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Larry Niven



Mostly known for his "Ringworld" series of novels and a tireless world-building, Larry Niven has a penchant for cool-looking aliens, cool-looking planetary landscapes and cool-looking spaceships. In fact his whole body of fiction is so cool-looking that I am surprised that none of his adventures have made it to the big screen yet. Visuals and a solid science grounding are always supplemented with a lively plot and constant flow of ideas. One of the best "hard science fiction" writers of the 70s-80s school, if not THE best.

Wiki: link
SF Encyclopedia: link


(artwork copyright: Alan Gutierrez)

----------------------------------------------

"The Adults" (nv)
(also as "Protector")
© Galaxy, Jun 1967
book: 1973, Ballantine Books
--novel : 1974 Hugo
--novel : 1974 Locus /4
--international sf : 1975 Ditmar W

--/ third place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"All The Myriad Ways"
© Galaxy, Oct 1968
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
--short story : 1969 Hugo
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"Assimilating Our Culture"
(Draco Tavern)
© Destinies, Nov 1978
Convergent Series, 1979
--/ cool sf story

"At the Bottom of a Hole"
(Known Space)
© Galaxy, Dec 1966
The Shape of Space, 1969
Inconstant Moon, 1973
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ awesome scale


"At the Core"
(Beowulf Shaeffer)
© IF, Nov 1966
Neutron Star, 1968
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"The Barsoom Project" (nv)
(with Steven Barnes)
(Dream Park)
© 1989, Ace Books
--/ cool sf novel
--/ adventure award

"Becalmed in Hell"
© F&SF, Jul 1965
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
Inconstant Moon, 1973
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--short story : 1966 Nebula
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award

"Bird in the Hand"
(Hanville Svetz)
© F&SF, Oct 1970
The Flight of the Horse, 1973
--/ fourth place time sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ humour award


"The Borderland of Sol"
(Beowulf Shaeffer)
© Analog, Jan 1975
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--novelette : 1976 Hugo W
--novella : 1976 Locus /3

--/ fourth place space sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Brenda"
(Haven)
(Moties Series)
© New Destinies # 3, 1988
N-Space, 1990
War World # 2, 1990
--/ cool sf novella

"Choosing Names"
(Kzin Wars)
© Man-Kzin Wars VIII, 1998

"Cloak of Anarchy"
© Analog, Mar 1972
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Coldest Place"
© IF, Dec 1964
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"Criticism" (nf)
© New Destinies, Spr 1989

"Death by Ecstasy"
(also as "The Organleggers")
(Gil Hamilton)
© Galaxy, Jan 1969
The Shape of Space, 1969
Inconstant Moon, 1973
The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton, 1976
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award

"Dream Park" (nv)
(with Steven Barnes)
(Dream Park)
© 1981, Ace Books
--sf novel : 1982 Locus /4
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


"The Ethics of Madness"
© IF, Apr 1967
Neutron Star, 1968
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"Flatlander"
(Beowulf Shaeffer)
© IF, Mar 1967
Neutron Star, 1968
--novelette : 1968 Nebula
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"The Flight of the Horse"
(also as "Get a Horse!")
(Hanville Svetz)
© F&SF, Oct 1969
The Flight of the Horse, 1972
--reprint anth/collection : 1974 Locus /14 (tie)
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Flying Sorcerers" (nv)
(with David Gerrold)
(also as "The Misspelled Magician")
© IF, May 1970
novel : Ballantine, 1971
--/ fourth place sf novel
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"Folk Tale"
(also as "Table Manners")
(Draco Tavern)
© Far Frontiers, 1985
Niven's Laws, 1984
--/ cool sf story

"Footfall" (nv)
(with Jerry Pournelle)
© 1985, Ballantine Books
--novel : 1986 Hugo
--sf novel : 1986 Locus /3
--foreign novel : 1989 Seiun W

--/ cool sf novel

"Get a Horse!"
(also as "The Flight of the Horse")
(Hanville Svetz)
© F&SF, Oct 1969
The Flight of the Horse, 1972
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"A Gift From Earth" (nv)
(also as "Slowboat Cargo")
(Known Space)
© IF, Apr 1968
book: Ballantine, 1968
--/ fourth place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"The Gripping Hand" (nv)
(with Jerry Pournelle)
(also as "The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye")
(CoDominion / Moties)
© 1993, Harper / Pocket
--novel : 1975 Hugo
--sf novel : 1994 Locus /22

--/ cool sf novel

"The Handicapped"
(also as "Handicap")
© Galaxy, Dec 1967
Neutron Star, 1968
--/ fourth place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Hole Man"
© Analog, Jan 1974
A Hole in Space, 1974
--short story : 1975 Hugo W
--short story : 1975 Locus /2
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /41 (tie)

