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Ringworld (1970)

de Larry Niven

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Ringworld (1), Known Space (8)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
8,696162693 (3.78)227
For use in schools and libraries only. A two-headed creature and a large, red-furred carnivore are among the members of a party that arrives to explore a mysterious world created in the shape of a ring.
Adicionado recentemente porroyragsdale, Harlekuin, jsclev, biblioteca privada, TIGALibrary, Mseloria, bperry1397, LadyLudovica
  1. 131
    Rendezvous With Rama de Arthur C. Clarke (codeeater)
    codeeater: Another story about a mysterious alien artefact.
  2. 110
    The Mote in God's Eye de Larry Niven (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another hard science fiction book about a fully realized world with lots of technical details.
  3. 40
    Eon de Greg Bear (santhony)
    santhony: If you enjoy the science fiction genre featuring huge, interstellar habitats, this fits the bill.
  4. 51
    Foundation de Isaac Asimov (nar_)
    nar_: Space travelling and interminable, huge lands and space... so huge !
  5. 30
    Titan de John Varley (lquilter)
    lquilter: If you liked the gee-whizziness and adventure / exploration of RINGWORLD, but couldn't stomach the sexism, try Varley's TITAN (and sequels in the trilogy, WIZARD and DEMON) -- all the fun but only a fraction of the annoying ideology.
  6. 30
    Babel-17 de Samuel R. Delany (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  7. 20
    Gateway de Frederik Pohl (sturlington)
  8. 20
    Mission of Gravity de Hal Clement (Michael.Rimmer)
  9. 31
    Sundiver de David Brin (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  10. 10
    Dune de Frank Herbert (sturlington)
  11. 10
    Ring of Swords de Eleanor Arnason (libron)
    libron: Cat people! Sentient bipedal tiger aliens!
  12. 10
    The Algebraist de Iain M. Banks (LamontCranston)
  13. 00
    A World Too Near de Kay Kenyon (mentatjack)
    mentatjack: One of the blurbs on the cover of A World Too Near compares The Entire and the Rose favorably to The Ringworld series by Larry Niven.

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Ringworld is a pretty much the poster child for the hard science fiction 'big dumb object' novel. In that way, it's very similar to the first of the Rama series (actually published 3 years later; my review). It's light on plot and characterization, instead opting to spend much of the novel on the titular Ringworld itself.

The technology of the Ringworld itself is interesting, although a decent amount of exactly how it works and its long history are left out. Essentially, take all of the planets and other objects in several solar system and turn them into a ring roughly 1 AU in radius. Spin it fast enough that you get fake gravity by way of centrifugal motion, add overhead plates to block sunlight into a fake day/night cycle, and add some plants. Bam Ringworld.

Plotwise, we basically have an alien with an experimental super-fast hyperdrive recruit a crew of three dubiously qualified others then set off to the Ringworld. They crash and spend a while exploring towards the rim of the Ringworld (it's a million miles across...), find various remnants of civilization, and then head back. We never actually learn much about who built it or what happened to them.

Writingwise, the prose isn't great and the dialog doesn't feel at all natural. It's readable, but you can tell this novel is primarily intended as a vehicle for ideas rather than something more modern to be read for the characterization and story.

Characterwise, we really only mainly have the four crewmembers sent to the Ringworld:

Nessus is a puppeteer. Basically, they're a very old species which have done some crazy solar system level engineering but are extremely risk averse. The entire plot kicks off because they are worried about explosions in the core of the galaxy which will reach us in twenty thousand years. Nessus himself is considered a bit crazy in that he actually takes some risks.

Louis Wu is two hundred years old, although he doesn't really feel it. He's got a scientific mind and sometimes goes stir crazy and flies off into the stars. I'm not entirely sure he has much characterization beyond that.

Speaker-to-Animals is the other alien, from some sort of warrior race which tried to kill humanity several times in the past but has mostly given up on it. He's actually fairly interesting, mostly as a counter to Nessus.

Teela Brown is the other human crewmemeber. She's a twenty-something that's lucky (that's actually a weirdly large plot point, see below) and woefully inexperienced for something like this. Other than the luck, the only reason she seems to be about is to have someone for Louis to have sex with? Towards the end of the book (when Louis has found a new sex target), this happens:

"He got very uncomfortable and stopped sleeping with me. He thinks you own me, Louis."
"Slavery for women, I think. You'll tell him you don't own me, won't you?
Louis felt pain in his throat. "It might save explanations if I just sold you to him. If that's what you want."
"You're right. And it is."

So... yeah.

Speaking of luck:

One of the entire plot points of the book is that Nessus' race was apparently engaged in some very long term behind the scenes breeding programs. They bred
Speaker-to-Animals' race to be less aggressive, which is probably not a terrible idea, but I get why
Speaker-to-Animals is pissed about it. For the humans, they instead instituted a lottery for the right to have children. After several generations, this is supposed to have bred 'luckiness' into mankind,
of which Teela is apparently the luckiest. It's a really weird, psuedo-sciencey plot point and takes up an unusually large amount of the book.


