HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Man-Kzin Wars III
Author: Larry Niven, with Jerry Pournelle, Poul Anderson, and S. M. Stirling
Cover Illustrator: Steve Hickman
Publisher: Baen, 1990
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Adults only
Rating: ** 2 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Niven, Larry, with Pournelle, Jerry E.; Anderson, Poul; and Stirling, S. M. Man-Kzin Wars III (Published in 1990 by Baen Publishing Enterprises, 260 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10001). In Larry Niven’s “Known Space” science fiction novels, the Kzinti are a tiger-like, predatory, humanoid species from the planet Kzin who try to conquer earth and call human beings “monkey-boys.” Humans, in turn, call them “rat-cats.” Once the humans rediscovered old technologies and old instincts that never quite bred out, the canny pseudo-pacifists from Planet Earth cut through the Kzinti like a laser through catmeat. However, even after being defeated, those war-crazed fur-balls just won’t give up. The “Man-Kzin Wars Series” chronicles the ongoing battle-filled adventures in humanity’s greatest war.
There are three stories in Book 3. In “Madness Has Its Place,” Larry Niven provides some background for the other two. In “The Asteroid Queen,” Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling tell how that “Three billion years before the birth of Buddha, the Thrint ruled the galaxy” and left a weapon consisting of a shell around a “captured” black hole, that had been hit by a meteorite and is thus releasing Hawking radiation. Then in Poul Anderson’s “Inconstant Star,” Robert Saxtorph, from “Iron” in The Man-Kzin Wars Book 1, and his crew of the Rover set off to examine the weapon but run into a Kzin ship, Swordbeak, which is also after the old relic.
To be honest, I sometimes had a little trouble following the action and keeping things straight. In addition, instances of drinking alcohol occur, along with using quite a bit of bad language, not only cursing (the “h” and “d” words including the form “god—“), but also some vulgarity (the “s” and “f” words). Also, there are several references to sexuality—no descriptions of actual sexual activity, but definite implications of it. And different people’s proclivities are identified as either “straight” or “bent” (i.e., not straight). I picked these books up from the free table at our library just to see what they were like. I don’t plan to read any more. Amazon noted this as “Man-Kzin Wars Series Book 3 of 12,” but another website makes reference to Man-Kzin Wars XV (15), and there is also a “Man-Kzin Wars Series offshoot Book 1” entitled Destiny’s Forge: A Man-Kzin Wars Novel.