--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"Inconstant Moon"
© All the Myriad Ways, 1971
Inconstant Moon, 1973
--short story : 1972 Hugo W
--short fiction : 1972 Locus /9
--foreign short fiction : 1979 Seiun W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /20 (tie)

--/ fourth place apocalyptic sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"The Jigsaw Man"
© Dangerous Visions, 1967
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--short story : 1968 Hugo
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"Limits"
(Draco Tavern)
© IASFM, Sep 1981
Limits, 1984
--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Lion in His Attic"
(also as "The Magic Goes Away")
(MANA series)
© 1981, F&SF
Limits, 1980
--/ cool sf story

"The Locusts"
(with Steven Barnes)
© Analog, Jun 1979
Limits, 1985
--novelette : 1980 Hugo
--novelette : 1980 Locus /16
--novelette : 1980 AnLab /2

--/ cool space sf story
--/ idea: doomed efforts of colonists

"Lucifer's Hammer" (nv)
(with Jerry Pournelle)
© 1977, Fawcett Books
--novel : 1978 Hugo
--sf novel : 1978 Locus /8

--/ third place apocalyptic sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ awesome scale


"The Magic Goes Away"
(also as "The Lion in His Attic")
(MANA series)
© 1981, F&SF
Limits, 1980
--/ cool sf story

----------------------------------------------

Larry Niven
"Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex"

© 1971
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
--/ idea award
--/ humor award
--/ rare find

This essay explores the options available for the Superman to procreate and have sex with a normal human being, and the prospects are not looking good. In most scenarios Superman ends up destroying his partner (even the whole cities), in over-the-top sweet little ways.

----------------------------------------------

"The Misspelled Magician"
(with David Gerrold)
(also as "The Flying Sorcerers")
© IF, May 1970
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ idea award
--/ wonder award


"The Mote in God's Eye" (nv)
(with Jerry Pournelle)
(CoDominion / Moties)
© 1974, Harper / Pocket
--novel : 1975 Hugo
--novel : 1975 Locus /2
--novel : 1975 Jupiter
--novel : 1976 Nebula
--all time sf novel : 1987 Locus /13
--sf novel : 1998 Locus /30

--/ cool sf novel
--/ wonder award

"The Moat Around Murcheson's Eye" (nv)
(also as "The Gripping Hand")
(with Jerry Pournelle)
(CoDominion / Moties)
© 1993, Harper / Pocket
--novel : 1975 Hugo
--sf novel : 1994 Locus /22

--/ cool sf novel

----------------------------------------------



"Neutron Star"
(Beowulf Shaeffer series)
© IF, Oct 1966
Neutron Star, 1968
--short story : 1967 Hugo W
--novelette : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /30 (tie)

--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award


Talking about an offer you can't refuse... Beowulf Shaeffer, who is a bit of a space tourist, a bit of an adventurous Han Solo-type, is pressured by aliens to get inside the perihelion of a neutron star and live to tell the tale (never mind the huge tidal forces that would stretch your body into one infinite spaghetti). To the best of my knowledge this is the only story that describes in a scientifically plausible way what happens to a ship inside a neutron star's Schwarzschild radius. Alastair Reynolds attempted to describe what happens on the surface of an inconceivably dense neutron star, but his vision was rather more surrealistic and contrived. "Neutron Star" sticks to hard science, justly winning many top awards. Clearly a "thought-experiment" kind of story, it competes with the best of Hal Clement, Robert L. Forward and even Stanislaw Lem (who put his Pilot Pirx through relativistic loops once with incredibly inventive results). And if you are skeptical about chances of Beowulf Shaeffer coming out alive after being turned into a cosmological spaghetti, read the story to find out how he spooled himself back together again.
review by Avi Abrams: 04-Sep-07 (read in 1988)


(image credit: Jeroen Lapre)

"Neutron Star" (coll)
© 1968, Ballantine Books
--/ second place space sf collection
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ awesome scale


SIMPLY THE BEST COLLECTION OF HARD SCIENCE FICTION SPACE STORIES I HAVE READ. Miles above the competition, "Tales of Known Space" and "Flatlander" series are even more entertaining in a collection, where each story adds to a kaleidoscope of splendid space outings. This is your best bet for getting a taste of what Larry Niven is all about. When published in sf magazines in the late 60s, these stories burst like a supernova among the glut of tame & predictable offerings of the time - and I'm sure you'll still get an almost relativistic "kick" out of reading them today.

