Crashlander

CrashlanderCrashlander is a fix-up by Larry Niven published in 1994 set in his Known Space universe. It is basically a collection of all but one story about the crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer bound together by a new story with the name Ghost. Includes the short stories Neutron Star 1966, At the Core 1966, Flatlander 1967, Grendel 1968, The Borderland of Sol 1975 and Procrustes 1993

A Crashlander is also a person from the planet We Made It.

Neutron Star

A short story written by Larry Niven. It was originally published in the August 1966 issue (Issue 107, Vol 16, No 10) of Worlds of If. It was later reprinted in Neutron Star (1968) and in Crashlander (1994) . The story  is notable for including a neutron star before their (then hypothetical) existence was widely known.

“Neutron Star” is the first to feature Beowulf Shaeffer, the ne’er-do-well ex-pilot and reluctant hero of many of Niven’s Known Space stories. It also marked the first appearance of the nearly indestructible General Products starship hull, as well as its creators the Pierson’s Puppeteers. The star itself, BVS-1, is featured in the novel Protector (1973), where it is named “Phssthpok’s Star”. A prelude to the story is also included in the novel Juggler of Worlds.

Neutron Star

At the Core

A short story written in 1966 by Larry Niven. It is the second in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, November 1966, and reprinted in Neutron Star (1968).

The novel Fleet of Worlds is set in the aftermath of the story, from the Puppeteer point of view. The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds. The events are also referred to in Ringworld.

Four years after the events in the other short story “Neutron Star”, spaceship pilot Beowulf Shaeffer is on Jinx, a planet orbiting Sirius B, when he is again contacted by the Puppeteers, this time by the Regional President of General Products on Jinx, who offers him a chance to guide a cramped (but very fast) experimental ship to the center of the galaxy as a promotional stunt. Shaeffer is offered one hundred thousand stars to make the trip, plus fifty thousand stars to write about it; he is also given the rights to sell the story. Shaeffer, seeing the value of such a promotion (as well as the value of his pay) agrees to go, naming the ship Long Shot.

Flatlander

The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, November 1966, and reprinted in Neutron Star (1968) and republished in Crashlander (1994).

Traveling to Earth after his trip to the core of the Milky Way Galaxy, Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer befriends Gregory Pelton, a fabulously wealthy and gregarious flatlander who calls himself Elephant. Irritated at always being labeled a flatlander despite having logged many hours in space, Elephant decides to visit the most unusual system in or near Known Space, and has his agents put in a call to meet with the nearest Outsider vessel. Elephant show Shaeffer around Earth for a few days.

Four days after landing on Earth, Elephant and Shaeffer travel to the edge of Known Space in Elephant’s ship, the Slower Than Infinity, to meet the Outsiders for information on the location of the most unusual system in Known Space. The Outsiders charge one million “stars” (the interstellar currency) for the whereabouts of the system and Elephant accepts; the Outsiders also offer to explain, for an additional two hundred thousand stars, what exactly makes the star system unusual. Elephant declines when they reveal that he will be able to find this out for himself.

Grendel

A short story written in 1968 by Larry Niven. It is the fourth in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Neutron Star (1968) and republished in  Crashlander (1994).

Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer is on a flight between Down and Gummidgy when the ship’s captain, Margo Tellefsen, announces that she is dropping of out hyperdrive so passengers can witness a starseed setting sail. Just after this happens, all passengers are knocked out by a gas introduced in the ship’s life system; while no cargo is missing, a Kdatlyno touch sculptor named Lloobee has gone missing…

The Borderland of Sol

The Borderland of Sol is an English language science fiction novelette written in 1975 by Larry Niven. It is the fifth in the Known Space series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer.

The story was originally published in Analog, January 1975, and printed in the collection Tales of Known Space, reissued 1985 , and reprinted in Crashlander (1994).

It includes some solid science as well as ‘space opera’. It is one of the earliest works of fiction to feature a black hole.

Segments of the novel Fleet of Worlds serve as a prequel to the story.

