By Larry Niven
Most of the Stars and Gods collection is a set of introductions to the various works of Larry Niven. The book contains excerpts from some of his novels, such as Ringworld’s Children, and Rainbow Mars, as well as collaborative novels such as Building Harlequin’s Moon (with Brenda Cooper) and Fleet of Worlds (with Edward M. Lerner). As such, this book is likely best suited to Niven fans may want to purchase this book for their friends, to see if it will get them hooked on his writing, or hard core Niven collectors may want this on their bookshelf so it features a complete set of Niven books.
Because of the nature of this book, I had initially decided to simply synopsize it, rather than review it. There were, however, a few short stories that I hadn’t seen in other collections, which I found worth reviewing.
“Safe Harbour,” is a story set in the the Draco Tavern series. As with most stories in the series, a Chirpsithra starship arrives at Earth, bringing with it other interesting aliens, some of whom come to the Draco Tavern. The tavern is well set up to deal with the nutritional needs and psychotropic desires of numerous alien species. New to the Draco Tavern, the Trisharp Clade, are members of a small interstellar empire, which have been genetically modifying their kind for millennia, into different specialty types. Many of them have been bioengineered for military roles. This story deals with issues of violent conflict, which is something not all that common in this series, compared to Niven’s Known Space series.
The story “Finding Myself” is a stand alone story, examining the implications of being able to produce copies of people. In this case, the characters are virtual versions of deceased humans. The virtual people regularly have back ups made of their personalities, in case something happens to the active personality, and the inadvertent duplicate results from this technology. An interesting slant on the theme.
Review by Karl Johanson.
First Published in Neo-opsis issue 21.