Juggler of Worlds
Sigmund Ausfaller is a paranoid. Being highly intelligence and having had your parents eaten by aliens will do that to a person. Ausfaller is also the 27th century’s equivalent to CIA operative–an ARM agent. Intelligent paranoia in this case is a good thing. Because Ausfaller rarely trusts anyone, he never believes things are what they seem, looks for what what might be lurking below, and always, always, (almost) always, has a contingency plan. In a time when humans are expanding into Known Space (and in the process, human civilization, once united, is fracturing between earth and its several colonies) and is in competition with a number of alien species, each of which is trying to gain an advantage over the others—sometime in collaboration, sometimes by playing one against another. The aliens themselves are indeed alien, neither bug-eyed monsters nor latex enhanced humanoids but completely believable alternatives to humans.
It is all very complex and spans nearly a quarter century. I must confess that normally I am at a loss when a lot of characters are thrown at me and move in and out of several inter-locking plots. Somehow, Niven and Lerner managed for me to keep all the ins and outs of this tale straight. Okay, I occasionally became temporarily misplaced, but not for long.
The natural fan for Juggler of Worlds would be those who have been fans of Niven’s Ringworld series. Like some of Asimov’s later books, where he attempts to create a single narrative out of many stories (mostly the Foundation and Robot series), Juggler of Worlds is a sort of back story that explains aspects of the galaxy prior to the discovery of the Ringworld. Or so I would imagine. I’ve read but one Ringworld book, and not even the first. With that, one would expect either utter confusion with assumed details thrown in or complete boredom due long explanations. This is not the case. Niven and Lerner manage to move the story on quite well (save for a bit in the middle where Ausfaller spends a good deal of time spinning his wheels). Juggler of Worlds stands well on its own without knowing anything about the Ringworld series or Niven and Lerner’s previous collaboration, Fleet of Worlds. Those very familiar with the Ringworld and Fleet of Worlds should be doubly gratified.
If Juggler of Worlds looks good, here are some other interesting Baker and Taylor Books. . .
- City at the End of Time, by Greg Bear
Call Number: PS3552.E157 C58 2008
- Mars Life, by Ben Bova.
Call Number: PS3552.O84 M374 2008
- The Prefect, by Alastair Reynolds.
Call Number: PR6068.E95 P74 2008