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Monday, December 20, 2021

The World of Ptavvs (Known Space)The World of Ptavvs by Larry Niven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes it's really worth it to revisit some of the old SF to see how it holds up to modern, or whether it sits the youngster down on the steps and smartly slaps the hell out of the newcomers.

In this case, it's a fascinating mix of great ideas condensed down to an extremely short novel's length of action, 1966 style, visiting massive telepathic powers, slave races, a huge mix of alien species with vast histories, dolphins, ice worlds, laser-shooting sunflowers, and a burning Pluto amid a politically-tangled Solar System.

It's packed with great stuff.

It's also a bit lacking in the character build-up (understandable because of the length) and a bit light (due to the lack of plot darkness). If this novel had been written for today's audiences, it would have been twice or even three times the length, given a lot of extra goodies in the tech and literal world-building, and we would have been blessed with cleverly changing and changed characters.

It is what it is. Likely pretty classic for the time. What I liked best were the many, many interesting alien races. Of course, this is Niven, who is widely known for his awesome alien races, so that isn't really a big surprise. :)

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