Protector, by Larry Niven


Orthodox Herbertarian

It is really not that often that I have genuine mixed feelings about a book, but Larry Niven's Hugo winning novel Protector leaves me floating in that anti-polar place between affection and ambivalence. How ironic that one of the major props in this story are monopoles. Anyway, I have often been torn over Larry Niven's work, especially over his solo novels. As a die-hard SF fan who happens to love hard-SF, I think that Larry Niven has written some of the best, most well thought out SF adventure stories out there. His topics more often then not deal with massive-scale engineering projects, far future scientific devices, belligerent, believable aliens, quests to the stars and many other things. Protector, is a hard-SF alien invasion story of first contact, but Niven, in typical form for his earlier years, is all over the place thematically. It was not that quality of the book that bothered me though. What did bother me was that with unforeseeable regularity parts of the story just dragged and dragged, while others roiled onward with breathless ferocity. I suppose the reason for that was that in 1976 Niven expanded one of his novellas from 1969, The Parents into this full length novel. Several years went by between the time that he finished the novella and started writing it up to a novel, so I imagine that he got a bit lost and had some trouble remembering where he was. It shows, but overall the book is worth the acquisition aggravation...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review..