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Welcome to a world like no other. The Ringworld: a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band 3 million times the surface area of Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of which are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe. Explorer Louis Wu, an Earth-born human who was part of th Welcome to a world like no other. The Ringworld: a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band 3 million times the surface area of Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of which are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe. Explorer Louis Wu, an Earth-born human who was part of the first expedition to Ringworld, becomes enmeshed in interplanetary and interspecies intrigue as war, and a powerful new weapon, threaten to tear the Ringworld apart forever. Now, the future of Ringworld lies in the actions of its children: Tunesmith, the Ghoul protector; Acolyte, the exiled son of Speaker-to-Animals, and Wembleth, a strange Ringworld native with a mysterious past. All must play a dangerous game in order to save Ringworld's population, and the stability of Ringworld itself. Blending awe-inspiring science with non-stop action and fun, Ringworld's Children, the fourth installment of the multiple award-winning saga, is the perfect introduction for readers new to this New York Times bestselling series, and long-time fans of Larry Niven's Ringworld.


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Welcome to a world like no other. The Ringworld: a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band 3 million times the surface area of Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of which are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe. Explorer Louis Wu, an Earth-born human who was part of th Welcome to a world like no other. The Ringworld: a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band 3 million times the surface area of Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of which are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe. Explorer Louis Wu, an Earth-born human who was part of the first expedition to Ringworld, becomes enmeshed in interplanetary and interspecies intrigue as war, and a powerful new weapon, threaten to tear the Ringworld apart forever. Now, the future of Ringworld lies in the actions of its children: Tunesmith, the Ghoul protector; Acolyte, the exiled son of Speaker-to-Animals, and Wembleth, a strange Ringworld native with a mysterious past. All must play a dangerous game in order to save Ringworld's population, and the stability of Ringworld itself. Blending awe-inspiring science with non-stop action and fun, Ringworld's Children, the fourth installment of the multiple award-winning saga, is the perfect introduction for readers new to this New York Times bestselling series, and long-time fans of Larry Niven's Ringworld.

