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  1. #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?

  2. #2
    e-author MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    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.

    B5

  3. #3
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    I haven't read it in a long, long time but if memory serves I would call it more "neat trick" than "jaw dropping".

    psik

  4. #4
    Old Fogey Fan RimWorlder's Avatar
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    "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

  5. #5
    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.

  6. #6
    Yobmod Yobmod's Avatar
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    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.
    Twists and turns etc are plot, not characterisation, which i also found Ringworld to be lacking.

    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.

  7. #7
    Old Fogey Fan RimWorlder's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RimWorlder View Post
    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.
    Maybe, but they are still very cartoonish and lacking in what one could call strong "characterization".

    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.

  9. #9

    oh noes

    ropie said:
    All that stuff about genetic luck didn't interest me at all.

  10. #10
    Old Fogey Fan RimWorlder's Avatar
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    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.

  11. #11
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    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.

  12. #12
    Old Fogey Fan RimWorlder's Avatar
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    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.

  13. #13
    Member of the Month™ Ropie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by RimWorlder View Post
    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.
    Probably yes, because Niven's writing was never going to set any tale fully alight. Anyway, a more focused novel does not make a treatise.
    Last edited by Ropie; May 12th, 2008 at 07:41 AM.

  14. #14
    Old Fogey Fan RimWorlder's Avatar
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    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.

  15. #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.

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