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

ARM

The long Arm of Gil HamiltonARM is a science fiction novella by American author Larry Niven. Set in the Known Space Universe, it is the third of five Gil Hamilton detective stories. Published in Epic Magazine 1975. Republished in The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton (1976) and Flatlander (1996).

Hamilton is called to the scene of a murder. The victim is Dr. Raymond Sinclair, a brilliant scientist who has invented a mysterious device that creates a bubble of accelerated time. The murder scene is a locked apartment at the top of a high-rise, where the prime suspect is a beautiful young woman whom Gil refuses to believe is the killer.

One of the themes running throughout the story, and in fact a vital element in the solution of the mystery, is the loss of an arm. Gil himself lost an arm and had a new one grafted on, using parts from an organ bank which is supplied by the bodies of criminals and “corpsicles”, people who underwent cryogenic suspension. At the scene of the crime, a beautiful young woman is discovered unconscious in an “autodoc” (a device for fixing minor injuries or preserving life until help arrives) recovering from the loss of one of her arms. Another character in the story also lost an arm previously, but regards grafts as immoral and wears an advanced prosthetic arm instead. The “accelerated time bubble” has the effect of amputating the arm of anyone who reaches into it, since the arm’s metabolism speeds up to the point where the rest of the body cannot supply it with blood.

Links: Wikipedia,

The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton

The long Arm of Gil HamiltonShort story collection by Larry Niven and set in the Known Space Universe with the two short stories Death by Ecstasy (Organleggers), 1969, and The Defenseless Dead as well as the novella ARM, 1976. Published in 1976.

Gil Hamilton was more than an operative for ARM – the elite global police force. He was an essential. His intuition was peerless; his psychic powers were devastating. And his raw courage took him into the depths of inner and outer space where others feared to tread! But Gil Hamilton had enemies. Many enemies. Some were organleggers – those murderous dealers of illicit transplants. Others were just ordinary killers. Around any corner, Gil could probably find someone waiting to kill him. In order to stay alive – and operating – he always had to be armed for death!

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

Inconstant Moon

Inconstant Moon is a science fiction short story collection by American author Larry Niven that was published in 1973. “Inconstant Moon” is also a 1971 short story that is included in the collection. The title is a quote from the balcony scene in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The collection was assembled from the US collections The Shape of Space and All the Myriad Ways.

Known Space Universe stories in the collection

Becalmed in Hell, 1965
Death by Ecstasy (Organleggers), 1969
How the Heroes Die, 1966
At the Bottom of a Hole, 1966

Becalmed in Hell

Short story by Larry Niven with story placed in the Known Space Universe. 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)

A ship with a two-man crew, a normal human Howie and Eric – a disembodied brain of a previously injured man taking the part of ship’s computer, is exploring the upper atmosphere of Venus, using the empty fuel-tank as a dirigible device.

About to return to Earth, Eric reveals that something is wrong with the ramjet that propels the craft, necessitating a landing in order to fix the problem. When Howie can find nothing physically wrong with the system, he can only conclude that, disturbingly, the problem is with Eric. He believes Eric has a psychosomatic disorder preventing him from operating the ramjets, using the analogy of a traumatized soldier that can no longer feel his hand and pull the trigger of a gun.

After revealing his theory to Eric, Eric admits it is a possibility but insists that Howie keep inspecting the ship, reasoning that Howie is the only one that can check for mechanical problems. Howie agrees, but secretly has convinced himself that the problem is truly with Eric.

In an effort to cure Eric using a placebo, Howie creates buckets of ice-water using the ship’s freezer, and dumps it into the wiring panels on the wings, telling Eric that the heat and pressure of Venus might be affecting the ships function. Eric regains the use of the ramjets and the pair manage to escape from Venus and back to Earth.

On the trip back, Howie reveals his ruse to Eric. Eric insists that the cause was mechanical, and challenges Howie to a $5,000 bet that the problem will be found back on Earth. Howie accepts the bet. Back on Earth, the mechanics determine that, indeed, it was a mechanical problem due to the pressure of Venus’s atmosphere.

The Organleggers

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.

Gil Hamilton-stories

Novels and collections

The Organleggers (Death by Ecstasy) (1966)
The Defenseless Dead (1973). Published in 1973 in the Roger Elwood anthology 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

How the Heroes Die

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)

The 15-man team setting up the first base on Mars experience tragedy when a murder is committed. Carter, the murderer, in the process of escaping on one of the transportation buggies crashes through the plastic bubble which holds in the base’s atmosphere in an attempt to kill everyone else; however, it fails, and he is soon chased by Alf, the brother of the victim on another buggy.

The lethal chase, with the two combatants in constant radio communication, slowly reveals the community stresses which resulted in the murder. Alf wants to kill Carter in revenge for his brother, while Carter wishes the same and to try once more to destroy the base …. but with limited oxygen in their tanks, the two men must ensure that they have enough left to return to base.

