What are you reading? Flatlander

I had a really wonderful time reading The Diamond Age, but alas all good things come to an end. I’ve moved on and my current selection is:

Flatlander by Larry Niven

Now if you’re unfamiliar with this author you’ll want to stop to get yourself a copy of his most famous work, Ringworld. Both of these novels occur in the same Sci-Fi universe which has come to be referred to as “Known Space”.

The thing is, Niven does such an excellent job of explaining past “history” in his books to just the right extent so that he’s interesting and never goes too far (I’m looking at you Mr. Tolkien).

To set the stage: We’ve moved past the moon to inhabit the asteroid belts in our solar system, as well as several other distant worlds. Medicine advanced along with space travel and pretty much any body part can be transplanted. Commit a crime and they break you up for your parts. But that’s a hefty deterrent so the organ banks never have enough supply as far fewer people commit crimes.

History tells us that whenever there’s a shortage of a needed commodity a black market springs up. This is no different and Gil Hamilton (the hero about whom all of these short stories are written) is in charge of tracking down the human-organ-trafficking criminals. But Gil’s got a secret, he has a telepathic arm which can reach through objects and even pick up items that weigh very little. Go from there and you’ve got a series of marvelous vignettes.

As always, I recommend using your Public Library, but here’s some links if you’d rather buy: