Clarke was once asked to name his favorite writer. His answer was "Larry Niven. N-Space contains, very simply, the best SF of his career--marvelous fiction, a wealth of anecdotes and gossip, plus Niven's own special brand of wit and excitement. Paperback , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about N-Space , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This is a very nice collection that serves as something of an overview of the first quarter-century of Niven's career. I'm not particularly fond of the practice of including pieces excerpted from novels in collections, but there are plenty of complete short fiction pieces collected here in addition to them, as well as good side pieces.
It's a good introduction to Niven's work. Apr 08, Mark rated it really liked it.
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First published in , the first thirty or so pages are filled with glowing prose about the author and his work; from writers, both SF and non-SF: For the work post, see the collections Playgrounds of the Mind and Scatterbrain , originally published in I have read most of what is here before. From the perspective of a teenager, his stories were usually enjoyable and full of neat scientific ideas. It was with Niven that I first came across the idea of organ banks: There were worlds to explore, and images to cherish. There were also bizarre aliens: In time though, such stories have been replaced in my memory by others.
The passage of more than two decades Edit: His more recent output, often in collaboration, has been rather underwhelming by comparison. So why look at N-Space? It is, in essence, a varied sample of the early work, the stuff that Larry became known for. This is not just his fiction, however. The book does collect a ragbag of oddities as well as stories.
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I know — I realise that that may be the point. But if we concentrate on the stories, then what we do get here are stories that are - well, old. In some of the earlier stories it shows — clunky exposition and dodgy dialogue can appear, and Niven knows it, but accepts that his writing has erm, evolved.
For more contemporary readers and, dare I say it, perhaps younger readers than myself there may be a degree of disappointment that these stories do not show the pyrotechnic flair of newer writers. The characterisation may not be as multifaceted as say, in an Alastair Reynolds story, nor as cutting edge as a Charles Stross; the big opera events of an Iain M Banks are much more muted here.
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Yet for me, and for those readers able to forgive some of the earlier errors, there is still a pleasant sense of satisfaction on reading or perhaps rereading these stories: What N-Space also does here is one of the things I enjoy most in these types of books, which is to include a narrative of comments and afterwords from Larry about the writing of the stories and what they mean to him. At times, this can read rather as a blatant attempt at self-publicity, but here it comes across as a conversation between reader and writer. It is also a great read.
Nov 24, K. Alright, another huge anthology by Larry Niven, so there is bound to be some "old friends" from other collections and anthologies. This will be another review-in-progress, so expect short reviews as I read the shortstories and excerpts yeah, this anthology has short bits from a few of his novels. This anthology gives the reader more than just shortstories, it also gives us stories about Larry Niven, as well as stories about how he got to write the I personally love this sort of thin Alright, another huge anthology by Larry Niven, so there is bound to be some "old friends" from other collections and anthologies.
I personally love this sort of thing, if I like the writer, that is. I like the writings of Larry Niven well enough. From World of Ptavvs 5 pages is a very short excerpt of his very first novel.
In the end-troduction, he writes how someone really didn't like this novel, and for some reason, I kinda agree based solely on this excerpt of course. There is an interesting idea there, but most of the text is a heavy description of a phenomenon on a distant planet. There is, however, a nice little revelation by the end!
That I had seen coming, but still nice I am not sure, though, that I would ever send a spaceship into unknown space with only two crewmembers It had potential for more horror, which would have made it a 4 star story. It is the story of a young man bend on understanding magic. One day he tests out an old "spell" in a basement and accidentally, because he didn't really think it would work summons a demon.
Now, Niven won't give you all the answers right away, so stick with the story to the end and you'll understand It involves a series of strange myrders and suicides, as well as the Crosstime technology, that allows one to pass into a parallel univers where something is changed there are essentially trillions of these. This idea could easily have been expanded into a short novel. I am not really sure about this one, it seems to be a story about how to use the earth for building houses. The story introduces an interesting concept called "architectural coral", but other than that, this excerpt is a mess and doesn't really sell the novel to me.
Another shortstory that could have easily been expanded into a novel, also, this one reminded me of the mythago wood of Robert Holdstock I did not finish it. Like the Meddler, this one started out confusing, but luckily, picked me up almost literally by the end. The ending is well worth the read, as it becomes a very different kind of science fiction shortstory. I dont know the setting that well, and therefore found myself skipping most of this. If you like metafiction, you might enjoy this, as you get a small look behind the curtain of the writing process.
