Popular sf Future History conceived by Larry Niven (whom see for further discussion), pleasingly blending intelligent Space Opera, Thought Experiments in Physics and various races of colourfully quirky Aliens such as the fanatically risk-averse Puppeteers, the enigmatic and nomadic Outsiders, the tigerish and battle-happy Kzinti, and several more. The series incorporates Niven's first published story "The Coldest Place" (December 1964 If) and thus, unfortunately, the assumption that Mercury does not rotate; its best-loved stories are set in the era of interstellar exploration and discovery, as in Neutron Star (coll 1968) and the Hugo- and Nebula-winning novel whose true hero is its titular Macrostructure, Ringworld (1970). Also enjoyable are such sf detective stories (see Crime and Punishment), from a somewhat earlier period of Niven's future, as collected in The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton (coll of linked stories 1976). Not being inclined to write Military SF, Niven generally avoided the period of the Man-Kzin Wars and opened this Known Space subseries to Shared World participation via a long-running series of Anthologies beginning with The Man-Kzin Wars (anth 1988) written and edited by Niven, Poul Anderson and Dean Ing. The collaborative Worlds series of Known Space prequels, by Niven and Edward M Lerner, opens with Fleet of Worlds (2007).
Known Space is an evident influence on Stephen Baxter's ultimately far grimmer Xeelee sequence. [DRL]
see also: Series.
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