Review of The Best of Larry Niven

The Best of Larry NivenThe Best of Larry Niven by Larry Niven

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a sci-fi devouring youngster, Larry Niven was never a huge favorite of mine, but was always fun. The Man-Kzin Wars were a staple of my teenagehood (all five or six or nine volumes, or however many it ended up being). I read Ringworld, Footfall, The Mote in God's Eye. I enjoyed them all, although the most lasting impression from those novels, besides the image of laser-toting elephants, was the genius of the title The Mote in God's Eye. All this to say, his novels were fun, good reads, but not about to change the way I looked at the world.

Not so with his short stories. His straight-forward matter-of-fact writing style expresses itself wonderfully in little punch-out single idea what-ifs. Usually limited in scope, he allows the readers to wonder and ask the next questions.

His style also makes his new worlds very approachable. They are seldom completely alien, which would bother those like C. S. Lewis who were disappointed to see strange new worlds turned into our very own world but on the other side of the galaxy. And while sci-fi's "high literature" is produced by authors who write fantastically of the fantastic, writing sci-fi in a way that asks questions of us in the here and now is also desirable. And that's Larry Niven for you. Hard sci-fi short storyteller extraordinaire.

Pick this collection up, it will provide hours of great bedtime reading, and I'm not going to hesitate to let the kids dig in in a few years.

View all my reviews


  1. Great review. I have never read any of Niven's books, but have read some shortstories in a class back in college. Good stuff. I'll have to pick it up when it comes the local libratorium.


Post a Comment