Sunday, December 20, 2009

Destroyer of Worlds

Original title: Destroyer of Worlds
Author: Niven, Larry and Lerner, Edward M.
Publisher: New York, NY: Tor, 2009 (hardcover)
The final volume in Niven and Lerner's trilogy prequel to Larry Niven's 1970 Ringworld, Destroyer of Worlds, like its two predecessors, Fleet of Worlds (2007) and Juggler of Worlds (2008) includes several references to archives. The human archivist Sven Hebert-Draskovics featured in the first two novels is no longer a character in the third volume.
We learn a little more about the importance of the Pak library, the alien species featured in Niven's 1973 novel Protector, which exists to protect the Pak culture after they repeatedly destroy their civilization due to their evolutionary nature:
"Thssthfok remembered visiting the Library before New Hope set out, poring over ancient records of Pakhome's climate. .... His work had gone slowly. Most information existed only as written text stamped into nearly indestructible metal pages, survivability taking precedence over ease of use. It was said that neither absence of electricity nor obsolescence of format could devalue the data--never that the archaic representations made work for Library staff, painstakingly transcribing from old languages to newer." (p. 25)
"At this distance [in space], the Library complex was no longer visible. The stamped metal pages of the Library would survive the catastrophe [the galactic core explosion] soon to kill everyone left on the planet." (p. 29)
References to the Gw'oth alien species and its archives, which were introduced in Juggler of Worlds, continue in Destroyer of Worlds, particularly on pages 71 to 74.
There are also some scattered mentions of shipboard archives aboard a human ship, the Don Quixote, on pages beginning with 119.