A rash of spaceship disappearances around Earth results in a dearth of available transit, stranding Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer on Jinx away from his love, Sharrol Janss. While visiting the Institute of Knowledge he runs into his old friend Carlos Wu. Carlos is the father of Janss’ two children, a fact that he found so embarrassing that he decided to leave Earth rather than face Bey upon his expected return. But Bey proves perfectly happy to hear about the children, as his albinism denies him a license to have children of his own, and he and Sharrol had agreed that Carlos should act as a surrogate.

Reconciled, Carlos mentions that he has been contacted by Sigmund Ausfaller of the Bureau of Alien Affairs, who has offered him a ride to Earth. Bey has had several run-ins with Ausfaller in the past; Ausfaller aims to protect human-alien relations in any way he can, and at one point he planted a bomb on Bey’s alien-provided General Products’ #2 hull to prevent him from stealing it and potentially causing a sticky diplomatic incident. Worried about what might happen to Carlos at Ausfaller’s hands, he decides to accompany him on his next meeting…

The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds.

Procrustes

“Procrustes” is an English language science fiction short story written in 1994 by Larry Niven. It is the sixth in the series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Bridging the Galaxies in 1993 and then republished in Crashlander the year after.

The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds.

Sharrol and he had gone to a party held at Carlos’s home in the Great Barrier Reef. There they met Feather Filip. The party was to feature recreational sex interspaced with small dinner dishes, tapas. Once there, Carlos tells them that Feather is an ARM, part of the United Nations police. After a few hours of eating and sex, Feather activates a shield to keep them from being spied upon and gets down to business, knowing that anyone who’d been watching would expect that Feather had something too kinky in mind to share over surveillance tapes. Carlos worries that the ARM will care what they’re saying, but Feather says they will dismisses it as “Feather coming down after a long week.”

Carlos and Feather intend to leave Earth, for keeps. They want to go as a group, four adults and two children, to match the profile of a family on Fafnir that has fallen on hard times. They will provide the family, the Graynors, with transportation to Wunderland and funding once they are there, and under their name Carlos, Feather, Shaeffer and Sharrol and the kids Tanya and Louis will continue on to Home as Shashters (residents of Fafnir’s one continent, Shasht). Sharrol is annoyed; she and Carlos had talked this over extensively, years before. Sharrol has Flatland Phobia; she can’t leave Earth. Carlos knows that. They have an answer for that: Sharrol, Tanya and Louis will travel in cold sleep to Fafnir, then again on to Home. Both Carlos and Feather have their reasons for going. Carlos is tired of the ARM supervising his every move. Feather is about to retire and knows she will never be let off-planet and the United Nations will never approve a “schiz” (a paranoid schizophrenic) having babies. Feather also tells Shaeffer the UN will never let him off Earth again; he knows too much about the Core explosion, the Puppeteers and Kdatlyno, and Julian Forward’s work. Carlos told Feather he wanted to offer them the chance to come along, but they do need a pilot, and Shaeffer fills that need. They talk it around until Shaeffer and Sharrol are convinced…

Ghost

The collection Crashlander brings together the short stories featuring the space pilot Beowulf Shaeffer.

Each of the stories is linked, and in some cases extended, by a framing story, “Ghost”. This story recounts Shaeffer’s reunion with a ghostwriter whom Shaeffer had used to write the stories “Neutron Star” and “At the Core”, Ander Smittarasheed.

Ander, working for ARM agent Sigmund Ausfaller, has come to question him about his dealings with Pierson’s Puppeteers, General Products and Carlos Wu, as well as what happened to Wu and ARM agent Feather Filip. Wu, Shaeffer and Sharrol Janss and their children, Tanya and Louis Wu, had secretly emigrated from Earth to the planet Fafnir to escape the control of Earth’s United Nations government and the ARM.

Neutron Star, At The Core, Flatlander, and Grendel were previously included in the 1968 collection Neutron Star.

Most of the stories in the collection are retold from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller in Juggler of Worlds.

