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Reviews by Contributor: Niven, Larry (20)

Really Can’t Stay

Fallen Angels

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Michael F. Flynn  

11 Jan, 2024

Special Requests


Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael F. Flynn’s 1991 Fallen Angels is a near-future science fiction novel.

The future! A cabal of feminists, greens, Evangelicals, Luddites, mystics, and Wisconsin dairy farmers has taken control of America, enforcing stringent environmental laws. Without the protective layer of air pollution, Earth rapidly cools. A new ice age dooms most of Canada and the northern US.

The only surviving remnant of American technological prowess is Space Station Freedom. Together with the Russian space station, the stations have declared independence. The habitats cling to life thanks to a small lunar facility and precious nitrogen skimmed from the upper atmosphere.

Having pestered his way into piloting one final skimming mission, Alex MacLeod repays the trust that the community has placed in him by getting himself, the irreplaceable scoopship Piranha, and fellow astronaut Gordon Tanne shot down. Alex manages to land Piranha safely … but the ship will never fly again. What is to become of the two castaways?

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Can’t You See

A Gift From Earth

By Larry Niven  

7 May, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1968’s A Gift from Earth by Larry Niven is a science fiction novel about a revolution. It is set in Niven’s Known Space timeline, just prior to the acquisition of faster-than-light travel.

The crew of the UN slowboat that settled Tau Ceti’s Earthlike world Plateau celebrated their arrival by establishing a brutal dictatorship, with the Crew at the top and the Colonists on the bottom. This elegant system has thrived for three centuries. Now it is imperiled by a cargo package from Earth and by miner Matt Keller’s desire to get laid.

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All The Single Ladies

Ringworld  (Ringworld, volume 1)

By Larry Niven  

17 Apr, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1970’s Ringworld is the first volume in Larry Niven’s Ringworld series, which is set in Niven’s Known Space universe. 

Louis Wu’s teleport-booth-tour of an inexplicably backward-spinning 29th century Earth1 is interrupted when the ancient man is waylaid by Nessus, a Pierson’s Puppeteer. This is an unexpected development, not least because the Puppeteers have not been seen on Earth since they fled Known Space in the 27th century. 

Nessus is determined to hire Louis. The alien has just the right currency with which to purchase the ancient human’s time: a precious commodity that the bland, homogenized world that is Earth of 2850 cannot offer Wu: novelty.

Mind you, the chance to flee a doomed galaxy does not hurt. 

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Guess You Need Some Bringing Down

The Gripping Hand  (Moties, volume 2)

By Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle  

28 Oct, 2021

Special Requests


1993’s The Gripping Hand is the utterly unnecessary sequel to Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s 1974 The Mote in God’s Eye. I still consider Mote a classic. As this is not. 

A quarter century after the events of Mote, Horace Hussain Bury is an unpaid servant of the Empire of Man. He fears that humanity will be overwhelmed by the highly intelligent, quick-breeding Moties and has engaged in an unending quest to save his species. 

Untoward events on Maxroy’s Purchase suggest Bury’s vigilance has been for naught.

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Welcome to the Jungle

The Legacy of Heorot  (Avalon, volume 1)

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes  

24 Jun, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1987’s The Legacy of Heorot is the first volume in Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes’ Avalon series.

A century after being meticulously selected to establish Man’s first colony on an extrasolar planet, the settlers aboard the National Geographic Society’s starship Geographic establish a foothold on the Tau Ceti IV planet of Avalon. Prudently selecting an island for their settlement, they begin the task of transforming the island into an ecosystem in which humans can thrive.

Despite the unpleasant surprise that a century of hibernation has a cognitive cost apparently undetectable over shorter timespans, the settlers have thus far been successful in their bid to make Man’s Manifest Destiny IN SPAAACE a reality. Indeed, they’ve been so successful that ex-soldier turned security expert Cadmann Weyland seems superfluous to needs. 

The settlers are overconfident. Cadmann is crucial to the colony’s survival — or he will be if he survives the calamity bearing down on the naïve colony.

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It May Be Raining


By Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle  

15 Feb, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


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.

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