Rating: 0

Larry Niven

So I'll start by saying that for some reason I was really annoyed by the use of "tanj"="there ain't no justice" as a curse. There was no reason for it, it was stupid, I can't imagine people coming up with a curse that's an acronym for an incredibly annoying and stupid phrase. I literally cringed every time this got used, which was about once a page.

But I should review the book more generally...

The plot premise is that we're a few centuries into the future, we've made contact with alien races and have interstellar travel and have spread beyond living just on Earth. An alien is trying to assemble a team to go investigate a weird thing that his race found - his team is him, another alien and two humans. The thing they go to investigate (they don't say this right out but it is painfully obvious) is the ringworld.

Ringworld is a sun with a big ring around it and people live on the inside of the ring. The team goes out there. We learn more about the aliens on the team and about the ringworld. Crisis, resolution, blah blah blah...

I thought that the ringworld idea was pretty neat. I was really curious why it had been built and what was happening on it. Most of those questions went unanswered. Instead, there was too much focus on the people on the team and why the four of them had ended up being chosen. I wasn't nearly so interested in that question. Also, I thought that Niven's writing wasn't at all evocative. I wanted to see the ringworld and the various features of it he was describing but I couldn't get that from his text. The description of how the world gets day and night was quite hard to follow and I'm still not sure I totally understand.

I guess the balance between enjoyment and annoyance was that I felt like Niven had a cool idea, and that he had followed it through pretty well in thinking out the consequences (I was pleased when the day/night issue came up because it's clearly a problem and yet one that hadn't occurred to me) but I didn't feel like the answers were satisfying. That, and the fact that it was a quick read, was enough to save it from a '-' rating for me.

Little annoyances:

Take away impression: Nearly identical to Rendezvous with Rama, but not as well written.


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