30 review for Ringworld's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I totally loved this return to Ringworld, the mysterious artificial world that has the surface area of a million Earths and populated by hundreds of hominid species that have evolved there from human ancestors placed there a half-million years earlier. Since its discovery Ringworld has been the target of multiple alien species now engaged in warfare to gain access to its technology (the “Fringe War”). Destroying the functionality of the Ringworld and thereby killing its inhabitants is one soluti I totally loved this return to Ringworld, the mysterious artificial world that has the surface area of a million Earths and populated by hundreds of hominid species that have evolved there from human ancestors placed there a half-million years earlier. Since its discovery Ringworld has been the target of multiple alien species now engaged in warfare to gain access to its technology (the “Fringe War”). Destroying the functionality of the Ringworld and thereby killing its inhabitants is one solution to reach that goal. This tale, 4th in the series, is concerned with the efforts of a multispecies group to head off such a disaster. I found the characters wonderful, the technologies marvelous, and the plot filled with exciting puzzles and thrilling action. The kind of escapist literature that also expands my mind's horizons. Our hero Louis Wu, an Earth-born human, wakes up from nanotech treatment in an advanced auto-doc to find his two-hundred plus year old body now that of a twenty year-old. He learns he is still an effective slave of Tunesmith, an incredibly advanced creature known as a Protector who has taken charge of the vast Ringworld defense and repair facilities. His value to Tunesmith lies in his knowledge of the species involved in the Fringe War. He doesn’t mind helping out a good cause, but Tunesmith is just so brilliant and goal directed he is dangerous. Any means to an end will do, and if he needs Louis to be smarter and more dedicated, he could give him tree-of-life root, which will turn him into a Protector too. As some readers may have first learned from Niven’s 1974 book “Protector”, the transformation to a bulked-up smart beastie is just a missing phase in hominid development beyond the “breeder” stage, a stage when any family at hand elicits psychotically extreme efforts to protect them. Soon Louis gets tasked to help manage the repair of a big hole in Ringworld created by an antimatter attack, along with his alien friends also put into Tunesmith’s service, the Puppteer Hindmost (two-headed, anxiety prone creatures resembling an ostrich), an adolescent Kzin (cat-like creatures obsessed with macho), and a Protector-phase local hominid apprenticed to Tunesmith. You may have noticed that all of the species reflect psychological extremes found among humans, features that bring both strengths and weaknesses. That’s part of the fun for me in the story. They encounter some folks from away, a potentially hostile crew from the human military security division ARM. Among them is a female Sergeant who takes Louis’ fancy (facilitated by her being the only other human woman on the vast Ringworld and Louis lack of fulfillment with interspecies sex in recent years). Just when Louis begins to feel happy being human again, he gets captured by another super being, an advanced hominid female who claims to be descended from the Ringworld builders. Despite many reasons to be enemies with each other, they all get motivated to work together to help save Ringworld and its inhabitants. Each emergency leads Tunesmith to devise new technologies and bold strategies for the team. That’s the other part of the fun for me in this book. Since the four books in the series came out about one a decade, Niven took the effort to make the novels capable of standing alone. I look forward to the fifth in this series, “Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld”, which is also the keystone to the four prequels to Ringworld which I am just finishing up. This has been a surprisingly rich harvest, given that the original Ringworld novel was somewhat disappointing as a gee-whiz tale about a proverbial “Big Dumb Object” or technology wonder. Ultimately it provided a playground for Niven to bring all of his wonderful species together in a big multifaceted adventure. At its core the work stands out for a hopeful outlook for humans in a distant future of imagination, which contrasts much with the desperation in the apocalyptic tales of the near future that dominate sci fi these days.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    Ringworld sequels certainly take their time to appear. Tens of years between books and so much information that's just waiting to be forgotten. On the other hand, new discoveries (and re-discoveries) await! Even though Ringworld's Children has been around since 2004, I have only now gotten around to reading it. What's more, a lot of time has passed since I finished The Ringworld Throne. Niven certainly doesn't waste a lot of time chucking a bewildered reader into the thick of things and dragging Ringworld sequels certainly take their time to appear. Tens of years between books and so much information that's just waiting to be forgotten. On the other hand, new discoveries (and re-discoveries) await! Even though Ringworld's Children has been around since 2004, I have only now gotten around to reading it. What's more, a lot of time has passed since I finished The Ringworld Throne. Niven certainly doesn't waste a lot of time chucking a bewildered reader into the thick of things and dragging said reader along for a dizzying ride. In truth, this is also a good approximation of what the lead protagonist is experiencing in the opening chapters of this novel. Louis Wu awakens in the autodoc (again), and as soon his foot hits the floor the story hits its stride. By the third chapter, however, Louis starts reasoning things out and the bewilderment subsequently settles into something more akin to wonderment. Whether you like Niven's style or not, any visit to the Ringworld is going to be filled with wonder and discovery. I've never ceased to be amazed at the sheer staggering SCALE of the world. It's impossible to envision a lot of what is described here, as an appropriate frame of reference is nonexistent. Imagine being on the same world with someone, while still being further away from them as the sun is from the earth. I really enjoy the Ringworld novels. However, I remain unsettled by the concept of Rishathra. I will recommend Ringworld's Children to both Ringworld and Niven fans. If, however, you value your sanity, please read these books in sequence, starting with Ringworld. Do not jump in here, you will be lost.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ric

