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Visualisation of Larry Niven's Ringworld (spoilers)
June 10, 2010 10:51 AM   Subscribe

Visualisation of Larry Niven's Ringworld (spoilers)
posted by Electrius (59 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome!!!

But does a 40 year old book need a spoiler warning?
posted by thecjm at 10:54 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, I had the scale of the Fist of God all wrong...
posted by griphus at 10:57 AM on June 10, 2010


The best part of this seris is imagining the astronomical dimensions and forces at play.

Worst part? Space vampires :(
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:07 AM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Very cool. Is there any way to know how many zoom areas there are other than scrolling endlessly?
posted by OmieWise at 11:08 AM on June 10, 2010


THanks goodness it's a map - I was afraid of lots of drawings of rishathra.

Also, I think FIst of God should have been a bit bigger in truth. It's too "sharp" at this size even though at this scale the hole in the end of it is as big across as the earth...
posted by GuyZero at 11:09 AM on June 10, 2010


There's just the one zoom area. Scrolling endlessly doesn't take that long.
posted by GuyZero at 11:10 AM on June 10, 2010


There are two, GuyZero: Far Great Ocean Ridges ~180 and Oval Ocean Ridges ~0
posted by griphus at 11:12 AM on June 10, 2010


Wait, scratch that, FGOR is just an info box.
posted by griphus at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2010


I like this, and the series.

I do wish it had more content and less browser fullscreen and sound, but it is good.
posted by poe at 11:15 AM on June 10, 2010


Those don't all zoom, they're just info overlays. The only zoom is over the area near Fist-Of-God.
posted by GuyZero at 11:16 AM on June 10, 2010


On the same site there's also some info on the Chaosium Ringworld RPG.
posted by GuyZero at 11:19 AM on June 10, 2010


I remember reading this in grade school doing the math and realizing that the Earth would turn over about 40 times if it were to roll from one edge of the band to the other. Blew my 10 year old mind.

Also, paging hindmost!
posted by sourwookie at 11:21 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty cool. I've been considering getting into this series for a long while now. Maybe I will.
posted by Fizz at 11:21 AM on June 10, 2010


I'd kill to see a similar treatment of The Smoke Ring, which I always thought was a much more interesting idea, and was definitely better written.
posted by Ryvar at 11:28 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I can see Master Chief from here...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:29 AM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, this is one of my favorite books. I never read further into the series than The Ringworld Engineers, which I guess is only the second one, but I'd be really interested in reading both again and getting in to some of the other Known Space works.

That said, this website doesn't really have a whole lot to it, which is too bad.
posted by malthas at 11:31 AM on June 10, 2010


For some reason I'd always pictures the shadow squares as having a much wider orbit, closer to the ring itself. Now that I see this, though, my former conceptualization makes no sense.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:38 AM on June 10, 2010


For some reason I'd always pictures the shadow squares as having a much wider orbit, closer to the ring itself. Now that I see this, though, my former conceptualization makes no sense.

Same thing here - I was completely thinking of them as very large, very close to the edge.
posted by odinsdream at 11:43 AM on June 10, 2010


The only zoom is over the area near Fist-Of-God

There's another, disappointing, one at the Far Sea.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:44 AM on June 10, 2010


Does all the action take place around that ocean?
posted by delmoi at 11:46 AM on June 10, 2010


this is not a spoiler
posted by infini at 11:56 AM on June 10, 2010


Is there any compilation of these books? I would prefer that to buying them a la carte.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:01 PM on June 10, 2010


Man, this is awesome. I've always thought the ideas behind the Ringworld were a lot better than the actual books. The books always disappoint me.
posted by something something at 12:05 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


For a much, much, much better visualization, download Celestia (which you should have done a long time ago if you're the sort of nerd who clicked on this thread), and then install this awesome Ringworld mod.
posted by straight at 12:12 PM on June 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


Does all the action take place around that ocean?

You've got to wrap your head around the sheer scale here man. The part in the zoomed portion has a surface area roughly that of earth. And it's merely a dot. The distance from those landmarks was no mere trip from The Shire.

At one point they were using scopes to look across the ring and found 1:1 scale reproductions of Earth and Kzin.
posted by sourwookie at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2010


Oh. I see now they were small copies of the planets, but still. Give me a break, it was 1982.
posted by sourwookie at 12:24 PM on June 10, 2010


Same thing here - I was completely thinking of them as very large, very close to the edge.

On the other hand, aligning the shadow squares with the ring's orbit so that there's not a five-mile-wide strip of permanent daylight along one edge would seem to pose a difficulty as well.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:26 PM on June 10, 2010


The shadow squares also control the Ringworld defense mechanism (turning the sun into a giant plasma laser) so they need to be close to the sun.
posted by GuyZero at 12:29 PM on June 10, 2010


Was that in the first book? It was about ninety thousand years ago that I read it, and I don't remember if I read any after the first one.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2010


I don't remember what's in what book anymore - it may have been in the second.
posted by GuyZero at 12:33 PM on June 10, 2010


That was in the first one: their ship gets zapped by the meteor-defense laser and they crashland. The second one (Engineers) is the one with the Teela Brown gene and the mystery of the missing Bussard ramjets. My advice is not to continue reading after #2.
posted by hattifattener at 12:49 PM on June 10, 2010


you're better off digressing into the man kzin wars, some are quite good.
posted by infini at 12:50 PM on June 10, 2010


I'm pretty sure that I quick after book #2 but by that time I'd read all of the Known-Space novels and stories and had had enough of Niven's style by then. He has a lot of inventive ideas but his writing is pretty thin.
posted by octothorpe at 1:13 PM on June 10, 2010


Now that is some cool shit right there.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:15 PM on June 10, 2010


SPOILER, I guess...