At the Bottom of a Hole

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)

A sequel to “How the Heroes Die”. Muller, a smuggler with a cargo of precious magnetic monopoles, attempts to use Mars (the ‘hole’ of the title; to spacers, planets are merely gravity wells to be avoided if possible) as a means to whip his ship to a new orbit that will enable him to escape the customs authorities who are chasing him. His plan fails, and he crashlands, close to the now-abandoned base. Over the next few days, he explores the ruins and finds out the terrible story of what happened. Unfortunately, he himself suffers the same fate as the original colonists – all of which he commits to his log, which is later recovered.

The two Mars stories do belong to “Known Space” and they are specifically referred to and to some degree influence the plot of “Protector”, which takes place a long time later. Also, the failure of Mars colonization as depicted here contributes to the generally-held opinion in that future history that planets (at least in the Solar System) are virtually worthless and it is asteroids which are the truly desirable real property.

 

Ten Tomorrows

Ten TomorrowsShort story collection edited by Roger Elwood. Published in 1973. Contains:

Barry N. Malzberg- Yahrzeit (A strange story of an overcrowded world and its macabre solution to population growth.)
Gardner R. Dozois- In A Crooked Year (A chilling tale of one man who survives a cataclysmic war only to find he cannot live with himself. )
Robert Silverberg- Ms. Found An Abandonded Time Machine.
Laurence Janifer- A Few Minutes.
Edgar Pangborn- The Freshman Angle.
Larry Niven- The Defenseless Dead.
Anne McCaffery- The Rescued Girls of Refugee.
Pamela Sargent- Matthew.
David Gerrold- An Infinity of Loving.
James Blish- A True Bill

Space Opera stories

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.

Gil Hamilton-stories

Novels and collections

The Organleggers (Death by Ecstasy) (1966). Published in The Shape of Space (1969, collection)
The Defenseless Dead (1973).
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

The Shape of Space

A Shape of SpaceShort story collection published in 1969. Contain the short stories At the Bottom of a Hole 1966, The Warriors 1966, Safe at Any Speed 1967, How the Heroes Die 1966, The Organleggers 1969. All written by Larry Niven and set in the Known Space Universe.

How the Heroes Die

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)

The 15-man team setting up the first base on Mars experience tragedy when a murder is committed. Carter, the murderer, in the process of escaping on one of the transportation buggies crashes through the plastic bubble which holds in the base’s atmosphere in an attempt to kill everyone else; however, it fails, and he is soon chased by Alf, the brother of the victim on another buggy.

The lethal chase, with the two combatants in constant radio communication, slowly reveals the community stresses which resulted in the murder. Alf wants to kill Carter in revenge for his brother, while Carter wishes the same and to try once more to destroy the base …. but with limited oxygen in their tanks, the two men must ensure that they have enough left to return to base.

At the Bottom of a Hole

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)

A sequel to “How the Heroes Die”. Muller, a smuggler with a cargo of precious magnetic monopoles, attempts to use Mars (the ‘hole’ of the title; to spacers, planets are merely gravity wells to be avoided if possible) as a means to whip his ship to a new orbit that will enable him to escape the customs authorities who are chasing him. His plan fails, and he crashlands, close to the now-abandoned base. Over the next few days, he explores the ruins and finds out the terrible story of what happened. Unfortunately, he himself suffers the same fate as the original colonists – all of which he commits to his log, which is later recovered.

The two Mars stories do belong to “Known Space” and they are specifically referred to and to some degree influence the plot of “Protector”, which takes place a long time later. Also, the failure of Mars colonization as depicted here contributes to the generally-held opinion in that future history that planets (at least in the Solar System) are virtually worthless and it is asteroids which are the truly desirable real property.

The Warriors

Short story that takes place in the Known Space Universe in the era known as the Man-Kzin Wars. 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.

Earth’s “Golden Age” comes rapidly to an end as a human colony ship encounters the Kzinti for the first time.

Links: WikipediaThe Future worlds of Larry NivenSlow Reader,

Safe at Any Speed

Short story 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).

Narrator is on “Margrave, a world in the first stages of colonization”. He is a taking a 2 hour trip by an air car, on autopilot with preprogrammed route. Part way through the flight, the machine & its human occupant is eaten by a local flying monster called “roc”! This eating process has destroyed external communication devices but not life support in the car.

The beast is less powerful than car. Can neither digest it, nor take it anywhere. Instead ends up going where the machine is going! Because external sensor devices are dead, they have an accident – hit some kind of a hill.

For 6 months, the man will live inside the car inside the beast’s stomach (car apparently can synthesize food). Will eventually emerge when animal’s flesh has sufficiently degenerated, & call for help using flares.

In a settlement with “General Transportation” (the car maker), he will actually get compensation for his pains. Because car makers had not accounted for the fact that car could be eaten by a beast!

Links: WikipediaVariety SF,

The Organleggers

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.

Gil Hamilton-stories

Novels and collections

The Organleggers (Death by Ecstasy) (1966)
The Defenseless Dead (1973). Published in 1973 in the Roger Elwood anthology 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

Links: Wikipedia,