Ringworld (Known Space Series)

Ringworld (Known Space Series)

by Larry Niven

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - REISSUE)

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Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel

Four travelers come to the ringworld. . . 

Louis Wu: human and old; bored with having lived too fully for far too many years. Seeking a challenge, and all too capable of handling it.

Nessus: a trembling coward, a puppeteer with a built-in survival pattern of nonviolence. Except that this particular puppeteer is insane.

Teela Brown: human; a wide-eyed youngster with no allegiances, no experience, no abilities. And all the luck in the world.

Speaker-To-Animals: kzin; large, orange-furred, and carnivorous. And one of the most savage life-forms known in the galaxy.

Why did these disparate individuals come together? How could they possibly function together? 

And where, in the name of anything sane, were they headed?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345333926
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/12/1985
Series: Known Space Series
Edition description: REISSUE
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 57,067
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.88(d)
Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Larry Niven was born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California. In 1956, he entered the California Institute of Technology, only to flunk out a year and a half later after discovering a bookstore jammed with used science-fiction magazines. He graduated with a B.A. in mathematics (minor in psychology) from Washburn University, Kansas, in 1962, and completed one year of graduate work before he dropped out to write. His first published story, “The Coldest Place,” appeared in the December 1964 issue of Worlds of If. He won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1966 for “Neutron Star” and in 1974 for “The Hole Man.” The 1975 Hugo Award for Best Novelette was given to The Borderland of Sol. His novel Ringworld won the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1972 Ditmar, an Australian award for Best International Science Fiction.

