Saturday, 12 April 2014

"I've Been Stupid"

"Every human protector must wake this way...I've been stupid."
-Larry Niven, Protector (London, 1974), p. 213.

We do not become protectors. However, we learn, mature and continue to learn - by study, training, experience and, possibly, meditation. We can look back and see that we were stupid. We might even realize that we are still stupid much of the time, a problem not experienced by protectors.

The men who become protectors on the colony planet, Home, cooperate to control the planet and to create more protectors for the coming conflict with the attacking Pak. Similarly, in the world reflected by fiction, those who reach a common understanding of Terrestrial problems cooperate with each other - though not with those of different understandings.

We lack the common purpose of a group of species protectors.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Niven's Collaborations

Larry Niven has collaborated with several other sf writers and franchised one period of his future history to several more. I have ordered from the public library three of Niven's works, each a collaboration with a different other author:

the first part of an sf diptych;
the second part of a fantasy diptych;
the third part of a sf trilogy which is also part of a future history series.

This gets complicated. Fans who have kept up with Niven over the years should recognize the works in question from these descriptions.

Years ago, there was one Ringworld novel in which Louis Wu and his crew visited the Fleet of Worlds en route to the Ringworld. Now, there is a Fleet of Worlds Trilogy and a Ringworld Tetralogy!

On the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog, I have just listed several fictional accounts of visits to Hell, including Inferno and Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, but have yet to read Escape... so it should be no surprise that that is the second item listed above.

The Ringworld, an inhabited ring encircling a planet, is an artifact bigger than a planet. The Shipstar, an inhabited bowl partially enclosing a star, is an even bigger artifact. I have yet to read about the latter.