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Thread: Ringworld

  1. #1
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    Ringworld

    I just finished reading it and by reading it, I mean listening to it via Audible over many commutes.

    I was very impressed. The story had a good pace to it, so it never felt bogged down. The fictional world was very established and rich. I really liked that lying, scheming Nessus. The story arc around Teela was very well done and really made the story feel like more than just a travelogue.

    But the ringworld was the most impressive part. It wasn't just a setting, it was really well thought through. The eye storm was a great example of thinking through the implications. Coriolis force doesn't exist, but the thing whereby moving spinward increases gravity and moving antispinward decreases it does, so the storm has a horizontal axis.

    Also, a great example was the fall of ringworld civilisation. The ringworld has more space than a civilisation could ever need, but it's all fake. There is nothing underneath the surface so when they need fresh material, their out of luck because there is none.

    I'm waiting for my next credit to come in so I can get the next book in the series.

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    Well, Coriolis does exist (it has to, in any rotating reference frame). It's just that in that setting its a very small effect on the human scale, so it only shows up in large movements, like the "eye storm" you mention.

    I agree it's a fun story, as are a lot of the stories Niven wrote in the Known Space universe round about that time.
    Eventually he got trapped by too many improbable materials and too much outdated science.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2017-Mar-10 at 07:27 PM.

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    My first rant in this forum was about Corioli's force. They seem to have become virtual forces due to rotating frames of reference but in our world they are real forces. The bullet in the rotating gun for example, the piston in a rotating cylinder, the ocean and atmosphere currents that have to change radius as they move north and get accelerated, the person on a child's roundabout who tries to move radially, real forces. The water in a rotating hose, many examples in real life.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    My first rant in this forum was about Corioli's force. They seem to have become virtual forces due to rotating frames of reference but in our world they are real forces. The bullet in the rotating gun for example, the piston in a rotating cylinder, the ocean and atmosphere currents that have to change radius as they move north and get accelerated, the person on a child's roundabout who tries to move radially, real forces. The water in a rotating hose, many examples in real life.
    One of my college physics professors was rather dismissive of the "it's not a real force" argument around centrifugal force: his comment was something to the effect "it acts like a force, so it is a force." Of course, it only exists in non-inertial reference frames, but even then it's no less real than the force that's keeping us from traveling along the local geodesic in GR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swampyankee View Post
    One of my college physics professors was rather dismissive of the "it's not a real force" argument around centrifugal force: his comment was something to the effect "it acts like a force, so it is a force." Of course, it only exists in non-inertial reference frames, but even then it's no less real than the force that's keeping us from traveling along the local geodesic in GR.
    Yes. And you never hear physics teachers claiming that gravity isn't a real force.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    My first rant in this forum was about Corioli's force.
    Coriolis. That was his name.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Coriolis. That was his name.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks again, actually that was the blessed auto spell again, tends to put in an apostrophe every time. I tend to get tired of going back, in my haste.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Anybody who wants to read the Ringworld series should read World of Ptavs as a prequel.

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    And Protector.

    ETA: Actually, instead of World of Ptavvs.

    Fred
    Last edited by Nowhere Man; 2017-Mar-11 at 12:18 AM.
    Hey, you! "It's" with an apostrophe means "it is" or "it has." "Its" without an apostrophe means "belongs to it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
    And Protector.

    ETA: Actually, instead of World of Ptavvs.

    Fred
    When I'm too lazy to look something up I just post what I got and someone will come along. Many thanks. (I last read that book the year it came out.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Thanks again, actually that was the blessed auto spell again, tends to put in an apostrophe every time. I tend to get tired of going back, in my haste.
    First thing I do with any new device that handles text is kill predictive text / autospell. A "labour saving" device that effectively doubles the length of time it takes me to type anything?
    Dumbest. Invention. Ever.

    You're in good company with Corioli's - Murray and Dermott's textbook Solar System Dynamics, published by Cambridge University, spells it that way a few times. How mad do you think they were when they found out? Pretty mad, I'd bet.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nowhere Man View Post
    And Protector.

    ETA: Actually, instead of World of Ptavvs.

    Fred
    Indeed. I almost like Protector more than Ringworld. Almost.

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    I think as a specific intro to Ringworld, the short story collection Neutron Star does the job better than either Protector or World of Ptavvs - it introduces the puppeteers and kzinti, General Products hulls, the core explosion and the puppeteer exodus.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I would read Neutron Star before Ringworld, and Protector before The Ringworld Engineers, as both RW novels contain plot-relevant elements from the prior stories.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I would read Neutron Star before Ringworld, and Protector before The Ringworld Engineers, as both RW novels contain plot-relevant elements from the prior stories.
    Yes. Although Niven invented the Pak protectors before he wrote Ringworld, and they were the obvious explanation for the origin of the ringworld and its otherwise very mysteriously human inhabitants, he deliberately left the Pak out of the Ringworld narrative, which was already pretty complicated. The early novelette "The Adults" in which the Pak first appeared then formed part of the novel Protector, which was published after Ringworld - so when Niven decided to write a Ringworld sequel part of the motivation was to make the Ringworld-Protector connection more explicit.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    You're in good company with Corioli's
    Someone should write Captain Corioli's Mandarin; a new spin on an old story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Someone should write Captain Corioli's Mandarin; a new spin on an old story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Yes. Although Niven invented the Pak protectors before he wrote Ringworld, and they were the obvious explanation for the origin of the ringworld and its otherwise very mysteriously human inhabitants, he deliberately left the Pak out of the Ringworld narrative, which was already pretty complicated. The early novelette "The Adults" in which the Pak first appeared then formed part of the novel Protector, which was published after Ringworld - so when Niven decided to write a Ringworld sequel part of the motivation was to make the Ringworld-Protector connection more explicit.
    Has anyone followed up with the "- of Worlds" books? Fleet-, Juggler-, Destroyer-, Betrayer- and Fate-?

