Building Harlequin's Moon

Building Harlequin's Moon

by Larry Niven, Brenda Cooper
3.5 15


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Building Harlequin's Moon by Larry Niven, Brenda Cooper

The first interstellar starship, John Glenn, fled a Solar System populated by rogue AIs and machine/human hybrids, threatened by too much nanotechnology and rife with political dangers. The John Glenn's crew intended to terraform the nearly pristine planet Ymir, in hopes of creating a utopian society that will limit intelligent technology.

But by some miscalculation they have landed in another solar system, and extremely low on the antimatter needed to continue to Ymir, they must shape the nearby planet Harlequin's moon, Selene, into a new, temporary home. Their only hope of ever reaching Ymir is to rebuild their store of antimatter through decades of terraforming the moon.

Gabriel, the head terraformer, must lead this nearly impossible task, with all the wrong materials. His primary tools are the uneducated and nearly illiterate children of the original colonists, born and bred to build Harlequin's moon into a virtual antimatter factory. With no concept of the future and with life defined as duty, one girl, Rachel Vanowen, begins to ask herself the question: what will become of the children of Selene once the terraforming is complete.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765389565
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date: 04/01/2006
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Larry Niven is the award-winning author of the Ringworld series, along with many other science fiction masterpieces and fantasy 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.

BRENDA COOPERis a futurist who works with Glen Hiemstra at She’s the co-author of the novel Building Harlequin's Moon, which she wrote with Larry Niven. Her novel The Silver Ship and the Sea won the 2008 Endeavour Award. Her solo and collaborative short fiction has appeared in multiple magazines, including Analog, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Oceans of the Mind, and The Salal Review. She lives in Kirkland, Washington.

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Building Harlequin's Moon 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Hongkongluna More than 1 year ago
My headline should say it all. This book never gets off the ground, to use a bad pun. Right down there with a book by Dietz. You would think Niven would QC something with his name on it a bit better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really like Larry Niven's books. They're like jumping onto a fast moving freight train. You have to pay attention because he's always ten steps ahead of the reader. After the first three chapters Niven leaves and Cooper takes over. The result is predictable and DULL. Other reviews have indicated the book is set up for a sequel, who cares?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it hope there is a sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A long read for an ok story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love observing how humans might theoretically build planets! And the societal adjustments that occur due to the implications of interstelar space travel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Granted it does start off fast and slows down towards the middle/end, to me it doesn't take anything away. I thought it was a great read, keep up the good work!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Picked this up while stuck at an airport. Was alright to keep me occupied but not likely to have been one bought normally.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BabarOnWheels More than 1 year ago
An absolutely fabulous setup--I so much enjoyed the first few chapters. It's worth reading (or at least starting) just for the story of the terra-forming process: so cool. However, after the initial setup, the story is a bit ho-hum. The story just can't keep up with the great premise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rachel is a slave. She doesn¿t know it but she is a disposable human, bred for the work of getting the space ship John Glenn back on its way, and when the job is finished she will be discarded. All of her people share this plight and they can¿t be allowed to learn the truth. When the John Glenn suffered damage en route to its original destination, the captain was forced to divert to a nearby solar system to make repairs. The repairs include refueling the ship with antimatter, which requires building a collider, which requires a manufacturing base, which requires a world populated by workers. Gabriel, the chief terraformer of the John Glenn crew, takes up the task of making a world from the moons of a gas giant named Harlequin (thus the title of the book). Gabriel awakens and returns to frozen storage many times before the moon he fashions is ready for people. When the moon is ready, a selection of Earth-born are awakened to bear children who will become the Moon-born. Once you buy into the setup of this book, the story unfolds wonderfully. Behind the human drama, the book includes a showcase of technology required to carve an existence for humans out of the void. A large cast of believable characters (perhaps a bit too large) struggle over the fate of the Moon-born. Alliances shift and evolve along with the civilization on Harlequin¿s moon to a dramatic showdown that threatens both populations. Rachel, a reluctant leader and reluctant rebel, must at last make a stand as the only person who can bridge the two worlds. The ending is not really a surprise, if you think about it, but getting there is all the fun in this book. It is strong on human politics, mild sexuality, and technology but it might not be entirely satisfying for those who thrive on military action and huge space battles. Near the end, a number of Moon-born characters are introduced and I struggled to keep up with who is who. Still, there is plenty for the science fiction enthusiast to enjoy and I recommend this book for all readers 14 or older. Reviewed by Hugh Mannfield at
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Earth¿s distant future, AI¿s don¿t always act in a manner that will help humanity, nanotechnology is out of control; and politics make the planet a very unsafe place to live. The machines that were designed to help mankind might very well be the seeds of their own destruction. Three spaceships flee earth heading for the planet Ymir vowing to do away with the advanced technologies that brought their home world to the brink of ruin...................... The John Glen had a mishap that caused them to end up in a solar system dominated by the gas giant Harlequin. Gabriel, a terraformer, creates Selene out of the various moons. When Selene is habitable the High Council has the colonists breed children that are native to Selene. Their job is to help the Earthborn to build a collidor that will gather anti-matter to power the John Glenn so they can travel to their original destination. As the moonborn, who are little more than slaves, begin to realize their ultimate fate once they are left behind, a schism opens up between the two groups that could lead to violence unless the council takes a less militant attitude and rectifies the situation........................ Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper are an excellent writing team. Readers are able to see how Selene is created from an uninhabited rock into a terraformed world capable of supporting humanity. The authors concentrate on world building and characterizations so that readers are privy to the birth of a new orb and how it was done. A sequel involving the planet Ymir would satisfy many readers¿ curiosity about the eventual fate of the other two ships...................... Harriet Klausner