Flatlander

FlatlanderFlatlander is a 1995 collection of stories by Larry Niven, all set in Known Space. It is the definitive collection of all stories by Niven about ARM agent Gil Hamilton.

The book includes the stories Death by Ecstasy (formerly The Organleggers), The Defenseless Dead, ARM, The Patchwork Girl, and The Woman in Del Rey Crater.

Gil “The Arm” Hamilton was one of the top operatives of ARM, the elite UN police force. His intuition was unfailingly accurate, his detective skills second to none, and his psychic powers — esper sense and telekinesis — were awesome.

Death by Ecstasy

First appearance in Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1969 (as “The Organleggers”). Later published in collections The Shape of Space (1969, coll), Inconstant Moon (1973, coll), The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (1976 collection), Flatlander (1995, coll.). Renamed to Death by Ecstasy when published in Inconstant Moon and that title was used from that time on.

Asteroid miner Owen Jennison is found dead in an apartment on Earth, apparently of suicide: He was a Wirehead, directly stimulating the pleasure center of the brain, and starved.

Gil Hamilton, an operative of the United Nations Police (and friend of Owen’s) must solve what appears to be a classic locked room mystery: he does not believe that Owen was the type to turn wirehead or commit suicide, so the death must have been planned by somebody else.

His investigations lead him to names associated with organlegging – the illicit handling and sale of spare body-parts. Eventually, he comes into contact with a West-Coast organlegging gang where his psychokinesis – in the form of a phantom “third arm” – becomes very useful.

Death by Ecstasy has been adapted as a graphic novel by Bill Spangler, Terry Tidwell, and Steve Stiles in 1991.

The Defenseless Dead

The Defenseless Dead is a novella in the Known Space Universe by Larry Niven. It is the second of five Gil Hamilton detective stories. It was published in 1973 in the Roger Elwood anthology Ten Tomorrows. Republished in The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (1976), Playgrounds of the Mind (1991) and Flatlander (1995).

In the story, Organlegging is rampant on Earth in the early 22nd century. In an attempt to alleviate the problem, the UN has just passed the first “Freezer Law”, declaring paupers in cryogenic suspension to be dead in law, allowing their organs to be harvested and made available for transplant.

A few years later, Hamilton is finishing lunch with an acquaintance, when he is shot at in a seemingly random act by a local lunatic. Closer investigation reveals the attacker to be a former organlegger who retired after the first Freezer Bill went into law.

The Woman in Del Rey Crater

Gil Hamilton story set on the moon, set shortly after The Patchwork Girl. What do you do with radioactive waste? The moon is a good dumping ground, specifically the Del Rey Crater. But when a woman’s corpse is found at the exact center of the radioactive hell, Gil the ARM is sent to investigate. By Larry Niven, published in the Flatlander collection (1995) and republished in Scatterbrain collection in 2003.

Gil Hamilton-stories

Novels and collections

The Organleggers (Death by Ecstasy) (1966). Published in The Shape of Space (1969, collection)
The Defenseless Dead (1973). Published in collection Ten Tomorrows.
ARM (1976)
The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (1976 collection)
The Patchwork Girl (1980)
Flatlander (1995, coll.) (Death by Ecstasy (Organleggers) 1969, The Defenseless Dead 1973, ARM 1976, Patchwork Girl 1978, The Woman in Del Rey Crater)

Comics

A.R.M. (1990, Adventure/Malibu Graphics), 3-issue mini-series, B&W. Based on the short story, “Death By Ecstasy” by Larry Niven. Written by Bill Spangler. Art by Terry Tidwell and Steve Stiles
“Death By Ecstasy” (September 1990, #1)
“The Organ Leggers” (October 1990, #2)
“Heart Attack” (November 1990, #3)

A.R.M.: The Defenseless Dead, (1991, Adventure/Malibu Graphics), 3-issue mini-series, B&W