Since fleeing the supernova chain reaction at the galactic core, the cowardly Puppeteers of the Fleet of Worlds have - just barely - survived one crisis after another: the rebellion of their human slaves, the relentless questing of the species of Known Space, the spectacular rise of the starfishlike Gw'oth, the onslaught of the genocidal Pak.
Now fresh disaster looms, as though past crises have returned and converged. Who can possibly save the Fleet this time?
Larry Niven is the multiple Hugo and Nebula award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces. Edward M. Lerner has degrees in physics and computer science, a background that kept him mostly out of trouble until he began writing science fiction full-time.
©2010 Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Exceptional freshness and suspense...full of startling revelations about human and puppeteer politics." (Booklist)
"Niven and Lerner have produced a novel that can stand on its own as well as part of the Known Space franchise." (Locus)
"A far-future SF mystery/adventure set two centuries before the discovery of the Ringworld by humans...Intriguing human and alien characters and lucid scientific detail." (Library Journal)
Niven has created such a rich universe with Known Space that initially spending the first third of the book in one confined space seems a waste. However Niven WITH Weiner can produce excellent Character focused stories and that's what this book is.
It builds on the past 40 years of existing Known Space fiction while not overtly relying on it and the ending is genius, using the perfectly paced build up till we get to the "Oh Really!" moment.
I'm a huge Larry Niven fan, it was him, Isaac Asimov and Michael Moorcock who let me in to the world of Sci Fi while I was a student in the 1980s. I was very happy to find out that Larry Niven had continued the Known Space series in recent years and listened to the first four through my library, but have had to get the 5th (this) and 6th from Audible.
The biggest problem with the whole 'Worlds' series (not Ring World series) is that Larry Niven has tried to do a series of stories from the perspectives of the Puppeteers and also a human race/tribe who have come about through a pre Ring World incident (if you're thinking of listening to this book then you'll have read/listened to the previous 4 and so know the back ground). Problem is the stories tend to delve and mire in Puppeteer politics, not all of which work. This book is no better or worse than the previous ones in the series, but they are not a patch on Niven's writings from the 1970s through to 90s.
If you're a fan then you should listen to this book (through the series) to help complete the over all story, but if you're new to Niven or don not see anything special in his work then it's not worth going through this series.
A poor end to the Fleet of Worlds series, It got too much into puppeteer politics and current day Political Correctness.
It Did however fulfilled Niven’s ‘Stated’ wish to undermine the original Known-Space series of short stories.
(See “N-Space” for reference here)
He was told by his publisher at that time that this kind of sabotage (Working title “Down in Flames”) would destroy his career…
As he got older her appears to not care so much,
Has a book, it’s just about passable - But for the penultimate book of the Worlds/Ringword series - NO. It doesn’t’ work.
(Gotta wonder how much damage was inflicted by the co-author?)
"Different voices. Better voices..."
Yes, I would but for an odd reason: I'm not really listening to it. Back in the day, Niven working alone combined mind-blowing physics with fascinating events and glimpses of alien psychology. By comparison, this stuff is just a nice try. The Worlds books contain a pale imitation of better writing: Niven's ideas (sometimes with interesting details) glued to the kind of hack-stuff you find in all paperback thrillers: The same old, situation, conflict, complication, resolution stuff that is intended to work on readers who have never read anything closely and that Sol Stein will teach anyone to write for a fee. All that makes these books background noise. Without original, well-integrated ideas, it's pretty easy to guess when something's going to happen and wait for it. So yes, I listen, but I could read news articles while listening to it and not feel that I had lost anything.
No, BoW hasn't turned me off to the series. I don't think I'd be able to make myself sit through three-hundred pages of it in prose. As an audiobook, it works better than I imagine it would in print providing something good to space out on.
Tom Weiner is a fine narrator, just not for this book. He'd be great reading first-person-narrator detective fiction. His voice is rich and deep, but this limits his character range: everyone sounds like a guy in his fifties who smoked his first cigar when he was in diapers. There would be no problem with this except that his women sound like men and so do his puppeteers: aliens who all speak with sultry women's voices. Also, his accents are sometimes not the best. . If I were directing an audiobook project with cost no object, I would have used a cast with at least one man and one woman. It would have spared the world listening to, "he was transformed into a twenty-year-old" who sounded like Methuselah, or, "The woman no one has ever seen before with the bad Australian accent isn't a spy, she's one of us, yeah, that's it..."
Yes, it made me wish that Larry Niven could be young and fresh again instead of functioning as an editor for the guys who are picking his bones.
"More in a great series"
Well the thing about these books is that the Narrator does a great job but for some reason after the first book he mispronounces the character "Baedeker" and some aliens, in the first book "Fleet of Worlds" it is pronounced as "bed-a-ker" and the rest of the books it is pronounced as "beta-ker" - aliens called "Gw'oth" pronounced as "gwa-auth" becomes "guat-ta-oth" or something like that, this is stupid and if the cause was that they were pronounced incorrectly in this the first book then in the next ones where its changed it needs to be mentioned in a forward by the reader, its stranger since its the same Narrator.
Now the review, this is another great book in a great series that is a prequel to a 42 year old book by the same author, If you read the previous books in this series then you probably will read this one so there isnt much to review here other than the story continues but at the end it hasn't gotten to the next book in chronological order which is "Ringworld" so there is still room for more books to be written.
If you already read Ringworld as many people have since its from 1970 then you sorta know what happens next, but not really since there is still room for more books to be written, I have read the first 3 books in this series around the time they came out and went on to other books, when this one was released I went back and listened to them again in order and have since went on to "Ringworld" and the ones that follow, this whole story and universe that was created is so good and the fact that these books are modern (as in written in 2007 and up range) its based upon something created in the 70's and it still holds up great
No reason not to read this book if you have already read the first 3 - after this one move onto Ringworld, I know its from 1970 but trust me it doesn't feel like it
"When will Worlds end?"
As series go, Worlds is getting a bit long in the tooth. Juggler and Destroyer were both respectable stories with engaging plots and characters. Betrayer appears almost to be a side story, that has Sigmund Ausfaller as a lmiited peripheral character. The alien encounters, politics, and machinations are lagely, well, alien and inscrutable. The addition of Louis Wu appeared promising as someone to assist Sigmund in returning New Terra to Earth, but alas, either that has been reserved for a future installment or has not been considered. With most of the focus of the story on unremarkable Puppeteers and their equally forgetable alien adversaries, most of the plot revolves around formulaic development of their alien cultures which is simply not that interesting. All in all, this is not one of Niven's better efforts.
Oh boy how do you survive all this. Just when you think it's over "tange" its not. Surprise next hard left with slow drift then bang.
This book brings so much together in the Ringworld and Fleet of Worlds series. Great read!
"Not that great"
I have read some other Larry Niven books that I really enjoyed. So I was expecting a lot from this book. I was very disappointed. It seems to be part of a serial. It chronologically happens sometime after the Puppeteers leave Earth. I have not read any of the Puppeteer books so that is probably why I did not really care for the book.
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