I had read Ringworld while I was in high school now more than fifteen years ago. I remembered loving it then but as the years pasted by, I remembered less and less about it, until all I remember was the joy the story gave me when I first read it. So I decided to read it again.
The plot centers around three species that find themselves on a quest for the same goal, to discover and decipher the secrets of the strange object just discovered, the Ringworld. Louis Wu and Teela Brown are both humans brought on this mission for Louis’ sense of adventure and Teela’s good luck The Kzinti known as Speaker-to-animal was brought along for his strength and battle hardened nature, while the expedition is rounded out by Neesus the Parson Puppeteer who has basically been forced to go on the mission in order to gain his right to bread. As payment for the human’s and Kzinti‘s help in exploring the Ringworld, both their perspective government will be given a functioning model of the ship the are all traveling in, a ship far faster than anything either world has now.
The ship presents a problem and a solution. The problem is that Speaker sees the ship as a weapon to be used to attach and enslave the human race. Louis knows this as humanity and the Kzinti have fought more than a couple of wars, all of which the human race has won. It does solve a problem, however that threatens both human and Kzinti alike. At the center of the galaxy a large explosion has taken place that has caused a chain reaction that will eventually spread through the entire galaxy, threatening all known inhabited worlds. The Puppeteers spaceship solves the problem of how will the human race escape the disaster? Currently their ships cannot go fast enough to escape the calamity.
As soon as Teela Brown is picked up, who is brought along only for her luck, the expedition is on its way to the Ringworld, an artificially constructed world that is more than a million miles wide, with sides a thousand miles high, and 600 million miles in circumference. But before the crew even has a chance to do a large scale survey of the Ringworld, they encounter a problem in the form of the shadow squares, structure circling on the inner side of the Ringworld that offer living beings on the surface the illusion of night and day. Being held together by a fine wire, the crew and her ship soon find themselves entangled, barely managing to escape. But all their efforts may be for not for as soon as they escape the are shot down by the Ringworld meteor defenses.
Once the ship has crash landed on the surface, the crew finds out that while the ships hyperdrives are completely intact, her normal drive engines are no longer functional, leaving them with little choice but to find someone on the Ringworld technologically savey enough to help them escape. In order to accomplish this, Louis and the rest of his crew have a plan to travel to the nearest wall, several hundred thousand miles away. It is here, they believe, that they will find the best chance of coming across the fabled Ringworld Engineers. While on the trip, however, they see wondrous things, such as a mountain higher than the Ringworld walls, its top so high that clouds completely enshroud it, they name it The Fist of God; also is the field of mirrored sunflowers that almost spell out doom for Speaker and the other members of the crew.
Finally they find who they are looking for, a women and her name is Prill. While planning their plan of escape, Louis suddenly has an idea, or rather, a truth occurs to him. They may not need to fix the engines of their ship after all, it may just be that all they need to do is get the ship back into outer space, but how? The Fist of God! This is no ordinary mountain, it is an asteroid puncture that had pierced the Ringworld completely through. If they can drag their ship up the side of The Fist of God, the ship will fall through and come out the other side in outer space.
Ringworld won the Hugo Award in 1970 and for good reason, it is not only a good story of struggle and survival, it is chalk full of original ideas and good writing.