Past Meetup

SEPTEMBER 2013 BOOK CLUB SELECTION: Ringworld by Larry Niven

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Details

Ringworld is a 1970 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe and considered a classic of science fiction literature. Interestingly, it's now in development as a four-hour miniseries. For Ringworld fans, this news might cause some deja vu. Syfy previously considered making a Ringworld miniseries under a different production team nine years ago.

Imagine a giant ring, a million miles wide, with a radius of one Earth orbit and a circumference of some 600 million miles, orbiting around a star. The Ring is far enough out that the heat is comfortable for humans to live on. It spins to mimic gravity, and has walls a thousand miles high to keep the air from spilling off its sides. Something like this (http://youtu.be/sR2296df-bc). Such a ring would have an inhabitable surface area equal to almost three million planets the size of the Earth. It is big. It is huge. Much of the work dealing with the Ringworld is about the difficulties of such a large world. The issues include how it was made, who could have built it, the various societies developed on it over time, and the problem of running it.

Anyhoo, the story follows a team of explorers that travel to the farthest reaches of space to investigate this alien artifact called Ringworld. As they crash land on this enormous structure, they discover the remnants of ancient civilizations, technology beyond their wildest dreams, mysteries that shed light on the very origins of man and, most importantly, a possible salvation for a doomed Earth.

So online you can find fans that have done cool stuff with this book as a basis for their work. Like an interactive Flash animation of Ringworld, here (http://www.dennisantinori.com/Resources/Ringworld/). Fun fact: Niven employs the trope of cross-species mating used for the purposes of diplomacy on the Ring. He reportedly wore a shirt to conventions that says "I have sex outside my species." Hey, sounds fun! More detailed plot info here (http://io9.com/5566084/ringworld-is-a-lot-like-lost-but-theres-a-crucial-difference).

Hope you can join us.