82

This was Larry's first novel, and one of my earliest book reviews, published in a fanzine. We were both starting out then, and I'm sure it showed in both cases. I understand how the things I said got under Larry's skin and I suspect he never again wrote a story about someone in a spacesuit with an exterior off/on button that someone of ill will could push. I ...


40

There's little or no real science involved. We already make materials that are all one molecule for all practical purposes (breaking them involves breaking bonds within molecules, not merely separating intact molecules) and while they are very strong by ordinary standards, those materials are nothing like GP hulls. The most detailed discussion of a GP hull ...


21

There is ample evidence that the Ringworld is very old (millions of years); the evidence includes, for example, the level of divergence of the humanoids populating the Ringworld from Earthly humanity. However, there is also evidence of decay that cannot have been going on for nearly that long. Louis cites two specific elements of the decay that seem to be ...


21

Because the intramolecular force (the force holding atoms in a molecule together) is typically far stronger than the intermolecular force (the force holding molecules in a substance together) - mostly because, in cases where it isn't, the atoms typically rearrange themselves via a chemical reaction until they are, or until there aren't any molecules left (...


18

I wrote to Niven and he kindly responded. The story never got written. It was just a bit of background.


15

Try the following sequence of novels (some are collections of short stories): Neutron Star (introduces many key ideas like Known Space, Outsider Hyperdrive, and the Puppeteers). World of Ptavv (reveals more about the ancient Slavers that ruled the Galaxy). Protector (the backstory of the Pak, which is crucial to many key points in Ringworld). Ringworld (...


14

With help from from FuzzyBoots and Alexei Panshin himself, the review was located: It appeared in Nyarlathotep, the Unspeakable Fanzine, edited by Ben Solon; Issue No. 5, May 1967, in Panshin's column "Kasha", pp. 47–56. Steve (alittleblackegg on Flickr) was kind enough to provide photos of the article. Here's an Imgur album of all 10 pages. I've ...


12

Because the Pak didn't have it. Their technology was not that advanced, really, at least in Pssthpok's era. (If they built the Ringworld, some must have been more advanced, at one point.) At the time Pssthpok showed up in Sol System, humans had invented the ramscoop, but didn't have manned ones yet; on the other hand, Brennan considered Pssthpok's ship ...


10

The key piece of information was the view from the map room the expedition discovered. The room displayed tapes from telescopes that offered an aerial view of the ringworld in the past. Fist-of-God mountain was not on the tapes, so the huge mountain must have appeared long after the ringworld was constructed and populated. There are no plate tectonics on ...


9

Although not from his "Known Space" future history, Niven's "Inconstant Moon" was made into an episode of The Outer Limits in 1996: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0667911/


9

As I recall, there were a number of things. Roy was a descendant of Brennan and ultimately Brennan felt compelled to protect his blood line By allowing Roy to put on muscle mass, observe the Pak fleet and train in fighting Protectors; he was ensuring that there was the required transfer of knowledge in order to destroy the incoming Pak fleets in the event ...


9

To add to the other answers, in the "Fleet of Worlds" series of books it's revealed that the hulls contain generators (hidden within within the seemingly transparent structure) that reinforce the molecular bonds. It never really explains how, it's implied that it's stronger than normal single molecules, it's essentially magitec beyond that. From ...


8

The stasis field effectively slows the time rate inside the field -- in the first story where it appears, World of Ptavvs, by a large margin, and later (or in more advanced versions created in the deep past by other species) to effectively zero. The field generator for Lying Bastard was inside the GP hull, therefore protected from anything the hull would ...


6

Who was Larry Niven? Larry Niven, one of the most prominent writers of the New Wave of Science Fiction in the 1960's and 70's, was very good at making stories self-contained while still part of a larger whole. Known Space was his first, best series of tales, and all of the stories in it are reasonably self-contained. While there are some story cycles within ...


