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Shipstar: A Science Fiction Novel Hardcover – April 8, 2014
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"The story is a solid adventure and entertaining speculation on the lives of alien creatures."―Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm a life-long Niven fan and I have enjoyed Benford, especially his Galactic Centre novels, and so I was expecting more. I've tried to figiure out why Shipstar and it's forerunner, Bowl of Heaven, haven't worked as well as they might and I can only come to the conclusion that as collaborators they weren't able to quite gell.
The story isn't too bad, but it never reaches any really sort of inventiveness, we've seen all this before. And the plot is pretty ordinary. That said, there's somewhere to explore and one or two of the characters are more interesting than I previously thought.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the read, but not as much as I'd have liked.
I just hope that Niven has one more gem up his sleeve before he has to hang up his writing 'boots'; maybe a stand alone, written by him, exploring some very strange galactic location, or one final collaboration with Pournelle... One can dream.
Any sci-fi that pushes the boundaries of basic concepts gets my attention. Shipstar does that on many levels with theory made manifest, a crisp narrative, and reasonably well developed characters. The book is carried by the author's extrapolations into far future technology, the fringes of today's theoretical speculation.
This is a step function change-up on the static dynamics of the Dyson-sphere or Ringworld-like constructs. Shipstar is an ancient, dynamically integrated sun and semi-sphere relic ... thus ... the `Shipstar'. The relic is propelled through the galaxy using the star as the engine. The Shipstar has magnanimously collected whole civilizations into its near-Earth habitable construct where there exists sentient rules and hierarchy. The relic has the surface area of tens of thousands of Earths and remains only sparsely inhabited by the relic's strange collection of 'adopted' life forms.
The human ship that stumbles up on the relic is a deep space expedition that happens on the relic.Read more ›
Regardless, though, these two volumes are in fact one Big Smart Object, with a lot of what passes for the plot being discussions of how the Bowl (an incredibly massive object that cruises the galaxy) works, and how a jet from its accompanying star is generated and controlled. The characters fade into the background as the technical ideas flow, and then Benford and Niven add more and more aliens to the mix to further muddy the waters, and distance the reader from the supposed protagonists.
Then again, folks don't buy Benford/Niven books for nuanced characters and subtle shades of emotion -- those who have bought Benford/Niven books in the past, though, know what to expect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a lifelong fan of Larry Niven's work, it pains me to say that this book reads like a knockoff of Ringworld: a sequel that treads safe paths and doesn't really explore any new... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Walt Maguire
A first read just because and I found it, so far, to be very capavating. Can't wait to get back to it.Published 29 days ago by Ken Van Buskirk
I just finished reading this book and its prequel, Bowl of Heaven. I was a little underwhelmed, especially since Larry Niven can be such a fantastic author. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
So now we know something about Ringworld's Outsiders. It was worth the read for that. If you're a Ringworld fan, you will likely be underwhelmed.Published 1 month ago by AverageJoe
I thought it ended abruptly but suppose that is the tease for the next in the series. The afterward notes by the authors was very good as they shared the deliberative process in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dan Boggs
Poorly written and not very engaging, although maybe slightly better than the Bowl of Heaven. Characters are simplistic. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kenneth Ardon
Great second-in-two book. The characters have been thought out and have backgrounds which makes everything more interesting. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Old Goat