Fly-By-Night

Fly-By-Night is story by Larry Niven set in the Known Space and about Beowulf Shaeffer, ex-pilot and adventurer. Published in Man-Kzin Wars IX and Crashlander.

Set after the events of “Procrustes”, Shaeffer finds himself onboard a passenger ship, the Odysseus, just as it is being captured by a ship of Kzinti pirates. Shaeffer is taken prisoner and develops an unusual alliance with a non-practising Kzinti Telepath, “Fly-by-Night” and his octopus-like Jotoki slave, “Paradoxical”.

Other stories mentioning Angel’s Pencil are The Colonel’s Tiger and Telepath’s Dance

Beowulf Shaeffer stories

Neutron Star, the first story in the Beowulf Shaeffer series. Published in the collection Neutron Star.
At the Core, the second story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Flatlander, the third story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Grendel, the fourth story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Borderland of Sol, fifth story about Beowulf Shaeffer. Republished in Crashlander.
Procrustes, the sixth story in the series. Published in Crashlander.
Ghost, the framing story in the collection Crashlander.
Fly-By-Night, the seventh story in the series, written after Crashlander.

More: WikipediaHard SFResolute Reader

Bridging the Galaxies

Short story collection by Larry Niven, published in 1993. Has two stories set in the Known Space Universe, Procrustes and The Color of Sunfire.

Procrustes

“Procrustes” is an English language science fiction short story written in 1994 by Larry Niven. It is the sixth in the series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Bridging the Galaxies in 1993 and then republished in Crashlander the year after.

The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds.

Sharrol and he had gone to a party held at Carlos’s home in the Great Barrier Reef. There they met Feather Filip. The party was to feature recreational sex interspaced with small dinner dishes, tapas. Once there, Carlos tells them that Feather is an ARM, part of the United Nations police. After a few hours of eating and sex, Feather activates a shield to keep them from being spied upon and gets down to business, knowing that anyone who’d been watching would expect that Feather had something too kinky in mind to share over surveillance tapes. Carlos worries that the ARM will care what they’re saying, but Feather says they will dismisses it as “Feather coming down after a long week.”

Carlos and Feather intend to leave Earth, for keeps. They want to go as a group, four adults and two children, to match the profile of a family on Fafnir that has fallen on hard times. They will provide the family, the Graynors, with transportation to Wunderland and funding once they are there, and under their name Carlos, Feather, Shaeffer and Sharrol and the kids Tanya and Louis will continue on to Home as Shashters (residents of Fafnir’s one continent, Shasht). Sharrol is annoyed; she and Carlos had talked this over extensively, years before. Sharrol has Flatland Phobia; she can’t leave Earth. Carlos knows that. They have an answer for that: Sharrol, Tanya and Louis will travel in cold sleep to Fafnir, then again on to Home. Both Carlos and Feather have their reasons for going. Carlos is tired of the ARM supervising his every move. Feather is about to retire and knows she will never be let off-planet and the United Nations will never approve a “schiz” (a paranoid schizophrenic) having babies. Feather also tells Shaeffer the UN will never let him off Earth again; he knows too much about the Core explosion, the Puppeteers and Kdatlyno, and Julian Forward’s work. Carlos told Feather he wanted to offer them the chance to come along, but they do need a pilot, and Shaeffer fills that need. They talk it around until Shaeffer and Sharrol are convinced…

Beowulf Shaeffer stories

Neutron Star, the first story in the Beowulf Shaeffer series. Published in the collection Neutron Star.
At the Core, the second story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Flatlander, the third story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Grendel, the fourth story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Borderland of Sol, fifth story about Beowulf Shaeffer. Republished in Crashlander.
Procrustes, the sixth story in the series. Published in Crashlander.
Ghost, the framing story in the collection Crashlander.
Fly-By-Night, the seventh story in the series, written after Crashlander.

More: Wikipedia,

The Color of Sunfire

An unusual space opera – entire tale told inside someone’s drawing room (on the world called “Silvereyes”), recounting events that happened 40 years ago!

