Just to get it out of the way, yes I just now read (or in this case listened to) this book. I woke up one day and said, “Hey! I need to read a book published 34 years ago!” Everyone says it’s a classic, so I figured I must be missing something. So I dove in and downloaded it from Audible, burned some CDs and I was off and running.
I did like the book – the concept of the Ringworld is pretty interesting, as is all the speculation about how it got there, who inhabits it, etc. That whole side of the book, great, no problem. However, there was a lot of stuff that felt *very* dated – as I suspect most of our current science fiction books will sound 30 years from now. The constant references to tapes, communicator disks, etc., just wore on me after a while. It felt like “The World of Tomorrow!”
The pacing was frenetic. One thing you can’t criticize Niven for was dragging something out. Twenty minutes into the book and everyone’s recruited, on board, and heading to who knows where for no damned good reason. A *tad* unrealistic, but something Neal Stephenson would have made in to a 400 page book in itself, complete with a 50 page digression on the history of the Kzinti monetary system and how it relates to modern human government. So I guess it’s not all bad.
Overall I’m glad I read (listened) to it. I’m just not looking forward to re-reading Altered Carbon in 2036.