----------------------------------------------

"Not Long Before The End"
(Convergent series)
© F&SF, Apr 1969
--short story : 1970 Hugo
--short story : 1970 Nebula

--/ cool sf story
--/ wonder award

"The Organleggers"
(also as "Death by Ecstasy" )
(Gil Hamilton)
© Galaxy, Jan 1969
The Shape of Space, 1969
Inconstant Moon, 1973
The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton, 1976
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award


"Passerby"
© Galaxy, Sep 1969
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
Inconstant Moon, 1973
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"Protector" (nv)
(also as "The Adults")
© Galaxy, Jun 1967
1973, Ballantine Books
--novel : 1974 Hugo
--novel : 1974 Locus /4
--international sf : 1975 Ditmar W

--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


"Rammer"
(Jerome Corbell)
© Galaxy, Nov 1971
A Hole in Space, 1974
A World Out of Time, 1976
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


"A Relic of Empire"
© IF, Dec 1966
Neutron Star, 1968
--foreign short fiction : 1981 Seiun W
--/ third place space sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


----------------------------------------------


(right image: art by Courtney Skinner)

"Ringworld" (nv)
(Ringworld series)
© 1970, Ballantine Books
--novel : 1971 Hugo W
--novel : 1971 Nebula W
--novel : 1971 Locus W
--international sf : 1972 Ditmar W
--all time novel : 1975 Locus All-Time Poll /12
--foreign novel : 1979 Seiun W
--all time sf novel : 1987 Locus All-Time Poll /9
--sf novel (before 1990) : 1998 Locus All-Time Poll /25 (tie)

--/ second place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ idea award
--/ style award
--/ awesome scale


The cornerstone of Niven's "Known Space Universe" series of stories and novels Ringworld is pure science fiction adventure – on a scale that's quite literally immense. Set in a very distant future where humanity is just one of dozens of space-faring species, the novel is about several unique beings (two aliens and two humans) on a very unique quest: to explore the single greatest engineering feat in the universe: The Ringworld. Initially at each other's throats, the cowardly Puppeteer, the savage Kzin, the 'lucky' Teela Brown, and Louis Wu -- the book's 200-year-old hero – they soon find a way to work together to try and survive as well as solve the riddle of the staggeringly huge structure. How big? Well, the Ringworld is a band the size of Earth's orbit and thicker than the diameter of our tiny planet.

Although the book does require a pretty good grasp of Niven's Known Space Universe to understand and appreciate the complexity of the Ringworld and how it fits into the other books and stories, the knowledge is by no means essential to enjoying the book. It remains a truly classic novel of science fiction and is worth reading over and over again.
Review by author M. Christian

----------------------------------------------

"Rotating Cylinders and
the Possibility of Global Causality Violation"

© Analog, Aug 1977
Convergent Series, 1979

"Slowboat Cargo" (nv)
(also as "A Gift From Earth")
(Known Space)
© IF, Feb 1968
--/ fourth place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ adventure award
--/ style award


"Smoke Ring" (nv)
(Integral Trees)
© Analog, Jan 1987
novel: Ballantine Del Rey, 1987
--sf novel : 1988 Locus /8
--/ third place space sf novel
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ awesome scale


"Song Of The Night People"
(part of "Ringworld Throne")
(Ringworld series)
© Sisters Of The Night, ed. B. Hambly, 1995
Ringworld Throne, 1997
--/ cool sf novella

"Spirals"
(with Jerry E. Pournelle)
© Destinies, Apr 1979
--novella : 1980 Locus /13
--/ fourth place sf novella
--/ wonder award

"Table Manners"
(also as "Folk Tale")
(Draco Tavern)
© Far Frontiers, 1985
Niven's Laws, 1984
--/ cool sf story

"There's a Wolf in My Time Machine"
(Hanville Svetz)
© F&SF, Jun 1971
The Flight of the Horse, 1972
--/ cool time sf story

"Wait It Out"
© The Future Unbound Program Book, 1968
Tomorrow's Worlds, ed. R. Silverberg, 1969
All the Myriad Ways, 1971
Inconstant Moon, 1973
Tales of Known Space, 1975
--/ cool sf story

"Wrong-Way Street"
© Galaxy, Apr 1965
Convergent Series, 1979
--short story : 1966 Nebula
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award


------------------------------------

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EXPLANATION OF THE RATING SYSTEM:

"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.


All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

Our PERSONAL AWARDS (ratings) are highlighted in RED and PURPLE:
--/ first place :
--/ second place :
--/ third place :

--/ fourth place :

--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)
ALL "BEST OF" LISTS ARE LOCATED HERE

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
originality of idea / concept

--/ adventure award
exhilarating plot, excitement / action

--/ style award
outstanding literary qualities, inimitable style

--/ romance award
intense and beautiful love / relationships

--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

--/ shock value
altogether wild

--/ awesome scale
mind-boggling; further enhances sense-of-wonder

--/ rare find
very hard to locate, mostly from old pulps, never reprinted, etc.

Again, please feel free to leave your own review or comment under every writer's entry; also recommend us other stories you liked.