Literacy week, month, whatever — Book 6

I don’t follow a lot of what goes on, so when I got tagged for a Literacy Month challenge, I thought nothing of it, rolled up my make-believe sleeves, and responded to the challenge. Except, Literacy Month is November.

. . . you can’t trust anyone these days . . .

So I’m supposed to “. . . post seven books I love; one book per day, no exceptions, no reviews – just covers . . .” which I’m doing on Facebook.

I wrote posts about the first three books because they were in Italian and wanted to expand/explain my choice. This book is in English and the reason I’m writing a post is . . . because I want to.

Speaking of literacy, how about reading and voting on the three “C” stories recently published on this blog? You can vote for them HERE as well as find links to them so that — you know — you can read them before you vote.

The books I posted on Facebook were arranged in chronological order. Had I chosen to present them in order of preference, I’d have had a tough time deciding between a few authors and books . . . but Larry Niven‘s Ringworld would’ve place near the top, if not the top.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and flat out say I liked more books by Larry Niven than by any other author . . . well, maybe Zelazny . . . and Butcher . . . and Saberhagen . . . OK, OK . . . let me backtrack . . . Larry Niven wrote Tales of Known Space that introduced concepts, characters, civilizations, and technologies that — in my humble opinion — smoked other authors and left them in the dust.

The Puppeteers, the Kzin, the Ptaws, stasis fields, transfer discs, transfer booths, hyperdrives, invulnerable hulls, all tools in crafting engaging stories. You can read specifics about Known Space HERE. I liked that he created a chronology for the stories he wrote and set them in a common universe.

I don’t remember with certainty if Ringworld was the first of Niven’s books I read, but it’s likely so.

I could list all the books of his I read, but instead, I’ll give you links (HERE and HERE) to his bibliography. The second is probably easier to navigate because it’s grouped a bit better.

I’m sure I’ve read all of these:

Tales of Known Space

And the first two of these:


  1. Ringworld (1970)—Nebula Award, 1970[2] Hugo and Locus SF Awards winner, 1971[3]
  2. The Ringworld Engineers (1979)—Hugo and Locus SF Awards nominee, 1981[4]
  3. The Ringworld Throne (1996)
  4. Ringworld’s Children (2004)

Why only two? In the 90s, I owned a business that occupied a lot of my time. I owned the other two books but never got around to reading them. Perhaps I will, but I’m happy where the first two books ended.

He wrote (or collaborated, or licensed) a series of books titled the Man-Kzin Wars (I through XV) with other stories about our struggles with the Kzin. Or rather, their struggles with us.

I read most of the Kzin stories but I probably missed a few, again because my life is seldom focused on just one thing.

I mentioned he collaborated with other writers (one of the things I like about the man). Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes were two of his frequent collaborators. Yes, I read their stories as well.

Some of Nive’s collaboration with Jerry Pournelle

with Steven Barnes

One thing the reader might find interesting . . . both Niven and Pournelle served in US administrations as advisers on matters of National Security.

Really, I can keep on writing about Niven’s books and it won’t mean anything to most people who read this. However, if you are at all interested in science fiction (what is known as “hard science fiction“), you owe it to yourself to give Niven a try.

I should mention that “hard science fiction” is not necessarily scientifically accurate. But, it is logical and self-consistent.

BUT WAIT . . . Niven also wrote about magic; specifically, he wrote The Magic Goes Away which spawned a series. If you are an M:TG player, then you might know which card is named after him. I sold all my cards in 2018 but here’s the card in question:

Nevinyrral's Disk

Magic Goes Away

  1. Not Long before the End (1969)
  2. What Good Is a Glass Dagger? (1972)
  3. The Magic Goes Away (1978)
  4. The Magic May Return (1981)
  5. More Magic (1984)
  6. The Time of the Warlock (1984)

There’s more I could mention . . . but I’m going to end with a strong recommendation:

. . . read “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex“. Seriously, if you do nothing else with all I wrote about here, you need to read this piece explaining what would happen to LL (Lois Lane, or Lana Lang, or Lori Lemaris) if she were to actually make love to Superman (and conceive). If you don’t want to read the piece, at least read about it.

The piece appeared in Niven’s All the Myriad Ways.

Sadly, I only have a small portion of what used to be a vast SF library. Still, I kept a few.

This is a photo I just took of some of the books that I still own. Recognize any?

I have a number of hard-cover books, but none from Niven.

OK, I’ll end here. But, Larry Niven . . . worth a look-see, methinks.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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