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May 9th, 2008, 10:44 AM #1
Does Ringworld have an amazing ending?
No spoilers please, but does it have one of those jaw dropping endings?
I'm just over half way through and I am at a total loss as to how it won anything. Was it just a right place/right time kind of novel?
May 10th, 2008, 12:01 AM #2
What Ringworld has is an amazing setting, it beats the 'eck out of a cramped old mechanical space ship any day of the week. Yes, there's kind of an interesting situation in there, and characters who, um ... have names. But the big thing is the setting.
Without spoiling, it has one of those "I should have seen that coming" endings. Oh, and the situation has a "I did not guess that" kind of conclusion too.
May 10th, 2008, 05:24 AM #3
I haven't read it in a long, long time but if memory serves I would call it more "neat trick" than "jaw dropping".
May 10th, 2008, 09:21 AM #4
"and characters who, um ... have names" !?!
Come on. Characters who go through a lot of logical twists and turns, some of which are non-obvious - and some of those are red herrings.
Nessus is featured in numerous stories, as is Louis Wu and Speaker-to-Animals. Teela Brown comes back in R.E.
At a loss as to why it won anything. OMG
May 10th, 2008, 02:14 PM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
I would say yes, it has an ending that is a big surprise and one of the most original concepts in sci-fi (or literature); one I think about all the time. I do some work using genetic algorithms for software, and without giving anything away, the end of Ringworld relates.
May 11th, 2008, 12:48 PM #6Come on. Characters who go through a lot of logical twists and turns, some of which are non-obvious - and some of those are red herrings.
I don't remember anything especially mind-blowing about the ending - it is just a logical continuation of the plot. Which is fine, but it isn't going to impress anyone who doesn't like the plot of the first half.
May 11th, 2008, 03:31 PM #7
I know the difference between plot and characterization; the characters mental and psychological condition goes through numerous twists and turns - heck, half the novel is Louis Wu cogitating and trying to analyze the psychology of two very different aliens and one very a-typical human.
May 11th, 2008, 05:13 PM #8
I read it a few years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit but for me parts of it were excessively dull compared to the background of the Ringworld and its exploration. All that stuff about genetic luck didn't interest me at all. As far as I remember the ending is quite good but getting there was a drag as I found the final quarter of the novel a bit tedious.
Last edited by Ropie; May 11th, 2008 at 05:16 PM.
May 11th, 2008, 06:36 PM #9
- Join Date
- Sep 2001
ropie said:All that stuff about genetic luck didn't interest me at all.
May 11th, 2008, 08:20 PM #10
while recognizing the 'ridiculousness' of the basic concept (in-bred luck), once past the premise, I found it a very interesting and compelling idea.
In fact, in many respects, it is a concept that embodies much of science fiction, at least on a global, genre level:
we get 'after the apocolypse' stories because some are lucky enough to survive.
we get vast galactic empires because some scientist, somewhere, was luck enough to stumble onto the ftl secret
humanity is saved from the alien threat because some heroes got lucky and found/exploited their weakness
the rebellion was saved because luke and the force got lucky enough for that one 'photon torpedo' to make its way into, all the way down the pipe and into the reactor core
'Luck' as a "genetic" trait of the human race (in science fiction) has always served as a deus ex machina. All Niven really did was embody all of that into a single character.
Its probably going to turn out that 'luck', defined as a series of low-order probabilities all occurring in the proper sequence, is responsible for the origin of a universe that supports life and for the origination of us - so at least in that respect, 'genetic luck' is built into all of us and not all that far-fetched.
May 12th, 2008, 04:14 AM #11
Maybe 'genetic luck' in itself is an interesting concept but in the context of a story about a fantastic, extraordinary, unimaginably large structure like the Ringworld, it was just breadcrumbs. I wanted to know more about Ringworld and less about the idiots wandering around it.
May 12th, 2008, 06:46 AM #12
And if it had been nothing more than a travelogue and engineering treatise, no doubt you'd have had some bones to pick about that.
May 12th, 2008, 07:32 AM #13
May 12th, 2008, 07:49 AM #14
sorry - early morning grumpiness.
I should have said something more general.
Like - readers that take issue with (that) are bound to be disappointed not matter what he (Niven) does.
I think my enjoyment trumps anyone else's dislike.
May 12th, 2008, 08:22 AM #15
This thread looks like a transcript of my inner monologue over the last week.
I don't find any aspect of the book amazing. The characters are decent, nothing superb. The story has some great elements although they don't get explored as much as I would like.
I'll finish it tonight and maybe it will redeem itself.