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It feels almost like each page needs to be about 1/2 a page ...
on April 19, 2017
I am writing this as as a counter balance to the negative reviews here.
There is no doubt Larry Niven's writing style is an acquired taste. It is often (every other page or so) difficult, if not impossible, to tell who is actually talking, what precisely they are talking about, and the significance of what they say. It feels almost like each page needs to be about 1/2 a page longer to make room for the missing exposition that would make it all make sense.
That's not going to happen. If you are willing to let go of needing a detailed, specific linear narrative, let go of needing to know who is talking, and even which character is which, and simply accept that Niven writes in what I call "bursts of brilliance" strung together, you will see what it's like to be Louis Wu-- because you'll be thinking like him. Things happen, people die, sex (rishathra) is handled as a commodity and a way for different "tribes" to negotiate & trade with each other... all linked with and by Niven's bright mind, skipping along a gigantic idea (Ringworld), like a skipping stone or a stepping disk; contained in an even larger, more thrilling and mysterious gigantic idea (the universe). Acquired taste, yes.. and for those who acquire it, rewards galore.