"If I had a time machine, I'd visit the near future... a time close enough that someone might want to talk to Larry Niven, and can figure out the language, but distant enough to get me miraculous medical treatments and a ticket to the Moon."
— Larry Niven
A prolific writer of Speculative Fiction
, Larry Niven is best known for The Verse
of Known Space
, a very vast and detailed universe, which includes Ringworld
and its sequels (which were one of the inspirations for a certain Xbox Launch title which was an FPS...
) ; the mysteries of Gil the ARM; the Man-Kzin Wars, which ended up a professional Round Robin
; the voyages of Beowulf Shaeffer; the adventures of Louis Wu; the human-ancestral Pak Protectors and the Precursors
known as the Slavers. Known Space is notable for the many biologically plausible Starfish Aliens
which neither look nor think
Also responsible for numerous works with Jerry Pournelle, including The Mote In Gods Eye
(from which the term for a third hand — the "gripping hand" — comes. The phrase is used in the context of there being three options from which to choose, the dominant concern being the gripping handnote
) and Lucifer's Hammer
. He's also worked with Steven Barnes on the Dream Park
Niven's other notable work includes The Integral Trees
and its sequels, A World Out Of Time
which examines the implications of slower-than-light relativistic travel used as a form of Time Travel
, and the Fantasy
series of The Magic Goes Away
of that trope
). He also wrote the influential Man Of Steel, Woman Of Kleenex
, referenced often in geek culture, and some of the backstory for the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Green Lantern Corps
Niven's story "The Jigsaw Man" was originally published in Harlan Ellison
's groundbreaking anthology Dangerous Visions
Niven is known among his fans as "Speaker-to-Seafood
" because of a long and very public argument he once had with a lobster during the Guest of Honor dinner/Hugo Awards ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention. (He was bored, the awards ceremony was going long... you do the math.) The name is a play on "Speaker-to-Animals", one of the heroes of Ringworld
There is more than one Shout-Out
to him in Magic: The Gathering
. A very powerful necromancer, Nevinyrral
shows up, on the very powerful Nevinyrral's Disk
, and also wrote the "Necromancer's Handbook", a field guide for aspiring necromancers.
Niven often has Shown His Work
Works by Larry Niven with pages on this Wiki:
Tropes in other Larry Niven works:
- But What About the Astronauts?: Kind of used in Fallen Angels - a radical environmentalist regime rules the Earth and the only people left with freedom and high technology are those living on a moon base or in an orbital habitat made by combining the Mir and (never actually built) Freedom space stations. However, as another ice age is fast descending upon the Earth, it looks like it could become a straight example.
- Exploited Immunity:
- In one Draco Tavern story, the bartender is infected with a Puppeteer Parasite sentient virus. It warns his friends that there's no way to get rid of it without killing the bartender too, only to be told that it's treatable with sulfa drugs (which would destroy the virus without harming the bartender).
- In "The Lion In His Attic", a sorceress infiltrates a partially submerged castle by using magic to make the water withdraw. A man breaks her concentration and causes her spell to lapse, resulting in the water flooding back in and drowning her. The man doesn't care because he's a were-sea lion - he just changes to sea lion form and swims back to the surface.
- If Jesus Then Aliens: Also used in Fallen Angels - the novel's "ruling coalition of proxmires, falwells, rifkins and maclaines" is composed of groups currently regard each other, sometimes literally, as minions of the Devil. Niven(and later, Michael Crichton) noticed that if those four blocs ever realized that they are Not So Different - that they all yearn for Ye Goode Olde Days - they could easily gain bipartisan support(Green liberals and fundie conservatives) and pretty much Take Over the World.
- Zero-G Spot: The problems of low gravity sex are discussed in The Patchwork Girl.