In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths...and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.
A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated - one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape - the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.
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Nothing Happens... Nothing Happens... Its Over
Maybe someone who lives in the future who already can read whatever the rest of the books in this series will be... but even then I wouldn't recommend it.
If they made anything at all happen in the book at all... also they could have finished the book in some way.
I usually don't pick books based on the narrator... but I think I would avoid this one. The voices for characters are either dull and monotone or an annoying stereotypical nerdy voice.
All of them... or none of them... it doesn't really matter none of them had any reasonable personality to them.
I was relatively enjoying myself with this book up until about the midway point.I decide that if the story picks up a bit it will likely be an interesting story... however instead of picking up it just switches back and forth between the two groups of humans and tells the same story from slightly different angles over and over for 6 hours.
Some reviewers are saying this book ends with a cliffhanger... which really isn't true... it simply ends without any rhyme or reason. It is like they ripped a full book arbitrarily in half and decided to just publish that.
This could very likely be the worst book I have gotten from Audible in the 5 years I have been a member.
Ringworld wearing a Beanycopter
Someone who hasn't read Ringworld. This is a slight variant on the Ringworld, and most of the interesting issues about the big artifact are the same ones dealt with, much better, in that book.
The aliens here are new, and it looks like there might be interesting issues with them, but the book ends in the middle of the story before any of that gets going.
If you haven't read Ringworld, listen to that book instead of this one.
Put a whole story into this book, or provided some kind of resolution or payoff at the end of it. Or at least labelled this as only part of a story, so I would have known to avoid it. This is not the first book in a trilogy, because it is not a complete book in any sense. It ends at a seemingly random, insignificant point in the plot.
Niven and Benford, individually, are much better than this. Listen to just about any other of their books, but skip this one.
- John Derderian