Mar 282012

Author: Larry Niven

Pages: 342

Publisher: Del Ray Books

Release Date: 10/1/1970

Genre: Science Fiction


Louis Wu- A 200 year old human adventurer.

Nessus- He is from an alien race called Pierson’s Puppeteers. His cowardly race considers him insane because he is less cowardly than the rest of them.

Teela Brown- Phenomenally lucky young human, yet very naive.

Speaker to Animals- Part of warrior race called Kzin. He is a large dangerous humanoid tiger.

Synopsis: In the year 2850, Louis Wu, Teela Brown, Speaker-to-Animals and Nessus travel to a massive alien artifact, the Ringworld, a vast ring with a habitable surface area of 300 million Earths. After their ship is nearly destroyed by robotic defense mechanisms, they begin to search the structure and meet the inhabitants. Despite being far away from human space, the inhabitants are human, but their culture has suffered a huge cataclysm. The group of adventurers attempt to uncover the mysteries of the Ringworld and find a way to get home.

Analysis: Larry Niven has created a great classic science fiction adventure with interesting and unique characters. I’d say that one of the few drawbacks is that the Ringworld is so vast and complex that this novel only explores a very small part of it. Actually even after 3 sequels, it seems like there is much more to learn. It is part of his Known Space universe and this is just a small part of the more than a dozen novels and more short stories.


  • Based on the Dyson Sphere, the ring is a unique compromise.
  • The Pierson’s Puppeter is an interesting creature. Engineers other creatures to make more safe.
  • Teela’s power is very interesting.


  • I have yet to hear a good reason why Kzin would look like a humanoid tiger.
  • The book too short!

Conclusion: This is a great book and is part of a great series. It is 4th time I have read it over the past 20 years and I highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of classic science fiction.

Trivia: Over the years, the unique structure of the Ringworld has caused much debate and speculation about the real physics surrounding it and its construction.


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