Sneak Peek: Ringworld, The Graphic Novel, Part One

Ringworld: The Graphic Novel, Part OneA modern science fiction classic, Larry Niven’s Ringworld won the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel in 1970. Now this SF classic is adapted into a thrilling manga adventure. We wanted to share with you a sneak peek at some of the pages of the upcoming first volume of the series, publishing on July 8, 2014. From editor Diana Pho:

Seven Seas’ takes readers beyond the borders of known space in this manga adaptation of Larry Niven’s SF classic Ringworld! In this excerpt from Part One, we meet Louis Wu, a two-hundred-year-old human who has done it all and is getting pretty bored with life. That is, until he meets a two-headed alien named Nessus, who offers him a chance in a lifetime: to join him, a catlike warrior alien named Speaker-to-Animals, and the infinitely lucky human Teela Brown to explore an alien artifact known as Ringworld.

Click through to read the excerpt:

Ringworld: The Graphic Novel, Part One

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27 thoughts on “Sneak Peek: Ringworld, The Graphic Novel, Part One

  1. I’ve read this many times and thoroughly enjoy it every time. A large part of the enjoyment for me are the fabulous descriptions of the people and place but most of all it’s the wonderful dialogue between the characters. Turning this into drawings and snatches of explanation like the one you’ve shown is, as far as I’m concerned, dumbing down to an appalling degree. I’m not a fan of graphic novels (although I love a lot of the artwork) and reducing Larry Niven’s work to this is insulting in the enth degree.

    • If you don’t like graphic novels then of course you feel this way. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I for one am thrilled about the adaptation. I’ve actually just started reading it and am loving it, and I really look forward to seeing someone else’s imaginings of the story.

      Of course, I’m on the flip side of your coin: I love comics and graphic novels, so my opinion is similarly skewed, to be sure. I tend to read a lot of adaptations of stories and novels that I’ve enjoyed and it’s almost always a really rewarding experience. Why not give it a shot?

      • I’ve tried before but I really can’t seem to get into them. I had a go with some of the Marvel ones when I was considerably younger and found the illustrations a nuisance! Somebody lent me one of the original Batman stories and I found my eyes just sliding off the page. I’ve just had to accept my brain doesn’t work that way; at least I can now enjoy my super-heroes through the films and TV.

        Hope you enjoy it, Logan, nice to talk to you. :o)

    • I mean of course it shows you what the novel describes (though IMO manga’s black/white less detailed art does leave plenty of room for the reader’s imagination). But in the end Ringworld isn’t high literature, I think manga is a great format for the story. The plot and setting has something of a manga sensibility.

      • I would disagree highly that Ringworld is High literature it was one of the very first hard scifi novels i read so much so that in my later years i not only sought out but proudly own a first edition where louis wu is going the wrong direction to get ahead of the midnight line b/c Larry had the earth rotation wrong lol. I am also an aficionado of the comic book genre and have read many a manga the black an white format it employs is a much purer form than the colored drawing in most modern comics, as such it lends itself very well to pure story telling.

  2. Why manga? And why so sparse on detail?
    Honestly, the only reason to do this as black and white manga would be to make it chock-full of awesome detail a la Shirow Masamune.
    As it stands it looks rushed and half-finished.

    • Yes, I was wondering why manga too. I’ve been looking forward to something like this for a long time and considered dusting off my pencils. I always found trying to interpret the forms of the Kzin and puppeteers too much. I would have much preferred something painted like Alex Ross.

  3. I’m sorry, this is bad. Bad art, bad design, bad page layouts, bad prose. This is amateurish and insulting to the books in question. You could have at least hired better manga artists, if you wanted to go that direction.

  4. It’s an interesting take, but from one page I can tell that this artist hasn’t read much Niven. A major plot point is that there AREN’T ANY ROADS or cars. They’ve been replaced decades ago with transfer booths. Short-range transport is via slidewalk. But land is too precious — airspace is too precious — to muck it up with huge ribbons of concrete anymore, and they DON’T. The roads were being absorbed into residential area and parkland long ago in the Known Space series.

    This isn’t a stylistic issue. It’s a major psychosocial point in the life of a Flatlander — a homogenous human of the age of cheap teleportation booths. It’s taken to the extreme later in the Fleet of Worlds series that grew out of Ringworld and its sequels, on the Puppeteer homeworld, so Niven thought it was important to stress.

    • Excellent point, Gwen, and it certainly bode well for the rest of the book.

      • That should have read: “That certainly doesn’t bode well…” Sorry, just me getting overexcited!

  5. The horrible lines and jumps in the narrative that would make sense (and inspire disgust) only to someone who has read the book, combined with the bad artwork choices is going to make sure this comic will turn out to be a disappointment.

