FFB: Playgrounds of the Mind

this is the 80th of my series of forgotten books

Playgrounds of the Mind by Larry Niven, some contents co-authored, July 1992 mass market paperback, science fiction and fantasy

I bought this used copy for the car. If you’re like me, you like to have a book at hand pretty much all of the time, and I find it handy to have one that mostly stays in the car. When I finish it, and that can take a while, I get another “car book”.

My criteria for such a book: a slightly beat-up paperback short story collection. I find short stories are faster to read, I don’t have to keep track of characters and plot over a long period of time. These are books I can just pick up and read without a lot of figuring out where I was and what was happening. This books fits the criteria.

This has mostly short stories and in this case excerpts from longer works, all but one I’d read. For that matter, I’d read most of the short stories too, but it had been a long time ago.

I really like Niven, especially his short stories, so I knew I’d like these and I did. The only problem was some I enjoyed so much now I want to read the longer pieces in their entirety.

The contents of Larry Niven’s Playgrounds of the Mind collection as follows

Thraxisp: A Memoir
“A Teardrop Falls”
From Inferno (with Jerry Pournelle)
From A World Out of Time
From The Ethics of Madness
“Becalmed in Hell”
“Wait It Out”
“A Relic of the Empire”
From Lucifer’s Hammer (with Jerry Pournelle)
“The Soft Weapon”
“The Borderland of Sol”
From The Ringworld Engineers
“What Good Is a Glass Dagger?”
From The Magic Goes Away
“The Defenseless Dead”
From The Patchwork Girl
From Oath of Fealty (with Jerry Pournelle)
“Unfinished Story”
“Cautionary Tales”
“The Dreadful White Page”
From Dream Park (with Steven Barnes)
“The Green Marauder”
Assimilating Our Culture, That’s What They’re Doing!
“War Movie”
The Lost Ideas
Bigger Than Worlds
Ghetto? But I Thought…
Adrienne and Irish Coffee
“One Night at the Draco Tavern”
TrantorCon Report
Why Men Fight Wars, and What You Can Do About It!
From Green Lantern Bible
From The Legacy of Heorot (with Jerry Pournelle and Steven Barnes)
“The Portrait of Daryanree the King”
“The Wishing Game”
“The Lion In His Attic”
From Footfall (with Jerry Pournelle)
Works in Progress
From The Moat Around Murcheson’s Eye
From Fallen Angels
Wanted Fan
[from] The California Voodoo Game

That’s about a s broad  a look at Niven’s writing as you’re likely to find inside one set of covers, and between the short stories, excerpts from novels and articles, there’s a lot to enjoy. Don’t misunderstand, I normally will have noting to do with excerpts, the Reader’s Digest version of books, but in this case, since it’s a book for the car, I’m okay with it.

I wonder, does anyone else keep a book in the car?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

links to all of this weeks Forgotten Book posts can be found
on Patti Abbott’s blog, Pattinase

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in At Home in Portland, books, fantasy, Friday Forgotten Book, reading, Review, science fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to FFB: Playgrounds of the Mind

  1. Bill Crider says:

    I do. But then I also have a bunch of books on my phone, and I’ve been using that instead for a while.

  2. I don’t keep one in the car, but i almost invariably carry my current read when ever I leave the house. I can’t remember many times in the past, going back a long way, when I didn’t have a book near at hand.

    It’s been awhile, but I’ve read this one. And that reminds me that I have the latest DREAMPARK novel by Niven and Barnes, THE MOON MAZE GAME, in my TBR pile. Best haul it out.

  3. John says:

    Do you read it while driving? I thought maybe you were going to talk about an audio book that you listened to while driving. Maybe I’m just tired but I don’t understand a book that stays in the car. You take it with you from place to place? When does it ever get read? I know I’m sounding dumb here. Oh well.

    I’m not a regular driver (I drive about twice every year while on vacation in rental cars) but instead take public transportation. I always have a book with me and I’m always reading while traveling from place to place since I’m always a rider. Walking down the street without a book is a rarity for me and when I don’t have a book in my hand or coat pocket I feel like I’ve forgotten something.

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    No I don’t keep a book in the car but I always take a paperback with me when we are going somewhere. This comes in especially handy when I am waiting around for my wife to finish shopping. I agree short stories are preferable but generally I take whatever I am reading at the moment.

  5. I have multiple books in the car. And, like Jeff, I bring a book along with me. But I live with the fear of finishing a book and not having another book at hand to read.

  6. Richard says:

    Bill, Randy – I usually take along the book I’m reading if it’s a paperback, but seldom carry hardcovers out of the house. If I forget a book, as happens sometimes, then the book in car comes into play.

    John – no, no! I do not read while driving. I do nothing to distract me from paying attention to the road, the other drivers, conditions etc. But If I’m sitting in the car waiting while the Wife is in the quilt shop buying fabric, or if I’m in the doctor’s waiting room or whatever, that when the book in the car comes into play.

  7. Richard says:

    Jeff, pretty much the same thing, except I don’t always want to take that nice HC out in the rain…

    George, I have the same fear.

  8. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I should have said whatever paperback I am reading. Rarely I will take a hardback if it’s a library book I’m almost finished with and if we are going to the library later that day. Once in a while I even manage to finish it…

    By the way, I did order the Niven book, which sounds right up my alley.

  9. Carl V. says:

    I actually saw this for the first time the other day, in Barnes and Noble of all places. I always hit the SF section and had never seen this in with the Niven books before. I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have that massive Best Of collection of his that in some ways I want to read and in others want to ignore….or just 1 “other” really, it is just a massive book. I’d almost rather experience his short fiction in paperbacks like this.

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