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I just Finished Nivens Ringworld Trilogy

Old 06-14-05, 12:34 AM
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I just Finished Nivens Ringworld Trilogy

And I have to say despite some great characters and really cool sci-fi, I have to say Niven's execution is nowhere near as good as the concept.

I found his writing to be stilted, it jumped around a lot, and he would just introduce characters mid stream as if I was supposed to know all about them. About 10 times reading his trilogy, I thought that I'd accidently skipped a couple pages because it just jumped into something with no proper transition or set up at all.

Any by the end of book three, the whole Pak Protector story fizzled and bored the heck out of me.

Also, he way overid the Rishthara (sex between species) aspect of it. I say if they were to make a movie out of ringworld, it would probably be a porno.

Overall, I give the trilogy a 5/10 it would have been lower if it weren't for the two puppateers who I found I liked the best, Nessus and Hindmost. I also liked the Louis / Chmee relationship, too bad Chmee didn't show up in book 3.
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Old 06-14-05, 11:56 AM
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As much as I like Mr. Niven's work (truly inventive mind and obviously takes care to explore the science in his science fiction) and personality (a very pleasant and forthcoming man to chat with at cons), I have to agree with your points. It's very indicative of what I term "fandom contamination", wherein there is too much two-way communication between the fans and the writer. Especially bad in television programming, this can be seen in Hercules/Xena, and it was what made the Buffyverse unbearable to me.
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Old 06-15-05, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadow
Also, he way overid the Rishthara (sex between species) aspect of it. I say if they were to make a movie out of ringworld, it would probably be a porno.
Funny, that's the problem I had with David Brin's Startide Rising and The Uplift War (more so the latter than the former).

I've been thinking about giving Ringworld a shot but now I'm not so sure. Do the negatives outweigh the positives or vise-versa?
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Old 06-16-05, 07:20 PM
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it's about even. It'd be better to stop after the first book
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Old 06-17-05, 12:56 AM
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the first book is fun - the rest are not that memorable.
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Old 06-18-05, 08:19 AM
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I think I didn't even finish the 2nd book, just never connected with the character enough.
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Old 06-20-05, 11:12 AM
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If you want to read Niven, read The Mote in God's Eye. By FAR his best work. It's hard to believe he's the same author who wrote Ringworld. Mote is one of the SF novels any real fan should read - just fantastic.

Ringworld reads almost like a work for juveniles. It reads well enough and has lots of great action and it's quite enjoyable while you read it, but it'll leave you coming away empty.
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Old 06-21-05, 07:54 AM
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Isn't it the Ringworld Quadrilogy now?

Anyway, I enjoyed the first book, the second book less so, and haven't read the other two.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:22 AM
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Niven's standalone stuff is pretty good, but it's really nothing compared to the work he's done with Jerry Pournelle -- including the aforementioned "Mote in God's Eye" and sequel "The Gripping Hand", "Footfall", "Lucifer's Hammer". Also, the set he did with Pournelle and Steven Barnes: "Legacy of Heorot" and "Beowulf's Children".
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Old 06-30-05, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
Niven's standalone stuff is pretty good, but it's really nothing compared to the work he's done with Jerry Pournelle -- including the aforementioned "Mote in God's Eye" and sequel "The Gripping Hand", "Footfall", "Lucifer's Hammer". Also, the set he did with Pournelle and Steven Barnes: "Legacy of Heorot" and "Beowulf's Children".
I'll second this. It's a mistake to write off Niven because "Ringworld" is supposed to be his best work, and you didn't like it (and I do agree with the OP's opinion of it). Niven is at his best in these collaborations. I think it allows for the best of Niven (his imagination) to be added to the other writer's strengths (characterization, story plotting).
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Old 07-05-05, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
Niven's standalone stuff is pretty good, but it's really nothing compared to the work he's done with Jerry Pournelle -- including the aforementioned "Mote in God's Eye" and sequel "The Gripping Hand", "Footfall", "Lucifer's Hammer". Also, the set he did with Pournelle and Steven Barnes: "Legacy of Heorot" and "Beowulf's Children".
I thought Lucifer's Hammer was a real disappointment. Haven't read Heorot or Beowulf's Children, but agree on the others.
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Old 07-06-05, 12:51 AM
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I've only read 1 of his books, the Mote in God's Eye..and I didn't like it..I mean looking back the story was great but I didn't like reading it..could barely get through it. For a somewhat similar 'first contact' type book I'd recommend A Deepness in the Sky by by Vernor Vinge.

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Old 07-07-05, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Shady12
I've only read 1 of his books, the Mote in God's Eye..and I didn't like it..I mean looking back the story was great but I didn't like reading it..could barely get through it. For a somewhat similar 'first contact' type book I'd recommend A Deepness in the Sky by by Vernor Vinge.
"A Deepness in the Sky" is really good -- especially along the lines of first impressions and the weird sorts of identification with a species you've never actually seen. However, it's also a prequel that was written following "A Fire Upon the Deep" which is also stunningly good featuring a little more exposition upon first contact by a medieval race/species. I'd say I enjoyed this one a little more just because of the characters and also the massive amounts of detail and description of transmission processes, interstellar message boards, and the varying levels of space.

Still, all of those ones make really good First Contact type books and are particularly well written in general.
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Old 07-09-05, 12:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuan Jim
I'd say I enjoyed this one a little more just because of the characters and also the massive amounts of detail and description of transmission processes, interstellar message boards, and the varying levels of space.
Which one? I'm not sure which one you're refering to with "this one" - the one being discussed or the one you just finished describing.
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Old 07-09-05, 05:12 AM
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A Fire Upon the Deep. I read that one first then A Deepness in the Sky probably 2 years later. I just mentioned Deepness because it's more of a straight up first contact story than Fire. I liked aFutD better also.. The medieval world storyline...I just kept wanting the book to stay with that storyline..not because I didn't like the other, I did, but the 'aliens' there were just so dang fascinating.
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Old 07-09-05, 08:57 AM
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"Ringworld" is fun, part of what's good about it is the sense of discovery and mystery. The rest of the books you can ignore.

I think Niven is at his best (when writing on his own) in short stories. I particularly like the Known Space stories, and Gil "The Arm".
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Old 07-09-05, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mgbfan
Which one? I'm not sure which one you're refering to with "this one" - the one being discussed or the one you just finished describing.
A Fire Upon the Deep.

Also just picked up "The Peace War" by Vinge yesterday so we'll see how that goes. Stupid Borders didn't have Quicksilver (by Stephenson) in stock.
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Old 07-09-05, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mrs. Danger
I think Niven is at his best (when writing on his own) in short stories. I particularly like the Known Space stories, and Gil "The Arm".
True. Neutron Star is a classic. I think the Known Space ones set up around that one bar (name escapes me atm) are really good too.
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