The Draco Tavern

( 23 )

Overview

When a tremendous spacecraft took orbit around the Earth's moon and began sending smaller landers down toward the North Pole, the newly arrived visitors quickly set up a permanent spaceport in Siberia. Their presence attracted many, and a few people grew conspicuously rich from secrets they learned from talking to the aliens. One of these men, Rick Schumann, established a tavern catering to all of the various species of visiting aliens, a place he named the Draco Tavern.
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The Draco Tavern

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Overview

When a tremendous spacecraft took orbit around the Earth's moon and began sending smaller landers down toward the North Pole, the newly arrived visitors quickly set up a permanent spaceport in Siberia. Their presence attracted many, and a few people grew conspicuously rich from secrets they learned from talking to the aliens. One of these men, Rick Schumann, established a tavern catering to all of the various species of visiting aliens, a place he named the Draco Tavern.
From the mind of #1 New York Times bestselling author Larry Niven come twenty-six tales and vignettes from this interplanetary gathering place, collected for the first time in one volume, including:

"The Subject Is Closed": A priest visits the tavern and goes one-on-one with a chirpsithra alien on the subject of God and life after death.

"Table Mannners: A Folk Tale": Rick Schumann is invited to hunt with five folk aliens, but he's not quite sure what their hunt entails, or if he will be the hunted.

"Losing Mars": In this previously unpublished tale, a group of aliens who call Mars and its moon home arrive at the tavern only to find that humans have mostly forgotten about their neighboring planet.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
If you've always wanted to throw back a few drinks with spacefaring extraterrestrials, look no further than Larry Niven's The Draco Tavern, a collection of 27 short stories revolving around an infamous interplanetary watering hole that puts Star Wars' Mos Eisley cantina to shame.

Rick Schumann, owner of the Draco Tavern situated in a spaceport at Mount Forel in Siberia, has stories aplenty for anyone who has the time to listen. In "Playground Earth," the tavern experiences some bad press and is bombed by xenophobic terrorists. While Schumann recovers from injuries sustained in the attack, the operation is shut down -- and dozens of bored aliens turned overly curious tourists converge on an unsuspecting human populace.

The tavern's entrepreneurial owner receives some potentially priceless information in "The Schumann Computer" -- designs for the galaxy's most intelligent computer -- but after the omnipotent construct is built, he realizes that knowing everything isn't all it's cracked up to be. In "The Subject Is Closed," a priest discusses the possibility of the afterlife with a Chirpsithra -- an ancient race of giant lobster-like aliens -- and comes away with a much-changed view of his religion.

In the book's introduction, Niven states that he dreamed up the spaceport bar as a setting to deal with the big questions -- God, the fate of humankind, immortality, artificial intelligences, the destiny of the universe, interspecies commerce, etc. -- and that's exactly what he does in The Draco Tavern, a short story collection that is practically supersaturated with diverse themes and concepts. A must-read. Paul Goat Allen
From the Publisher

"A must for Nivenites and just plain good reading for everyone else."--Booklist on The Draco Tavern
"There are wise elder races and there are scamsters and folks who raise interesting questions. In some ways, the object-lesson stories remind one of pundits' political columns…. Thought provoking.--San Diego Union-Tribune on The Draco Tavern

"Brilliant . . . These stories are best taken a few at a time to savor their inventiveness."--Publishers Weekly on The Draco Tavern

"Reads more like an episodic novel…. There's joy and sadness and everything in between in these stories--which seem to have devised as vehicles for Niven to explore a wide variety of ideas and also happen to be about what it means to be human. One of the ways in which we learn about who we are is to see what we are not, and in this book there are many examples of what humans are not."--Romantic Times Bookclub on The Draco Tavern

Publishers Weekly
The cantina scene in Star Wars, as Niven (Ringworld) points out in his introduction, partakes of "a hoary old tradition," as do the 27 Draco Tavern stories in this solid SF collection. Most of the tales, set in the 2030s, are short-shorts, often reading like brilliant, half-whimsical notebook jottings. The inverted city carved out of the ice by ocean-dwelling creatures on Europa in "Playground Earth" could be the basis for a novel. Niven tosses it off in a sentence. Many of the best moments are similar hints: an overheard conversation about how an alien species casually denied humans immortality because the perception of death flavors human poetry ("Limits"). The most startling perspective of all comes from "The Green Marauder," in which a two-billion-year-old creature explains how the Earth was "ruined" by "pollution" long ago. These stories are best taken a few at a time, to savor their inventiveness without noticing the undeveloped characters or that, even for bar stories, there's sometimes too much chatter and not enough action. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765347718
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 631,850
  • Product dimensions: 4.29 (w) x 6.70 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Niven is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces, and fantasy novels including the Magic Goes Away series. His Beowulf's Children, co-authored with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes, was a New York Times bestseller. He has received the Nebula Award, five Hugos, four Locus Awards, two Ditmars, the Prometheus, and the Robert A. Heinlein Award, among other honors. He lives in Chatsworth, California.

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Table of Contents

The subject is closed 17
Grammar lesson 25
Assimilating our culture, that's what they're doing! 33
The Schumann computer 41
The green marauder 49
The real thing 57
War movie 65
Limits 73
Table manners 81
One night at the Draco Tavern 101
The heights 107
The wisdom of demons 123
Smut talk 131
Ssoroghod's people 145
The missing mass 155
The convergence of the old mind 175
Chrysalis 185
The death addict 199
Storm front 209
The slow ones 215
Cruel and unusual 225
The ones who stay home 231
Breeding maze 239
Playhouse 255
Lost 273
Losing Mars 283
Playground Earth 291
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong unique sci fi collection

    This twenty-seven collection anthology centers on THE DRACO TAVERN with the only recurring character being the barkeeper-owner Rick Schumann. The stories take place in Mt. Forel, Siberia where the United Nations and the Chirpsithra of Europa with the help of earthlings built the ¿inverted city¿. The tales (a somewhat loosely used term) though extremely short in depth with some not registering as even a short story are deep suggestions of what was, is and will be on 'Playground Earth'. Each entertaining entry leads to thought provoking analysis based on the relative background of the individual (especially on subjects like God, wisdom, and knowledge, etc). Science fiction readers who treasure exploring cultural anthropology concepts that include aliens from Mars, Europa, and elsewhere will savor this compilation, a few anecdotes at a sitting toasting Larry Niven for opening the mind. --- Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    I am

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    *goes to sleep*

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