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  • Hey. You think your having a wierd week. I just spent 15 mins reading (with interest I might add) about the Slough branch of Woolworths!!!
    I've replied on my visitor messages, again.
    Could you have a look there. Thort it was quite good lol
    Well I'm not a Yorkie by birth but by residence. My Jackson clan hails from the deepest, darkest parts of the Midlands but we are pretty well spread out. My Uncles a Peter but he's well into his eighties and down London way.
    Yep I did the Asimovs, though I preffered his I Robot stories to the Foundation which was really hard going, though I did really like the Chris Foss covers to the Trilogy. I did read Hyperion way back in the nineties I think ,but just the one book. Strangely enough in a day that is becoming full of oddly sychronised events it had a main character called Shrike if I remember well enough. The Mortal Engines books I recommended also have a lead character called the same ,who was just as nasty to a degree. Until you mentioned it I never made the connection, though I had a nagging feeling I had come across something similar before. Hyperion was a mixture of connecting short stories set on the planet but i'm struggling for the plot, apart from the Shrike sticking people to the trees. I'm going to have to dig it out now!
    Ha ha. They are quite common names. Paul J was the king of comedy in the 80s and 90's and also my cousines name, and Peter J, well Lord of the Rings etc

    I shouldn't really be talking to you anyway I'm Lancastrian/Cheshire by birth. LOL
    I was pretty much the same as you. I've read much all the Robot/Foundation books and found them to be something of a chore to get thru. It was quite clever how over the years he managed to join them up. But at the end of the foundation and empire series I did find the denuement a bit unsatisfying.

    I have read two very very good sci fi books lately though. Saturn's Children by Charles Stross (Not for the prudish) welll written, funny and exciting space based romp with real life space travel and physics.

    And The Hyperion Omnibus by Dan Simmons. Just really well written, imagined and blessed with astonishing characters and love.

    As you seem to have read a lot more stuff than me are you familiar with them?

    BTW my names Peter Jackson. I'm probably mostly a Scarlet fan but can never forget watching Breakaway for the first time and falling hopelessly in love with the Eagle. Hence I'm here.
    UFO/1999 certainly were adult sci fi dramas which is why I liked them so much back then.However the second series of 1999 ruined that! I still have a huge fondness for Thunderbirds because of the great models and yes I had every toy!!
    Then of course Starwars happened and thats all she wrote.
    Starship Troopers was a great novel and Heinlein a hugely talented writer. Clarke, Heinlein, Silverberg ,Niven and Asimov made up the bulk of my teenage reading which was extensive to say the least,which is why I might seem a bit well informed. I can remember when sci fi barely got a one shelf of books in WHSmith, next to the Westerns!!! Now its hugely popular, though the predominance of certain franchises means its stagnating a bit at the moment but that maybe because I've read the bulk of it over the years.I still get the annual "Mammoth Book of Best New Sci fi" and number 23 is due out soon!!! Its editted by Gardner Dozois and it really has the best short stories available from the year previous as well as a brilliant summary of everything that was outstanding, from films and art, to the novels and prize winners. I reccomend it to any fan of sci fi and I've pretty much been one for most of my life .
    I'd like to have met up with you and the other lads in Newcastle this weekend but unfortunately my neighbours got her fortieth birthday on Saturday and then theres a 21st on Sunday!
    PS Did you see Sherlock on Sunday. I was well prepared to butcher it but it really was great fun.
    How delightful to have a conversation not entirely about the puppet shows.
    I kinda sense that you are brighter/more informed than me.
    I do agree that most of the best sci fi is aimed at children and that most of the 'great writers' struggle to lift their prose to adult level. One of my fave books was 'Have space suit will travel' by Heinlen, and also Starship Troopers (possibly one of the most right wing books ever writen).
    I'm always amazed that S1999 and UFO were clearly too adult themed for me as a child but marketed at me as toys!
    My daughters went to see Inception on friday and were blown away by it.
    I've got 'Tales...' so I'll have to re read it. I've also got a Man/Kzinti wars book but it hasn't got that story in. Would like to see the episode of animated Star Trek that has the Kizinti in, have you seen it?

