1979’s Convergent Series is a collection of shorter pieces by Larry Niven. It’s either the final or second to last entry1 in my informal, irregular “essential collections by Larry Niven” review series.
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s 1976 Inferno is the first installment in their Inferno series.
Allen Carpentier’s unremarkable science fiction career ends when an attempt to win the love of fans ends with a drunken plummet from an open window to the sidewalk waiting below.
Allen is very, very dead. He is also still conscious, which is something of a surprise to this agnostic SF writer.
Larry Niven’s 1973 hard SF fix-up Protector takes place in his Known Space setting. As was the custom in those days, it is a standalone.
2125: Phssthpok the Pak arrives in the Solar System, having travelled tens of thousands of light-years in hopes of rescuing the descendants of Pak colonists from themselves. This bold project yields unexpected results.
Larry Niven’s 1976 The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton collects the three then-extant Gil Hamilton stories1. All three are police procedurals and all three feature Gil Hamilton, a retired asteroid miner turned Amalgamated Regional Militia [ARM] officer.
1973’s The Flight of the Horse is a collection of Larry Niven stories. It is almost but not quite a collection of stories about hapless time-traveller Svetz, whose career is blighted by the fact that Niven thinks time travel, unlike FTL drives and telepathy, is ludicrous.
ISFDB lists 1976’s A World Out of Time as one of Larry Niven’s State novels1, which it is. I liked to think of it as the last fun Niven novel. Having reread it, I am not so sure that’s right.
Jerome Branch Corbell had himself frozen in 1970 in a desperate bid to escape terminal cancer. In 2190, a man with Corbell’s memories woke up to discover a world unlike any Corbell had expected back in 1970, a world that expected him to expiate a crime he had no memory of committing … with a mission that would consume three centuries.
1975’s Tales of Known Space: the Universe of Larry Niven was Larry Niven’s sixth collection (if you don’t count the British-only Inconstant Moon and the Dutch De Stranden van Sirius Vier) or his eighth (if you do.). It is the fourth instalment in an informal series I call “the essential collections of Larry Niven , being an irregular review series I may not even get around to finishing or continuing” (or tagging or giving its own formal series name in the sidebar).
An unkind reviewer might call this “the Known Space stories that weren’t good enough to make it into Neutron Star. ” That’s not entirely true … but Niven himself acknowledges that a couple of the stories are not very good. Rather than bury them and try to conceal that they ever existed, he opted for completism (although it took another couple of collections to accomplish that goal).
There’s a very good reason beyond being a Niven fanboy as a teen that I picked this up. I will explain my reasoning at the end of the review.
David Gerrold and Larry Niven’s 1971 standalone novel, The Flying Sorcerers, was Gerrold’s first published novel and Niven’s fourth. Even though this book uses the vernacular of fantasy, it is a science fiction comedy. More on that last bit later.
This is my third foray into what I have decided to call “the essential collections of Larry Niven, being an irregular review series I may not even get around to finishing or continuing” (or, as it turned out, tagging or giving its own formal series name in the sidebar).
The actual physical book I am reviewing is something of a mystery, because I have no idea how I ended up with a copy of the 1974 printing of A Hole in Space . I clearly remember that the first Niven book I bought was the 1975 edition of Neutron Star
I liked it enough to snap up all the subsequent Niven collections. The book sitting on my desk is clearly the 1974 printing and was purchased new; both the price and the absence of the distinctive cover format Ballantine/Del Rey used for Niven in the latter half of the 1970 make that clear. Did I buy an old, but previously unsold copy that had lingered on bookstore shelves?
At first I thought that this book might be a relic of the failed commune that trashed my family’s farm. (Bad decision to rent to them, bad, bad.) They left behind a lot of junk. My copy of Beyond This Horizon is a hippy relic. But on second thought, I realized that we had cleared away the last remnants of the commune by 1971, or 1972 at the latest. Unless the hippies had developed a time machine just for buying books from the future, this book could not have been left by them. It’s a puzzle I will probably never solve.
(Trivial? Well, it matters to me, OK? Provenance is important to collectors.)
This was for many years my favourite Niven collection. Has time been kind to it?
I will be blunt: this second foray into what I have decided to call “the essential collections of Larry Niven, being an irregular review series I may not even get around to finishing or continuing” is an attempt to get the taste of Vernor Vinge’s The Witling out of my mouth.
1971’s All the Myriad Ways was Niven’s third collection after 1968’s Neutron Star and 1969’s The Shape of Space (which I will not bother to review, because I’ve never seen a copy and anyway all the stories were repeated in later collections; it’s not essential). All the Myriad Ways collects stories published between 1965 and 1971, most of them from the later years of that span 1.