This is the story of Richard Harvey Schultz-Mann – the man who found out the location of puppeteers home world and intended to blackmail them by exposing its location. Only Mann’s luck ran out. Puppeteers have learned of galactic core explosion and have taken their world elsewhere.

First published in Bridging the Galaxies.

Full story is available online at Future worlds of Larry Niven.

Other sites: Variety SF,

Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven

Short story collection by Larry Niven from 1975 and reissued 1985, containing:

  • The Jigsaw Man, 1967: Chilling implications of human organ transplant technology. The story was first published in Harlan Ellison’s anthology Dangerous Visions, and is included in Niven’s collections All the Myriad Ways, Tales of Known Space and Three Books of Known Space
  • The Warriors, 1966: Man’s first encounter with aliens of Kzinti species. Kzinti’s have vastly superior technology, but heroic men beat them in the little war in deep space! Originally published in Worlds of If. Later republished in the collections The Shape of Space (1969), Tales of Known Space (1975), The Man-Kzin Wars, Three Books of Known Space and The Best of All Possible Wars.
  • How the Heroes Die, 1966: Only one of the two men can live. First appearance in Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1966. Republished in the collections The Shape of Space (1969, collection), Inconstant Moon (1973, coll), Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (1975, collection), Three Books of Known Space (1996, coll)
  • Intent to Deceive, 1968: A software bug creates major chaos at a fully automated restaurant. First published in Galaxy Magazine, April 1968. Republished in the collections Tales of Known Space and Three Books of Known Space.
  • Becalmed in Hell, 1965: An accident on Venus. First appearance in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July 1965. Republished  in several collections: All the Myriad Ways (1969, coll), Inconstant Moon (1973, coll), Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (1975, coll), Playgrounds of the Mind (1991, coll), Three Books of Known Space (1996, coll)
  • At the Bottom of a Hole, 1966: Human explorers to Mars are killed by the natives. Short story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1966. Republished in several collections: The Shape of Space (1969, collection), Inconstant Moon (1973, coll), Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (1975, collection), Three Books of Known Space (1996, coll)
  • Wait it Out, 1968: An accident on Pluto puts a man in natural semi-stasis, awaiting & hoping eventual rescue. First published in1968. Published in the collections All the Myriad Ways (1971), Tales of Known Space: The Universe of Larry Niven (1975), Playgrounds of the Mind (1990) and Three Books of Known Space (1996)
  • Eye of an Octopus, 1966: Humans dig up a Martian’s grave. First published in Galaxy, February 1966.
  • The Coldest Place, 1964: Hunt for alien creatures on “the dark side of” Mercury. First published in Worlds of If, December 1964. Republished in the collections Tales of Known Space (1975) and Three Books of Known Space (1996).
  • Safe at Any Speed, 1967: A man is eaten by a huge bird along with his air car, & survives! On an new colony world. First published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 1967. Later published in collections The Shape of Space (1969), Tales of Known Space (1975) and Three Books of Known Space (1996).
  • There Is a Tide, 1968: An alien cons a human on an extra-Sol world, & regrets it because of an unexpected development. First printed in Galaxy, June 1968. The reprinted in the collections A Hole in Space 1974, Tales of Known Space 1975 and Three Books of Known Space 1996.
  • Cloak of Anarchy, 1972: An experiment in an anarchy-based society where there is no government. First published in Analog, March 1972. Reprinted in the collections Tales of Known Space and N-Space.
  • The Borderland of Sol, 1975: Space pirates are robbing commercial traffic on busy interstellar routes with a new weapon. The story was originally published in Analog, January 1975, and reprinted in the collections Tales of Known Space, reissued 1985, Playgrounds of the Mind (1991), and Crashlander (1994).

All of the short stories take place in the Known Space Universe.

Links: Variety SFThe Incompleat Known Space Concordance,

Intent to Deceive

Intent to Deceive aka The Deceivers is a short story by Larry Niven, first published in Galaxy Magazine, April 1968. Republished in the collections Tales of Known Space and Three Books of Known Space.

