On October 15th, Phoenix Pick will be releasing a new Larry Niven title as part of their Stellar Guild Series, which teams up seasoned authors with newer ones. Red Tide by Larry Niven, Brad R. Torgersen and Matthew J. Harrington will be priced at $14.99 for the paperback and $6.99 for the ebook.

However, for the month of August only, you can get a pre-release eBook copy of Red Tide for only $4.99 when you purchase it through Phoenix Pick’s catalogue page.

Here’s the book description:

Loosely based on Larry Niven s 1973 novella “Flash Crowd,” Red Tide continues to examine the social consequences of the impact of having instantaneous teleportation, where humans can instantly travel long distances in milliseconds.

This is a theme that has fascinated the author throughout his career and even appears in his seminal work Ringworld, where the central character celebrates his birthday by instantly teleporting himself to different time zones, extending his birthday. The author also discusses the impact of such instantaneous transportation in his essay, “Exercise in Speculation: The Theory and Practice of Teleportation.”

Larry Niven is joined by two younger writers, Brad R. Torgersen and Matthew J. Harrington, as they take on this challenging idea and further develop the theories and concepts that Niven originally presented in “Flash Crowd.”

Grab Red Tide today!


Ringworld is a novel that’s always stuck with me. I picked it up alongside authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other authors from that point in time. Foundation and Dune are two books that are among my favorites, but Ringworld has long been the best of the lot. It’s vivid, funny, exciting and so forth. Reading it again recently in preparation for this column, I was astounded at how well it’s held up (as opposed to Foundation) in the years since it’s publication, and I can’t wait to read it again.

Go read Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Known Space Stories  over on Kirkus Reviews.

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming graphic novel Ringworld: The Graphic Novel (Part 1) by Larry Niven & Sean Lam, hitting shelves in July.

Here’s the synopsis:
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According to Blastr, two classic science fiction novels are headed to the SyFy channel.

The first is Ringworld by Larry Niven. The four-hour miniseries version of Ringworld follows a team of deep-space explorers investigating an alien artifact. (Guess which one?) The team crash-lands, encounters alien technology, and discovers the ruins of a lost civilization that could control the fate of the world.

The second novel is Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, which depicts the effects of an alien invasion that “turns the Earth into a near-utopia”.

Blastr notes other miniseries adaptations in the works at SyFy: Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick and an apocalyptic project titled Darkfall.

[via David K. M. Klaus]

MIND MELD: The Future of Humans and AI

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Recently, a group of futurists predicted that artificial intelligence is a deadlier threat to humanity than any sort of natural disaster, nuclear war, or large objects falling from the sky. In an article by Ross Anderson at AeonMagazine.com, David Dewey, a research fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute says, concerning the human brain and probability “If you had a machine that was designed specifically to make inferences about the world, instead of a machine like the human brain, you could make discoveries like that much faster.” He stated that “An AI might want to do certain things with matter in order to achieve a goal, things like building giant computers, or other large-scale engineering projects. Those things might involve intermediary steps, like tearing apart the Earth to make huge solar panels.” He also talked about how programming an AI with empathy wouldn’t be easy, that the steps it might take to “maximize human happiness”, for example, are not things that we might consider acceptable, but to an AI would seem exceedingly efficient.

Of course, this leads into much more complex discussion, and the possibilities with AI are vast and varied.

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: What is your take on the future of humans and AI? Is it positive, negative, both?

Here’s what they said…

Larry Niven
Until Larry Niven is the author of Ringworld, the co-author of The Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer, the editor of the Man-Kzin War series, and has written or co-authored over 50 books. He is a five-time winner of the Hugo Award, along with a Nebula and numerous others.

  • If you make an intelligent being, you must give it civil rights.
  • On the other hand, you cannot give the vote to a computer program. “One man, one vote” — and how many copies of the program would you need to win an election? Programs can merge or can generate subprograms.
  • Machines can certainly become a part of a human. Our future may see a merging of humans and machines.
  • Or all of the above. Keep reading science fiction. We always get there first.

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Starship Sofa is hosting an Event that promises to be nothing short of fascinating. It’s a live video session with science fiction legends Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Gregory Benford!

Moderated by the Sofa’s own Tony C. Smith, the event takes place Sunday, the 21st of April from 18:00 to 19:30 (BST).

Join science fictions legends Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Gregory Benford as they talk about science fiction, technology, Ringworlds, Big Dumb Objects and a whole universe of wonders.

