An alien recruits three fellow travellers, two human, to visit a newly discovered structure 200 light-years from Earth. The ringworld is vast, surrounding a star it has a surface area of roughly three million Earth-sized planets.
Approaching it cautiously, wary of the powerful race it must have taken to build it, they get shot down and crash land. The mixed crew must then find a way off.
Originally published in 1970, it’s interesting to compare the notion of future technologies with our view today. There are no computers mentioned, for example, although there are automatic systems. No autopilot either.
There’s mention of a character reading up on an event from a screen, but it sounds more like microfiche than the internet or an ebook. Yet many ideas are those we still pursue.
For all that it does pretty well and there isn’t anything too jarring, like flying cars or jetpacks, to throw you back into reality.
The book is far from hard sci-fi, written with a whimsy that will have you smiling at some of the ideas, passages and absurdities encountered. It verges on a comedy at times.
The exploration of the characters and the notion of luck fill much of the plot. It’s well written but the characters still didn’t engage me particularly and seem pigeon-holed by their traits.
That said, it was still an enjoyable listen.
Tom Parker does a very good job narrating and his voice seems to fit the story, and characters, well.