Lucas Garner reminisces about an incident at an automated restaurant that malfunctioned, with disastrous consequences for anyone who tried to escape through the robotic kitchen…

Links: Variety SF,

Eye of an Octopus

Short story by Larry Niven, first published in Galaxy, February 1966. Three early human explorers on Mars. Henry Bedrosian and Christopher Luden go down to the surface, Abe Cooper remain in orbit. They find a buried martian and dig him up. In series with How the Heroes Die and At the Bottom of a Hole.

Links: Variety SF,

The Coldest Place

Short story that first appeared in Worlds of If, December 1964. Republished in the collections Tales of Known Space (1975) and Three Books of Known Space (1996).

Larry’ Nivens first-ever published story. On the dark side of a non-rotating Mercury, explorers Eric and Howie collect unexpected samples of life. This story was rendered obsolete before it was even published due to advanced probes of the planet. Larry Niven wrote a sequel, “Becalmed in Hell” with the same two characters. Technical aspects of the story are dated.

Links: Variety SF,

Cloak of Anarchy

Short story first published in Analog, March 1972. Reprinted in the collections Tales of Known Space and N-Space.

Humans have a chaotic nature. In the same breath they demand the security and peace of law enforcement and demand freedom from control and prying eyes. The leaders of the future democracies have solved this by creating what are called Free Parks: places where anything and everything is allowed — except violence against one’s fellow human. Enforcing this edict are flying machines called copseyes. At the first sign of violence, the copseye stuns and paralyses both parties, and each participant wakes up far away from the site of violence under the watchful gaze of a copseye.

There are those that believe even the copseyes are too restrictive however, and one man’s plan to drop all of them from the sky at once gives those with this belief the power to test it. But the anarchists ideas are not well thought out, and the result is not what anyone expects…

Links: Larry Niven.net (full story), Variety SF,

The Borderland of Sol

The Borderland of Sol is an English language science fiction novelette written in 1975 by Larry Niven. It is the fifth in the Known Space series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer.

The story was originally published in Analog, January 1975, and printed in the collection Tales of Known Space, reissued 1985 , and reprinted in Crashlander (1994).

It includes some solid science as well as ‘space opera’. It is one of the earliest works of fiction to feature a black hole.

Segments of the novel Fleet of Worlds serve as a prequel to the story.

A rash of spaceship disappearances around Earth results in a dearth of available transit, stranding Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer on Jinx away from his love, Sharrol Janss. While visiting the Institute of Knowledge he runs into his old friend Carlos Wu. Carlos is the father of Janss’ two children, a fact that he found so embarrassing that he decided to leave Earth rather than face Bey upon his expected return. But Bey proves perfectly happy to hear about the children, as his albinism denies him a license to have children of his own, and he and Sharrol had agreed that Carlos should act as a surrogate.

Reconciled, Carlos mentions that he has been contacted by Sigmund Ausfaller of the Bureau of Alien Affairs, who has offered him a ride to Earth. Bey has had several run-ins with Ausfaller in the past; Ausfaller aims to protect human-alien relations in any way he can, and at one point he planted a bomb on Bey’s alien-provided General Products’ #2 hull to prevent him from stealing it and potentially causing a sticky diplomatic incident. Worried about what might happen to Carlos at Ausfaller’s hands, he decides to accompany him on his next meeting…

The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds.

Beowulf Shaeffer stories

Neutron Star, the first story in the Beowulf Shaeffer series. Published in the collection Neutron Star.
At the Core, the second story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Flatlander, the third story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Grendel, the fourth story in the series. Published in Neutron Star.
Borderland of Sol, fifth story about Beowulf Shaeffer. Republished in Crashlander.
Procrustes, the sixth story in the series. Published in Crashlander.
Ghost, the framing story in the collection Crashlander.
Fly-By-Night, the seventh story in the series, written after Crashlander.

