First the bad news: The book is not world altering, life changing, deep, or otherwise valuable. It is occasionally insightful, but is primarily a romp..Show More » through a novel and creative universe. As a romp it is first rate.
Niven is excellent at creating novel concepts. He avoids nearly all of the cliches of space-based science fiction. His aliens are first rate, they are truly alien in both form and behavior. His universe has some creative twists, all of which are carefully thought out and explaind to the reader. Niven has a good grasp of the basic concepts of science, technology and engineering. While some of his ideas are fantastic, none of them are laughable.
The plot is well crafted. There are few, if any, loose ends, and only a few minor inconsitencies. All the twists and turns make sense, once you hear them. He avoids the infamous "non-sequitor plot twist."
The voice acting is also quite good. The reader avoids both monotony and over-acting, making it a pleasure, not a chore, to listen to.
All in all this is one of the best quality books I've downloaded.
Casting picked the wrong narrator for this book. Mr.Garcia speaks with a clear voice that might be a plea..Show More »sure to listen to if given the right story. His voice has a pleading quality to it - sometimes a whining quality. I see Mr. Garcia reading the classics or maybe some genre I don't listen to such as childrens books.
After listening to the first book in this series my impression was serious fictional science with fun banter, appropriate sarcasm, and witty conversation. Mr. Parker nailed the first book with his outstanding performance. I mean he nailed it. His voice, inflections, emphasis were all spot on. I was able to laugh in the right places, be shocked in other places and follow along with the story very easily.
In the second book much was lost. Too much. I would have to listen to something multiple times to realize that was supposed to be a funny part or the characters picking on each other or some serious encounter. But instead the whole book is lost in an incorrect emotional interpretation. All sense of tension countered by comic relief is lost. Instead all the characters seem to be whining or complaining to each other.
This is one of the fails when converting a series into audible content. Publishers need to realize the narrator is a huge part of the book. They can turn a wonderful book into a painful drag or even turn a mediocre book into something worth listening to. With Mr. Parker they found the right narrator - then immediately changed for someone so wrong for the part. I notice in future books Mr. Parker does not return. Unfortunate. I'm not sure I can go through one more book with Mr. Garcia only to be facing another change in narrators. Ugh.
As a parallel - Jim Butcher has a series called The Dresden Files. It is outstanding! For 13 volumes the narrator, Mr. Glover, gave an outstanding performance. Voice perfect. In volume 13 they brought in a new narrator and I almost lost interest in the whole series. Maybe I was totally used to Mr. Marsters by that time but I don't think I would have listened to the whole series if it was read by the narrator of volume 13. Fortunately this publisher realized the situation and brought out volume 14 with the original narrator. Outstanding!
If all publishers would realize their narrators are bringing their books to life and their voice must be matched to the character then I think the audible world would be much better. If they find the right voice in the early volumes of a series - stick with it! Pay him or her more if you have to but don't swap voices without due consideration for the impact on the listener. Narrators are celebrities in a real sense. If my favorite artist (narrator) is reading in a genre I listen to (or one I want to try) I jump on it because of the narrator and I'm generally pleased with the outcome.
Unfortunately, this book is not really science fiction, or at least not the kind you normally expect from Larry Niven.
Taking place eleven ye..Show More »ars after the events in The Ringworld Engineers this book oddly is mostly about sex, and no, not romance but a kind of formalized inter-species ritual that all the the cultures on the ringworld seem to be obsessed with. They do it to seal trade negations, celebrate battle, or whenever they meet someone new.
Oh yeah, and vampires. Lots of vampires who emit a pheromone that makes everybody....you guessed it....want to have sex.
Now I don't mind sex and I don't particularly mind vampires but neither subject makes a good focus for what is supposed to be a hard sci-fi novel.
This really is a far cry from the the first book and very disappointing. I don't think I will continue with the series.
I for one happen to like the reading by Whitener. One should read at least "Ringworld" and "Protector" before reading this book as this one is based ..Show More »on both of these works. Great read, one that you don't want to stop until it is finish and then you want more.
This book, while set in the Ringworld universe, has very little Ringworld in it. None of the actual story takes place on Ringworld, it is only mentio..Show More »ned as background and side-story for what I'll call "The Flight of the Puppeteers".
Tom Weiner gives an even, consistent performance.
Nothing sticks out in my mind regarding this story. Basically, if you are a Ringworld fan, you need to listen to (or read) this story just for completions sake.
It's definitely listenable and mildly entertaining, but I sit here a month or so later and can't really recall much about what happened.