Table of Contents

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Ringworld (Known Space Series) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has been greatly misplaced. It needs to be included in the classics section of every bookstore. It tells the story of the human species impeeding doom due to our over population. It also explores theories behind human thought. Is Teela Brown incredibly lucky, or is it Louis's delusionary vision of her? The rumor of her luck has spread and turned into reality by people's altered perceptions. This alienates her from society, placing her as some sort of a god. Although not as tradgic as the other titles I listed, Ringworld is an exploration into human thought as well as exploration into the great unknown.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great starter, Foundation like in style.
Anonymous 4 months ago
donkeytiara on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
this is the first truly "science fiction" book that I've ever read. (well, technically, I listened to it via Audible.com) I'm in my late 40's, a woman, and have never watched an episode of star trek in my life. LibraryThing's "Will you like this book?" was strongly confident that I wouldn't like this book. But i did. Yes, there were lots of "tekkie" details in it (I, for one, don't understand anything about light years, hyperdrives and airlocks) But the characters were all very likeable, and although the story wasn't uber-exciting, it was easy to picture what was being explained in my head. There are some writers that take pages to describe the inside of a room....this, happily, was not one of those authors. Niven is certainly misogynistic in his treatment of women as only sex objects in this book, but still, it's worth the read. Besides, I love the names Louie Woo....and HellelloPrillolar....can't wait to get goldfish to use these names!
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book more about a concept than a story: a manufactured planet, flat, that forms a gigantic ring around its sun ¿ what would that be like? It¿s an interesting concept, one that proved intriguing enough to keep me reading, even though the characterization and story weren¿t as robust as I would have liked.
mainrun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A funny read with cool science fiction ideas. The beginning was great: Louis' trip from time zone to time zone extending his birth day while hanging out with a cool alien named NessusAfter the key players were all brought together the story slowed for me. The series is interesting/confusing. There are 11 books called "Known Space" where Ringworld is towards the end. I guess the original series started with "Ringworld" and had four novels. I requested the first "Known Space" book 70 or so pages into Ringworld, and will be my next book.
SwampIrish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There. I am done. A partially entertaining story of 2 humans and 2 aliens traveling to a ring-shaped world around a distant star. I can get past most poor characterization from this era if the sci-fi is engaging (see Tau Zero) but the plot of this novel was infuriating. 'Let's go over here!' 'Let's go over there!' 'Play god, so that alien will have sex with you.' gaaah!
bendersgame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Niven introduces a myriad of science fiction concepts. The biggest being, of course, Ringworld itself. With each of these concepts he works out, not just the theoretical physics of each concept, but also the sociological impact including how it would shape the personality of his characters. It is this attention to the human (and alien) face of his characters that separates this book from many other science fiction works.Of course, Niven's characteristic "hard" science fiction is still there, and his familiar Known Space aliens populate this tale as well. But ultimately, this is a work of sociological-fiction that uses sci-fi as a backdrop.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In an effort to read all dual winners of the Hugo and Nebula Awards, I recently tackled 1971 winner Ringworld by Larry Niven. I was soon turned off by the appearance of what I can only describe as ¿silly¿ aliens. I was reminded of the bar scene of Star Wars, A Hitchhiker¿s Guide to the Galaxy or Spaceballs.The story revolves around a quartet of explorers, gathered by an alien named a Pierson¿s Puppet, a truly bizarre creature. The quartet consists of two humans (a 200 year old man and a 20 year old woman), a cat-like alien named a kzin and the Pierson¿s Puppet. The group is formed to investigate a recently discovered phenomenon, the Ringworld.Ringworld is a fantastic premise, very reminiscent of Arthur Clarke¿s Rama (Ringworld actually precedes the publication of Rama) though on a tremendously larger scale. The premise is rich with possibilities, many of which are well developed by Niven. However, the clichéd aliens along with annoying verbal idiosyncrasies (the ridiculous term ¿tanj¿, an abbreviation of ¿there ain¿t no justice¿ is so overused as to detract from the novel) ruin what could have been a much better book, in my opinion.Another problem with the novel is the difficulty in visualizing some of the author¿s descriptions. We¿re talking about a one million mile wide band around a sun, spinning at a rate of 770 miles/second. There are other bands of sun blocking rectangles, whose orbits are inside that of Ringworld. In trying to describe aspects of Ringworld, and surrounding objects, the author goes to great descriptive lengths which I many times found hard to picture. Were it not for the cover drawing, I would have really been lost. References to width, breadth, top, bottom, side, parallels and perpendiculars to orbits or other spatial phenomenon were confusing at best. At some points, drawings would have been very helpful.This novel contains many outstanding examples of hard science fiction, mainly concerning power sources, weaponry and inter-stellar travel. Unfortunately, the promise of the premise and the strengths of the concepts were unable to overcome mediocre writing and the weaknesses described above. Three and a half stars.
bradsucks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Man this was all kinds of not good. I couldn't make myself care about any of the characters and the plot just wandered.
JoshyGwiz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the greatest books I¿ve read, with such a range of interesting things, from the characters to the ideas, the alien species, the level of technology, the inventions, and Ringworld itself. This book presents ideas that allow for hours of thought, and I enjoyed reading it throughout. I am an avid reader of science fiction, and I always enjoy books of the sort, but I believe that Ringworld was a step above them all. The idea of Ringworld itself is something that is extraordinary to imagine. The sheer size of it is difficult to comprehend, and if you were to read the book, you may not understand the size of it at all. Millions of times the space of the earth, and sturdy enough to hold together for millennia. It took me most of the book to finally truly grasp the size of It, and I¿m still not sure if I¿ve truly understood it.The characters are unique as well. The main character, Louis Wu, is the character that normal people can relate most to, though in honesty, none of the characters are easy to relate to. Louis is, simply, a normal human who has lived an extremely long life, almost more than twice that of any person alive today, thanks to a miracle drug that allows you to live for ages longer than normal. His experiences are many and varied, as seen throughout the book. He is the experienced one, the one who knows what he¿s doing, the one who seems to lead the journey, despite two of the others constantly declaring themselves leader, and a third force actually being the leader. That idea in itself is complex, and unravels in unpredictable ways throughout the book, going from one hypothesis to the next.The original supposed leader of the group, the `Mad¿ puppeteer, Nessus, is also a rather complex character. The puppeteers themselves, who are very aptly named, and odd in the fact that they are supposedly cowards by instinct, are also an extraordinarily powerful race, who has attempted to govern the very lives of everyone and everything. And they did so with a great deal of success.Speaker-To-Animals is a Kzinti, an alien species of warrior nature. Eight foot tall, orange furred, and, when furless, a rather comical sight. Speaker himself is always trying to take control of the mission, based on the fact that the near-constant dangers cause Nessus to panic and have speaker, the warrior, take over, whether or not Nessus is panicking.Teela Brown is, at the beginning of the book, for all intents and purposes, normal. Beautiful and young, there isn¿t anything that seems to be beneficial for the trip about her. Later on, her purpose is revealed, but, unfortunately for Nessus, the one who gathered the four together, her abilities don¿t exactly help them in the way he expected.While on Ringworld, the characters have to adjust to all of the new things. There isn¿t really an east, west, north, or south, so they use `spinward¿, `anti-spinward¿, port, and starboard. The nights on Ringworld come on instantly, and the days just as fast. Ringworld takes the mind to new, fantastic places, with fantastic ideas and a story that has bested most others I¿ve read.
