Ringworld is a novel that’s always stuck with me. I picked it up alongside authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other authors from that point in time. Foundation and Dune are two books that are among my favorites, but Ringworld has long been the best of the lot. It’s vivid, funny, exciting and so forth. Reading it again recently in preparation for this column, I was astounded at how well it’s held up (as opposed to Foundation) in the years since it’s publication, and I can’t wait to read it again. Plus, that cover is just beautiful.
- Trillion Year Spree: History of Science Fiction, by Brian Aldiss. Aldiss’s book has some good context for Niven’s rise, as well as the impact of his books.
- Gateway to Forever: The story of the Science-Fiction Magazines from 1970 to 1980, by Mike Ashley. Ashley recounts some of Niven’s early works in the Known Space, along with the state of magazine fiction during that time.
- Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970, by Mike Ashley. Niven’s stories taper off in the 1970s, but Ashley looks over his works during that point in that time.
- Science Fiction Writers, 2nd Edition, Richard Bleiler. Bleiler has a biographical essay on Niven and his life in this book.
- Science Fiction, Today and Tomorrow, edited by Reginald Bretnor. There’s some good background information on Niven’s works here.
- The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction, by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James. There’s some good political context for SF in the 1960s/70s here, and some solid information on Niven’s works.
- Survey of Science Fiction Literature, vol 4. Frank Magill. Excellent review of Ringworld in this volume.
- Science Fiction Dialogues, edited by Gary Wolfe. There’s a great essay here talking about the connections between Ringworld and the Oz books.
- ‘Writers for Relief: An Anthology to Benefit the Survivors of Katrina’ – Lincoln Daily News: There’s an interesting short bio of Niven in this article, talking about a 2005 anthology, particularly his childhood.
- Biography – Known Space: This is a particularly detailed bio on a semi-official fan site for Larry Niven’s work.
- Niven, Larry, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction: The SFE has a useful look at Niven’s works.
- Larry Niven – Summary Bibliography: ISFDB was an invaluble resource this time around, as it helped me figure out where Niven had published and what stories fell under the Known Space umbrella.
- I rediscovered this only after I submitted my post (I commented on it way back when), but Tor.com has a great series of posts celebrating Ringworld on its 40th anniversary.
Finally, many thanks to Larry Niven himself for answering my questions. Read our conversation here.