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Building Harlequin's Moon
by Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper

Reviewed by Michael Woodard
Posted May 14, 2006

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Escaping into interstellar space, the John Glenn carried the future of humanity, setting off to terraform and colonize the distant world of Ymir. They were running from Earth’s solar system, fleeing from a system terrorized by rogue Artificial Intelligences and runaway nanotechnology that hungrily twisted all it came into contact with. Instead of Ymir, they awoke to find themselves on a crippled ship, in a system that cannot support them for any length of time. In order to create the necessary anti-matter needed to fuel themselves for the rest of the journey, it would mean using up and leaving behind the only renewable resource available to them: people

Building Harlequin’s Moon is an interesting book, and more interesting is the collaboration between Niven and Cooper. This is Cooper’s first book, and you have to think that it would be scary to write your first book with such a well-known force in the Science Fiction world as Larry Niven. Scary, because you realize critical success will likely be focused mainly on Niven and critical failure would likely land on the shoulders of Cooper. But if you’re familiar with Niven’s work you can very clearly see what Cooper is adding to this collaboration, and in many way’s it’s an interesting mixture. Niven’s characters have always had personality and complexity, what Cooper adds is a texture and depth to the characters I haven’t often seen with Niven alone.

I have to admit that this wasn’t the most exciting book I’ve ever read, though the premise is solid and very interesting. What this book was could only be described as fascinating. Even though it was far from ‘action packed,’ the world built and the relationships between Moon Born (those born on Harlequin’s Moon) and Earth Born were endlessly interesting. No, it wasn’t a nailbiter, yet I still found myself picking the book up every few minutes after I had decided it was time for bed and reading on.

It is a good book, and a good collaboration, and I’m curious to see what Cooper moves onto next. I’d say it’s worth a read.


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Larry Niven
Brenda Cooper


Available from amazon.com

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