cover image Stars and Gods

Stars and Gods

Larry Niven, Tor, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 9780765308641

Niven's (Ringworld) impressive body of work is given a stunning showcase in this hefty volume, which includes short stories, novel excerpts, interviews, and even obscure nonfiction pieces. The short stories and novelettes explore hard science fiction with Niven's characteristic eye for detail and engaging voice. Set in a future where humans have the option of eternal childhood, "Boys and Girls Together" explores the meaning of adulthood and child-rearing. The elegant "Free Floaters" (written with Brenda Cooper) is a touching romance told against the backdrop of a sunless planet and the adventurous creatures that live there. Meanwhile, articles like "Wet Mars" blend the boundaries of fiction and fact by exploring the oft-speculated possibility of water on the red planet. This is an excellent primer for readers wanting to learn more about Niven's work, though novices might find themselves lost by the setting and technical language of the Ringworld excerpts and stories. (Aug.)