Ringworld (1970) and its many offspring (The Ringworld Engineers, etc.) are an SF institution. Unfortunately, bestseller Niven's first Ringworld installment in 10 years combines the worst qualities of hard SF (i.e., cardboard characters, a plot propelled primarily by technological infodumps) with the least appealing characteristics of sequelitis (i.e., a story no one can follow without fanatic dedication to earlier books). In the year 2893, 67 Ringworld days after Louis Wu, badly wounded in battle with "the Vampire protector, Bram," stepped into a healing autodoc, our hero awakens with a restored, younger body. The passive Louis and several alien companions soon get caught up in a war involving weaponery that could destroy Ringworld. The novel finally comes into its own about midway through, while a glossary and a cast of characters will help orient those new to the series. Agent, Eleanor Wood of the Spectrum Literary Agency. (July) Forecast: The high anticipation of the first Ringworld novel in a decade, backed by blurbs from Orson Scott Card, Steven Barnes and Fred Saberhagen, should help launch this onto many bestseller lists. Niven has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This story was inspired by readers' "mistaken ideas" in discussions at email@example.com. After following these discussions for a few months, Niven had enough material to set straight to write Ringworld's Children. Even though there is a list of Ringworld Parameters, a cast of characters and a glossary at the beginning, those new to Ringworld will probably be lost. For those "old" to Ringworld, this does answer many questions, but it may generate myriad new questions. (Hence, another new novel?) It will also already be on their reading lists. Amazing to think that this all started back in 1970! Buy where there is a Ringworld following. KLIATT Codes: SARecommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Tor, 284p., Ages 15 to adult.
The Ringworld, an artificially engineered realm resembling a ribbon or ring that is home to over a trillion people of wildly different species, faces threats from outsider ships from the inhabited worlds and its own aging superstructure. Newly restored in mind and body, Louis Wu, a member of the first expedition to Ringworld, joins three individuals of different species to prevent the destruction of Ringworld. After a ten-year hiatus, Niven (Ringworld; Ringworld Engineers; Ringworld Throne) returns with a tale of adventure, romance, and peril. A good choice for most sf collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The fourth and seemingly last visit to Niven's spectacular ring-shaped space habitat (The Ringworld Throne, 1996, etc.), whose livable surface area is three million times that of planet Earth. Earth explorer Louis Wu, trapped on the Ringworld along with the Hindmost, a timorous, manipulative alien, finds the Ringworld's very survival threatened by the Fringe War, a motley collection of human and alien spaceships that fight among themselves, each hoping to conquer (or at least land on) the Ringworld and learn its fabulous scientific secrets. However, the Ringworld's own defenses and the vigilance of the blindingly fast, armored, sexless, superintelligent Ghoul protector, Tunesmith, prevent the Fringe Warriors from prevailing. Tunesmith, Louis suspects, intends to make Louis himself into a protector. Finally, the Fringe War erupts when an antimatter bomb blows a hole in the Ringworld through which the atmosphere would drain and be lost to space in a matter of days. Another complication arises with the emergence of Proserpina, an ancient protector who claims to be a Pak, one of the Ringworld's vanished builders (protectors vigorously compete to protect their own species' genes). Aided by the young Kzinti exile Acolyte; Wembleth, a Ringworld native with a lucky knack for survival; and detective Roxanny Gauthier of Earth's armed forces, Louis is willing to help Tunesmith save the Ringworld. But, disinclined to become a protector permanently bound to the Ringworld, he must also find a way to escape the fate Tunesmith has planned for him. An involving and engrossing addition to one of science fiction's grand sagas.