Larry Niven is back again in the Ringworld universe with a series of four pre-quels to the classic sci-fi epic Ringworld.
This time, rather than set the story in the huge ring like orbiting structure created by aliens, Niven and Lerner build the back story about the Puppeteers – a race of cowardly horse like aliens with two heads that look like sock puppets. In the first of four books of the series Niven and Lerner tell the tale of how the Puppeteers capture and breed Humans to be their scouts since they are too cowardly leave their own planets on their own.
Then, in Juggler of Worlds, the story follows an ARM agent (Amalgamated Regional Militia a branch of the futuristic United Nations which has taken over government of an overcrowded earth), Simon Ausfaller who is born with smarts and paranoia. Fortunately for him, the ARM requires its agents to be paranoid in order to counter the nefarious schemes of aliens like the Puppeteers. The mad Puppeteer scout Nessus of Ringworld fame kidnaps Simon and brings him to the Puppeteer homeworlds, the Fleet of Worlds, where the aliens have started accelerating their planets out of the galaxy in order to escape some disaster originating from the center of the galaxy.
I so enjoyed the first two books that I also bought the next two, which I will review shortly. The last two books of the quartet were more entertaining than the first two, in my opinion.
Recommended for Ringworld fans. This series is relatively stand alone and can be read even if you know nothing about Ringworld or Niven’s Known Space universe.