This short story and essay collection contains some of my favorite stories of all time. For example Becalmed in Hell is about a man and his machine partner exploring Venus. It has a very clever psychological twist. Inconstant Moon, which won the Hugo in 1972, is about a couple of people inferring a great disaster […]
Author Allen Carpentier is at a science fiction convention when he falls out of the window of his hotel room. He finds himself in Hell. Determined to grasp control of the situation and achieve redemption, he starts on a journey through a slightly modified version of Dante‘s hell, guided by a man called Benito. The […]
In the fourth Ringworld novel, Louis Wu is, as usual, conscripted to do a powerful being’s bidding. In this case it is the Protector Tunesmith. Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers are some of the best hard SF books ever written. On the other hand, The Ringworld Throne was an enormous disappointment, and given that I […]
Louis Wu must deal with a couple of crises on the Ringworld. This direct sequel Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers has none of the good qualities of the two first books. It is confusing, unfocused and adds nothing Known Space. Avoid it.
In this novel-length sequel to The Flight of the Horse, time traveler Svetz continues his adventures. Unfortunately the story is both confusing and unengaging.
In this, hilarious short story collection, time traveller from the future Svetz has to go back in time and collect fauna from our time in order to populate the ruler’s zoo. Unfortunately, the time machine has the unexpected side effect of making him chase after mythical creatures. The horse is actually a unicorn and so […]
Shoogar is the greatest wizard his primitive village has ever known. Then a strange new wizard literally drops from the sky. Of course, they new wizard comes from a very advanced culture. Mayhem ensues. There is a lot of humor in this book as magic meets technology. There are also many more or less good […]
Not Niven’s best collection, but it still contains quite a few entertaining stories. This is a mix of free-standing short stories, some written in collaboration with other authors, and some shorts in Niven’s Draco Tavern setting.
This short story anthology is a sequel to The Magic Goes Away. While a bit more enjoyable that the first book, it suffers from the same basic problem. The idea of magic as a dwindling resource is clever but wears out its welcome too quickly.
In ancient times, there was magic in the world. But the supply of mana, on which magic is based, is dwindling. Creatures with magical metabolisms, such as dragons, are in serious trouble, and in general the world is becoming a less mystical place. A group of adventurers sets out to find the last remaining source […]
Set in the same universe as A World out of Time but only very tenously connected to that novel, these series of two should be read as a set. The novels are set in which is not really a world. A “smoke rIng” of atmosphere and biomass orbits around a neutron star, forming a huge […]
Set in Niven’s Known Space, more specifically on the world of Plateau, where the only habitable location is Mount Lookitthat, an area half the size of California that rises above the toxic clouds that range the planet. The crew of the initial colony ship set up an elitist society in which “crew” are first class […]
This novel is an expansion of the short story Rammer from the collection A Hole in Space. Jaybee Corbell wakes up after having being cryogenically frozen after death Now he must repay his debt to society (being cured of his cancer and woken up cost a lot of money) by piloting an exploratory ramship to […]
Jeff, a contract worker on Mars, is told that his parents, his fiance and his unborn child have died. He cannot return home for another eighteen months. He descends into a special form of insanity. While he has written several good novels, Steele is at his best in the shorter forms, and this novelette is […]
A long running anthology series with stories set during the Man-Kzin Wars in Larry Niven’s Known Space universe. Niven started this thing up because while the Wars were very significant in the history of Known Space, he himself was not adept at writing about conflict. Niven has written some of the stories but most are […]
All the Gil “The Arm” Hamilton stories collected in one volume with a previously unpublished story. These are good SciFi murder mysteries set in the Known Space universe. It just goes to show that Niven has a devious mind. As he says himself, SciFi murder stories are tricky since the reader must know all the […]
One of the best Known Space books, in which the origin of man is “revealed”. A great yarn.
Chronologically the first of Niven‘s Known Space books, and also his first published novel. An alien who has been frozen in stasis for eons is awoken. He comes from a former master race (quite literally) and poses a grave danger to humanity. Solid adventure SciFi with some very clever concepts. Note: Various editions have the […]
These three very loosely connected novels span thousand of years. Nagata writes competently about a future in which humanity is first technologically lifting itself off earth, and finally scattered about a hostile universe. I enjoyed them even though Nagata does two things which annoy me. The first is that the novels are in parts rather […]
The third and final book in the Society of Humanity series sees Ray Longknife leading a exploratory expedition, and getting lost. The expedition finds the descendants of a ship’s crew thought lost three hundred years ago. But all is not as it seems. The planet is literally alive with remnants of an ancient civilization. And […]
Harry Dresden is a private investigator of sorts. He is actually a wizard living in modern Chicago. In this novel, a mysterious woman hires him to find her husband. At the same time, in his capacity as police consultant on “unusual” cases, he is called in to assist in investigating a mysterious murder and soon […]
After the war, Izzy Umboto (a minor character from the first book) is given independent command and a mandate to keep the peace on the rim. She and her crew uncover a slavery plot. Compared to the first book, this one is far more focused. There is a clear feeling of moving forward instead of […]
The Society of Humanity, more or less representing the “core” worlds, is at was with the “rim” worlds, where political power is wielded by a ruthless dictator. We follow protagonists from both sides of the conflict. While it has some interesting battle scenes and good characterization, the plot is scattered and weak. As in the […]
The third Takeshi Kovacs novel is just as violent and X-rated as the previous installments. Morgan has not lost his gift for film noir cool and deep cynicism. So far so good. However, while Altered Carbon was a tightly written masterpiece and Broken Angels had an intriguing plot device, Woken Furies is much less focused. […]
Takeshi Kovacs is back in a new sleeve. This sequel to the incredible Altered Carbon puts Takeshi in the middle of a little war. The plot is not as strong as the one in Altered Carbon. While the previous novel is a film noir/detective story, this one learns more towards a Clarke-esque sense of wonder […]