    (2013 was turning into a stale year for SF. That summer, I really needed the solace of good, hard SF to escape, if just fleetingly, some harsh realities, same reality having given me long days and nights to read and listen. So, without really making a decision to do so but compelled by circumstances, I started a re-read of the Ringworld series. The publication history of the series was such that one book came out every ten years, on average. And so each book read provided a reflection of a de (2013 was turning into a stale year for SF. That summer, I really needed the solace of good, hard SF to escape, if just fleetingly, some harsh realities, same reality having given me long days and nights to read and listen. So, without really making a decision to do so but compelled by circumstances, I started a re-read of the Ringworld series. The publication history of the series was such that one book came out every ten years, on average. And so each book read provided a reflection of a decade of life, the places and friends, the situations and milestones when each book was read. Fiction, particularly the science fiction of the Ringworld books, it turned out, was nothing more than dressed-up reality. I never left the Ringworld.) Finally, the series raises its intensity at book 4, combining even more fascinating discoveries about the BDO (Big Dumb Object) with compelling space opera. Consider: the rest of Known Space has come to the Ringworld, various civilizations and factions lured by untold riches, Kzinti and humans, Trinocs and puppeteers, Outsiders too. They are held at bay, barely, at the fringes of the local system by a sun-based meteor defense, powerful beyond their ken. War breaks out as the navies vie for position and advantage. While on the Ringworld, Louis Wu plays deadly chess games with the bloodline-preserving Pak protectors. With antimatter bullets punching holes in the Ringworld material, its trillions of inhabitants seem headed for certain doom.I was surprised by how much action and suspense there was in this book, certainly a lot more than I remember. Plus, Children puts forth some interesting sfnal elements, (view spoiler)[ a superconductor grid underneath the Ringworld controlled from the Throne or Repair Center, massive hydrodynamic effects that induce solar flares, x-ray lasers on the shadow squares to blast meteors and intruders, protectors grown from different hominids vying for dominance, even nanotech makes its first appearance in the series as the basis for an advanced autodoc and repair of the scrith, more extrapolations on Teela Brown's lucky genes, (hide spoiler)] all of which seemed to have gone unnoticed or unremarked previously. The main story is, certainly, about the children. Niven is coyly philosophical about who these children are. First, there are the "children" of the original visitors, Louis Wu, Teela and Speaker (sadly Nessus is once again missing). Then, there are the genetic lines of individual protectors from different species. And finally, there are all the hominids of the Ringworld all descended from the original builders. The emotional depth of the story derives from plight of each class of "children".In the end, Niven does not disappoint. His resolutions are precise and deliciously convoluted as Mobius strips. The ending is like a sucker punch to the gut in its elegant and unexpected enormity, echoes of another Niven thriller, Footfall. Ringworld's Children is a truly entertaining read which many readers will not get to because of the slog though the previous entry in the series (book 3 - Throne). I am quite glad I re-read this and happily change my rating to 5 stars. It was at least as entertaining as book 2 (The Ringworld Engineers). This would have been a fitting end to the series, but we know there is a fifth book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    Much better than Throne, which wasn't too hard to do. In fact you could compare this to the last part of Throne where things heat up with Bram. The difference between the 3rd and 4th novel seem greater than my rating going from a two to a three, but I still can't make myself give this novel a four. It's a short book and wraps up the series in a way that allows me to move on and leave this world behind. I'm glad he eased up on all the Rishathra, because if that had started up again i'm not sure I Much better than Throne, which wasn't too hard to do. In fact you could compare this to the last part of Throne where things heat up with Bram. The difference between the 3rd and 4th novel seem greater than my rating going from a two to a three, but I still can't make myself give this novel a four. It's a short book and wraps up the series in a way that allows me to move on and leave this world behind. I'm glad he eased up on all the Rishathra, because if that had started up again i'm not sure I could have continued. However we get more history on the Protectors and are introduced to some new ones. I enjoyed the couple of predictable twists and read this book as though it was movie, without questioning things too much and just letting the action unfold. It didn't feel like the slog of the previous two, but you had to have read them to fully appreciate the conclusion to this series; or at least I hope it will be! I'm definitely ready to move onto something different!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maarten

    If this is Larry niven's new level of writing he should stop. Chaotic storytelling, no bright new ideas. Avoid

  6. 4 out of 5

    York

    Better than the last in the series but it is missing something more....

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jona Cannon

    The 4th and final of the ringworld series. Louis Wu, yet again (still yet?) a slave to the whims of the protectors of ringworld. The ringworld seems to be in danger again, but this time to a fantastic new weapon and the fringe war. Even the awesome intelligence of the protectors are challenged by all the new complications, and the luck of Teela Brown lives on. When I read books that are part of a series, I always want to know how the story ends. The original Ringworld story was great, and the ser The 4th and final of the ringworld series. Louis Wu, yet again (still yet?) a slave to the whims of the protectors of ringworld. The ringworld seems to be in danger again, but this time to a fantastic new weapon and the fringe war. Even the awesome intelligence of the protectors are challenged by all the new complications, and the luck of Teela Brown lives on. When I read books that are part of a series, I always want to know how the story ends. The original Ringworld story was great, and the series only went downhill from there. Having just finished reading the last book, my feelings are mostly "I'm glad that's over with". Now I can move on to something better.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Al Maki

