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Juggler of Worlds
Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Narrated by Tom Weiner, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 13 hours

Juggler of Worlds
Larry Niven
Larry Niven has authored or co-authored more than 40 novels and short story collections. His 1970 novel, Ringworld, won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, while his short stories have earned him four more Hugos. His collaborations with Jerry Pournelle include The Mote in God's Eye, an intense first-contact yarn, Oath of Fealty, a blistering tirade against liberal values, and the #1 bestseller, Footfall. He resides in Tarzana, California.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Escape from Hell
SF Site Review: Inferno
SF Site Review: Ringworld
SF Site Review: Rainbow Mars
SF Site Review: Best of all Possible Wars
SF Site Review: Destiny's Road

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Gil T. Wilson

From the first sentence, be prepared to be whisked away in this prequel to Larry Niven's science fiction classic, Ringworld. I have yet to read any titles in the Ringworld series, but this book does not require familiarity with the series to be enjoyed. It takes place 200 years before Ringworld and has a very interesting view of "known space."

Juggler of Worlds starts out jumping around from moment to moment, year to year, and location to location. At first it was a bit hard to follow, but once the story got rolling, all the pieces slipped into place and the story was easily followed and understood. The first half of the book is basically an explanation as to why the characters act as they do in the second half.

This audiobook is read by Tom Weiner. Tom's deep voice makes the book pleasant to listen to and his characterizations of the various humans and aliens helps to keep the story flowing. He makes it easy to understand who is thinking and speaking throughout the story.

Sigmund Ausfaller is an Agent for the U.N. More specifically, he is a highly valued Agent of the Amalgamated Regional Militia (A.R.M.). What makes him so valuable is that he is a Paranoid. Sigmund is perfect for rooting out conspiracies because he sees conspiracies in everything. The U.N. has several paranoids that are used to uncover conspiracies, but they achieve paranoia through the use of drugs. Sigmund is naturally paranoid, and that's what makes him unique and actually better at the job.

Sigmund meets Nessus, an alien from the race known as The Puppeteers. The Puppeteers are an older race in Known Space and have sold technology to most of the human race. Their biggest contribution is known as an indestructible hull space craft. Nothing (except light and gravity) can permeate the hulls, thus, creating a bit of peace in the universe. Nessus soon becomes Sigmund's adversary after all the Puppeteers mysteriously vanish from known space. The reason suspected is that the center of the galaxy is exploding.

After an indestructible hull returns in a deteriorated state, the mystery of what could destroy the indestructible adds to Sigmund's suspicions about the disappearance of the Puppeteers. With an exciting chase through hyper-space and beyond, Sigmund is determined to find out what is motivating Nessus and the Puppeteers.

Numerous jumps in space and various characters may seem confusing at first, but the mystery unfolds itself with a very nice payoff to end this intelligent science fiction novel. The various aliens, including the Puppeteers, Kzinn and the Outsiders, are well thought-out races. This will be especially satisfying for those of you who, like me, always wondered why every alien in Star Trek is bi-pedal. Here, they are not and you're sure to appreciate the creatively constructed aliens. So do yourself a favor and escape into this well-written and well-read audiobook.

Copyright © 2009 Gil T. Wilson

Gil T. has spent a quarter of a century working in radio and has lots of spare time on his hands and reading or listening to books takes up all that time. Check out his blog to find out what he's up to at any given moment.

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