Archive for May, 2008

1.5 x 10-to-the-twelfth, Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

May 7, 2008

This installment of personally memorable sf words, phrases, or scenes deals with another number, a horrifyingly large number, “One-point-five-times-ten-to-the-twelfth!”, or one and a half trillion, from Ringworld Engineers.

Cover by Dale GustafsonLarry Niven - Ringworld Engineers cover

Rather than deal in spoilers and spoiler warnings, I’ll just say that units of measure can sometimes be terrifying in themselves, and suggest you read the novel.  But it *is* the title of the last chapter … At what point does the meme “the greater good for the greater number” fail to comfort you? Here’s one answer. And now, some Known Space advice and background … 

Niven’s Ringworld in 1970 and Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama in 1972 popularized an sf subgenre about exploring what were disparagingly labelled BDOs, Big Dumb Objects [a borrowing from rocketry’s Big Dumb Booster designer’s acronym] by some critics with no sense of wonder about meeting alien technologies far in advance of our own.

One of the reasons Larry wrote Ringworld Engineers was to show that it was a Big Smart Object after all, and another was to address the instability issues if the Ring weren’t controlled.  There was a 3rd reason.  We asked Larry “did you write a sequel because of one of our suggestions?”  He smiled at the half-dozen of us and said, “no, I did it because I thought of something you didn’t!”


Aldo Spadoni interview – Larry Niven console video game in development!

May 3, 2008

Aldo Spadoni Discusses LARRY NIVEN’S FREE FALL
at the monthly Larry Niven chat. Lead interviewer was David Sooby.

Aldo Spadoni – Stars in His Eyes (photoart credit – Aldo Spadoni)

An interview with Aldo Spadoni, futurist aerospace engineer, astronomical painter, and – Niven video game codesigner!

Question: For the really uninitiated, what IS the Free Fall project?
A [Aldo Spadoni]: Free Fall is planned to be Larry [Niven]’s first major
entry into the modern world of videogames

Q: Just what are you doing for the Free Fall project?
A: I’m essentially the chief engineer. I’m designing the spacecraft and
much of the technology. Even dolphin spacesuits!

Q: When Larry mentioned it, he wasn’t sure this project would be carried thru to completion. Do you think it will be?
A: The key to selling this project is Alchemic Productions, operated by
Brian Gomez and Rick Ernst. They are working hard to sell the project
using their considerable experience and connections.

Q: So, Alchemic is the designer and they’re looking for a publisher?
A: Larry, myself, Brian, Rick are designing the game together, but Rick
& Brian have the real game industry expertise. (more…)

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