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Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven Mass Market Paperback – November 12, 1985
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From the Inside Flap
the 20th Century to the 31st, these interconnected stories trace Man's expansion and colonization throughout the galaxy...<br><br>Becalmed in hell<br>Howie's spaceship had a malfunction...but it might be only psychosomatic!<br><br>Wait it out<br>He was trapped on Pluto...and all his assets were frozen!<br><br>The borderland of Sol<br>Forward possessed the ultimate weapon...but no one would ever see it!<br><br>The jigsaw man<br>The organ banks want you...now!<br><br>Cloak of anarchy<br>They were free to be anything but violent...but that wasn't enough!<br><br>-- 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!
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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. At 47 pages <The Borderland of Sol> is by far the longest tale in the book and unfortunately the quasi-scientific hoo-ha bored me.
If you like this book, which on the whole I did, you will probably also enjoy Neutron Star,Protector,The World of Ptavvs (Tales of known space),Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers (Ringworld) all of which are in this future history series.
"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.