After Philip K. Dick, Larry Niven is probably my favorite Science Fiction writer. I consider him more or less the modern dean of SF. And make no mistake: Known Space is far and away my favorite fictional SF destination. I cut my eye teeth on the Beowulf Schaefer stories as a ‘tween, and I pretty much memorized the Gill Hamilton stories, along with everything else Niven wrote in that universe while in college. Even so, when I first heard about this book my overwhelming reaction was “meh.” I can’t explain why, really.