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Ringworld And Childhood’s End Miniseries Coming To Syfy

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RingworldWith a name like the Sci-Fi Channel — even after they transmogrified it into the aggressively stupid “Syfy” — you’d figure science fiction would be a major staple of their lineup. Sadly, you would often be wrong, because the Network Formerly Known as Sci-Fi is more interested in paranormal “reality” shows by the truckload and occasionally-so-bad-they’re-good Saturday night monster movies. Could the winds finally be shifting over at Syfy? Could it finally start living up to its name in a way it hasn’t for a while now? It remains to be seen, but greenlighting miniseries projects based on two works by two of the genre’s titans is definitely a good start.

First up, Ringworld. Larry Niven’s colossal creation is easily one of the most famous science fiction locations of all time, and it’s just begging to be realized up on the big screen. But since that isn’t happening any time soon, we’ll have to settle for our big-screens. Syfy actually tried to develop Ringworld about a decade back, but this new incarnation is under a whole new team. EW reports that screenwriter Michael Perry is adapting Niven’s classic novel, which follows an expedition to explore a cosmic mystery, an enormous ring-shaped construct the size of a million Earths, set around a distant star. Perry has worked on quite a few genre projects in the past, including ABC’s short-lived The River, USA’s The Dead Zone, Millennium, and even American Gothic way back in the day. Those are some decent credentials, so here’s hoping he’s got the chops to bring us the four-hour Ringworld miniseries we’ve love to see.

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Gregory Benford & Larry Niven Team Up This Week in Science Fiction

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Bowl of Heaven
by Gregory Benford & Larry Niven

In the comic book world, the team-up is one of the most time-honored traditions. Characters from different books crossover into each other’s titles, usually there’s a misunderstanding that involves them beating the crap out of each other for a while, then they work things out and go defeat the bad guy together. This sort of thing also happens in the literary world, with two well-known writers pooling their talents, and their fan bases. Think Stephen King and Peter Straub with The Talisman. This week the science fiction world has a truly titanic team-up hitting the shelves, featuring two of the biggest names in science fiction, Gregory Benford and Larry Niven. You can check out the synopsis below if the names alone don’t sell you. In the meantime, I’m adding this sucker to my Amazon cart.

On a related note, isn’t it nice to see a science fiction book coming from two collaborating authors both of whom are actually still alive? I’m not naming any names, but there are some deceased SF writers who could give Tupac a run for post-mortem projects…

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Do Yourself A Favor: Discover The Mote In God’s Eye

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Though it routinely ends up on best of all time lists, somehow the 1974 science fiction novel The Mote in God’s Eye never actually seems to get read. It deserves to be mentioned in the same breath with the work of masters and is in fact the greatest work of two of them, as a collaboration between greats Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Maybe it’s the title that keeps so many otherwise dedicated hard sci-fi aficionados away from it. It sounds like a joke or some sort of bad pun. Read the book and it makes sense, but just sitting there and sitting at the cover, it seems like someone’s bad attempt at a Terry Pratchet parody rather than a serious science fiction story.

But serious is exactly what it is. In fact it may be one of the best books ever written. At the least it does something no other work of science fiction has ever done: It gets aliens right.