My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I don’t remember when I read this originally. Long time ago. It broke another reader’s block spell, which is another plus to one of the best science fiction novels written. I don’t reveal plot in my fiction reviews, because I think that’s selling the authors short (even the ones long past), but I will note a few things…
The vegetation, as Louis had remarked, was eerily Earth-like. There were bushes where one wold expect bushes, bare spots where one would expect bare spots. According to instruments in the scooters, the plants were earthly even at the molecular level.
One of my complaints about modern science fiction, like the 2018 three-boot of Lost in Space, is this…but there’s a reason here that Niven craftily teases at. With respect to non-creative television series, I know it is to save money…thus “universal translators” and other silliness. (Maybe the LiS writers are leading to something like Earth started “out there first”?? Nah. They aren’t that imaginative.)
There is one part (no spoiler) that involves something distinctly human, distinctly earth, and distinctly pre-digital and though Niven dresses up his narrative with futuristic references, he had no idea that “test patterns” would become obsolete…
A forgotten interchange (it has been a very long time, will go into the mental toolbox:
Prill laughed. “You foolish child! You have told me yourself that your ships move very quickly next to ours.”
“They do,” said Louis. “They move faster than light.”
“I think you improve the tale,” she laughed. “Our theory says that this cannot be.”
“Maybe we use different theories.”
…”different theories”…!! Love it!
Anyway, …, superior science fiction. I’ve not read more than the next, I think. Maybe…