Book Review – “Protector”

Well, my copy of Harry Potter 5 didn’t come on Saturday (even
though I’d paid for Saturday delivery), so I read this instead.

General Information

Title: Protector

Author: Larry Niven

Original Publication Date: 1973

ISBN: 0-345-35312-9

Cover Price: $5.99US, $6.99 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

The typical signs of old age are actually the body’s attempt to
reach
the next stage of evolution. All we’d need would be the right
catalyst.

High Point

The ending. There’s just so much potential there!

Low Point

The introduction of Alice. Her relationship with Roy gets intimate
very rapidly, with no clear reason for it. She seems to be there
mainly to give the character someone to talk to on his journey,
who
can then be cut loose later, giving the hero more motivation.
She’s
more of a device than a character.

The Scores

There have been stories suggesting that mankind was birthed on
another
planet before, but how many of them set us up as an enemy of
the race
that colonized here? Include the fundamental changes in human
physiology here and it’s enough to bring the
originality
score up to 5 out of 6.


The imagery is good when it comes to describing
devices and
other settings, but it’s pretty much up to the reader to decide how
the characters look, apart from height and muscle mass. I give it
4
out of 6.

The story is well written, and crafted to keep up the
tension
of a space battle, even though its adherence to science means
that the
space battles can be several months long. It takes some time to
get
started, but once Brennan is reintroduced, it takes off and doesn’t
slow down. I give it 5 out of 6.



The characterization is a bit weak. Alice is a plot
device,
Brennan and Phssthpok are logic boxes, and Roy can get a bit
bland.
The rest of the story keeps things moving, but these are still flaws.
I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced is much like
the story;
things take time to get moving, but there’s a steady build at a
hectic
pace for the last two thirds of the novel. I give it 4 out of 6.



The editing could tighten things up in the early pages,
but
it’s not really a major problem. The time is well spent building up
the two relative societies, so the reader understands how
bastardized
the species has become. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a very entertaining tale, despite some
technical flaws. I find rereading it more enjoyable than rereading
Niven’s Ringworld. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Protector receives 30 out of 42.

6 replies on “Book Review – “Protector””

  1. TwistyHat says:


    Is this the first time you have read it fiziko? Ooh, i like Nivens work, there is something about the way he writes. You have read Ringworld i trust?

    • fiziko says:

      Re: …

      Is this the first time you have read it fiziko? Ooh, i like Nivens work,
      there is something about the way he writes. You have read Ringworld i
      trust?

      It’s a reread, but the last time I read it was before I was writing for this
      site. In fact, with the exception of some non-Niven Man-Kzin Wars
      stuff, I’ve read all of the Known Space stories, as well as much of his
      other work. I’ve reviewed Ringworld and Ringworld
      Engineers
      here in the past, and will review Ringworld
      Throne
      before Ringworld’s Children comes out early
      next year. (I’ll review that too, of course.) I also hope to review
      N-Space and Playgrounds of the Mind before
      Scatterbrain comes out in August. (I may be quoted in
      Scatterbrain, describing an experiment that lets you
      measure the speed of light with a marshmallow casserole and a
      microwave oven.)

      If there’s any specific Niven (or other author) you want me to get to
      next, check
      the list of what I’ve got
      and then e-mail me with your request.
      Priority in reviews goes to new material, stuff associated with new
      material, and stuff that has been requested the most.

      • TwistyHat says:

        Re: …

        I’ve reviewed Ringworld and Ringworld
        Engineers
        here in the past, and will review Ringworld
        Throne
        before Ringworld’s Children comes out early
        next year. (I’ll review that too, of course.)

        Oh, a new Ringworld book – i wonder if it will be any good or just more Rishatra.

        • fiziko says:

          Re: …

          Oh, a new Ringworld book – i wonder if it will be any good or just more
          Rishatra.

          The inspiration is public knowledge. The day after Larry Niven
          subscribed to the larryniven-l discussion list (which I later subscribed to)
          someone pointed out that the champion Teela hooked up with sounded
          pretty lucky himself. Speculations about how lucky their children would
          be got the ball rolling. Tor bought it as Ringworld’s Child,
          but it’ll be published as Ringworld’s Children.

  2. Jethro says:

    I reread Starship Troopers…
    …while waiting for Harry Potter. Funny thing is, my copy DID arrive but since I never use the front door, I didn’t notice. Fedex likes to just leave stuff, without even trying to knock or ring the doorbell. Annoys the HELL out of me, but at least they DID leave it this time.

    Anyway, I liked Protector. Read it a few years ago, well after the Ringworld books. It’s a good read – Niven tends to be a good read for me. Old SciFi that’s out of print tends to be good reads for me. Used bookstores rock – I can’t wait to finish Order of the Phoenix so I can get back to the massive pile of old Phillip Jose Farmer books I got for like $10. On-Topic? What’s an On-Topic?

  3. is says:

    Niven rocks
    seriously, except for a few flukes I’ve greatly enjoyed all of his stuff. The Man-Kzin Wars are pretty good too.

    I didn’t know you took requests…. so I’ll be emailin. heh

Comments are closed.