fordj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun read for those who love space aliens of different types (with very human qualities. Very niche kind of sub genre but very entertaining young adult fiction (and adult fiction).
crazybatcow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Is this book really 39 years old? Yes, I suppose there are hints that date it (particularly the role of female characters). But the technology and science behind it does not.It's rather intellectual, and seems to be more an exploration of humanity and the results of long-term and pre-planned "natural selection" than a space exploration novel, though it is that too.It's as good now as I found it 25 years ago when I first read it.
Radaghast on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ringworld is a cool idea. It is a cool story. But it is not an excellent story. Niven has a well-deserved reputation, but there is a shallowness to some of his writing that is impossible to ignore.
geordicalrissian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was ooookkaaay. I really loved the first part of the story. Mr. Niven does a great job of introducing the reader to his future. I also loved the ginormous concepts. Instant travel, vast and old alien empires. And then there is the concept of Ringworld itself. But about 3/4 into the story I started to lose interest. By the end of the book, I was just ready for it to be over. I doubt that I'll pick up any of the sequels.
melydia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Though this book was clearly written to describe the concept of the Ringworld (a manmade, doughnut-shaped planet surrounding a sun), the characters and plot are interesting in their own right. Two humans and two aliens journey to the Ringworld, each for his own reasons, and in the process learn the Truth about several matters among their races. I'm not surprised this is included in so many lists of the Best Science Fiction Books. I did get a little tired of the older man/younger woman cliche so common in SF (a 20-year-old girl and a 200-year-old man? Come on!) but all in all it's a reasonably believable story. One note to readers, however: no, you didn't miss anything. The author often glosses over stuff without describing it, I guess to enhance the mystery. I was halfway through the book before I figured out that no, I hadn't accidentally skipped over an important paragraph somewhere. It all gets explained eventually. I would definitely recommend this to SF fans.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a fun, smooth read, with an unobtrusive style, appealing characters and a unique landscape. The point-of-view protagonist, Louis Wu, is a human with three intriguing companions: a woman who might be a lucky charm, a "puppeteer," a member of a "cowardly" herbivore species, and a Kzin, a member of an aggressive feline species who had waged wars against humanity. Together they explore "Ringworld" a created world with the area of several earths. Basically the novel follows the basic quest plot, but is lifted beyond the ordinary because of the engaging characters and the dynamic between them and a twist I didn't see coming that involves an interesting working out of a scientific conceit. The novel definitely left me interested in reading more of the series.
dege on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of the Ringworld takes place in a distant future when man is living side by side with other alien lifeforms such as kzin and puppeteers. Mortality is available at choice and distances on earth has been reduced to zero using instantaneous travel. In this world Louis Wu is getting restless, being 200 years old he has seen it all and experienced even more. Thus when a puppeteer approach him a a tantalizing suggestion, he after while agrees. The prospect is to find the Ringworld. The Ringworld is a world built in the shape of a ring, the size of the earth orbit, rotating around a small star in an otherwise cleared area of space far distant to any known civilization. The Ringworld engineers ruled this place which with is vast area have room for all diversities sentient life can come up with. Embarking on a hazardous journey, the small company of Louis Wu set out to find and explore this world.The story is very well written without losing the main thread. The pace is though somewhat slow in the first half of the book but increase as the events on the Ringworld takes place. As in most science fiction novels, some hurdles which seem almost impossible to clear are solved using yet-another-too-futuristic-invention which as always tires me. Not being restricted by the laws of nature sometimes makes it too tempting for authors to back out of corners in two sentences, the result is mostly tiring, although amusing at times. The physical appearance of the book is the usual mass-market paperback style, fitted with a truly horrible cover that not only boasts an image clearly painted by someone that never read the book but also with the usual superlatives which in this case forms the stomachturning sentence: "The legendary award-winning classic!".All in all, this is a very good book clearly on par with books such as Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card and The Songs of Distant Earth by Arthur C. Clarke. If you like science fiction, this is clearly a book which should reside in your home (but do buy the hardcover version).
Homechicken on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading an older (70¿s are older??) SciFi book, Ringworld, by Larry Niven. It was an interesting book, and it amazes me how far you have to go back before SciFi starts dating itself (read Triplanetary by E. E. Smith for examples of dated SciFi). Anyway, it was about this discovery of an artifical ring created around a sun to house a vast civilization. It was huge, 6 million times larger than the surface of the Earth, the ring was 1 million miles wide and the sides were 1000 miles high. It orbited its star at 93 million miles, just like Earth, but goes all the way around. That¿s a bit too big for me to imagine. I was getting to the end of the book and started to worry because the story hadn¿t been resolved, and sure enough, the author wrapped it all up in like 2 pages. Not near enough closure for me, but it was an interesting read. I don¿t think I¿ll read the sequel, but all in all it wasn¿t bad, but it doesn¿t rate real high on my must-recommend list.
nakmeister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ringworld is the most stunning artifact in known space - an artificial world with 3 million times Earth's surface area. A classic science fiction novel, awe inspiring, deals with big concepts.
aradosh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun Sci-fi read along the lines of Heinlein or Haldeman. Enjoyed it.
dvf1976 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The idea of an inhabitable space a million times the size of the Earth is kind of mind-bending (as well as unlikely for the next few millenia)My main beef with this book is that the aliens behave a lot like humans.
clong on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ringworld is another book that opintions seem to split on fairly evenly. And while I can certainly understand some of the things about the book that folks object to, count me squarely in the "I've read it half a dozen times and loved it every time" camp. I think that Niven is a dazzlingly inventive author. Some of his books are great, some are not so hot, but they all start with an imaginitive concept (usually about some really cool planet or alien race), which Niven then proceeds to make surprisingly plausible. Ringworld is one of his more effective realizations, and when you add an interesting group of characters, an engaging plot, and an economy of narrative you end up with a really great read. Each chapter is important to the story and surprising. I found the later Ringworld books much more of a mixed bag, but I wholeheartedly recommend the original.
petrojoh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fully fleshed out world, complete with mathematics (for better or worse).