Shaeffer is the main character
of several of Larry Niven
's Known Space
Beowulf was born on We Made It, which makes him a Crashlander. He is 7 feet tall because of the low gravity of his home planet. He was born an albino, and has to take a medicine called tannin pills to endure starlight.
Niven has described him as a "tourist" character, who does not really seek out adventures but keeps stumbling into them because of his curiosity.
Beowulf is the non-biological father of Louis Wu. (See Louis Wu for more discussion on this)
The stories about Beowulf Shaeffer are:
1. Neutron Star, 1966
2. At the core, 1966
3. Flatlander, 1967
4. Grendel, 1968
5. The Borderland of Sol, 1975
6. Procrustes, 1993
7. Ghost, 1993
8. Fly-by-night, 2000
(1-4) were published in the 1968 collection Neutron Star, and (5) appeared in the 1975 collection Tales of known Space.
(1-7) were published in the 1994 collection Crashlander. Ghost is a framing story which ties together the earlier stories and provides some nice closure to the story of Beowulf Shaeffer.
(8) is a sequel to Procrustes which was published in the October 2000 issue of Asimov's.