I liked the Ringworld concept, but the books were ruined for me by the totally unnecessary rishathra scenes that kept popping up. All I can think of whenever Ringworld gets mentioned is Larry Niven hunched over a typewriter, writing clumsily about ritual inter-species sex with a slightly sweaty upper lip.
posted by usonian at 1:26 PM on June 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Oddly, this all makes me want to read The Mote in God's Eye rather than any Ringworld stuff.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


IIRC they get zapped in book one but don't figure out what caused it until book 2 or beyond. It's kind of deus ex machina in book one, along with pretty much every plot element in every Niven book.
posted by GuyZero at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2010


I only ever read the first two books. ('cause that's all they was when I read 'em) Does Larry Niven ever explain how the Pak Protectors got 361 degrees into their Ringworld?
posted by BYiro at 1:57 PM on June 10, 2010


writing clumsily about ritual inter-species sex

Larry Niven could have sex with a bus full of porn stars and still get his letter rejected from Penthouse Forum. I like his stories but he's the least erotic writer of all time. I've read cookbooks with more sex appeal.
posted by GuyZero at 1:58 PM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Someone else here who used to be into Niven's stuff a lot more until I realized that there were vastly better SF writers who went well beyond the bare bones of a story. Granted, some of those high concepts were really neat--the Slavers, the Protectors, Ringworld--but I found myself with surprisingly little enthusiasm for the second Ringworld book, and stopped after that one.
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:32 PM on June 10, 2010


I liked Niven's short stories better.
posted by MrLint at 4:44 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading SF for the sex is like reading bodice-rippers for the history.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:23 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Believe me, I don't read it for the sex, but there it is whether I wanted it or not.
posted by GuyZero at 5:26 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see a version of John Varley's Gaea Trilogy as well. The world's not a ring but a wheeled torus. Varley's a better writer than Niven, too.
posted by zardoz at 5:41 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can think of another set of books that you could make movies out of...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:50 PM on June 10, 2010


Consider Phlebas?
posted by GuyZero at 5:59 PM on June 10, 2010


30,000 points in 5 minutes! Beat that!
posted by Balisong at 6:44 PM on June 10, 2010


When I was a teenager, I didn't have Flash, so I drew a scale cross-section of Ringworld on the plaster of my bedroom wall, along with scribed circles representing the Earth and Sun. And a tiny little triangle representing Fist-of-God. And two little pencil-marks representing the scrith walls.

Whenever we take the bookshelf down, I'll get a photograph of it.

I was inspired, I believe, by the tale of MIT students at the 1971 World SF Convention chanting "The Ringworld is unstable! The Ringworld is unstable!", allegedly after computer modeling (which given the date probably was not visualized).
posted by dhartung at 7:29 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I met Larry Niven at a SF Con in Salt Lake City a long time ago. He was kind of a grumpy pants. I just finished rereading "Lucifer's Hammer" yesterday, and although it was fun, it's a much different book when you're in your forties. A lot of indulgent proto-fascism.
posted by mecran01 at 10:05 PM on June 10, 2010


I think that this flash animation is meant to emulate the hologram map of the ringworld the characters encounter in one of the books. That's pretty cool if so.
posted by breath at 10:10 PM on June 10, 2010


Usonian and Halloween Jack's comments reminded me that I had asked this AskMe Question about other science fiction whose concepts such as Ringworld far outshone the narrative and plot.
posted by MasonDixon at 10:13 PM on June 10, 2010


Oddly, this all makes me want to read The Mote in God's Eye rather than any Ringworld stuff.

I recently re-read Mote and it doesn't quite hold up. Very "the military knows best" and with racist overtones. Plus, once you know The Secret, there's not a lot to hold your interest.
posted by DU at 4:55 AM on June 11, 2010


My 12-year-old self is dying a death, DU.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:20 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never read the ringwold books. Does the book explain how you could have continental masses some 100,000,000 miles wide and not have it be desert?

I would think that for a world like that to really exist, the map would look more like a static pattern (with blue and green/brown dots instead of black and white) rather than GIGANTIC continents and oceans.

But, this being scifi, I may be wrong....
posted by imneuromancer at 7:05 AM on June 11, 2010


I still like Niven and "Pink", so there... or at least having grown up feasting on the stuff
posted by infini at 7:16 AM on June 11, 2010


I've never read the ringwold books

I still like Niven and "Pink"

I'm now envisioning a Niven/Hughes mashup.
posted by DU at 7:31 AM on June 11, 2010


mea culpa, that's "fuzzy pink"
posted by infini at 7:34 AM on June 11, 2010


But does a 40 year old book need a spoiler warning?

Well, someone born 10 years probably hasn't even considered reading it yet.

"Spoiler" means it gives away the ending, right? Unless books lose their endings after 40 years, I'd say yeah, a spoiler warning makes sense.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:52 PM on June 11, 2010


I still like Niven and "Pink"

I'm now envisioning a Niven/Hughes mashup.


I'm envisioning Louis Wu singing "Get This Party Started".
Yes, I know about Fuzzy Pink.
posted by dhartung at 7:29 PM on June 12, 2010


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