    The resolution of the Ringworld series. For me: too many events, too little explanation, too many coincidences. There's also the question of whether or not to resolve the mysteries of the series. I think some things are richer and more interesting if left to the reader's imagination.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cristian Tomescu

    The Ringworld series has finally ran out of steam. Pretty bad.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rishindra Chinta

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I finished the first Ringworld two years ago and didn't like it that much (I gave it 2/5 stars) and I didn't think I'd read the sequels. Now, over the span of about a month, I've read all three of them. I was very impressed with Ringworld Engineers. I read it after not being able to finish any book for months due to lack of motivation. I don't mean to hype it up too much, but it reminded me why I read books, and why I read sci-fi in particular. Then I read Ringworld Throne, which I thought was fin I finished the first Ringworld two years ago and didn't like it that much (I gave it 2/5 stars) and I didn't think I'd read the sequels. Now, over the span of about a month, I've read all three of them. I was very impressed with Ringworld Engineers. I read it after not being able to finish any book for months due to lack of motivation. I don't mean to hype it up too much, but it reminded me why I read books, and why I read sci-fi in particular. Then I read Ringworld Throne, which I thought was fine. The first half is about the adventures of these new characters, who are okay, but all throughout I just kept wondering, How does all this relate to Louis and Chmee? And the second half just got confusing with the protector battles and the stepping disks (I'm glad to see, after reading some of the other reviews on this site, that I wasn't alone here). I understood the main points (Louis thinks a Vampire protector, like Bram, isn't fit to rule the Ringworld, so he concocts a plan to put a Ghoul protector (who would care for all of the species on the Ringworld) in charge), but keeping track of the smaller details was a bit more work than I want out of a novel like that. Children was better. The ending is truly breathtaking, just like the end of Engineers. But the book as a whole just wasn't that satisfying dramatically. I couldn't care much about the new characters. (I was surprised how little I cared for Wembleth, considering he's Louis and Teela's son.) Most of the book never gets as confusing as the second half of Throne, but I honestly didn't understand one thing: Why doesn't Louis stay on the Ringworld at the end? He has to convince Tunesmith and Proserpina that he was leaving with Wembleth and Roxanny, so they'll take the entire structure into hyperdrive. He manages to trick them, and they do what he wants, but he didn't have to leave for real, right? And he tells the Hindmost that it's important that he doesn't know where the Ringworld went, so it's not like he just didn't want to stay there. Yeah, I didn't get that. But overall, it really was quite fun. Maybe I'll read the Fleet of Worlds series. One thing about the Ringworld books is that each new book explained things that happened in the last book more clearly, so perhaps the last book, which is also a sequel to the Ringworld series, might answer my question. Edit: Oh, wait, is the reason why Louis leaves because, unlike Proserpina and Tunesmith, who for different reasons care about the Ringworld populations as a whole, he would only care for his own bloodline to the detriment of the rest of the population?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I read the first three books in physical format and was not planning on reading Ringworld's Children as I didn't have a physical copy. I ended up reading it as an ebook so I could get proper closure on the series. I actually thought the story was pretty good; the plot was more understandable and less convoluted than the previous stories, especially Ringworld Throne. And it does give a decent ending to the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    I’m surprised there is another after this. The ending was rather conclusive. Story was better than the last one, but did not grip me enough for 4 stars. I didn’t like the new person who did the voices. (Audiobook)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ayla

