I love this story and enjoyed listening to it. However, I wasn't really happy with the narration. The audio quality sounded like it was recorded 30 years ago, not bad or hard to hear just kind of lo-fi. Less than what I've come to expect from audible books. The narrator had a slightly posh lilt to his voice that I didn't feel was well matched with the tone of the book, though his performance was good otherwise.
Louis Wu is a unique hero in that his strengths lie not in physical daring or special powers but in his deductive and insightful prowess. That's to be expected from a 200 year old adventurer, no?
Colorful characters, a world of promise, mystery, and adventure I'm now hooked on the ring world series. Only real comparing was the books pace at times: this one doesn't drag at all, in fact it goes quickly enough that i would rather read it myself if only to contemplate the gravity of the situations Louis and company stumble upon. There are a few concepts in here that straddle the line between science fiction and science fantasy, but damned if i didn't buy every word. Well written overall, not a single sentence is wasted. I can't wait to pick up the next one!
It inspires wonder and adventure. IMP just what anyone reading (or listening) to SciFi is hoping to find.
I have listened to many books. Of all, this guy is truly outstanding. I am going to look through his repertoire and listen to more. Even if it is not SciFi.
Laugh in a few places of course. I didn't feel the need to cry and wasn't hoping to find that. The book was written in 1970 and is a wonderful generator of creative thinking.
You know it is hard to find what they call "contemporary" SciFi to have the mind warping adventure and scientific wonder I find in these, I guess 'classic' works. Is it because it's harder to generate that with so many topics already covered? I love to hear what others think. Or be pointed in the direction of a few top-notch writers of today.
The fact that it has the same feel to it that all classic Sci-Fi does. It's less gimmicky than the newer stuff. Not as flashy, and relies more on quality writing.
The interesting approach to bred luck.
Professional, smooth, a little dry.
No, it was a nice book, but one I'd only spend half an hour at a time on.
I'm a web developer based out of Sacramento, I listen to books while I work, and love audible.
This book is very similar to Rendezvous of Rama in many ways, only it was actually interesting. I found one of the main premises of breeding luck into humans to be very ridiculous, the author my as well said their ships were powered by magic. And the female character was stereotypical sic-fi female character from the 1950's complete with crying and childish behavior. But other than that the Aliens were quite interesting, and the rest of the story was pretty decent.
My books are water; those of the great geniuses are wine; (fortunately) everybody drinks water. - Mark Twain
Lack good memorable characters. I have read Niven books that had much more endearing characters.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
I guess I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. I can't help feeling I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it when I was younger.
There are some genuinely interesting ideas here. The key one being how to construct a vastly larger world than Earth on which we could still function. The parts where Niven explores how this world would differ from our own show some serious thought. We can ignore the technical difficulties such as how to keep it in a stable orbit.
The characters were marginally interesting, although in fairness I do have to note that recent sci-fi shows all seem to have similar conglomerations of personalities so maybe Niven deserves credit for being so influential. All the same I couldn't get especially invested in any of their supposed agendas. Why is it that alien races all have to be so simplistically monolithic in their interests, personalities, and outlooks?
There seems to be a recurring interest in granting human beings increased longevity while maintaining the physical bodies of the young. I suppose this is very appealing to the core audience for this kind of book. What is baffling is that these very old humans seem to have no acquired wisdom, judgment, skill set, or cultural depth that would correspond to this increase in lifespan.
Where the book really let me down was in the absence of any kind of compelling story. I kept waiting for a plot to develop, but it was just a basic adventure story pasted onto a very thin excuse to motivate the action. Niven fans will no doubt take me to task for overlooking the very compelling reasons these alien races had for undertaking this mission, but as I said the imaginary forces working on imaginary races using imaginary technology just doesn't excite me.
Still, this is an acknowledged sci-fi classic and spawned a series of other books exploring the premise, so it must be appealing to someone out there.
Obviously inspired by Arthur C. Clarke's 'Rendezvous With Rama', with a dash of stock Babylon-Star-Trek-Wars alien characters.
Some interesting concepts folded in, such as luck, and some obligatory Robert Heinlein casual sex, but the story ultimately amounts to a proverbial fly-over.
So much description, so little significance.