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.
Disappointing. I loved the original Ringworld book, but the sequels have gotten progressively worse. Most of this book seemed to focus on how much the Ringworld inhabitants are obsessed with having sex. I found it hard to follow, and unsatisfying. The hard science (fiction) of the Ringworld was nearly absent.
The narrator was actually quite good. I enjoyed the various voices he used for the different characters. They were convincing, and appropriate.
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