Ringworld Series: Book 2 – The Ringworld Engineers (Book Review)

Ringworld Engineers, the sequel to Larry Niven’s classic science fiction novel, Ringworld continues the tale of Louis Wu, and the alien explorers. Twenty-three years after leaving the Ringworld behind them, Louis, Nessus’s ex-lover, Hindmost to the Pierson’s Puppeteer race and the catlike kzinti, travel back to the massive alien construction.

 

…beware of possible spoilers for those not familiar with book 1, Ringworld…

You can read my review of book one, Ringworld here via this link.

Continue reading “Ringworld Series: Book 2 – The Ringworld Engineers (Book Review)”

Ringworld Series: Book 1 – Ringworld by Larry Niven (Book Review)

On his 200th birthday Louis Wu meets a Pierson’s Puppeteer, a strange sentient species of alien being thought to have vanished from known space. The Puppeteer, Nessus wishes to recruit him for an exploration into the far reaches of space. These unlikely allies are joined by two others to form an unusual group of four, and together they travel to what is known as Ringworld; a star orbited by a massive ring. These four intrepid explorers must now visit the Ringworld, tasked by those who lead the Pierson’s Puppeteer race, with learning more about the unusual world and its occupants.

 

Told from Louis’s Wu’s human perspective, we explore the Ringworld along with these characters, learning more about it as they do. The book is classic science fiction full of adventure and hard science. I love these types of stories, with their detailed descriptions of spaceships, planets, alien beings and the physical science which allows it all to co-exist. Trepidation and excitement at new discoveries keep the reader immersed in this fascinating world.

I found the book to be well-written and engaging, with a good balance of science and story. Though it begins to drag a little in the middle, with the seemingly endless and repetitive motion of the characters as they fly over desolate landscapes, rarely landing or interacting with the Ringworld natives. The ridiculous quarrels between the explorers also annoyed me slightly, dragging the story out. Towards the end I noticed a few errors cropping up, which is unusual in professionally published paperbacks such as this, but since I’ve read plenty of books with a lot more issues, it didn’t put me off reading.

As is usually predictable with science fiction books, there are numerous alien beings and strange species with difficult to pronounce names, such as Halrloprillalar Hotrufan and Zignamuclickclick. However, at 4 out of 5 stars Ringworld is an enjoyable classic for those who love their sci-fi filled with hard science and adventure.

I now look forward to checking out book two, The Ringworld Engineers.

 

See also:

Book 2: The Ringworld Engineers

Book 3: The Ringworld Throne

Book 4: Ringworld’s Children

Exoskeleton: Book III – Omniscient by Shane Stadler (Book Review)

Omniscient is the third book in the Exoskeleton trilogy from experimental physicist Shane Stadler.

Those not already familiar can find my review of Exoskeleton here, and book 2, Tympanum here.

…warning: spoilers ahead…

Continue reading “Exoskeleton: Book III – Omniscient by Shane Stadler (Book Review)”

Artemis by Andy Weir (Book Review)

A few years back – sometime around the release of the film – I read Andy Weir’s debut novel The Martian. It was exactly what you would expect from a science fiction novel, and I loved it. From the technical science, to the feelings of isolation and the inventive survival strategies that kept poor, stranded Mark Watney alive. I was hooked on the suspense and comedy quips, and you can read the full review of The Martian here.

 

It should therefore come as no surprise that I was thrilled on discovering that Andy would soon be releasing a second sci-fi novel, Artemis. However, at the time of its release money was tight, so the book has been sitting on my to-be-read list for what feels like forever. But finally, over ten months after its release I’ve obtained the e-book of Artemis, on loan from my local library.

Initially I was really excited to dive in to this fictional story, set in the first city built on The Moon, Artemis. However, this is probably the most interesting aspect of the book: the detailed description of what life would look like if mankind colonised The Moon, is exactly as science fiction fanatics would probably expect; Giant half-sphere shaped bubbles surrounding breathable cities interconnected by narrow walkways.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book didn’t really impress me much. Rather than being a proper science fiction novel, it comes across as more of a crime thriller set in space, with some science haphazardly thrown around. A lot of the technical science is offered as background information from email conversations between the main character Jasmine and her penpal, Kelvin, which are confusingly inserted into the narrative at the end of chapters. This prevents the story from having a natural flow.

Also, I absolutely detested the ridiculous side story about the reusable condom, and its associated sexual content; therefore this is not for young adults. This bothered me so much that I almost gave up reading due to that one aspect alone, never mind the tedious dialogue, stereotyped characters or idiotic plot.

All in all I would give this a miss and with a rating of 1 out of 5 stars, I’m only glad I rented this book from the local library rather than having spent any money on it.

 

See also:

The Martian by Andy Weir