5

I can think of three reasons. Migration. On Earth, many species of migratory birds, turtles, fish and mammals return to rookeries and breeding grounds year after year. If you change the geography so that landmarks, food, water, ambient temperatures and other factors aren't what these animals expect, you will affect their development. Some species life ...


5

I highly recommend reading the first two Ringworld novels prior to beginning the Man-Kzin Wars series. Although Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers take place after the Man-Kzin wars, they introduce you to the interspecies conflict between Man and Kzin in such a way that the Man-Kzin Wars series becomes a "must read". (I also suggest reading the Ringworld ...


4

There isn't a ton of information around - from http://news.larryniven.net/concordance/main.asp?alpha=C#CityBuildercolonyworlds: City Builder colony worlds Ten planets in stellar systems in the vicinity of the Ringworld, reportedly colonized by the City Builders. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] The Map Room in Heaven displayed ten globes; Louis Wu ...


4

It's been a while since I've read the book, but I think Brennan's concern would be that Roy might decide it's better for his descendants to do something different from what Brennan wants. for example, maybe he'd decide to kill Brennan and turn the ship back and try to save earth directly.


4

Caveat: I've only read the first M-K Wars book and maybe a few stories from the 2nd one. Assuming you mean "If I haven't read any Known Space works..." then I'd start with the older Known Space short story collections, "Tales of Known Space" and "Neutron Star." Although Ringworld and Ringworld Engineers give a retrospective overview of the M-K Wars, I'd ...


4

There is no stable AGI in Known Space. Self-aware computers, Class-VII systems as they were called, always went insane within six months to a year after activation. The smarter they were, the faster they went non compos mentis. The ones smarter than a genius-level human went catatonic so fast that they weren't useful. AGI was considered a dead-end ...


4

Read the novel Protector first, if you haven't read it already. It contains backstory that is quite pertinent to the Ringworld books. Also, the story in Protector is directly continued and resolved in the Destroyer/Betrayer/Fate of Worlds trio of books. Read the Niven short stories "Borderland of Sol", "Neutron Star", "At the Core", and "Procrustes" ...


4

The actual answer is a major plot spoiler.


4

As I recall from discussion of General Products hulls in various stories and books (Neutron Star and various short stories, then the Ringworld series), the in-universe explanation given by Nessus the Puppeteer in Ringworld (many years after the hulls were discontinued and GP, as a business, folded -- coincident with the onset of the Puppeteer worlds' flight ...


3

The Gw'oth probably do find out about the core explosion.


3

Also, the Thrint FTL drive wasn't the Outsider hyperdrive, it was some kind of jump drive that worked on a different principle... possibly shifting directly into a very high layer of hyperspace that makes the jumps effectively instantaneous. It's also apparently unreliable, where you come out is uncertain, and it seems to have some kind of psionic equivalent ...


3

To get a feeling for the pre-war pacifist Earth culture, you might want to check out Flatlander. You don't really need it to appreciate the MKW series though. There are recurring characters and sequels within the series, so read the MKW books in publication order.


3

For interest, this question is discussed a little bit in this reddit thread but comes to no conclusion. That said, yes, there is no reason a slaver disintegrator could not destroy a GP hull. As I recall, the time period when GP was still manufacturing hulls was before they had found the disintegrators, so it would have been true at that time. Nonetheless, ...


2

They were using lasers on Mercury to push light-sails around the solar system. These laser systems were later used to destroy the first Kzin invasion fleet.


2

Yes I agree with Kyle Jones! I think there is way to many technology to not solve this problem even in a citizen way. What I think would be the easiest way would be stepping disks, since they use them for everything else why not that too? And Have a radiator fin sticking into an ocean or grid of superconductor cables, then have the fin half sticking out ...


2

The story you are thinking of is possibly an early draft of "ARM", one of the three novellas in "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton". Niven notes that the original plot involved too many elements, including the "Fyrestop" device which suppressed combustion. The time-compressor made it into the published version.


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