    Poor Louie Wu always a slave to someone. Lol

  14. 4 out of 5

    Casey

    The Ringworld Children is far superior to the previous Ringworld Throne. There's a return to Louis Wu as the main character. The plot moves steadily along and it is not so concerned with all the inter-species "rituals." Tunesmith, the Ghoul-turned-Protecter, is performing his duty to protect Ringworld. The Amalgamation of Regional Militia, aka ARM, aka former UN military force, has discovered Ringworld, along with military forces from other worlds, and they are engaging in warfare for Ringworld's The Ringworld Children is far superior to the previous Ringworld Throne. There's a return to Louis Wu as the main character. The plot moves steadily along and it is not so concerned with all the inter-species "rituals." Tunesmith, the Ghoul-turned-Protecter, is performing his duty to protect Ringworld. The Amalgamation of Regional Militia, aka ARM, aka former UN military force, has discovered Ringworld, along with military forces from other worlds, and they are engaging in warfare for Ringworld's technology. Louis Wu and company take over one of the ships out in space, but they cause an antimatter weapon to fire down upon Ringworld and create a large hole. They later find crewman from a crashed ARM ship and one of the original Ringworld Protectors, Proserpina, and of course, set out to save Ringworld. I think Children ended up being too short. There wasn't enough meat in this story to bring it to the level of the original or Engineers, but I still enjoy reading the world-building. Sure, with each book Niven really wants to prove the science, but I am a reader that is fine with suspending my belief to enjoy the world. Niven's writing is paced well and it really helps this story because the plot isn't too complex. It's nice to read an author who doesn't need 50 sentence-long paragraphs. The main conflict isn't so strong. Most of the characters are working together, and there's always the inclination that whatever Louis Wu does will eventually turn out for the best. There isn't much character development, and I think that is a function of Niven wanting to focus on the mechanics of Ringworld. Much of the problem with the Ringworld series is that Niven has an amazing, huge world, and he doesn't take the time to discover and invest in it. Louis Wu and Co. go from Point A to B, with a few action sequences, and very little else of Ringworld has remained discovered. You would think with all the species, there would be some intricate cultures occurring? I think Niven wants to talk about how Ringworld works so much he forgets about everything that is actually on it. I was lost on what the Fringe War was, maybe it was mentioned in other books outside the Ringworld series? There still isn't a fully presented explanation about Ringworld. Niven keeps gives out little bits and pieces and that's probably why I have kept reading. I suppose I'll have to read some other books in the Known Space universe. Although Children does provide an ending, it's nothing that is complete closure. I don't think you can pick up this one without having any knowledge of the previous book, but reading a summary of Throne would suffice.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tomislav

    Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970) was originally written as a stand-alone, and won numerous awards. Since then, he has infrequently produced additional sequels, creating a series of which this is #4. I've now read The Ringworld Engineers (1979), The Ringworld Throne (1996), and Ringworld's Children (2004). These later books also integrate significant background started in Larry Niven's Protector (1973). Beyond that Niven and Edward Lerner have written one more sequel, that I have not read - Fate of Larry Niven's Ringworld (1970) was originally written as a stand-alone, and won numerous awards. Since then, he has infrequently produced additional sequels, creating a series of which this is #4. I've now read The Ringworld Engineers (1979), The Ringworld Throne (1996), and Ringworld's Children (2004). These later books also integrate significant background started in Larry Niven's Protector (1973). Beyond that Niven and Edward Lerner have written one more sequel, that I have not read - Fate of Worlds (2012), that apparently also integrates background from Niven and Lerner's series Fleet of Worlds. I was hugely disappointed with The Ringworld Throne, but Ringworld's Children is a return the quality of writing I was expecting. It ramps forward the concepts started in Ringworld and and Ringworld Engineers, spends enough time on small a set of characters to allow me to care about them, and packs an intense logical conclusion consistent with the world-building rules that have been set up through the series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    I'm changing my mind about this one. I had only remembered it somewhat fondly, but after rereading it, I've got to bump it up because of how satisfying it was. Not only good writing, but it was full of great story, great characters, and the fulfillment of a fear that had followed all of the ringworld books. Well, one of many. I'm referring to poor Louis. I was thrilled and awed and rooting for him the entire way. I wasn't even slightly surprised at the very end, either. It's great to have godlik I'm changing my mind about this one. I had only remembered it somewhat fondly, but after rereading it, I've got to bump it up because of how satisfying it was. Not only good writing, but it was full of great story, great characters, and the fulfillment of a fear that had followed all of the ringworld books. Well, one of many. I'm referring to poor Louis. I was thrilled and awed and rooting for him the entire way. I wasn't even slightly surprised at the very end, either. It's great to have godlike tech when surrounded by godlike tech. :) When someone thinks about big, they should always think about what Niven has accomplished. Sure, Stephen Baxter has gotten it right, too, but I still think of Niven as king. Big, Big, Big! A lot of people laugh, but it sparks the imagination and makes a reader keep thinking and questioning, and that's one of the biggest and best functions of great sci-fi. :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Much better than the prior book in the series (The Ringworld Throne), but unfortunately this book wouldn't hardly make sense unless you've made it through the previous one. I'm glad that I continued reading despite that I disliked the last book because overall this book made up for it and more.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peter Tillman

