The more audio books I listen too, the more I wonder why I didn't start sooner. They make the ride to and from work much more tolerable.
Of course, anybody who has ever heard of this book probably knows that it was an instant hit with sci-fi fans at the time of it's release and from what I can tell, the popularity hasn't slowed down much. An absolutely fantastic story, with interesting characters that are very well developed, an incredible setting (can it get any better than the Ringworld itself...?). All these things make this book a classic. That's why I have read it probably a dozen times, no kidding. I can just pick it up, open it and start reading, and will completely enjoy myself.
Therefore, having said that, my familiarity with the book may be the reason I was a little dissatisfied with the reading. Don't get me wrong, he did a fine job reading the story, I just hoped for a little more, oh I don't know, heart maybe? (Disclaimer! I AM used to listening to the Harry Potter books read by Jim Dale, and with this being my first experience listening to an audio book since those, that may also be jading my opinion.) There were also verbiage differences that are probably just personal preferences. I always thought of the main character as Louis (loo-is), in the book it was pronounced (loo-ee). There were a few of these, that, as I've admitted, are probably just personal preference. Who's to say that I haven't been pronouncing them wrong all these years?!? (Larry Niven, I guess!)
All in all, worth your hard earned money in my humble opinion, especially if you've never read the book. And if you haven't experienced Ringworld, shame on you.....
This is a fine place to start.
This book is still a great one. I read it 30 years ago and loved it. It's a classic example of hard science fiction. Interesting characters, interesting plot, lots of science, some "adult situations". Niven is a master of creating aliens with alien motivation. Highly recommended as one of the best of its kind.
System and software engineer from the UK now living and working in Silicon Valley.
I still like the story but it is showing its age. I originally read this as one of the first books that really got me in to sci-fi and reading in general. All these years later and no longer at a boys school I find the attitudes grating.
I quite liked the performance, I don't remember having any issue with how the story was presented and characterized. I'd certainly listen to something by the same performer again.
So the purpose of the female interest in the story is to provide sex to the hero and to massage his ego? She's excess baggage and whether she is a useful part of the mission is purely down to how much use the hero thinks she will be in keeping him happy? So she might as well be a roast beef sandwich or something?
Other than the weird 1960s attitudes to women I would recommend this. But based on this re-reading he wouldn't be the first author I'd suggest for a late teen like my stepdaughter.
I'm 51 so I grew up in the golden era of the Hugo and Nebula awards. Ringworld was always on my list of books I wanted to read but never quite got to. When it was recommended on a recent TWIT podcast, I snapped up the audio book to fill that old omission. Now I wish I hadn't.
Yes, I am older now with a more critical mind, but Ringworld suffers from a couple of flaws of its own making. First, it hasn't aged well. Characters refer to technology that was very much an artifact of the 1960's and 70's. "Tapes" are a good example. Even if the listener mentally updates the technology used, parts of the story fall flat because we already have better solutions. I've written just enough scifi to appreciate how hard it is to predict future tech, but Ringworld feels "phoned in."
The greater difficulty I have with Ringworld is that Niven ends up turning Luck into a controling deity with free will being an illusion. Ok, that is a hypothesis to be made, but Niven never does. His climatic resolution drives the reader right up to the cliff's edge and then strands him there. Quite annoying.
I realize Audible has Ringworld Children, but I'm not sure I could stomach Teela's "luck" another microsecond!
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
YOU CAN LEARN A LOT ABOUT A WORLD, BY LOOKING AT IT'S UNDERSIDE
You must keep in mind that this was published in 1970. It was an excellent book for the time. If you want to say you are a sci-fi lover, than you must do your homework and Niven and this book with The Integral Trees is a most. Even reading it today, you have to be amazed by the size and scope of this artificial world. It was a million miles across. The United States is around 3 thousand miles across. Niven uses a lot of math, but not to the point where the common layman gets lost. Today this is still an interesting read.
