Pierson's puppeteers, strange, three-legged, two-headed aliens, have discovered an immense structure in a hitherto unexplored part of the universe. Frightened of meeting the builders of such a structure, the puppeteers set about assembling a team consisting of two humans, a puppeteer and a kzin, an alien not unlike an eight-foot-tall, red-furred cat, to explore it. The artefact is a vast circular ribbon of matter, some 180 million miles across, with a sun at its centre - the Ringworld. But the expedition goes disastrously wrong when the ship crashlands and its motley crew faces a trek across thousands of miles of the Ringworld's surface.
Larry Niven was born in California in 1938 and studied mathematics at Washburn University, Kansas. His first published science-fiction story was ?The Coldest Place? in 1964 and he immediately established himself as a significant figure in the science-fiction world, winning four Hugos for short fiction. Ringworld is the most important novel in his future history, Tales of Known Space sequence. He has also collaborated, most notably with Jerry Pournelle on The Mote in God?s Eye, Oath of Fealty, Inferno, Lucifer?s Hammer and Footfall.