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I liked the premise of the universe, once again I thought the world building Larry Niven gives the reader is intriguing. I thought the writing was a little dated after so many years but that helped add to the feeling of noir and I didn't mind as much because of it was a collection of shorter stories. I also liked that the stories all followed the same main character in the same world. I thought the longest story was the weakest, but I enjoyed An interesting collection of scifi detective stories.

I thought the longest story was the weakest, but I enjoyed them all. This one collects all the tales about Gill the Arm. These are fot the most part some kind of crime mysteries.

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So, short stories by Niven. The stories are again great. Again Niven gets to write short, sharp and witty tales that really keep your interest. I really enjoyed these and if you are a fan of Nivens work or would enjoy scifi crime mysteries, this is a good choice for you. May 13, Bookbear rated it liked it. Hm, why can't I give half stars, as on Vivino? The first two stories were really great 1.

Death by Ecstasy - 2. The Defenseless Dead , the other 3 stories were just so-so. Aug 24, Rick rated it really liked it. Tne Goodreads description is incorrect - this isn't a Beowulf Shaefer book. It's a Gil the arm Hamilton collection. Whodunits in space. So so book. Read it about 20 years ago, and I remember almost nothing. Great collection. A bit long and very confusing to keep up with when reading in pieces.

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Plot is good but stay tuned in or get left behind. Shelves: anthology , fiction , known-space , favorites , science-fiction , mystery. Four short stories and one novella. The anthology is bookended by its weakest entries β€” which are decent β€” but everything in the middle of the book is great, including the sizable novella. However, the writing feels amateurish at spots, the characters are rather sexist, and the ending is anticlimactic. It mostly serves to introduce Gil as a character, which it spends a considerable amount of time doing.

The mystery here revolves around the idea of wealthy citizens extending their lives at the expense of the poor and voiceless, which carries a message applicable to wider social commentary, not just the strict subject matter on display.

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The only downsides to the story are that it shows Niven still struggling to develop his dialogue, and the ending is a bit preachy - lecturing the reader so much that it loses effectiveness. Great scenario, great characters, great mystery. And the solution is a novel sci-fi one, which makes your brain work to wrap your head around the crime. It also shows another side of the ARM other than the organlegging of the previous stories β€” here Gil is concerned with covering up the dangerous new technology involved in the murder.

Gives you a great view of Lunar society, which Niven does a remarkable job of making realistically different from Earth. Sci-fi writers have a bad habit of ignoring evolution for their interstellar human societies, but not Niven. His other stories often observe the evolutionary differences caused by living on other planets, but here we see that the Lunies have been so affected by evolving in lower gravity that they are close to not even mating with Earthlings anymore.

It's often physically difficult for them and has even become a social taboo - which is only serving to accelerate the eventual speciation. Much of the story is dedicated to Gil exploring and learning the cultural norms he must navigate while on Luna, but of course, there is also a crime he must solve. The mystery is excellent, and his investigation leads into a discussion of the dubious ethics of organ banks, the corruption of power, and the availability of justice within a corrupt judicial system.

It simply comes off as too cerebral, with nothing much going on but some talking about technology. My own series is focused on a detective, so I like to read other science fiction detective stories.

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As he recovers and after, he learns he has an imaginary arm that he can control--as if the sensation of the phantom limb turns into a real limb. The arm has limited strength, but nonetheless he has it often using it as a trick in bars and at parties.

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In Niven's future at least as it is in the late 21st to early 22nd century , organs for transplant are in short supply, resulting in a thriving blackmarket of organleggers. Each of the stories is focused on a specific case. Death by Ecstasy involves an old friend who is found dead in his apartment in Los Angeles. Apparently, his friend starved to death as wirehead: a person who plugs directly in to stimulate the pleasure center of the brain.

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The Defenseless Dead involves what appears to be a random shooting at Gil. The case is more than it seems, of course. ARM is about the murder of Raymond Sinclair, a genius scientist. Sinclair is found with his latest device, a bubble that accelerates time. The Patchwork Girl finds Gil visiting the Moon for a conference on Lunar Law--specifically about items related to organ harvesting.

An attempted murder against another representative implicates a long ago love of Gil's. The Woman in Del Rey Crater revolves around the body of a woman found in an irradiated crater wearing technology that is very old. In all of these stories, Gil works through toward the solution, often encountering roadblocks, but he is persistent and won't let go of the case until he's satisfied he has achieved justice.

Niven is smart in that Gil's psychic arm never becomes a cheap trick.

Gil sometimes seems more embarrassed about it than anything, though in The Patchwork Girl , Niven uses the arm to great effect. All of the stories deal in some way with organlegging and organ transplants. The overriding idea is that as organ transplants became ever more widespread, the volume of organs could not meet demand.

The governments of Earth and the Moon created more and more draconian laws--capital punishment and organ harvesting. Other aspects of the world are touched on birth laws on Earth, Belter chest plate designs. Richly complex, well-written, and interesting mysteries can be found throughout the book and in each of the stories. Very much worth reading. This is a collection of 5 stories, varying from or so pages each. Niven did a great job of fleshing out this point in his Known Space timeline, and with the main characters constant in these tales it allowed him to spend more time on plot and social commentary and less on developing new characters over and over.

Actually, it also allowed him to flesh out the main characters more fully -- with 5 stories, there were 5 different sets of circumstances for them to react to. Again Niven reminded This is a collection of 5 stories, varying from or so pages each. Again Niven reminded me a bit of Heinlein and Asimov in his style. I've repeatedly heard people say that they find his writing kind of dry, but I think it varies.

The funny thing is, it's the more popular works I've read that I'd consider a little dry -- things like Ringworld and Integral Trees. But the stories I only learned about after I was already a Niven fan have a lot of spirit to them, and a fun dry wit that keeps catching me off guard and making me laugh out loud. Like a good Palahniuk novel, the listed plots are superficial.

Yes, Gil has psi abilities that give him an "imaginary arm". Yes, he's the equivalent of a sci-fi FBI agent. But these stories were also mysteries, and I enjoyed this aspect here just as much as I did with Asimov's Caves of Steel. But my favorite part is Niven's exploration of his concept of organ banks, which allow the privileged to live forever as long as doctors can replace old organs with new ones. With each new story, the sub-plot of this situation is expanded, and it just keeps getting worse.

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It's horrifically beautiful. Despite my original reluctance, I think that Flatlander might be my favorite Niven book so far. For sheer science fiction mindbenders, Niven always delivers. However, some of the stories feel a bit dated, having been written mostly in the '70s.

I especially noted his pre-AIDS view of casual sex. Also, Niven seems to want to slide in political digs, e. Those quibbles aside, Niven's stories always fire my neurons. My favorite stories, "The Defenseless Dead" and "Patchwork Girl", touched on the ethics of organ transplants and death. If someone dies, but is frozen to await a future cure, is he really dead, or just in "frozen sleep"?