Appraisal

Space travel and aliens make excellent topics for Science Fiction novels, and when they are used with impressive imagery, believing the existence of the alien species becomes easy. The author continues building the characters and the Ringworld throughout the book, so as to not overload the reader with long descriptions that slow the storyline down.

The tasteful treatment of sexual interactions doesn’t detract from the main theme, and in fact gives credibility to the situations that arise.

The author brought in a morality issue by presenting ‘selective breeding’ to enhance preferred traits in the human and Kzin species by the puppeteers. Since the late 60’s, this was still a hot topic from the major wars of that era, the emotions exhibited by the main characters in regards to that were very believable and helped the story flow, explaining why certain members were chosen for the team.

The book was engaging and difficult to put down, even when other duties called. I felt a part of the storyline as the author used his abilities to describe new places or people as they occurred including things as small as smells in the air.

Pros

While reading the novel, it was well-described, and wherever any technical terms or concepts were presented, the author gave enough description and background to allow even a Sci-Fi novice to grasp the meaning the author intended for the term or concept.

It was pleasant to see interspecies trade in a positive light, and the offer to help the human and Kzin civilizations with advanced space engine technology in return for the help of the team Nessus selected to go explore the Ringworld. This gave both of the races the ability to escape the destruction coming in the future.

The descriptions of the characters, places, and objects allowed the reader to visualize them and draw pictures in their mind’s eye. I could easily envision what the author was describing and that made it believable.

Cons

The author did his best to show that the puppeteers had very effective medical treatments and he did very well. Until the point where Nessus lost his head, literally, and there was a replacement head that could be put back on the neck… that was hard to swallow.

The storyline had the ability to move planets as a matter of course for both the puppeteers and the builders of the Ringworld, but the “how” left me wondering…