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    Ringworld

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Has anyone followed up with the "- of Worlds" books? Fleet-, Juggler-, Destroyer-, Betrayer- and Fate-?
    I read them all and enjoyed them all. Think of the series as partial prequel to Ringworld and other stories. Plus some follow on to Ringworld itself. You'll re-meet familiar faces and gain a lot of backstory on the Puppeteers, the Fleet of Worlds, and much more.


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    Last edited by schlaugh; 2017-Mar-11 at 05:01 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by schlaugh View Post
    I read them all and enjoyed them all. Think of the series as prequel to Ringworld and other stories. You'll re-meet familiar faces and gain a lot of backstory on the Puppeteers, the Fleet of Worlds, and much more.
    I read them; I just found them to a be a whirlwind of plot woven amongst the rest of Known Space.

    I never did figure out why Carlos Wu lost his head.

    Someday, I've got to go back and read it all over again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveC426913 View Post
    Has anyone followed up with the "- of Worlds" books? Fleet-, Juggler-, Destroyer-, Betrayer- and Fate-?
    I just started book 4. So far I'm enjoying them but I found book three, that involved the Pak, left me feeling a bit hollow. I couldn't quite "buy" the story.

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    I never bothered to worry about plot or ongoing larger stories in Mr. Niven's universes; each story - either novel or short - was so thrilling and fun it was a joy to read as a stand-alone. Ringworld was pure cheesy thrilling fun - Speaker-To-Animals was hilarious, Nessus was intriguing, Teela was hot; all of them stuffed into a tremendous adventure the likes of which has been rarely seen before or since. I love almost everything Niven has written; I don't really care about continuity, scientific accuracy or even if it makes sense (Beowulf Schaeffer, my favourite Niven character, frequently gets himself into the weirdest problems); Nivens writing is so enjoyable it simply doesn't matter.

    Thanks for the thread; I have to get Ringworld and World of Ptavvs again; haven't read them in a while.

    Cheers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I would read Neutron Star before Ringworld, and Protector before The Ringworld Engineers, as both RW novels contain plot-relevant elements from the prior stories.
    Yes.
    I would strongly advocate reading a lot of Niven's short stories as a start.

    And while some of the science may be dated, I think his stories hold up very well.
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  24. #24
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    And the Ringworld is saved.

    I found the second book less good than the first. The excessive rashathraing was bordering on puerile. The middle of the book gets quite muddy with Louis Woo going from this city to that city, rashathraing this person and that person. I lost track of where and who before long.

    I also found it bizarre that those water condensors, crippled by the superconductor plague, could be repaired by stringing a single strip of fresh superconductor between easily visible contacts.

    I wasn't sure about the timeline. It's 23 years after the last book and in that time, Teela was able to make it from where she was near fist of god to the middle of the great ocean, find the repair centre, start taking tree of life and go through the change, identify the Ringworld's peril, figure out what to do about it and then get so much of it done.

    I also kept wondering if the reason for the Ringworld being off centre was ever going to be attributed to the first expedition. I mean the fall of the cities was like 100,000 years ago and coincidentally, this cataclysm happens in the blink of an eye when outworlders visit.

    Still, it was neat for Louis Woo to have an objective beyond just getting out and the twists and turns of figuring out what to do. It was genuinely cool when the big shock reveal happens and the resolution was quite an interesting dilemma.

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    "rashathraing"? Google fails me.

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    Rashathra-ing.
    Rashathra being the act of having sex with another hominin species.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Rashathra-ing.
    Rashathra being the act of having sex with another hominin species.

    Grant Hutchison
    Thanks. Been a good long while since I read those. I'll have to re-read them as soon as Flux and Anchor series is done.

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    I had the same reaction to the rashathra thing the first time I read the novel, but it kind of grew on me as one of Niven's trademark unexpected extrapolations from existing plot elements.
    Bonobo diplomacy.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Unlike after the first one, I'm not in a rush to use my next Audible credit on the next one. I think I'll look at using it on something else.

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    Pretty tragic at the end though. I can imagine how it would be portrayed if they ever did a film adaptation (I'm surprised no-one has yet). We would see our protagonists mournfully watching the cataclysm on a distant part of the ring. The music would convey solemnity but also beauty. Probably lots of strings, very legato.

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