    My 2004 booklog notes: has moments, but it's very disjointed. I think the most interesting part of the book was the introductory essay, glossary, and cast of characters. Not a good sign. I read RC only a week ago, and it's already fading into the mists of memory. Bottom line: harmless mind-candy. Avoid, if recent Nivens have irritated you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Fourth in the Ringworld series and theoretically a culmination, but never put it past Niven to find something else to mine. Not the best but it's always fun to visit the Ringworld.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric Stodolnik

    Since, for me, The Ringworld Throne was a bit of a departure of form, a bit of a drawl drawl, and a bit of a disappointment for me compared to the first 2 installations in the Ringworld Tetralogy, this volume turned out to be just what I wanted from the wrap-up finale of the series. Pretty much everything that made the third novel fall short for me was rectified for this book. For one, a big part of what made The Ringworld Throne a bit of a let down (and let me stress, it was a BIT of a letdown, Since, for me, The Ringworld Throne was a bit of a departure of form, a bit of a drawl drawl, and a bit of a disappointment for me compared to the first 2 installations in the Ringworld Tetralogy, this volume turned out to be just what I wanted from the wrap-up finale of the series. Pretty much everything that made the third novel fall short for me was rectified for this book. For one, a big part of what made The Ringworld Throne a bit of a let down (and let me stress, it was a BIT of a letdown, I didn't hate the book, and the second half of it, picked up, and turned my 3 star impression of the book into a 4 star final grade) was the whole Vampire Nest War of the first half of the novel... I can see what Niven wanted to do with the approach, he wanted to give a greater impression of what The Ringworld was like for the native hominids, and provide for a gripping combat campaign to serve as a backdrop for an epic tale of Ringworld warfare, but that wasn't what made me love the first Ringworld novels. And Ringworld's Children, most will be happy to hear, focuses entirely on the heroes of our Known Space epic, Louis Wu and his motley crew. Another point that made me appreciate this novel more than its immediate predecessor was its brevity. The Ringworld Throne, as I said above, dragged on a bit for me (mostly because I wasn't too "into" the entire Vampire War caper... the second half of the book, which went back to focus on Louis Wu and Hindmost's ordeal with Bram the incompetent Vampire Protector, and it, in turn, picked my interest back up. This book is both focused back on the misadventures of our main cast of characters, and almost a hundred pages shorter then the predecessor. The result is way more of a page-turner, and a much quicker read for me, completing the book in pretty much 2, maybe 3 sessions of reading. Also, I really liked how they ended the series, wrapped up everything with a nice little bow, and made it unquestionably the finale of the series. And the finale, and the ultimate fate of Ringworld itself, i thought, was a great, and very "Niven" way to solve the question of the fate of Ringworld itself. Not to mention it is as grand in scale and concept as Ringworld itself. It also kind of surprised me a bit, even though all the clues, setup, and foreshadowing were all there, and I should've seen it coming a mile away, but I was reading through too fast, with no breaks and no pause to processes the clues. But I'm glad it did sneak up on me the way it did, because it made me enjoy it that much more. All in all, it was a perfect finale to a very enjoyable series. It doesn't touch the Rama series by Arthur Clarke in any stretch of the imagination for me, but that is my favorite Sci-Fi series so far, and really one can't even compare the two (other than the fact that they both involve an alien superstructure habitat of beyond impressive engineering.) This series is way more wacky, fun, satire-laden, over-the-top imaginative, and a super rich established universe of Known Space to draw fun. Where Rama is much more a series take on interstellar strangeness, and human interaction with extraterrestrial entities, which I find the characters (in Rama 2-4, of course) much stronger, and ones built up to where you actually cared about their fates... even though Louis Wu was our hero in this series, honestly, I couldn't have cared less if he had a hell of a terrible time and died in the end... Nicole de Jardins, or Richard Wakefield on the other hand, I really had invested a real emotional connection to them, and even see them as fictional role models in a way. Lol, I don't even know why I even started to make a comparison to Rama really. Just cause it was a favorite of mine, and the Ringworld and Rama share technical similarities I guess. Anywy, this review has gone on way too long. If you have invested your time into the first 3 installations of the series, I DEFINITELY recommend you read this and finish up your stay on Ringworld. And I mean that ESPECIALLY if you were like me, and REALLY loved the first novel, maybe didn't love the second quite as much as the first, but still really enjoyed it and was excited to continue, and then was quite disappointed or extremely disappointed in how the third novel turned out. This final novel will bring back your appreciation of the series, and wrap the whole experience up nicely. Plus it's a much easier, quicker read than really all of the previous books in the series... so WHY NOT finish it up?! It'll go out with much more of a bang than a whimper. Trust me, you it will be worth it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eero

