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WesternSFA
Ringworld: The Graphic Novel, Part One
by Larry Niven
Tor, $15.99, 272pp
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
A modern science fiction classic, Larry Niven's Ringworld won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel in 1970. Now this SF classic is adapted into a graphic novel.

The main character is Louis Wu, a two hundred year old human, who's more than a bit bored and jaded with life in a peaceful, prosperous world. Louis is recruited by Nessus, a two headed alien, who is a member of the Puppeteer race who is deemed mad by his own people. Joining them is a Kzin named Speaker. He looks like a giant catlike warrior and has no love for humans or Puppeteers; he's more than a bit of a grumpy cat, if you will. The final member of this crew is Teela Brown, a human woman, bred to be infinitely lucky.

The book starts with an overview of the Man-Kzin War and proceeds to the Puppeteer, Nessus, recruiting Louis Wu and others on a secret mission, which is to explore an alien artifact. Nessus is not forthcoming with many details, but keeps dangling the plans of a super spaceship called the Long Shot as the prize for joining him on this expedition. They first visit the Puppeteer homeworlds, the location secret and sought after by many. From there, the group learns more about their mission. They are to investigate a star that has a large ring around it, without going too close to it. Needless to say, the best laid plans and all that, the ship ends up crashing into what they call Ringworld, the ring that surrounds the star.

They use flycycles to investigate. Along the way, they have encounters with the natives and find that the civilization has fallen into savagery. They manage to escape to continue their quest for the rim wall. And the book ends, leaving the reader stranded at a cliffhanger spot about half way through the story arc.

If you think of it more as visual Cliff Notes for the novel, then you might be fine. This is volume one, so it is only about half the original story, to be continued in the next volume. It covers all the major plots, but don't expect all the depth or elegant imagery that the actual novel contains. This is also told in black and white style story panels, rather than as a full color comic. With this in mind, it didn't knock my socks off, but I found that the book was an adequate read and I would read volume two. I'm more likely to seek out the original novel, though, so I can see what I'm missing here. ~~ Dee Astell

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