One of the most important and best of Niven's works.
Random House Publishing Group
|Number of Pages|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
6.80 x 4.20 x 0.57 Inches
For those that know 'Ringworld', we learned in 'Ringworld Engineers' that the Ringworld was built by Pak Protectors, and that Pak are tough, super-intelligent and dedicated to protecting their species, whatever it takes. In 'Protector' we learn more about the Pak and their links with humanity, and how one human - the prospector Jack Brennan - became a protector to our species and our planet... Even if you haven't read any of the 'Ringworld' books, I'd rate this as an enjoyable read. The relationship between the Pak and humankind is a shockingly plausible bit of science fiction (I won't spoil it by revealing too much) and the story, which takes place across a timespan of several decades, romps along without getting bogged down in background detail. If you are able to get hold of this book and you enjoy SF, I'd thoroughly recommend it.
(Original Review, 1980-07-29) Some apparent anomalies in Niven's "Protector". I am reasonably comfortable with Larry Niven's "Known Space" universe, however I have just finished rereading "Protector" for the umpteenth time and I am somewhat disturbed by the apparent incompatibility with other "Known Space" stories. In "Protector" Roy Truesdale seeks out Brennan and they leave Sol for Home with the Pak scouts close behind. Brennan infects Truesdale with the modified Tree-of-Life virus just before they get there. After they arrive there, the virus spreads to all members of Home. The net result is that you have a planet full of childless protectors. Many years later ("Known Space" time) I believe We Made It buys the hyperspace shunt from the Outsiders. How come I have never seen reference to Home being wiped out by plague (that would be a likely story for the protectors to send to Earth) or reference to protectors on Home (I have not read "Ringworld Engineers" yet and I understand that protectors have something to do with Ringworld). With the advent of the hyperspace shunt, someone should have visited Home. Sometimes I read so fast that I miss things. If so, could someone please cite examples to get me back on track. [2018 EDIT: This review was written at the time as I was running my own personal BBS server. Much of the language of this and other reviews written in 1980 reflect a very particular kind of language: what I call now in retrospect a "BBS language".]
Niven continues to surprise me. This is the fourth book of his that I've read, and possibly my favorite. He created hard science fiction with characters that are fun to live with. Even though there wasn't much need for character development, or a reader's attachment to them, I came to like the characters we followed. Brennan was sweet in how he retains human gentleness. The structure was interesting -- almost as if related short stories were tied at the end as a novel. I'm not entirely sure how the stories fit with the Ringworld storylines. One event shown in PROTECTOR is mentioned in RINGWORLD and another that is suggested in this novel influences THE RINGWORLD ENGINEERS. The exploration of a certain body in space was reminiscent of the explorations of Ringworld. However, I felt as if I'm missing more connections. It could be that I'd subconsciously wanted more, so I went looking for opportunities.Niven and his publishers have, to date, given us a total of 11 books plus uncompiled short stories set in Known Space. There's plenty of space to explore.
Man's first contact with an alien life form turns out to be a lone Protector on a search and rescue mission - seeking out a lost colony from the Pak system. Instead of finding the Pak, he finds Jack Brennan - a miner from the belt. Brennan is everything a belter should be - brave, resourceful, smart, daring... but he's got nothing when compared to the Protector. I enjoyed this book. I think the separations between the sections were rough and it felt like there was a whole heck of a lot of relevant information that was left to be backfilled in future sections. I thought the transition between breeder and protector was interesting. The depth with which the protectors play their games and make their plans is pretty incredible and the subtlety with which Brennan plays his games is just as nuanced. Probably a little overdone, but we're talking about superman, here...
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