    I am tempted to give this one 5 stars because of the contrast with The Ringworld Throne, which was a slog to read. This book takes the story to bigger and flashier places, when Ringworld's existence is threatened by a war between different species that have gathered in the system to grab a bite of the Ring. Also, we learn what really happened to Teela Brown, and Niven gets to bust out most of the new big ideas about Ringworld physics he and other people have come up with since the original Ringw I am tempted to give this one 5 stars because of the contrast with The Ringworld Throne, which was a slog to read. This book takes the story to bigger and flashier places, when Ringworld's existence is threatened by a war between different species that have gathered in the system to grab a bite of the Ring. Also, we learn what really happened to Teela Brown, and Niven gets to bust out most of the new big ideas about Ringworld physics he and other people have come up with since the original Ringworld. I would say this is a very satisfying conclusion to the saga. Every character, no matter their origin, is still speaking the same kind of clipped dialogue, which is peppered with "Stet" and "Yah" and other Niven tics, but I guess this could be justified by saying that it has been run through Niven's universal translator, which has drained it of local flavour and turned it into the pseudofuturistic lingo of Known Space. But maybe some of the reiterated explanations of how the spill pipes cycled the flup from seabottoms to the rim wall so that all soil wouldn't end up at the bottom of the oceans could have been cut. I think I got it the second or third time some character explained it to another. I remember reading Ringworld Engineers in the 1980s when I found it in a library, and it was the first Ringworld book I ever read. I did not mind that I had not read the first one; back then I could read a series in whatever order I happened to get my hands on the books, and figure things out. And anyway, jumping blind into a world that was already established was fun. I had read Protector, which turned out to be relevant. I haven't reread Engineers after that. But wasn't there something called "Cziltang Brone" that could make a pathway through scrith? Why isn't it mentioned in these later books? The idea of Pak breeders as Homo habilis doesn't really hold water with the genetic information now available, but it is just one of the aspects of Known Space that have not aged well. You just have to go with it if you want to enjoy the story.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonas Salonen

    Hah, didn't see this coming. After the pretty boring Ringworld Engineers and the abysmal Ringworld Throne I was pretty afraid Ringworld's Children would be bad. Well, I was surprised. What is different this time is that the action that takes place is interesting. Or that there actually is action. And that the book feels like science fiction. For some reason the main characters are a lot more interesting than in the two previous books. Also there is almost zero rishatra, thank god. Anyway I think t Hah, didn't see this coming. After the pretty boring Ringworld Engineers and the abysmal Ringworld Throne I was pretty afraid Ringworld's Children would be bad. Well, I was surprised. What is different this time is that the action that takes place is interesting. Or that there actually is action. And that the book feels like science fiction. For some reason the main characters are a lot more interesting than in the two previous books. Also there is almost zero rishatra, thank god. Anyway I think this is a great book and actually one of the best in the Ringworld series. I already got rid of the two previous entries and after reading this one I'm not sorry for doing so. I mean the series is probably best read by leaving parts two and three out. You won't miss anything important and this fourth book gives quick recaps about important happenings. That's actually pretty sad, that you can leave half of the series unread and still understand everything that is going on. But I heartily recommend this one as it nicely concludes the Ringworld series. Which then continues another five books... Oh well...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    This is a just above the middle of the road entry into Ringworld series and the Known Space universe. I am invested in this series and the universe now, so I will read or listen to most of them just to find out what happens. Once you get to know Louis Wu, you want to see what becomes of him. There are some interesting developments and the Fringe War introduces some complications to the story which had previously only been Ringworld inhabitants, so I think I enjoyed this more than the previous en This is a just above the middle of the road entry into Ringworld series and the Known Space universe. I am invested in this series and the universe now, so I will read or listen to most of them just to find out what happens. Once you get to know Louis Wu, you want to see what becomes of him. There are some interesting developments and the Fringe War introduces some complications to the story which had previously only been Ringworld inhabitants, so I think I enjoyed this more than the previous entry. The audiobook is well narrated and thematic to the story, if maybe a bit monotone at times. I do recommend the audiobook format for this one.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Thirty-some years after Ringworld's appearance, this very good fourth volume was published. I don't think anyone not familiar with the previous volumes would be able to follow this one very well, but it's a real treat for those willing play in what the author calls his "playground for the mind" in the preface. The characters and plot take a back seat to the exploration and speculation of the world itself, and I suppose that the ending isn't really entirely satisfactory, but it's a great installm Thirty-some years after Ringworld's appearance, this very good fourth volume was published. I don't think anyone not familiar with the previous volumes would be able to follow this one very well, but it's a real treat for those willing play in what the author calls his "playground for the mind" in the preface. The characters and plot take a back seat to the exploration and speculation of the world itself, and I suppose that the ending isn't really entirely satisfactory, but it's a great installment in an ongoing work and a fun reunion with old friends.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tani

