Larry Niven’s Ringworld

Ringworld is a science fiction novel written by Larry Niven and published in 1970.

The novel won the Hugo, Nébula and Locus prizes in 1971; it is one of the few science fiction novels that has achieved such a triple prize. The novel has three continuations: Ingenieros de Mundo Anillo (1980), Trono de Mundo Anillo (1996) and Hijos de Mundo Anillo (2004).

In the year 2850, four explorers (two humans and two aliens) are chosen to explore a mysterious “Ringworld”, an enormous annular artificial structure surrounding a star. The story takes place in a technologically advanced universe, where instant teleportation and the hulls of indestructible spacecraft are a reality.

Luis Wu (Louis Wu), the protagonist, is a retired adventurer who has just celebrated his 200th anniversary. Despite his age, he is in optimal physical condition due to advanced medical technology. He spends his birthday jumping in front of the timeline, party after party across the Earth, but is secretly bored of his lifestyle.

Nessus belongs to a more advanced species, the Titerotes de Pierson (Pierson’s Puppeteers), whose most notable trait is its extreme prudence, coupled with a permanent paranoia. Nessus has been sent to earth to gather a small team to explore the Ringworld, whose existence is unknown to most species of the Known Space. The Titerotes of Pierson have a reputation as manipulators who use other species for work that can carry any type of risk.

Interlocutor-de-Animales is a felinoid Kzin, a ferocious predator species that has fought unsuccessfully with humans in the distant past. He is recruited as head of mission security. His personality seems to be based on a Japanese samurai warrior.

Finally, Teela Brown is a young woman whose role in the mission is unclear in the first instance. But Nessus and his race do nothing without a reason, and Teela’s usefulness becomes clearer as the argument moves toward its conclusion.

When the ship crashes into the Ring World, the adventurers must find a way back into space. They travel great distances in “aerocicles”, discover strangely evolved ecosystems, and interact with some of the varied and primitive civilizations of the ring. They try to discover what caused the inhabitants of the Ring World to lose their technology, and speculate on who the creators were and the reasons they had to embark on such a major project.