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.


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.


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” 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…


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 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

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