Friday, October 1, 2010

The Hugos: Ringworld

Are you sure?

You want to hear about Larry Niven's ringworm?

Ohhhhkaaaay... well, it's a microscopic dermal parasite characterized by the raised circular lesion it leaves on famed septuagenarian sci-fi author Larry Niven...

What?  Ring-WORLD!  Oh, that's much better.  Thank goodness.

Ringworld is the 1970 book that won the 1971 Hugo and my heart.  In all seriousness, this is the best Hugo of the seventies, hands down.  Don't even bother with the rest. Go read it. Now.

Back already?  That was quick!  Ringworld (as you now know) is a rollicking adventure tale set on a world, right, shaped like a ring, y'know?  

IT'S REALLY FREAKIN' COOL!  It has a big, astonishing concept, and even better characters. 
Louis Wu, the 200-years-young misanthrope 
who leaves Earth in 2855 on the spaceship Lying Bastard with the genetically cowardly alien Nessus (left), the brutish felinoid (kitty man) Speaker-To-Animals (below), and the bred-for-luck gal Teela Brown.  

Then some other stuff happens, both sexy and science-y.  
Yes, stuff can be both!
I really, really liked this. 5 stars on goodreads, then I read 'Ringworld Engineers' as well, also very good, then I bought like 20 other Niven books I haven't gotten around to yet but very much hope to enjoy in some semblance of order one day soon.

Niven's contributions to 'Green Lantern' comics are worthy, his grisly/funny essay 'Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex' while no doubt ghoulishly accurate to the horrors awaiting the human in a human/Kryptonian mating fails to take into consideration the several methods by which Superman has been known to diminish his powers.  I imagine Clark and Lois 'do it' under a red sun lamp, for instance.  My evidence?  Lois is still slightly alive.

ANYway.  If you play Halo, then Ringworld is where the concept came from.  If you saw 'The Slaver Weapon' episode of the cheesy seventies 'Star Trek' cartoon (which I adore), or the 'Inconstant Moon' episode of the green cheesy nineties 'The Outer Limits' series, then you owe Larry Niven thanks or whatever remarks you deem appropriate.  Is he weird?  Probably.  His wife puts up with a lot, I bet. Of course, when they married she was Marilyn Joyce "Fuzzy Pink" Wisowaty, which I had to include here because that's frakkin' awesome.

Discovering Larry Niven was the best part of my Hugo reading project.  That and the snooty way I get to lord having read all the Hugos over everybody.

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