Book Reviews Ring Colony

Published on October 23rd, 2012 | by Michaela Buckley

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Migrated Ringworld by Larry Niven

I picked this book up before, but put it down a chapter later after I read the description of a “Pierson’s Puppeteer”. The picture accurately represents what they look like.

So, not wanting to resign myself to all the kinds of rubbish that this kind of cheesy Sci-Fi I spent my childhood hating, I decided I would have to wait a while, preferably til my brain stopped being able to process shite from the sheer volume that it must sift through over the years.

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The book is wholly let down by the Puppeteers, conceptually as a political power and culturally as a species they are interesting and fresh, but visually and in actuality are in fact rubbish, Nessus is a pathetic creature who spends most of the book ridiculously driving the plot forward with a very loose obligation to his people.

At best the novel feels like someone who is retelling a story they heard from someone else who was much more imaginative and eloquent, about a unique world that you could have been interested in had you not been dealing with someone who has as much grasp of competent storytelling as Michael Bay, but at worst it feels like a camp serial with all the literary wonders of “And then this happened” with some “And inexplicably there chanced to be the thing they need at the exact time they need it!” and the wonderfully inevitable “The Puppeteers are SOOOO beyond us and our comprehension that the best we could hope to understand is this one! And it’s crazy!” There are plenty of other equally splendid stupidities from the world of crap Sci-fi tropes, so if you love all that, treat yourself to this gagful feast!

I hate to rage on, but in fact, upon forcing myself through the book, it started becoming enjoyable, but only after arriving on the Ringworld, you have to get past a really half-cocked attempt at a hard-science description of the outer workings of the Ringworld and a very disappointing piece on the landing but once touched down the world becomes much more exciting.

The architecture of Ringworld is unique.

The Ringworld was fantastic, it had the right level of awe and intrigue without leaving the details on construction and mechanics. I actually wanted to see more of it and Niven does a good job of making the reader grasp the vastness of the structure in an understanding albeit mystically overwhelming way.

The main character Louis Wu is fairly bland and at the beginning seemed to have changed a little too quickly for the reader to get to care about the previous self. The relationship set up felt shoddy all the way through, in a poorly written way. I wouldn’t really get too excited about the inter-relations, bit of a missed opportunity and much of the itemry (Yes, I did) is just invented to serve as plot points to vaguely flesh the crap chemistry of the characters out.
In fact, most of the book feels like a series of plot devices in order to set up some people on a vast artificial colony and I suppose in that respect the entire book seems to have justified it’s own let downs.

Overall, I do recommend the book, despite all flaws, as it feels fun and at times, even speculative, but if you like Hard Science, much of this book will be hilarious. If you’re into more paranoid or cyber punk sci-fi, you’ll probably be left a bit confused that such a book exists. If you’re not into Sci-Fi then get the fuck off my page and read some bloody books!

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