    I accidentally acquired this years ago, and I finally decided to give it a try. I've never read a Ringworld book, but the summary does say this is a good entry point for new readers...Let me tell you, I do not agree with that assessment. I actually like being thrown into the action and characters of a new world, but there was definitely this implication that I should know who people were and what they were doing, and I didn't. I read about twenty pages, and found myself uninterested and unengage I accidentally acquired this years ago, and I finally decided to give it a try. I've never read a Ringworld book, but the summary does say this is a good entry point for new readers...Let me tell you, I do not agree with that assessment. I actually like being thrown into the action and characters of a new world, but there was definitely this implication that I should know who people were and what they were doing, and I didn't. I read about twenty pages, and found myself uninterested and unengaged, and since I'm trying to get rid of unread books, I went for a dnf.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    It was more interesting than Throne, but it seems Niven ran out of ways for the characters to discover Ringworld history on their own, and had to throw in a character that spent half a chapter filling in details that he probably had been wanting the reader to know for a while (or just only then realized plot holes and did this to quickly fill them in?) As with many of the other books, I often thought "that character wouldn't have done that!"

  27. 5 out of 5

    Joseph McKnight

    Book 4 out of a 5 part series. This was tough for me to get through. This felt like a short story with a lot of technical details thrown in to answer what I would assume to be a plethora of fan based questions. I only rate this at three stars because of the paper thin plot line. It was not great enough to keep me from reading the final novel nor bad enough to make me not finish the series. Joseph McKnight http://www.josephmcknight.com Book 4 out of a 5 part series. This was tough for me to get through. This felt like a short story with a lot of technical details thrown in to answer what I would assume to be a plethora of fan based questions. I only rate this at three stars because of the paper thin plot line. It was not great enough to keep me from reading the final novel nor bad enough to make me not finish the series. Joseph McKnight http://www.josephmcknight.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lou Giannuzzi

    I liked it... and everything is wrapped up neatly... and explained well. There are dramatic moments of crashing, smashing, and fighting... there are dramatic moments of families being torn apart... then there is the saving of the Ringworld itself... all in 297 pages! Niven really outdid himself on this one... and cut out all of the fluff and unneeded stuff.

  29. 5 out of 5

    William Crosby

    Ringworld is receiving many visitors from outside who wish to explore or invade. They also fight each other or are destroyed by a Protector (of which there are several with different agendas). Louis Wu is trying to figure out what to do amidst the fighting and sex. Much of the backstory about Pak and Protectors is explained.

  30. 5 out of 5

    James

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Listened to on CD. I'm posting this 2 months after I listened to it so I'm going on memory. I recall not liking how it went towards the end with Louis. Spoiler - turning him into a protector was not cool. However, he wouldn't have been able to get out of his mess had he not. Regardless, this is my least favorite Ringworld novel yet.

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