    Your right about some of Nivens work being patchy. Funnily enough I was browsing a site called Fantastic Plastic and one of the Concept ships is the ship described at the end of Footfall. I find the Mote books full of fascinating concepts but infuriatingly badly characterised.
    Alfalfa- The Trinocs were discovered by Louis Wu in "There is a Tide". Its the last story in "Tales from Known Space" I think.They were destroyed by a neutronium moon that they thought was a stasis box and Louis rescued the survivor.They are rarely mentioned again in the entire series.
    Sheathclaw is from "Fly by Night". Its not surprising you have not come across it as its a Niven short story from the Man Kzinti Wars collections, though God help me I don't know which, there were about ten last time I looked. Several authors contributed to the stories and the quality is variable to say the least. It was a secret planet inhabited by a mix of human/ kzinti telepaths who broke away from the Patriarchy because of the abuse they suffered.Again rarely if ever mentioned.
    "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton" is set mainly during the early part of the sub-light speed exploration of Known Space. The stories are mainly detective based dramas about organ legging and are quite good. The "long arm" mentioned is a psi power which is quite clever.
    Other than the ones you've read there is not too much to add to the Known Space cannon. Nivens short stories have all but disappeared and his later novels, particularly about the puppeteer worlds are poor entertainment incomparisson to the work he produced at the peak of the series.
    If you get an opportunity go see "Inception". Absolutely brilliant, my film of the year by about a full light year.
    Hi Mate
    Have been revisiting Ringworlds Children AND was wondering if you knew where The Sheathclaw and Trinoc factions in the Fringe War came from? Am I missing some Known Space books. I know I haven't read the Long ARM of Gil Hamilton. Never found it in print but I spose I could get it off the net?
    Hope I'm not bothering you with my questions?
    I'm not too keen on Banks none SF stuff, except for "The Crow Road" which was, rather like Prentis, very likeable and thoughtful, without being too dark. The Bridge isn't bad at all , and "The Wasp Factory" quite the darkest story I ever read. The twist was brilliant but 'orrible. As you say it made you see the character in a whole new light (and gender). The others just don't really impress at all.
    But that thread of gruesomeness does link into his SF which is why I don't enjoy it as much as Niven, who comes from a brighter, more optimistic time in SF. Consider the fingers bit in "Consider Phledas" for example. And the series ran out of steam ages ago, "Matter" did not impress me.
    If you want space opera there are plenty. Peter Hamilton s got about three trilogies, but they are all mammoth volumes. I'd read up on them before you make a choice. I always liked Orson Scott Cards Enders Game stories, but they are easy reads for younger people. If you want a great writer try Neil Gaiman, his prose and imagination is brilliant but he isn't strictly Sci fi. For sheer bloody minded characters try Joe Abercrombies "The First Law" trilogy. Its Tolkien with bollocks, no dwarfs,just bloody and guts and its characters are superb. Superior Glokta is perhaps a personal favorite, perhaps the best anti hero I've ever come across next to Gully Foyle . I read all three books in about a week. That good. I've always been a fan of cyber punk so William Gibsons Neuromancer trilogy are impossible to beat. To date they are my most reread set of sci fi books.
    For me Banks shades Niven. I think his non SF work allow him to characterise better, have you ever read Wasp Factory, mindf*ck, The Crow Road is also one of my favourite ever books. Louise Wu is a well developed character but many of the others are too 2 dimensional for me, especially the ones in the Mote in Gods eye. I can understand where you are coming from tho. I think it is likely that Banks was inspired by Niven. I actually really like the 'Minds' especially Meatf*cker'. Do you know of any other writers in a similar vein. I love a good big space opera. Cheers, Pete
    Ian Banks uses Ringworlds (along with Dyson spheres, Shell and Nest "worlds" !!!) in the Culture novels as I'm sure you know. He is a great writer,and as a space opera stories the Culture books come close to beating the Known Space series for sheer scale and complexity. I just don't enjoy them as much. I think its the fact the AI's are so powerful in the Culture! When Niven wrote his ,computers were barely around so they hardly figured in the stories- though there was one in the Dracos Tavern stories that was so clever it simply got bored to death which I found kind of amusing. Nivens ideas are certainly more entertaining, the Protector biology is very well thought out as are alot of his aliens, but then Niven has a stronger science background whilst Banks did not. Thats more reflected in the Culture novels which have a kind of philosophical appeal to them. I like the Kzin, the Puppeteers, and all and the way they weave themselves into the tales. i have to say I thought that The Ringworld Throne is the weakest of the lot. I didn't like the split narritive and it over complicates the story. Ringworld Children is better but again I'd have almost preffer he'd stopped at Engineers. I particularly admire the concept though because it helped influence the birth of THE BEST SERIES of console games ever! I am talking here of HALO of course. I await REACH with great anticipation. Thank you MR Niven (and Bungie of course)
    So good to find another Niven fan. I was thinking of Picking a Niven style name for the forum, but thought alfalfa was, erm, wittier? Whatever. Yeah I love the way the short stories and novels weave together and the detail he packs into the different races mankind encounters. I'd had a drink or two when I read you quite long post on the Dr Who thread and detected a distinct Nivenesque feel to what you said, plus Known Space is a bit of a giveaway. I just love the way the Pak change at a certain age which Niven goes into in some detail that explain away age changes in humans (artheritis, heart disease etc). Also the technical explanations of Ringworlds construction and physical properties appeals to my inner nerd. Currently cheering myself up with Ringworld Throne. Ian M Banks writes in a similar vien but with a completely different style. Have you tried the 'culture' novels?
    You've got a good memory Alf. If I remember rightly nobody could remember which one was the original as Brennan even replicated the graphitti on the stones!! I always got confused as to what happened to Home? In the subsequent stories its mentioned as a normal colony. At the end of Ringworlds Children its said that "Home was very Earth like and has a wonderful history", and Louis Wu (ex protector) heads there in the Long Shot . I imagine that after the first colony failed (turned protector) when We made It hyperdrives became available it was recolonized, like so many planets after the Man Kzin Wars. Yes, I am a huge fan of Larry Niven and every so often I cheer myself up by reading any of his sci fi novels and short stories. Brilliant imaginative work.
    RE Dr Who. C'mon Known Space, we both know Brennan built Stonehenge, well one of them. LOL. Just re read Protector for the nth time. I leave it for ages till I think I've forgotten most of it then re read it and the ringworld books. Would love to find out what happened on Home after Brennans death.
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