A Gift From Earth - Larry Niven

Browsing through the Niven backlist of Known Space books, and after the stellar [b:Protector|100344|Protector|Larry Niven|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347876333s/100344.jpg|2576385] and [b:Ringworld's Children|64466|Ringworld's Children (Ringworld #4)|Larry Niven|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316635829s/64466.jpg|59499], expectations were ramped up for [b:A Gift from Earth|218461|A Gift from Earth|Larry Niven|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1172796417s/218461.jpg|211516]. And this does start with a great setup: on a world where the only livable landmass is 40 miles up on a plateau, we find the colony of Mount Lookitthat. Not only do its inhabitants live on the edge of a steep death, but they are further burdened with a repressive society of haves and have-nots. The privileged 'Crew' can have any organ of the body transplanted except for the nervous system, promising themselves extended lifetimes. Organs are harvested from the 'Colonists' who must watch out for any transgression that may get them a death sentence at the organ banks. A diabolical scenario, for sure.

There is only one path for the colonists, and they are moved on this path by the arrival of a gift from earth. Thus, we have another complex concept book from Niven.

Gift ought to be a tale of anger and reprisal, a revolution brewing and exploding, [b:Anthem|667|Anthem|Ayn Rand|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347504856s/667.jpg|287946] with real passion, but instead the author chooses to follow the adventures of Matthew Keller. To be sure, Keller has something unique that makes him an interesting character. But in the background I expected true angst, lives wrecked by repression, a passionate insurgency rather than an intellectual, logical one. I kept looking for this even after the last page.

A rational book for an irrational social order. Keeping my rating of 3 stars.