niven's sophomore novel, A Gift From Earth, is slightly better. The planet We Made It has a single habitable feature: a plateau at the top of 40-mile-high Mount Lookitthat. The colony there is governed by a hereditary aristocracy, the descendants of the crew that piloted the two colony ships. The colonists, who arrived on We Made It in hibernation, are their serfs. "Justice" is swift and draconian, and colonists on the wrong side of the law wind up as spare parts in the crew's organ bank.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brad Wheeler on April 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Larry Niven's Known Space universe is probably one of the most developed in all of science fiction. It mixes hard science fiction with space opera so seamlessly that it's easy to just slip in a wave reality bye-bye.
This book represents the largest concentration of known space stories anywhere, with many of the ones included now impossible to find elsewhere. The novels are both excellent stuff, but the short stories are where the book really shines. They cover over a thousand years of future history (and even a little of the past), and their topics are just as varied. You can expect to read about your favorite characters, plus a few new ones. The timeline is also indispensible to know how the stories relate to each other.
All in all, you should own this book if you consider yourself a science fiction fan. It's that good.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bradford Hull on January 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Collected here are three novels previously published. Tales of Known Space(itself a collection of short stories), World of Ptavvs, and A Gift from Earth.
If you are just getting into Larry Niven's Known Space series, then this would be a fantastic place to start. It contains some very short stories, some medium sized stories and two novels along with a Known Space timeline. This timeline is not completely up to date. A search on the web should turn out some more recent ones.
All-in-all this is hard science fiction at its best. Larry weaves a fabric whose strands from the very beginning are encountered far into his alternate future. This gives the reader that feeling of breadth that only comes from years-long sagas.
The only ding I would give this work is the novel "A Gift From Earth". Honestly, I disliked this book. It just seemed to unrealistic to me. It deals with a world in rebellion and the whole situation and subsequent developments just seemed a bit on the improbable side of things. Because of this, I would have given it 4 1/2 instead of 5
Despite that, the rest of the book makes it worth the buy. Highly recommended.
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