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5.0 out of 5 starsNiven at his best
Reviewed in the United States on June 11, 2020
Larry Niven is the best I have ever read in depicting the psychology and behavior of alien species. His portrayal of the Puppeteers Nessus and Nike, as well as a few others who have brief appearances, is engaging and believable. This first book of four begins with six Puppeteer worlds orbiting each other in a 'rosette' formation, hence the 'Fleet of Worlds', fleeing the expanding blast of radiation from cascading novae in the galactic core. The story focuses on three people of a human colony within the Puppeteer civilization. As a team of scouts, they see somewhat suspicious behavior on the part of their sponsor, Nessus, and begin looking into the truth about how the humans became part of the Puppeteer fleet. The layers of obfuscation and outright deceit by the Puppeteers are gradually uncovered by the clever monkeys. A great story with plenty of gee-whiz science, political intrigue, and some romance for the humans and even for Nessus, as well!
Call it book 5 of the Ringwood series, or book 1 of the Fleet of Worlds, in any case it's Larry Niven at his best. Some old characters from the Ringwood books along with the other Known Space books combined with sone new are crafted by Larry Niven- 1 of the living grand masters of Science Fiction and Co author Edward Lerner into a well developed book that's hard to put down. I reread the books every couple years and enjoy them every time.
3.0 out of 5 starsWell written prequel to many of Niven's series
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2013
I first started reading Larry Niven's books around 1974. Ringworld was a big favorite of mine back then. Finding he wrote 4 sequels to Ringworld made me buy a new copy of the original Ringworld along with all of the sequels.
When I read the final book in the series, I felt like I missed something somewhere along the way. Come to find out that this not only concludes the Ringworld series, but several other of his book series, most notably the Known Space series.
Known Space kicks off with this book - a prequel to Ringworld. Nessus is the hero of this one, where he is put in charge of a series of experiments to determine if they can use the "colonists" to take on deep space missions. Deep space, like many fearsome things, are not well liked by Puppeteers.
Through this book, we meet another recurring character, Baedeker (who later becomes Hindmost to the Puppeteer race). In this introduction to Baedeker, he does not appear much like he does as he does in the later books. In fact, without reading further, I can't even remotely imagine what creates such a drastic change in his personality.
The plot of this story really kicks off when the colonists start to wonder why they know so little of their past. Supposedly, their ancestors piloted a craft called "Long Shot" that was marooned. The Puppeteers taught them throughout their history that they rescued the survivors who then became known as Colonists. But, humans are not content with simple explanations, so they begin to explore.
Throughout their travels they uncover and infiltrate secret research labs, databases long thought lost, and the Long Shot itself. But, how they use this information to prove who they are is really well done.
The book is well written and keeps the reader involved and on edge. Niven has some outstanding people he works with to ensure the science is at least plausible, even if it may be a million years before we actually get there as a species.
Many years ago I was a big Larry Niven fan. When he started to collaborate with other authors I lost interest. It seemed like he was just trading on his name. When I recently checked on what he was currently doing I ran across his Fleet of Worlds series and thought it would be of interest to check it out.
This first book gives quite a bit of background to some of the novels that Niven wrote many years ago. If you were a fan of his "Known Space" books, I would recommend giving this title a look. The historical view in the book gives additional understanding to subsequent events in the related books from the past. It was good enough that I will probably go on to the next book in the series.
I would recommend checking out Edward M. Lerner's web site and blog to gain some insight into the writing process involved with these books. It is very informative.
2.0 out of 5 starsNiven’s co-author can’t match his tone and style
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2019
After loving Ringworld, I figured out this was a prequel and figured I’d go through in order. I didn’t enjoy this book. The co-writer lacks a certain tone that is very hard to describe. I smiled most of the way through RW and RW engineers. I frowned through half this book, set it down, won’t pick it back up
5.0 out of 5 starsFleet of Worlds series are my favorite books from Larry Niven
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2015
Fleet of Worlds series are my favorite books from Larry Niven. Book 1 was the start of what I have described as a series of 9 (includes the three original Ringworld books) that ties together so many stray pieces from the Tales of Known Space. These include the brilliant Protectors, the "voice" behind the Citizens, Louis Wu and his autodoc, Beowulf Schaeffer, the elusive Sigmund Ausfaller, and many other stories. The entire Fleet series is Niven's crowing achievement. You should buy this book, all the other Fleet series, and all three Ringworld books and read them in order (easy to figure out the timeline from the title page and included chronology.). Just buy them.
I hadn’t read Ring World in at least a decade, so I expected prequel, Fleet of Worlds, (published Oct 2007) to have me instantly lost—and it has a prologue, which I always think are just extra work for the reader to slog through before getting into the actual book.
Surprisingly, prologue is brief and interesting, and main story grabbed me quickly. Plot moves quickly and characters are clear.
Themes of Conspiracy, Cat-and-Mouse, Mystery (reminded me of Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton) are just great basis for great stories. If you liked Ringworld, you will enjoy this. It’s sort of like if you read Ender’s Game, and the sequels, then ten years later picked up Ender’s Shadow.
3.0 out of 5 starsNiven goes out to lunch, and a computer nerd takes over
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 16, 2020
Prequel to Ringwood. The writing is far less sophisticated. I don't think Mr Niven gave much more than his name to this book. It lurches along, trying to tie in various Niven story and idea threads. So a civilization of a trillion, with FTL travel , and teleportation is defeated by some human kids. Plausible, not. The writer is a computer geek I think, and uses some dull 20th Century computer ideas to drive the plot. There are four more books,...... please God make it stop.
3.0 out of 5 starsNot quite up to the same standard as a reader of Niven's other collaborations might expect
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 8, 2014
Not bad, but a little spun out and lacking pace.
This is the first in a 5-book story about Pierson's Puppeteers, the alien race familiar from Niven's Known Space stories. Having read all 5, I would have to say there is a distinct feeling that the story is being deliberately spun out to take up the 5 books. As a consequence, the pacing is a little slow in places. This first book in the series is possibly the best one, and sets the scene for what follows whilst also being a complete story in its own right.
You could probably read the books in any order, although it would be easier to fully appreciate the later ones if you read them in sequence.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 9, 2015
from what I've read so far having reached halfway through the third one of this new series, this is in some ways the weakest. It's still good, although not as good as Ringworld, but the story gets better book by book. I'd thoroughly recommend the series, and you have to read this to read the series. It helps to have read "Crashlander" first....