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    Review of RINGWORLD'S CHILDREN by Larry Niven

    TOR, June 2004

    250-year-old Louis Wu awakens as a young-man after an extensive stay in a nanotechnology healing chamber to find that the situation on Ringworld is not good. Although the new protector, Tunesmith, is doing what he can to repair the damage Ringworld has suffered, too many societies have recognized Ringworld for the technological treasure-trove that it is. The worst part is, Ringworld doesn't actually need to survive to be looted of its treasure. And anti-matter weapons can quickly punch holes in the Ringworld that Tunesmith would be powerless to stop.

    Louis involves himself in Tunesmith's secret plan, testing a space drive, checking on the status of Tunesmith's comet-hole repair system, and falling in love with an Earth-human whose fighter craft has penetrated Ringworld through a hole in its surface. He gets the chance to see even more of the mysteries of Ringworld, but he can see no way out of the war that is coming.

    Author Larry Niven's Ringworld (see more reviews of novels by Larry Niven) is a fascinating construction. A ribbon of super-strong material around a sun, Ringworld sports the surface area of a million earths--and is inhabited by a hugely diverging group of semi-humans along with a few aliens. Protectors, the final stage in 'human' development, work to benefit their decendents, but armed with limited information, have done too little to prevent war.

    Fans of the Ringworld series will want to read this story, see the further adventures of Louis Wu, and see how Niven has dealt with the criticisms of his great creation, adding devices and details that make it more technologically possible. The world-building that went into Ringworld is first-class and the original Ringworld novel is a true classic of SF. Ringworld's Children is a far smaller book than the original masterpiece. The characters are not really fleshed out or motivated, and I found myself uninvolved with the story.

    Fans of Ringworld will want to read this one for the latest on this fascinating more-than-world. If you aren't already a Ringworld fan, though, you'll definitely want to start with the original.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 7/12/04

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