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This is the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel The Goliath Stone by Larry Niven and Matthew Joseph Harrington.
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Gregory Benford and Larry Niven, who recently collaborated on The Bowl of Heaven,

From YouTube:

Larry Niven & Gregory Benford, two of the most respected authors of hard science fiction, talk about their new book Bowl of Heaven and the concept of stories about “big dumb objects” as a sub-genre. They review prior stories (including Ringworld by Niven) and then talk about the physics of the “big smart object” that is the Bowl of Heaven — a half dyson-sphere steering a star on an interstellar voyage.

Also: Pay attention at 44:44 for news on the Ringworld movie!
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Phoenix Pick has two (count ‘em) eBooks deals for you this month.

First up is their “Free eBook-a-Month” promotion with Larry Niven’s collection Limits.

About the book:

Here is an extraordinary mix of fantasy and science fiction from one of the masters of science fiction, Larry Niven.

The stories in this collection include some collaborations with authors such as Jerry Pournelle (Spirals) and Steven Barnes (The Locusts), as well as stories written by Niven himself.

Larry Niven’s credits include the award-winning Ringworld series, his “Known Space” novels and the Man-Kzin anthologies. His collaborations with Jerry Pournelle include such titles as Lucifer’s Hammer, Inferno and The Mote in God’s Eye.

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Here’s the cover art and synopsis of the upcoming novel Bowl of Heaven by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven.

Here’s the synopsis:

In this first collaboration by science fiction masters Larry Niven (Ringworld) and Gregory Benford (Timescape), the limits of wonder are redrawn once again as a human expedition to another star system is jeopardized by an encounter with an astonishingly immense artifact in interstellar space: a bowl-shaped structure half-englobing a star, with a habitable area equivalent to many millions of Earths…and it’s on a direct path heading for the same system as the human ship.

A landing party is sent to investigate the Bowl, but when the explorers are separated—one group captured by the gigantic structure’s alien inhabitants, the other pursued across its strange and dangerous landscape—the mystery of the Bowl’s origins and purpose propel the human voyagers toward discoveries that will transform their understanding of their place in the universe.

Book info as per Amazon US:

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765328410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765328410

TOC: The Best of Larry Niven

Subterranean Pres has posted the table of contents for The Best of Larry Niven edited by Jonathan Strahan:

  1. “Becalmed in Hell”
  2. “Bordered in Black”
  3. “Neutron Star”
  4. “The Soft Weapon”
  5. “The Jigsaw Man”
  6. “The Deadlier Weapon”
  7. “All the Myriad Ways”
  8. “Not Long Before the End”
  9. “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”
  10. “Inconstant Moon”
  11. “Rammer”
  12. “Cloak of Anarchy”
  13. “The Fourth Profession”
  14. “Flash Crowd”
  15. “The Defenceless Dead”
  16. “The Flight of the Horse”
  17. “The Hole Man”
  18. “Night On Mispec Moor”
  19. “Flatlander”
  20. “The Magic Goes Away”
  21. “Cautionary Tales”
  22. “Limits”
  23. “A Teardrop Falls”
  24. “The Return of William Proxmire”
  25. “The Borderland of Sol”
  26. “Smut Talk”
  27. “The Missing Mass”

My name is JP and I’m a science fiction fanatic. Sure I’ve tried other genres, fantasy, horror and mainstream come to mind, but science fiction is always my primary interest and the genre that I read almost exclusively when it comes to fiction. The reasons are numerous, and in future installments I’ll go over other reasons why I like science fiction over all other genres, but today I’m going to focus on science fiction’s arch nemesis, at least in the minds of many fans: mainstream fiction.

A look at the New York Times Bestseller List shows an all too common site for fiction, namely it’s populated by thrillers, crime/mystery stories and other assorted dramas. Most of them don’t venture outside the realm of the mundane, focusing on the “real”, albeit fictionally. There are the exceptions, but those are usually in the fantasy/supernatural department. Rarely does a science fiction book hit the list, and rarer still does one stay on for an extended period of time. A glance at the summaries of most of these books does absolutely nothing for me. They are mundane, slightly boring and most definitely not interesting to me. That’s why I love science fiction. It’s not afraid to explore those ideas that mainstream won’t, or can’t.

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SF Tidbits for 10/1/09

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SF Tidbits for 9/28/09

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