Book reviews / Science Fiction

Book review: Ringworld

This book was a bit of slog. You would figure 278 pages of 2 humans and 2 aliens being shipwrecked on an alien built ringworld would fly by. You would be wrong.

There doesn’t seem to be anything fundamentally wrong with the idea, it was just a bit badly written, I think. Also, some of the plot was just bullshit. I can go with world-manipulating alien races, but breeding for luck?! Then the entire reason for everything is so Teela (the only main female character) can decide to stay on the Ringworld to stay with her beefy Conan the Barbarian-esque heart throb. Fuck off.

Also, the idea that the entire world would collapse because of some bacteria that would eat superconducting materials? Whatevs. The explanations for things didn’t live up to expectations. It was just either too bizarre or just too stupid for me to enjoy overly much.

There’s also just a lot of chat for no particular reason, it doesn’t seem to tie in overly well with the general thrust of the plot. This made it drag somewhat.

Anyway, it was a good idea but not brilliantly executed.

I’m torn whether or not it passed the test or not. There are technically 3 female characters (though one is an alien and I’m not quite sure if she’s actually a she, but whatever). Teela Brown is the main female character and she’s a bit young and naive. She’s kind of there for the ride, being propelled by the luck that is part of her. There’s a third alien, Priss who appears to be like the companions in Firefly. Of course, kind of like Rendezvous with Rama the main male character sleeps with at least 2 of them. I think it fails.

Anyway, maybe 3/5 stars because at least it was short and had a good idea. As well, while it may have failed the test it wasn’t overly sexist – though one of the alien cultures has a leadership panel called ‘the Patriarchy’ and their females weren’t sentient like the males. So, problematic in some respects. In other ways though, Louis Wu (the male lead) is always saying stuff about Teela like she was her own person and could do what she wanted. He knew he couldn’t control her and didn’t try. So good in some ways.

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