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Ringworld Audiobook

Ringworld

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Publisher's Summary

Welcome to Ringworld, an intermediate step between Dyson Spheres and planets. Ninety-three million miles in radius - the equivalent of one Earth orbit or 600 miles long - 1,000 meters thick, and much sturdier than a Dyson sphere.

What other advantages are there to this world? The gravitational force created by a rotation on its axis of 770 miles per second means no need for a roof. Walls 1,000 miles high at each rim will let in the sun and prevent much air from escaping.

Larry Niven's novel, Ringworld, is the winner of the 1970 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1970 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1972 Ditmars, an Australian award for Best International Science Fiction.

©1970 Larry Niven (P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 05-03-10
    J. Rhoderick Frederick, MD USA 05-03-10 Member Since 2017
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    "Mediocre story, bad audio quality"

    Like most hard sci-fi, Larry Niven's Ringworld is not about the characters, but the setting and its technology. In that respect, Ringworld succeeds. Niven has a knack for explaining futuristic technologies in a way that brings them alive to the reader. I only wish that we had learned more of the Ringworld itself.

    Ringworld's human characters are boring, and its alien characters are absurd, cartoonish, and uninteresting. Given their dire situation, the characters should be anxious and their relationship complex, but they barely seem to care that their lives are in danger. The characters are so weak, in fact, that I finished the novel a few days ago and I can hardly remember their names.

    There are a few moments of tension when we learn of the Puppeteers' history of manipulating other species' evolution for their own benefit, but the situation feels disingenuous, as if their anger is just an inside joke that we know will soon pass. Furthermore, after Teela's disappearance, I was shocked at how quickly everyone wrote her off. But I guess that is excusable because I never once felt attached to any of them either.

    The story's plot is simple: the group crash on the Ringworld and need to escape. They run around a bit and explore things before finding a way to get out. Ringworld is a decent read, but I do not understand the hype, nor do I understand why it has won so many awards. It is mediocre in all respects.

    While the narrator was quite good, the audio quality is horrible. Aside from the obviously tape-quality audio recording itself, there was a persistent, annoying background echo. Everything the narrator said could be heard duplicated just moments after he said it, as if there was a conversation going on in the background. Sometimes this echo was very obvious and at others it wasn't noticeable. It drove me nuts and I almost stopped listening because of it. The book loses a star for its audio problems.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Gibraltar, MI, United States 10-11-07
    Pat Gibraltar, MI, United States 10-11-07

    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.

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    "Classic book, unsteady read..."

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Colchester, CT, USA 05-20-05
    Christopher Colchester, CT, USA 05-20-05
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    "Still great"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris H 12-04-12
    Chris H 12-04-12 Member Since 2012

    System and software engineer from the UK now living and working in Silicon Valley.

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    "Showing its age"

    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.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Royall Houston 02-26-08
    Scott Royall Houston 02-26-08 Member Since 2012
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    "Ringed Disappointment"

    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!

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Farrell 02-27-17
    Farrell 02-27-17

    Sci-fi, detective, cozy. Only give 5s to those books I think stand above the rest. 4 is a good solid book. 3 is average, nothing special.

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    "Still great"

    Read this as a teenager. Still after all these years it was a very good listen. Yes, it's aged a bit, but it's still fun. Classic Sci-Fi

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Parish 04-14-15
    G. Parish 04-14-15 Member Since 2013

    Blind Bard

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    "Interesting"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Olympia, Washington, United States 12-08-13
    Alex Olympia, Washington, United States 12-08-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A thought-provoking adventure"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon MacKendrick MESA, AZ, US 09-19-13
    Brandon MacKendrick MESA, AZ, US 09-19-13
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    "Excellent"
    What did you love best about Ringworld?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What does Tom Parker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "The Galaxy's hugest megabuild"


    Any additional comments?

    I really, really enjoyed this audiobook.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Brown 03-26-13
    R. Brown 03-26-13
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    "A classic from the 1970’s showing some age."

    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.”

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr. M. G. Helliwell
    surrey, england
    11/19/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Mediocre"

    I read this as a youth in the 70s and wasn't overly impressed. It hasn't improved with age. The main male character comes across like Austin Powers - someone who has escaped from the 60s and is trying to act cool.

    The technology is showing its age (perhaps forgivable given the age of the book), for example putting a new tape in the music machine.

    The world building isn't great either, eg we get an explanation of Dyson Spheres, which don't seem to have any relevant to the plot and the author can't decide just how far it is possible to see in the world and keeps changing the distance to suit the plot.

    Unless you've got some particular reason to listen to this book, I wouldn't bother as there is a lot of better sci-fi around.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Al
    Berkshire, England
    11/13/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting, engrossing but odd too"

    found this an odd story to listen too. though thoroughly enjoyed it was a story that didn't feel it went anywhere. i read to the end and it felt like it didn't conclude but left a a somewhat unsatisfied feeling. the story felt greatly descriptive and the characters quite large and after a while trying to work out the anatomical setup, quite relatable. however still felt like I was not sure where the story was going and felt like it largely was just treading water. I'd recommend the book only if it was to someone who enjoys deep sci fi with a large and free imagination so prepared to enjoy it. otherwise I'd not.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jonty
    11/5/16
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    "Brilliant example of sci-fi world building..."

    I really enjoyed this production, great narration, perfect tempo. As noted by previous reviewers some of the ideas have dated which is to be expected in this particular genre but this did not detract from the story nor did it make the other sci fi ideas in this book redundant. This book kept me interested right til the end with no overly extended outro which is a pet peeve with lots of books I've listened to recently. The ending has perfectly set up the sequels which I am definitely be looking forward to hearing. Many thanks Audible, Larry Niven and Tom Parker!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. Beldon
    10/24/16
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    Performance
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    "A classic"

    although the story shows it's age in parts it is still a classic, good narrator kept me listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    St Leonards on Sea, United Kingdom
    10/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "a tad dated, but excellent for when it was written"

    little did Niven know back then that a black hole resided at the centre of our galaxy! over look this and it's a fab read & he did get some future predictions right. the eccentric characters were fun and their relationship building great. the vastness of description was also worth a mention. it's no surprise this book won the accolade's it's did back in 70's. I wonder what our Arther C Clarke would of made of it. I'd love to know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • matt hall
    10/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not bad, not what it's reputation makes it"

    this is a classic, but it's a little dated. narration is a bit stiff and the story falls mildly flat but it's worth a go, if only for completeness.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    10/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Quality to Depth"

    This is an excellent portrayal of a masterpiece done to the standards you would normally expect only from the BBC.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    10/13/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Clever story with great characters!"

    Loved every minute and left me wanting more. The clever story didn't show at all that the book is from 1970.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. J. Forsyth
    Durham, England
    10/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Meh"

    Not my favourite of recent Sci fi classics. A bit boring and slow developing in the first half. An interesting world though. I'm going to look at at least the second of the trilogy before I make my mind up.

    Average storytelling.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Raphael
    10/5/16
    Overall
    Story
    "Ringworld"

    Enjoyed most of Larry Nivens Work. Ringworld hasn't aged well. I do remember picking up the sequel and giving up half way through.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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