- Larry Niven's early writing is notable for his characters' witty dialogue and narration even in the face of mortal danger. His Crowning Moment of Funny from this period is the banter between Beowulf Shaeffer and Elephant in "Flatlander". However, in the 1980s, after The Ringworld Engineers, Cerebus Syndrome seemed to have set into Niven's style and it never quite recovered.
Beowulf Shaeffer: We looked at each other, waiting. But there was nothing to say. Except, Elephant, look! We don't have a hull no more! Isn't that remarkable?
- Among the Man-Kzin Wars stories, one of the few intentionally written as a comedy is "String" by Hal Colebatch and Matthew Joseph Harrington, in volume XII. It even has a Shout-Out to Girl Genius of all things.
- Another is "Leftovers" by Matthew Joseph Harrington, in which Villain Sue Buford Early runs afoul of a rogue Protector. Seeing the most Magnificent Bastard in Known Space forced to play "Hot/Cold" with a mutant supergenius is kind of like watching a Vathara character being told to Stop Hitting Yourself. Perhaps the best stunt "Ursula" pulls is when Early manages to slip away for a moment, dials up one of his subordinates to warn them of the threat, only to find the screen's been shut off. "Ursula" then pops up behind him, clamps his mouth shut and says - in Early's (drunk!) voice - that said subordinate is a beautiful person, he should tell everyone, and the screen's off because he's naked.
Buford Early: “Enthusiasm is no substitute for experience.”
"Ursula": “No amount of practice will create talent.”