In mathematics, n-space (2-space, 3-space, etc.) refers to a space of n dimensions. Usually, it refers to Rn, the n-dimensional Cartesian space of real numbers.

I knew it long ago: I'm a compulsive teacher, but I can't teach. The godawful state of today's education system isn't what's stopping me. I lack at least two of the essential qualifications.

I cannot "suffer fools gladly." The smartest of my pupils would get all my attention, and the rest would have to fend for themselves. And I can't handle being interrupted.

Writing is the answer. Whatever I have to teach, my students will select themselves by buying the book. And nobody interrupts a printed page.

Larry Niven, N-Space p 27
Published by TOR books in 1990, N-space is the first of two collections of Larry Niven's short stories, the other being Playgrounds of the Mind. This book is a great introduction to Niven for those who have not read any of his work, and another great read for those who have. It consists of over twenty short stories, as well as several excerpts from his novels, and some non-fiction works. Each piece is preceded by an explanation by the author, giving the reader some insight into how he writes. The book also contains an introduction by Tom Clancy, a section with comments on Niven by other notable SF authors, a foreword outlining Niven's outlook on writing, from which the quote at the beginning of this writeup was taken, and a Niven bibliography at the end.

Some of my particular favorites are The Fourth Profession, Inconstant Moon, What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?, Cloak of Anarchy, and The Hole Man. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest at all in science fiction, or in good writing in general.*


Introduction: The Maker of Worlds, by Tom Clancy
On Niven (by David Brin, Gregory Benford, Wendy All, John Hertz, Steven Barnes, and Fredrik Pohl)
Dramatis Personae
Foreword: Playgrounds for the Mind
from World of Ptavvs
Bordered in Black
Convergent Series
All the Myriad Ways
from A Gift From Earth
For a Foggy Night
The Meddler
Down in Flames
from Ringworld
The Fourth Profession
"Shall We Indulge in Rishathra?"
Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex
Inconstant Moon
What Can You Say About Chocolate Covered Manhole Covers?
Cloak of Anarchy
from Protector
The Hole Man
Night on Mispec Moor
Flare Time
The Locusts with Steven Barnes
from The Mote in God's Eye with Jerry Pournelle
The Return of William Proxmire
The Tale of the Jinni and the Sisters
Madness Has Its Place
Niven's Laws
The Kiteman
The Alien in Our Minds

*This book is available through The Great Grand E2 Book Lotto, /msg me for details.

Larry Niven. N-Space. New York, NY: Tom Doherty Associates, 1990

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