YING AND YANG FRIENDSHIP
I thought their was good character development in this book. I especially liked the Puppeteer and the Kzin. These were interesting characters and they added much to the story. I will admit that before it was over I was ready for it to end. Part of that reason maybe because I have read it multiple times. Today's young reader may not be as excited about it as we were in the 70's, but I believe they will still enjoy it.
Interesting and unique SciFi, however, the story often feels interminable and wanders through many valleys as the story wends its way to a slow resolution.
The novel is based around travelling to and investigating a mysterious artificial world. While the ring world would seem to be the focus of the book and was, in fact, quite interesting I found that it was the, more or less, related ideas that made the story sing.
There are three intelligent species in the novel. They are quite simplistic in nature in that the Puppeteers are excessively cautious and fearful but very intelligent, the Kzin are (or were) ultra-aggressive and the humans are in between. But there are interesting caveats to these such as the only ambassadors of the Puppeteers are those that are considered by their own race to be insane because only such a one would brave close contact with such unpredictable species. Or the much discussed evolution of the Kzin toward a more reasoned nature.
The most fascinating facet of the novel to me was the discussions regarding the nature of luck that suffuse the story throughout. Earth has a complex system of laws controlling reproduction wherein each human has the right to one child and more can be won through various means such as purchase, arena combat, exceptional genes, etc., but the salient of which is by lottery. The laws in themselves are intriguing but it gets really fascinating when one human crew member is chosen because her ancestors up to 5 generations back have been lottery winners and this woman has led a particularly lucky existence thus far. The Puppeteer believes she has been bred for psychic luck via the lottery while the other human argues it is simply the far end of a probability curve. Someone out of billions of people was bound to have ended up lucky in most things even if their odds were no better than anyone else and they won't have any better odds than anyone else in the future either. Either could be right and what starts as an interesting speculative argument becomes all the more entertaining and complex as the truth is revealed. I won't ruin the magic but it's quite brilliant.
The listener will also be treated to many more mysteries and audacious ideas such as the history of the ring world and its people, conspiracies of the man and Kzin wars, future tech, traveling planets, and exploding galaxies.
The narrator was mediocre. All of the voices sound pretty much the same with the only differentiation being more or less enthusiasm or gruffness but no truly different accents or anything. He did, however, do a good job relaying the character's emotions and only the narration (not the dialogue) was monotonic.
IN SUMMARY, this is a quirky and thought-provoking adventure in the same vein as Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Dimension of Miracles that anyone who enjoys scifi should consider worth a listen.
I really like the interesting details. Sunflowers unlike any you have ever heard of, landing cannons, transfer booths, and many, many more interesting and unique ideas. Larry Niven has been one of my favorite authors for several years, and this is certainly one of his best works.
I'm not entirely sure I can pick a favorite - but if I had to choose I would probably say Nessus - his race, for one, is pretty unusual. Not to mention their meddling! All around a pretty interesting, and quite amusing character.
Hard to say, as I haven't just read the book - but he does bring the story to life. He reads it just perfectly, giving each character their own voice (as good narrators always do), and I think his reading is very interesting.
"The Galaxy's hugest megabuild"
I really, really enjoyed this audiobook.
I can understand why Ringworld received so many awards after its release in 1970. It created a world that fired the imagination. 40+ years later we have 29 seasons of Star Trek, 18 seasons of Star Gate (including animated seasons for both series), several less successful series and countless movies. Just creating a world is no longer enough. A future in space is not as new and magical as it was 40 years ago.
And thus, the biggest problem with Ringworld. There is not a lot of story development until the end. Throughout most of the book I felt like the author was focusing on laying a foundation for a series. Maybe plot and character development comes in the next book. I’m glad I finished the book because this was a historical release in science fiction but I don’t know if I will continue the series. After listening to the book I felt like I had spent a week in an old grand hotel that has fallen into disrepair. I left thinking “This must have been a really nice place when it was new.”
I loved how Larry Niven describes how such a world could exist. And, how he gave a feeling of largeness about the whole thing. The different cultures, and the interesting tech. Some areas felt a little jumpy, like he forgot to connect a few dots, but overall the book was great!