More: Wikipedia,

Neutron Star

Neutron StarsNeutron Star is 1968 collection of short stories written by Larry Niven. It was republished in an Omnibus edition in 1991 together with World of Ptavvs and A gift from Earth. Includes the short stories Neutron Star 1966, At the Core 1966, Flatlander 1967, Grendel 1968, The Handicapped, The Soft Weapon and A Relic of the Empire. All of them set in the Known Space Universe.

Neutron Star

A short story written by Larry Niven. It was originally published in the August 1966 issue (Issue 107, Vol 16, No 10) of Worlds of If. It was later reprinted in Neutron Star (1968) and in Crashlander (1994) . The story  is notable for including a neutron star before their (then hypothetical) existence was widely known.

“Neutron Star” is the first to feature Beowulf Shaeffer, the ne’er-do-well ex-pilot and reluctant hero of many of Niven’s Known Space stories. It also marked the first appearance of the nearly indestructible General Products starship hull, as well as its creators the Pierson’s Puppeteers. The star itself, BVS-1, is featured in the novel Protector (1973), where it is named “Phssthpok’s Star”. A prelude to the story is also included in the novel Juggler of Worlds.

Neutron Star

At the Core

A short story written in 1966 by Larry Niven. It is the second in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, November 1966, and reprinted in Neutron Star (1968).

The novel Fleet of Worlds is set in the aftermath of the story, from the Puppeteer point of view. The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds. The events are also referred to in Ringworld.

Four years after the events in the other short story “Neutron Star”, spaceship pilot Beowulf Shaeffer is on Jinx, a planet orbiting Sirius B, when he is again contacted by the Puppeteers, this time by the Regional President of General Products on Jinx, who offers him a chance to guide a cramped (but very fast) experimental ship to the center of the galaxy as a promotional stunt. Shaeffer is offered one hundred thousand stars to make the trip, plus fifty thousand stars to write about it; he is also given the rights to sell the story. Shaeffer, seeing the value of such a promotion (as well as the value of his pay) agrees to go, naming the ship Long Shot.

Flatlander

The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, November 1966, and reprinted in Neutron Star (1968) and Crashlander (1994).

Traveling to Earth after his trip to the core of the Milky Way Galaxy, Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer befriends Gregory Pelton, a fabulously wealthy and gregarious flatlander who calls himself Elephant. Irritated at always being labeled a flatlander despite having logged many hours in space, Elephant decides to visit the most unusual system in or near Known Space, and has his agents put in a call to meet with the nearest Outsider vessel. Elephant show Shaeffer around Earth for a few days.

Four days after landing on Earth, Elephant and Shaeffer travel to the edge of Known Space in Elephant’s ship, the Slower Than Infinity, to meet the Outsiders for information on the location of the most unusual system in Known Space. The Outsiders charge one million “stars” (the interstellar currency) for the whereabouts of the system and Elephant accepts; the Outsiders also offer to explain, for an additional two hundred thousand stars, what exactly makes the star system unusual. Elephant declines when they reveal that he will be able to find this out for himself.

Grendel

A short story written in 1968 by Larry Niven. It is the fourth in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Neutron Star (1968) and Crashlander (1994).

Beowulf “Bey” Shaeffer is on a flight between Down and Gummidgy when the ship’s captain, Margo Tellefsen, announces that she is dropping of out hyperdrive so passengers can witness a starseed setting sail. Just after this happens, all passengers are knocked out by a gas introduced in the ship’s life system; while no cargo is missing, a Kdatlyno touch sculptor named Lloobee has gone missing…

The Handicapped

A science fiction short story written in 1967 by Larry Niven. Published in Neutron Star (1968).

The story introduces the Grogs; the sessile but sentient inhabitants of the planet known as Down.

Mr Garvey arrives at the planet Down, having heard about the natives called Grogs. Garvey Limited, a company owned by his father, makes artificial limbs and other tools for the “Handicapped” species; sentient beings that evolved minds but with nothing that would serve as hands, like dolphins. A local reluctantly agrees to show him a living Grog in the desert, but the Grog turns out to be a disappointment. It is sessile enough, being a furry cone living anchored to a rock, but it seems utterly void of sentience. The latter observation is later confirmed by a local exobiologist.