  6. Happened to have my copy of Ringworld on the bedside table; I read the comic twice, then read the novel along with the comic.
    It DOES fall a bit short in keeping the snappy dialogue: ‘Humans should not be allowed to run loose;’ ‘It was I who, on a world which circles Beta Lyrae, kicked a kzin called Chuft-Captain…’
    HOWEVER! My grandson is 9 years old. If I gave him the book to read, he might run away from home. But if I gave him the comic, he would consume it and demand more.
    So: don’t make it an expensive collectors item, price it where I could but it for Kenneth, and new markets will bless us one and all.

    • I’m sorry, but at 9 I was reading well and at 10 my dad gave me his copy of “I Robot” which I still have. I think it’s a terrible indictment of modern teaching that you think that a 9 yr old can’t get his head around “Ringworld”.

      • I think he could get his head around it; it the massiveness of a novel that would put him off. I, Robot was a collection of short stories, and that’s what attracted me as an early reader.

        • “Massiveness”? _Ringworld_ is longer than a short story, yes, and at 342 pages (Ballantine 1974 edition) a bit sizable for its day, but is much shorter than today’s doorstops. Heck, the Harry Potter series surpassed that by the fourth book (possibly the third, given differences in line spacing).

          If your grandson prefers short stories, Niven (http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?42) wrote plenty of those in his Known Space universe. Among the collections, _N-Space_, _Playgrounds of the Mind_ and _Crashlander_ are still in print, according to BN.com. I suppose he can work up from there — endurance in reading, like anything else, takes practice.

          (I recently reordered by SF/F library by date, and the increase in heft is visible. Oddly, the 342-page copy of _Ringworld_ is about the half the thickness of a modern 380-page volume I grabbed at random; I guess paper stock has grown thicker.)

  7. I liked it. It is definitely not the book. It is definitely not a movie. It is it’s own little worldlet. And I like it. If you don’t like it, because it doesn’t match up with the way your ringworld looks like in your head, that’s fine. It doesn’t match up with mine either. But mine has changed as I have grown.

    When I was young, I read the Doc Sidhe books, and Heinlein, and Sci-fi lived in the fifties, and occasionally the sixties, with nuclear families, rolling stones, and strangers in a strange land. (Of course, Strangers is a book set in a proposed future)

    This matches my thoughts decades ago a lot better than it matches what I would think of today. As a youngster, I would have imagined them with tall cloaks, with dragons on them, and suchlike. Albeit I always thought Louis Wu was short, for some reason. :)

    Look, I like it precisely because it is not exactly what I dream. It makes me think. Disagree or agree, it makes me examine my preconceptions, and for that, I love it. I love examining that world I have between my ears, stored away from the last time I read about hands that grip.

    Maybe my inner child is simply closer to the surface than yours. I’m looking forward to it. Please keep me in the loop as to when I can get this?

    Thank you. This made my day.

    • Hi Joshua – we’re glad you liked it! The Ringworld graphic novel actually publishes today, and should be available via every major retailer.

    • WTF? Why is everybody going so down on this? Don’t read it. Don’t look at it. Nobody will be offended. Did the author of this take a leak in your morning coffee?

      Dear god. Some will enjoy it. You won’t, we get that. Ok, thanks.

      Don’t buy it. If it’s honestly horrible, then the almighty market will tell them that, and they won’t do anymore like it. If it has a cult following, they might do some. If it is a great commercial success, then they’ll do more. But it won’t affect the other authors, who don’t write manga.

      I will buy it, as I am eagerly anticipating seeing a world I hold in my head, from someone else’s point of view. If it sucks, I’ll be disappointed. But I always enjoy learning how to see through someone else’s inner eye.

      Sorry to be a jackwagon, I’m just weirded out by the negativity and plain old rudeness of some. You think maybe the author/illustrator read these comments? Hmm? Maybe some of these comments could be constructive? Dislike? Totally cool. Don’t like something about them? Ok! Say so! Say it constructively, you idjits. (And some of you did, I’m not directing this at you. Sorry)

  8. Oh, it’s a black and white manga? Pfft. I’ll pass. This looks terrible!

  9. I liked it. I first read Ringworld more than 40 years ago, and I don’t re-read it every decade, but I found myself drawn back into the story right away. I don’t read graphic novels as a regular thing, but I have occasionally. I think you have to appreciate each storytelling art form on its own merits

  10. how many times we have run this through our minds as a movie – one which will never be made in Niven’s lifetime, and maybe yours, and most certainly mine?
    this is a first draft storyboard of that unmade movie, and the best we’ll get, until that movie gets made, deficient as both may seem when it’s done. puppeteers don’t shout.
    a few color panels would have helped, especially of Teela and her “barbeque flame hair,” and blue netting, “Speaker to Animals,” Chiron, in full regalia; or see the mile high “needles” on the puppeteer home world, when they first approach it. and so it goes …

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