Known Space

INTERVIEW: Larry Niven

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Today we’re interviewing science fiction author Larry Niven. Mister Niven has been cranking out the tales since his first short story was published in 1964. Since then, he’s won Ditmar, Hugo, Locus and Nebula awards, as well as becoming more-or-less the grand master of mega structure-based SF, such as the Ringworld series and the current Fleet of Worlds series. Without question, the author to have had more influence over my own tastes and talents than anyone apart from Philip K. Dick. I’m an unabashed fan. Mister Niven, thank you very much for agreeing to talk to us today.

NIVEN:

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KNOWN SPACE: Ringworld at the Incompleat Known Space Concordance

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What is Ringworld? Ringworld is a huge disk 180 million miles in diameter, with a G2 star at the center. It revolves around the star for gravity. It's a million miles across, has a circumference of 565 million miles, and an area of 2 trillion,544 billion,690 million miles. By comparison, the total surface area of the earth is only 149 million square miles, of which only about 30% is land.

Having a hard time getting a grasp on the scale? Check this out:

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BOOK REVIEW: "Destiny's Forge" by Paul Chafe (2006)

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The Man-Kzin Wars series has been running for about 20 years now, but I've generally avoided them. I read volume 1 when it came out, and though there was nothing wrong with it, it had the feeling of product rather than passion to me. While I enjoyed the idea of other writers "Playing in Mr. Niven's Garden" so to speak, it just felt wrong to me in actual practice. For me, personally, Niven's "Known Space" universe is inseparable from Niven's own jaunty writing style and everpresent neat ideas.

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What The Hell Is Jinx?

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Several years back I wrote an article speculating on the nature of the moon "Jinx" from Larry Niven's "Known Space" stories. It's a very interesting non-standard world, which has prompted a lot of people to assume it's not what it appears to be. This, of course, has prompted a lot of crazy-assed theories about what it *secretly* is. (A ship, an ark, an egg, etc) My crazy-assed theory actually attracted the attention of Larry Niven himself, who sounded off about my allegations.

With his kind permission, I've attached his comments - unaltered - to the end of the article, so you can see what he had to say about it.

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AWAY GAME: New Republibot Article Posted on Larry Niven Org

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I've been doing an occasional series for the excellent "Known Space: The Future Worlds of Larry Niven" website (also known as "Larry Niven Org"), called "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Known Space." Niven's fictional "Known Space" universe is impressively sprawling and despite being very reader-friendly and fun, it's massive enough to appear rather daunting to a new person who may not know where to dive in. To that end, I've been writing some overviews of different themes that crop up again and again within the stories.

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Why Aren’t There More Interesting Planets In Science Fiction?

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A while ago I was just trying to come up with a bunch of Science Fiction planets for some reason, and to my surprise, I could only come up with a handful of that were inherently interesting because of the structure of the planet itself. Perhaps not coincidentally, most of them are from Larry Niven:

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AWAY GAME: Republibot 3.0 Article Featured On Larry Niven Org

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The fine people over at the "Known Space: The Future Worlds of Larry Niven" website have been reposting our book reviews of Niven's work for some time now, and we've been posting some of their film reviews which don't really fit in to the scheme of their site for almost as long (You can see 'em here: http://www.republibot.com/category/tags/bad-movie )

Recently they asked us to generate a little original content that would be exclusive to their site, and since Niven is pretty much unabashedly my favorite living SF writer I was only too happy to oblige.

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Science Fiction Book Review #2: “Fleet of Worlds” by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner (2007)

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After Philip K. Dick, Larry Niven is probably my favorite Science Fiction writer. I consider him more or less the modern dean of SF. And make no mistake: Known Space is far and away my favorite fictional SF destination. I cut my eye teeth on the Beowulf Schaefer stories as a ‘tween, and I pretty much memorized the Gill Hamilton stories, along with everything else Niven wrote in that universe while in college. Even so, when I first heard about this book my overwhelming reaction was “meh.” I can’t explain why, really.

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