by Larry Niven
This is my third time reading this collection of short stories from the award-winning Larry Niven. I am more used to reading his collaborations with Jerry Pournelle, but was given this book as a Christmas gift in the late 1970s and loved the concept. Each of the books 8 stories are set in Niven’s “Known Space“, four of then featuring the same principal character, Beowulf Shaffer, a pilot looking for work wherever he can find it.
Although all the stories here are worthy and interesting, it is the, without doubt, the title story itself (Neutron Star) and “At The Core” that makes this collection such a delight.
The first four also feature the enigmatic and ancient race known as the Puppeteers (featured ion the cover of this edition).
The stories themselves were all first published in 1966 and 1967. At the time that this collection was first published in 1978 the concepts and featured technology were still valid, but time has overtaken Noven’s visions of the future. That does not however distract from what are imaginative and compelling stories. I am not by a rule a fan of short stories, but this is one of those collections that kept me intrigued to the end of the final story. Maybe this is due to the links between them all.
Larry Niven’s work has always been rooted in the big science and theoretical concepts and much of the science in these stories is as fresh and intriguing as it was when I first read them.
Neutron Star is an interesting and intriguing collection. There is pure science, thriller and even a smattering of crime. As good a selection as you will find anywhere.