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The Ringworld Throne Hardcover – 1 June 1996
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- Publisher : Ballantine Books (P) (1 June 1996)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 424 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0345358619
- ISBN-13 : 978-0345358615
- Dimensions : 17.15 x 3.18 x 24.77 cm
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Story is split between the traditional "Louis Wu" viewpoint, and also told third-person from Ringworld natives' viewpoints, which is a new development. Means a slimline idea can be padded out somewhat...ahem. But of course this is Larry Niven who writes like a charm (that changes over time too) so you have all his delightful prose to enjoy while picking holes in the future of yesteryear. Personally I don't think this is one of his best novels, the first half of the book really does seem like padding, and things only really get going in the second half. But hey, this is Larry Niven we're talking about, presumably worshipped as a god-figure by a lost tribe in the Amazon, so we'll allow a little leeway for individual choice! Make a space for this on your bookshelf now...or wait and wait and wait for the kindle edition to appear.
By 50 pages in, the same point where Ringworld and Engineers had well gripped me, I was on the verge on tossing the book and having just finished it that would have been a wise decision. You begin to wonder exactly what has happened to Niven to be able to write in such a manner as to make Ringworld a boring place. Actually, that's half the problem of the book - Ringworld itself barely gets a mention, my heart would leap whenever 'the arch' or a spillpipe or a shadow square was mentioned, because I assumed that meant the story would finally get going. No such luck.
The entire first half of the book seems to be an exercise in introducing as many flat, lifeless characters as possible and making them all have 'rishanthra' with each other, believe me you will come to dread the sight of that word. Somewhere in there is a potentially interesting plot involving a vampire nest and various species of different tech levels having to ally themselves to fight it, but it's lost beneath awful writing and dull, tedious progression.
There's one standout scene involving the taking over of an old floating factory to conquer the vampires, and honestly, it's great. It takes you right back to the wonder and adventure of the first books. Here's the Ringworld we know and love.
Having had your little share of excitement, let's introduce the second half of the book, which is theoretically more interesting as it at least involves Louis Wu. For a while it seems there is a decent conclusion coming. Once again, don't get your hopes up, as the writing and plot becomes confusing to the point of complete bewilderment. I don't know who most of the characters are, what they're doing here, or any number of other pertinent questions.
It's not just that this is a bad and barely readable book, it's that it seems determined to ignore every last thing which made the previous 2 so great. Having seen many bad reviews as I bought it I had foolishly thought that the setting of Ringworld would make up for any amount of other flaws. As I said, that's bunk, as almost all of this book could be set anywhere and it wouldn't make the slightest bit of difference.
Ringworld deserved so much better.
two virtually seperate plots that may as well have been two seperate books.......
the first half devoted to a conflict between Ringworld inhabitants was not exactly page turning stuff...the second half although marginally better had me skipping pages and speed reading to get to the end of the book which turned out to be confusing and just plain dull............ Read this instead Protector