Personally, I think Ringworld is a fascinating book that falls prey to its age. True, it is one of the most important works of science fiction ever written. True, it has affected genre in profound ways. But it is also a work that doesn't connect as well with contemporary audiences as it did in the decades immediately following publication (1970). That said, it has not aged as much as the works
of the Golden Age, which have suffered the effects of time more acutely than the stuff from the New Wave.
|My first foray into the Known Space Universe|
was via an abridged audiobook of Ringworld.
Science fiction, however, has been accused of having the exact opposite problem: the Golden Age and so on and so forth are viewed nostalgically, not as stepping stones in a much larger literary movement. I'm not convinced this is wholly true, but it is certainly true in some cases -- Myke Cole would probably agree. We are often so focused on what were great works "back then," and not on the great works of "just a short while ago" or "now." "We" as in "the community." That's not our fault really. Because most of us think of science fiction as having that "sensawunda" feel, it becomes increasingly difficult to surprise. So we go back to a time when SF did what we want "all" SF to do, in a way that seems or feels like it's divorced from the unfortunate and material reality we all live in. Golden Age/Classic SF doesn't care about how the world really turned out and what that might mean for future generations (so the nostalgic argument goes); it just wants to take us to the future, to show us grand adventures, exciting technologies and peoples, and so on and so forth.
|Whatever you might think of the classics, the idea of a|
giant ring world is still pretty amazing.
What do you think about the classics? In particular, what do you think of Ringworld? What did you think of it when you first read it? The comments are yours.