Anyways, if you enjoyed Rama or other 'big dumb object' books, you'll probably also like this (I actually liked Rama a bit more). If not, perhaps give it a pass? Reading summaries of the sequels, I think I will give them a pass, at least for right now. ( )
  jpv0 | Jul 21, 2021 |
Pretty amazing book. Incredibly enjoyable, although definitely distinguishable when it was written (it has a similar feel to several to Heinlein's books and characters, but a little more distinguished). ( )
  smallerdemon | Jul 5, 2021 |
The hover-text at 2 stars says "It was ok" and that's about how I felt about this book.

I listened to the audiobook version which I think let me like it more than if I were reading it myself. If I'd had a text copy, I likely would have given up. The characters were mostly bland - Louis Wo most especially. I think the intent was for him to be an everyman character, but how can he be "everyman" when he is purposely depicted as being different than everyone in his own society and nothing like an "everyman" from the time when he was written? He's instead written as a boring version of "the most interesting man in the world". The others are all ciphers - since the story is told from Louis Wo's perspective, we only get his observations of them and based on those, there is little to go on since Louis Wo is nearly a card-board cutout himself. Expecting his observations to provide any meaningful insight into the other characters is a fruitless exercise.

A lot of the social conventions also don't hold up anymore - it's like watching a film from the 1940s were everyone is smoking. In the US, seeing someone smoking now is almost as rare as spotting a mountain lion, so seeing it depicted in film isn't exactly offensive, but it is noticeable and somewhat uncomfortable since we now know the results of all that smoking. Similarly, the social norms depicted in Ringworld of men and woman (gender roles, social power, social graces, etc.) no longer hold and actively distract from the story. Even if I didn't find them offensive in the sense that I understand that they were accepted at the time the book was written, they were jarring to me today and enough to be unpleasant.

But the worst aspect for me was the episodic nature of the story. This is almost completely a milieu (or setting - google MICE quotient for more) story, with the barest hint of an idea plot - like a version of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" starring adults and aliens. The real meat of the plot happens when they arrive at the Ringworld and ends when they leave it. But once they arrive it's "we travel here, do a thing, leave", ad nauseum. There is no through line. And what little character arcs exist only serve to highlight how disconnected the plot is from the characters. This just made it a slog to get through. By the time they reach the city space port, I was numb. I really would have been happier if Louis Wo died of dehydration in the prison capture field than to have to keep going.

That said, there were some elements that I enjoyed. The world building of the Ringworld itself (the great eye hurricane, the gigantic mountain, the shadow-stars) was quite interesting, though with a lot of hand waving going on to explain any of it. The vast size of what something like the Ringworld would be was also amazing, and I think Niven did an excellent job of connecting that size back to relatable scales on Earth. Conceptually, the results of things (like the breaking of the shadow-star wire, the cycles, and the tasp) are handled reasonably well within the context of "just accept that these technologies exist" and if they did, this might be how things would work. The concept of breeding humans for "luck" is interesting, though I doubt I would term that hard scifi in any way.

This is the first book I've read by Larry Niven. Knowing that Ringworld is a series and knowing that he is considered to be at least a decent writer, I'd be hard pressed to read anything else by him after this book. ( )
  youngheart80 | Jun 15, 2021 |
I’d heard the Sci-Fi channel was in the process of making this book into a mini-series and decided to give it a shot. Being an inspiration for Halo also tipped my interest. This one follows the idea of a Dyson Ring, which has always been an intriguing topic to me. The idea that one Dyson Ring could have the habitable area of 3 million earth-size planets is mind-blowing. The world was more interesting than the characters, unfortunately. There is some controversy about the minimized role of women in this book, which I’d also agree with. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
Revisiting Ringworld decades later surprised me. I had remembered the remarkable hard-SF construction of the Ringworld itself -- call it the eponymous hero of the book, because the moving, speaking characters fall short of what they could be. Even for 1970, the book was astonishingly sexist. "Nonsentient females" in alien races, for goodness sake: mothers unable to teach or protect the young, how would that possibly be a survival trait? Two human women in the story, presumably sentient: lots of sex seems to be their function, as characters (considering Teela's luck which largely drives the plot as something that affects her, not something she wields). Woman 2, Prill, whom they pick up on the Ringworld, was a member of a spaceship crew comprising 33 males and 3 females. No need to ask what her job was, the human male sneers, and indeed we find out almost immediately that she is very good at it. (He's surprised to discover later on that a "space whore" has to have a fair bit of incidental knowledge just to survive on a ship.) I'm not sure that I actually want to keep this book, this time around. There might have been a reason that I let it slip away thirty years ago. ( )
  muumi | Apr 6, 2021 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Niven, Larryautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Baumann, BodoTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Cullen, PatrickNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Davis, DonCover printingautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Foss, ChrisArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Giancola, DonatoArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Johnson, Steven VincentArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Parker, TomNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Sternbach,RickArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Youll, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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For use in schools and libraries only. A two-headed creature and a large, red-furred carnivore are among the members of a party that arrives to explore a mysterious world created in the shape of a ring.

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