Burning City by Larry Niven

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Book Information  
AuthorLarry Niven
TitleBurning City
SeriesGolden Road
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Larry 
(Jul 23, 2001)

This book is, above all else, a parable of life in Los Angeles in the 1990's. Although cloaked in fantasy, there are many references to modern events, including the OJ Simpson trial, the Rodney King riots, and the modern welfare state. Because of the sly glances at such occurrences, one is sometimes moved to the occasional chuckle or even outright laughter at certain points. Niven & Pournelle do tell a good outright adventure tale, but manage to help us see (and sometimes laugh at) ourselves.

Submitted by Nancy Heald 
(Jul 19, 2001)

I liked the book well enough. The formula of "Boy doesn't fit in, goes away and comes back a successful adult" was what I expected. But I felt the book was trying to tell me something profound regarding the breakdown of society, especially since the back of the book specifically states that this story mirrors our society, and I did not see how. I could see how the lack of magic was detrimental to the society portrayed, but I could see no bigger picture. I also felt the epilogue telling me this place eventually became Los Angeles was unnecessary. It had no bearing on the story and felt like a cheap "Planet of the Apes surprise" ripoff. Frankly I think the book would have been better without it.

Submitted by Rune
(Mar 27, 2001)

This was the first book I read by Larry Niven. I was hoping for a book full of adventure, magic, and interesting creatures. Instead the book was about a young boy's adventures, and the restrictions in his life due to traditions. It is a pleasant little story, but not one that kept me hooked.

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