World of Ptavvs question - spoilers obviously

Great book, but I think I missed something listening to it in audiobook form.

Greenberg/Kzanol escape the room where the stasis field is broken by using the disintegrater and fleeing.

But how did the actual Kzanol get out of stasis to leave? He seems to get out of stasis later once Greenberg/Kzanol has been caught in route to Topeka.



I haven’t read it in a long time, but don’t they put a stasis field around Kzanol’s stasis field which cancels it (only the outermost field functions) and that allows the emergency button to pop out?

EDIT: I forget how the outer stasis field gets broken.

Yeah, this. The emergency button was only held down by Kzanol’s finger being held on it. So when the field turned off briefly, and he threw out his hands to keep from falling, the button popped out. There was some guff about the field having some residual power so it stayed on for a short time after the button was released, which is why they didn’t both escape at the same time.

I love Niven’s stories, and am willing to cut him a lot of slack, but the idea that you can have a button that penetrates a Stasis field was ridiculous even to my teenage self.

Yes, I have the book in front of me, and that’s it exactly. To quote Garner: “When Jansky put his own field around the statue, the alien dropped Greenberg’s digging instrument (the disintegrator) and the button too. The button must have popped out. Why he didn’t come to life right then I don’t know, unless the freeze field has inertia like hysteresis in an electric current.”

There’s an essay I saw once that basically rewrote the ending to a ton of Known Space stories & novels with stasis fields & GP hull material.

Ah, thank you all. I missed the part about his finger and the stasis field having inertia. That’s what I get for listening at work. Sometimes the really important stuff gets interrupted by questions and mundane things, like my boss.

Exactly! If a button can get through a stasis field, then what is inside isn’t enclosed. A fundamental mistake.

And please tell how the Lying Bastard (or any such equipped ship) can know when the threat that activated the field is gone. Because the sensors that tell that you are under attack are insdie the stasis field.

On the other hand, Niven should have just had the Ringworld made out of paper enclosed in a stasis field. It would have eliminated a lot of the issues arising from having “another impossibly strong material”.

It’s not consistent. In “The Borderlands of Sol”, there’s some heavy machinery (including hinges and such) made entirely out of stasis-encased materials. And structural stasis fields (in things like variable swords) are common enough that we should see plenty of interactions between stasis fields. But some of the later books decided that that was overpowered, and ruled that any interaction between stasis field was catastrophic for everything in the vicinity.

Independent of their usefulness, I’ve wondered what a stasis field feels like. Is is cold to the touch? Does it feel like nothing?

I think that it would feel like it was at body temperature (whatever your body temperature is), for the same reason that it’s perfectly reflective. Just as it reflects light (because it must, because it can’t absorb or transmit it), it would also reflect heat.

If I were designing the concept from scratch, I would probably say that the shape of a stasis field must be convex, and that trying to put any other shape in a stasis field would give you the convex hull of that object. That’d severely limit (though not entirely eliminate) the structural capabilities of a stasis field, especially when you consider that they’re also frictionless. But that doesn’t fit with the stories as written, because then, for instance, the Sea Statue wouldn’t be recognizable as a “statue”.