The next morning, Garvey has a revelation. Somehow he knows the Grogs are sentient, without knowing why he knows. He returns to the desert and finds another Grog that begins to communicate with Garvey telepathically. It turns out the Grogs are indeed sentient beings with strong telepathic abilities, but for fear of being perceived as a threat for this very reason, they have concealed this until now. But having read Garvey’s mind, seeing he can help them break their isolation, they are willing to take their chances…

The Soft Weapon

A science fiction short story written in 1967 by Larry Niven. It was the basis of the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode, The Slaver Weapon. The original idea for the episode later became Niven’s novellette The Borderland of Sol.

The Soft Weapon was first published in If (magazine) in 1967 and has since been included in the short story collections Neutron Star (1968) and Playgrounds of the Mind (1991)

The story introduces the character of Nessus, who later became one of the main characters of the novel Ringworld. The story is retold, from the point of view of Nessus, in Juggler of Worlds.

Nessus is returning from a diplomatic mission to the Outsiders, having purchased what is apparently a Thrint stasis box, on a passenger ship run by a human couple, Jason and Anne Marie Papandreou.

They stop at Beta Lyrae to sightsee where they unexpectedly discover, by deep radar, another stasis box. However, the box is a trap by Kzinti pirates. The rogue Kzinti are using a dummy stasis box to lure ships that they detect to be in possession of stasis boxes. The Kzin capture the crew and open the looted stasis box, which is revealed to be a Tnuctipun stasis box, not Thrintun. Stasis boxes (which are rare) often contain advanced technological products of immense military value. The Kzinti hope to use the contents of the box to develop weapons technology that will allow them to wage wars of conquest.

The box contains a Tnuctipun weapon which is capable of morphing into several devices, none of which are deemed useful by the Kzinti as war weapons. However, one setting, an energy absorber, causes the Kzinti restraint field to fail, allowing Jason and Nessus to escape with the weapon. They are recaptured, but not before Jason manages to discover a hidden setting. This setting is a matter-to-energy conversion beam, which is far more powerful than anything possessed by either Human or Kzinti.

The Kzinti, desperate to know how to access the hidden setting, threaten Jason’s wife in attempt to get him to divulge it, but he refuses. Her life is spared when the device, which is intelligent (and loyal to its long-extinct Tnuctipun masters), begins to speak. The Kzinti converse with the weapon, believing they are getting knowledge of how to access the setting. However, the weapon, believing itself to have fallen into the possession of an enemy, tricks the Kzin into activating a self-destruct mechanism. The Kzinti are killed, the humans and Puppeteer survive, in part thanks to the restraint technology used protecting them from the blast impact.

A Relic of the Empire

Larry Niven implicitly joined hist two previous timelines (The Belter Series and Neutron Star/Ringworld) in the story A Relic of the Empire, in which the background elements of the Slaver civilization (introduced in World of Ptavvs, from the Belter series) was used as a plot element of a story in the faster-than-light setting. Roughly 300 years separates the timeline of the last stories of the early setting (which are set roughly between 2000 and 2350), from the earliest stories in the later Neutron Star/Ringworld setting (which are set in 2651 (Neutron Star) and later).

Beowulf Shaeffer stories

Neutron Star, the first story in the Beowulf Shaeffer series.
At the Core, the second story in the series.
Flatlander, the third story in the series.
Grendel, the fourth story in the series.
Borderland of Sol, fifth story about Beowulf Shaeffer. Published in Crashlander.
Procrustes, the sixth story in the series. Published in Crashlander
Ghost, the framing story in the collection Crashlander.
Fly-By-Night, the seventh story in the series, written after Crashlander.

More: WikipediaDarkRoastedMike BrothertonGoogle,

References on Neutron Stars: WikipediaNASA,