Ringworld's Children is the 4th installment in Niven's Ringworld series. The original (published in 1970) won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Niven followed up with a sequel and then a 3rd installment after a 17 year hiatus. RC arrived 8 years after that. As with some other recent Niven works, this installment builds on the past while retaining many of the usual suspects (Louis Wu and the Hindmost, for example). In this regard, reading the series in order is necessary for continuity. RC opens shortly after that last and concerns a serious danger to the Ringworld: various intelligent species have discovered the structure and are on the verge of war to gain control over the Pak technology. Along the way we learn more details about the origin of both the Ringworld and its builders as well as mankind's origins.
The science is respectable, but mostly unremarkable and not as prominent as in earlier Niven efforts. The early going is a bit excessive and plods along while at the same time, the latter stages offer the most in terms of plot development, but suffer from extensive infodumps that result in an uneven pacing throughout. The ending while somewhat spectacular nevertheless leaves the listener wanting more in terms of final resolutions for the various characters. In terms of an overall story arc for the Ringworld, this is a key component.
The narration is quite good and permits long uninterrupted sessions for a quick listen.
Ringworld is my all-time favorite sci-fi audiobook for both story and narration. I was looking forward to listening to this because I wanted more of the same.
Unfortunately I could not finish this. The narration makes the story hard to follow, or the story is hard to follow, or both. For me it was a disappointment.
I love the story and plot lines, however Barrett Whitener should have listened to the earlier volumes if for no other reason than to stay consistent on how to pronounce character's names and the names of objects. It is a little irritating to hear these mispronounciations over and over again.
Another complaint is the speech patterns of some of the characters is all wrong for their personality and again, as they were in earlier volumes, for consistency sake.
Except for these issues, it's OK, but I preferred the hard copy version to the audio book. Usually it is the other way around.
Great to continue the saga. Wish I could stand to listen to the narrator's voice.
In print, a good story.
Turned it off after five minutes. Painful to listen to.
Would love to hear this book read by someone else. Anyone else. Of the 50 or so Audible recordings I've listened to, this is the only one that was unlistenable due to the narration.
Its better than most of the other ringworld books as it ties up many of the old storylines and is takes ringworld out of just a book about the ring to a book about the ringworld and how it is changing the world of know space.
PS> I think the voice used for the Kzinti was really off key. Kzinti do not sound like ellmer Fudd.
Ringworld (also available at Audible) is fantastic Sci Fi. The sequel to it, Ringworld Engineers is also good (not available at Audible), but beyond that, there is just a lot of the same stuff. Bad Protectors killing each other over--and over--and over. Still, the narrator was decent and the story was pretty good if you love the Ringworld.
I was extremely annoyed by the change in narrators. The difference in pronunciation and ridiculous voices for the main characters was a constant letdown and distraction throughout the book.
Great story. Very well written.
Tom Parker or Paul Michael Garcia did an excellent job on their narration throughout the series.
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I've listened to all the previous Ringworld and some other of Niven's books on audio, and this is the first one where I found the narrator's performance disappointing. Not only were names from previous books pronounced completely differently (which alone, I might forgive, if no guidance was given by the author), but this narrator made some bizarre choices for portrayal of some of the characters. For Acolyte, the Kzin, the narrator chose a rather goofy sounding voice, which actually reminded me of Goofy as opposed to a 7-foot speaking tiger! For the Protector Tunesmith, he made no attempt to sound like a protector might sound, speaking with a hardened beak-like mouth. Previous narrators have very convincingly portrayed how this speech "impediment" might sound. The puppeteers voice didn't convey the musical or feminine nature that is usually used to describe them. On the whole, the voices were just more whimsical and jovial that I would have expected. There were also some off inflections which made me think the narrator didn't understand what he was reading... like when referring to Louis Wu as a "current addict". The inflection made it sound as if he meant current as in "right now" as opposed to "electricity". Perhaps if I was completely unfamiliar with Niven's universe or previous books, I might not notice these subtleties, but I found them quite distracting.
Barrett Whitener's reading is so harsh with a creaky brass-toned voice that I just can't get into the book. This is too bad, as I thought Mr. Whitener a good choice for Protector, and he did a decent job in Catch me if You Can. Sorry, Mr. Whitener, but I'll have to buy the paperback after all some time, and hope it's not as poorly plotted and interminable as Ringworld Throne. Give me the original Ringworld anyday over the sequels.
Thoroughly enjoyable despite the narrator, Barret Whitener. Mr. Whitener has a highly annoying habit of reading phrases with an unwarranted ascending intonation. It adds an effect reminiscent of moaning and howling. Fortunately, thanks to the book's content, I was able to ignore it. Presently, as we are offered no choice of narrators, we should be happy to hear this book as offered. Sequel is implied. I look forward towards Audible providing us with other Niven books. (Even if they are read by Whitener.)