Any Larry Niven fans read Ringworld's Children?

Yes, I’m a fan, although I acknowledge Niven’s style has issues, especially in the last 15 years or so. I’m still a fan. Also, a lot of people have problems with the Ringworld series, but I still like it.

Anyway, I just finished Ringworld’s Children, the fourth (and to all appearances the last) of the series, and I think it’s the best since the the first one. It plausibly clears up a lot of things that confused me in The Ringworld Throne, and isn’t weakened by the more usual hermetic Niven style we’ve seen develop over his last several novels. It does have some weak characterizations, but no worse than the others, and has a fast-moving, engaging plot.


I didn’t know there was a new book in the Ringworld series. I’m going through the “Man-Kzin Wars” anthology right now. Staying within Known Space for another Ringworld novel would be a nice follow-up.

I haven’t read Ringworld’s Children yet, but I am very glad you posted your opinion of it. I have been quite disappointed by some of Niven’s recent output. To learn that an intelligent person thinks this “Ringworld” book is “the best since the the first one” is very good news indeed.

I am a big fan of early Niven. For the longest time I listed Larry as my favorite author. I have been disappointed by a lot of Niven’s recent output, but I’ve keep on reading his work because none of his work was a complete loss. But Ringworld’s Children was the first book of his ever, ever, that I actually regretted reading. It was that bad. Bad enough that I have Niven’s two books after that still on the bookshelf waiting to be read.

I haven’t been able to finish anything Larry has written in close to a decade. Sad, that, because he used to be one of my favorite authors, and has always been friendly, outgoing and generous the times I have met and interacted with him.

I actually just started reading Niven recently. I had read Dreampark, Integral Trees and Smoke Ring and a few short stories, but it was only recently I read some of his “classics”.

I wasn’t even aware there was a third Ringworld book. I’ve read the first two. I’ve also read one of the man-kzin war books. I just finished The Mote in God’s Eye and am in the middle of The Gripping hand.

I’ll probably read this eventually, after I get my hands on the thrid one. If I realy hate the thrid one, I might not read this one. We’ll see.


There’s a new Ringworld book?

I’m off to a well-known web-based book supplier then…

I could only get halfway through Ringworld Throne before I got bored and stopped reading. It takes talent to make an immense artifact boring.

I’ve read it – it was OK. The pacing was odd, and it felt a lot like Niven had just barely fleshed out his plot outline in more than a few places; very threadbare at times. And some of it made little sense – e.g., the Fringe War had been raging in-system for 15 years (IIRC), but Children is the first we’d heard of it even though Throne took place during that timeframe. That having been said, some of it was quite fun.

IMHO, I think some of the praise heard for Children is because Throne was so gawdawful. Just my opinion.

Thanks for starting this thread, Knorf. I had thought to ask the same question a dozen times but never remembered to do this.

Yeah, I disliked Throne, but still struggled through it. Parts of it were about people I couldn’t give a rip about (like almost anyone other than Louis Wu or the Hindmost), and parts were so confusing I couldn’t figure out what was going on.

I’m glad to hear Children is better. I’ll keep an eye out for it at the used bookstore I frequent.

A dissenting vote here. Ringworld’s Children is * awful *. Lots of frenetic, poorly motivated action. (Fringe War? Where did that come from?) The usual RingWorld travelogue with characters zipping across great distances for no known reason. Bizarre coincidences. Deus ex machina feats of technology. Rarely do I regret buying a book, but this one I do.

First person to email me with an address can have it.

Hey Finagle, I’ll take you up on that offer since I haven’t been able to find a copy. Check your incoming box for my street address.

That said, of Niven’s work in the past 15 years it’s his collaborations that I’ve liked best , especially the Burning City stuff.

The book is spoken for. The lucky (?) winner should get it soon.

You’re lucky, Teela! :wink:

Yikes! I hope someone else besides me likes it, or you’re all gonna make me feel like a tool for opening this thread!

Anyway, yes it has problems, but I still say it’s the best since the first of the Ringworld series; it has none of the confusion of Throne and I must disagree with those who say the events don’t make sense: I think they do, and I think they’re a lot of fun. Also Ringworld’s Children is focused on a smaller cast of characters than the last two, all to the good. As for traveling, they do move around a lot, but none of it is mere exploring or sight-seeing; all of it is the result of major plot developments.

To those who express confusion about the fringe war: did you read the last two? Anyway, I believe it’s pretty easy to imagine a Cold War of sorts starting over technology as spectacular as the ringworld.

There’s always a problem with deus ex machina with the protectors, but futz, they were able to build thing in the first place! None of the leaps of technology in Ringworld’s Children are implausible to me considering the original accomplishment.

Well, de gustibus non est disputandum and all that. It’s not great literature, but it’s a lot of fun, all IMHO, etc.

The beginnings of the Fringe War, for the record, ARE in fact mentioned in Throne.

OK, my bad recollection; I read Throne when it came out probably 6 years ago. I’ll take your word for it, rather than subjecting myself to that awful book again. :slight_smile:

Oh, come now:The Ring is turned into a giant hyperdrive via nanotech, and flown away (to save the day)? That’s the lamest tech arm-waving I’ve ever heard of. Bad Niven! I won’t even start on the autodoc de-Protector-izing Louis Wu.

If you liked, then that’s all that really matters, right? Taste is taste.

That being said, I didn’t like it. I found it tedious. Mainly because Niven now suffers from Orsonscottcard Disease. In other words, he goes in laborious detail about uninteresting things, while skimming over the parts that actually have some substance. Yes, he can most definitely write better than I can, but I can still complain about the effort it takes to complete anything new from him.

He also seems to have Heinleinsexgod Syndrome. Rishathra, Rishathra, Rishathra. We get it already! You’re obsessed with interspecies(racial?) sex. Hey, nothing wrong with sex. Takes a real genius to make it boring, tho.

So, to heal my inner hurt, I went back and bought a colection of his shorts* and picked up The Mote In God’s Eye once again. The guy has some neat ideas. Hopefully, he won’t do any more Ringworld novels. Maybe some shorts to keep up with the rest of Known Space wouldn’t be bad.
*he needs to do laundry more often, let me tell ya.

Actually, that’s when the Ringworld series started to go all pear-shaped for me was when Niven contorted everything we knew about Known Space and the Protectors so that the Ringworld could be built by them. And the maps of Mars and Earth, etc… None of that really made sense

Well, I agree with you completely. I do think it’s the best since the original Ringworld. Throne was difficult; IMO, one of the worst. It’s not hard to understand why those who couldn’t manage it can’t remember the beginnings of the war.

I grant you it’s not the best thing he’s ever done, but I think it more than rewards anyone who still gives a futz about Louis Wu.