Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Ringworld (A Del Rey book) Mass Market Paperback – September 12, 1985
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From the Inside Flap
A new place is being built, a world of huge dimensions, encompassing millions of miles, stronger than any planet before it. There is gravity, and with high walls and its proximity to the sun, a livable new planet that is three million times the area of the Earth can be formed. We can start again!
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
This publisher is apparently a "literary agency" that seems to specialize in putting backlists back in circulation in ebook form. In this case, the author could have done a better job himself.
For tanj sake, Spectrum, hire a proofer. If you show this little class and respect to a major title from a major name, I can't imagine what you do to smaller ones.
The problem with that adaptation was that it was really only the first half of the book, and just when some action started, then the book ended.
So I had to get the book, because I wanted to know what happened.
And I read and enjoyed the book There is a quest to a mysterious world, and there is an interesting if maybe two-dimensional cast of characters. The problem for me was that it didn’t really get going for me until about page 200 of my edition. You could chalk that up to me having read a good bit of it already in graphic form, but the reality is that there is a lot of exposition done through a sort of “we’re getting the band back together” sport of way. I suppose when this was written it was more like a magnificient seven sort of way, but I digress.
So it does get going, there is some loss of characters you grow to like, and then it ends.
Not in a satisfying way, but one that seems like it was set up for sequels. The problem was that though the book was good in itself, I’m not sure if it was good enough to make me want to read more in the world. At least the exposition is out of the way.
From my limited perspective, so many things stand out in Ringworld as innovative, high-concept. Larry Niven applies a physicist's understanding of relativity and the possibilities of faster-than light travel, to describe voyages to the edge of the galaxy. He creates alien characters that are thoroughly believable, in a future just far enough away we can certainly relate to, but cannot argue with some of the excesses of the inter-planetary culture that has developed there. For example, several pages early on describe the birth lottery system that we developed to restrict human expansion on Earth and our colonized planets.
Other things...his alien Nessus is a quirky and brilliant creation that must have defied and improved on every previous concept of an intelligent life-form, competitive if not superior to humans. His alien the Kzin is a civilized but ferocious being who must have been inspriation for the Klingons, or Star Wars' Chewbacca.
Then the grandest concept of all - Ringworld, not a planet, but a world created in a gigantic ring, 90 million miles in diameter, circling a sun on the edge of the galaxy. Niven is most brilliant in fleshing out the details of how Ringworld must have been created by a long-gone civilization, how its immense dimensions served to keep it in a stable orbit, the huge (million-mile long) shadow squares that orbit just inside Ringworld to provide night and day, and (SPOILER ALERT) how our intrepid space travelers, including human heros Louis Wu and Teela Brown, decide to travel Ringworld soon after crash-landing.
There is so much to this book; this just scratches the surface.
One could argue with a few technical details or with the writing. I often found the narrative confusing, as if Larry Niven had trouble reconciing the action with his mind-expanding concepts (and who wouldn't), for example just how and why is their spaceship transparent to its own occupants? Only vaguely described, and frankly this detail could have been omitted. Also, Niven tries to describe the environment on Ringworld, but his understanding of ecology is lacking. If Ringworld's creators wanted to create a new heaven for their race, and created oceans many thousands of miles long to separate the continents, shouldn't the oceans have been deep enough to support a wide range of sea-life? But no, he says nothing on Ringworld is more than 100 feet deep.
Small quibbles with the most mind-expanding sci-fi I have ever read. "2001 A Space Odyssey" was also high-concept, but it had a much more limited scope. Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War" was highly inventive and had lots of fun with the effects of near-light speed travel, but it did not try to create a whole new world.
Ringworld successfully creates a new world. What more could you want in science fiction?
Nevertheless there is an iceberg for this titanic story: there is a talking cat >.> I don't care how rational that character is and how you can explain his existence, to me is ridiculous; the other character is at the end, a kind of Conan the barbarian. Details like those are so important in the story that risk it to sink from the realm of science fiction to fantasy, and not good fantasy.
About the sexual scenes instead I have not opposition. I believe sex in proximity of death can be more intense and from my own experience when you travel is inevitable to take advantage of the little shared time.
Most recent customer reviews
Truly imaginative with great storytelling.