Book Review: Ringworld, by Larry Niven

Overall Impressions

I know that I don't tend to enjoy space operas but I had seen this book mentioned on too many "greatest science fiction books" lists to not give it a try. So I got a copy on my Kindle using some Amazon book credits and gave it a go.

Meh - it wasn't the worst book I've read even in the past year, but I hardly can say it was great. I did enjoy the attention to detail that the author clearly put into it such that I never read anything and said "that's not how it would be" but instead, he had things reasonably grounded in at least a thin veil of correct science.

I didn't actually like the writing very much and the whole story sort of just happened rather than was justified that much. I won't include any plot spoilers here, but I found myself like a third of the way through it saying "wait, so this is what it's about? Why?" but I finished it anyways. I even have a copy of the next book and may eventually read that. We'll see.

The Good

It moves along quickly enough and the science is generally correct - though some of it is still pretty far out there (like faster than light travel).

The Bad

As far as stories go, this one wasn't that great. I suspect the author said to himself "I'm going to write a book about exploring a manufactured world formed as a gigantic ring around a star" and then went about stapling together some plot elements to make a story. I guess it worked well enough to win a bunch of awards, but it never really got me.

Final Thoughts

I might just not like this genre (but I did love The Martian for what it's worth). Not terrible, but not good either. Let's call it a 2.5/5 stars - so on the wrong side of the bellcurve, but not too far down.