Feb 25, Joel Bradshaw rated it really liked it. This book has a special place in my heart. Nearly a decade ago, someone pasted the entirety of The Hole Man in a comment on Slashdot, and I printed it out, read it on the bus, and loved everything about it. Looking for more, I originally picked up a copy of N-Space in some used book store in Seattle - probably Ophelia's - and was instantly fascinated. This was the book that really got me back into sci-fi, gave me a taste of what was possible, and fully introduced me to the inimitable Larry Niven This book has a special place in my heart.
This was the book that really got me back into sci-fi, gave me a taste of what was possible, and fully introduced me to the inimitable Larry Niven and his Known Space. I've since read several more tales in Known Space and have several more on my shelf, and have launched out into many other worlds as well. I've lost count of how many copies of this book I've bought - I snag a copy whenever I see one for cheap, because I love giving it to people to read, because this collection is a great place to jump in - the stories range from bite-size to excerpts from full novels.
I'm sure I'll buy many more in the future. Aug 10, Matti Tornio rated it it was ok. A rather uneven collection of Larry Niven's short stories. Unfortunately a lot of the other material is much weaker or even plain unfinished. Overall I found this collection rather mediocre and very clearly aimed at existing Niven fans. Jun 25, Larry Wentzel rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought I had read this, because it was on my bookshelf, but here I am reading it "again" and finding out I never read it at all.
Which is a great discovery to make, because Larry Niven factored heavily into my early sci-fi reading. His breezy style, light on description and quick on the science, was great for my insatiable need for all the science I could get. Niven is fantastic at world-building: To boot, this book gives a lot of insight into some of the novels I did read, and hints at what I missed in those I have not yet read. A number of stories I've never read before and enjoyed: Flare Time a human experience recorder visits an unusual planet for her audience; the story has a punchline I did not see coming , The Tale of the Jinni and the Sisters a new Arabian Nights tale involving Scheherezade, VERY well written , The Kiteman a new story for the Integral Trees series and Night on Mispec Moor a sword and sorcery in outer space short story.
Some stories I didn't enjoy as much because one aspect of the science is now dated - people in the future are still using tapes as a storage media? One thing to bear in mind: When given some new thing, they not only quickly grasp how to use it, but also how to exploit for the good of mankind.
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In short stories, you need a bit of a Socratic protagonist to lead the audience to the conclusions you want to make. I am grateful that one novel never came to pass - the one where the whole Slaver idea turns out to have been a massive hoax. I hate hoaxes, I hate it when authors resort to them. All the better it never came about. Jul 13, Robert rated it it was amazing. Most books I buy used and donate.
I donated this one and regretted it, then found it again in a smaller paperback. This book has an eye-opening discussion of Niven's methods, including the fact that before writing a certain story, he wrote a couple pages of differential questions. That's the difference between amateurs and masters, between the shallow and the deep.
Niven makes sure his assumptions have a physical basis and are consistent with the story. There is also a glimpse into Most books I buy used and donate. There is also a glimpse into how he creates worlds, which is another difference.
Some authors write a story. The visionaries create a universe or a whole schema. There is a hint of The Hobbit leading into the Lord Of The Rings, and the knowledge that this is more than a tale, it's a platform. Niven has created several platforms, all the more remarkable. The pathos of Inconstant Moon and the fact that I've read it more than once. It was evident then. And here's a guy who lays out space policies and talks about non-taxation of data in a book copyright !
He's so good that physics students have studied Ringworld. Inventor Chic Thompson talks about how innovation is often the putting together of two ideas which don't appear to have commonalities. Statistical mechanics meets Casablanca? It brings to mind Pressfield's discussions, and Picasso saying that you have to fill the studio.
I'm glad that Larry Niven did. Jul 16, Darth rated it it was amazing Shelves: I love me some short stories - in general because if you get a stinker you arent tied up in it that long - in specific I am rounding out the missing Niven shorts. I was able to skip over the novel chunks in this one, and thankfully because this book is over pages. Not that its too long, just very thick, and awkward to keep ahold of near the front and back - not so bad in the middle. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.
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