(singular Bandersnatch; scientific name Frumious Bandersnatch) An artificially created, intelligent alien species, a survivor of the ancient Slaver Empire. First discovered by Humans on Jinx circa 2097, by 2851 they had been found on many worlds.
Physiology: Twice the size of an Apatosaurus, a Bandersnatch is a single-celled organism resembling a Shmoo; a smoothly rounded, egg-shaped body extending to a long neck which swells into its head. It has a flexible but jointless skeleton; the only breaks in its smooth, white skin are tufts of sensory bristles on its eyeless head, and the whale-sized mouth at the front of its rippling, snail-like belly foot, on which it can move very quickly.
Shmoo, from Al Capp’s Li’l Abner
Creation and evolution: The Bandersnatchi are a product of Tnuctipun biological engineering. They were created as a delicious food animal for the Thrintun; the oversized brain was considered a delicacy. They are immune to mutation, with DNA strands as thick as a Human’s little finger, so have not evolved in the 1.5 billion years since the end of the Slaver Empire. [Spoiler alert: World of Ptavvs] They were also created intelligent and immune to Thrintun Power, as spies for the Tnuctipun, in anticipation of the Tnuctipun-Slaver war. [End of Spoiler alert]
Behavior: Bandersnatchi feed on the gray food yeast in Jinx’s lowlands, along the shore of the central ocean. Despite their very limited senses, they can communicate intelligently among themselves quite rapidly. An unofficial source states they communicate by ground vibrations Ringworld Roleplaying Game— Creatures Book p. 2.
Interspecies relations: Lacking hands and therefore having little tool-using ability, the Bandersnatchi species by circa 2646 had formed a treaty with Humans on Jinx to sell hunting rights. A license, which costs 1000 stars, permits one to hunt Bandersnatchi in an armored car, with strict limitations on weapons. A Bandersnatch is fully capable of running down and crushing an armored car; a hunter has about a 60/40 chance of success versus dying. The benefit to Bandersnatchi, aside from trading credit, is to help prevent overpopulation and to provide some excitement to their sensory-deprived existence. Some income is used to buy Bandersnatch’s Hands. Bandersnatchi with these Hands also operate scientific instruments for the Institute of Knowledge in the lowlands, where the pressure is too great for unprotected Humans.
Reference:World of Ptavvs, "A Relic of the Empire", "The Handicapped", Ringworld ch. 15
A prosthetic set of mechanical arms and hands for a Bandersnatch. The controls must be surgically connected to the creature's nervous system, as they have no other way to work the controls. Garvey Limited manufactured these circa 2646.
Reference: "The Handicapped"
Bank of We Made It
Beowulf Shaeffer 's fee for his flyby survey of the neutron star BVS-1 was deposited in this bank in 2641.
Human male Flatlander, a friend of Gregory Pelton and an acquaintance of Beowulf Shaeffer. In 2647 his age was 300. Larch had an aura of power and a mimic's voice with deadpan delivery. His lean body had a lean angular face, and deepset eyes with a hunter's penetrating, questioning gaze. He hated aliens. [Spoiler alert: "Grendel"] He was the ringleader in the kidnapping of Lloobee, a famous Kdatlyno artist. See "Grendel" (story summary).
Chart of inner Sol System, showing the Belt (main asteroid belt) and the Trojan asteroids
Picture credit: Wikipedia (public domain)
Sol System’s main asteroid belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is a source of valuable minerals, and is worked by asteroid miners, who created the Belter culture. Ceres is the capital. Settlement of the Belt began circa 2006 "A century ago, when the Belt was first being settled..." (World of Ptavvs p. 69) , and by 2046 Belter population pressure prompted the construction of Confinement Asteroid. In 2106 Belters were involved in an economic struggle with Earth for their independence, and by 2126 independence had been achieved. By 2371 it had a million citizens and owned nearly all Sol system.
Reference:World of Ptavvs, The Patchwork Girl, "At the Bottom of a Hole", "Death by Ecstasy", Protector, "The Ethics of Madness", "The Warriors", "Madness Has Its Place", Ringworld ch. 12
A citizen of an asteroid belt. Belter civilization arose in Sol system's main asteroid Belt, with an economy centered on asteroid mining. As time progressed, Belters colonized the Serpent Stream in the Alpha Centauri system, and perhaps asteroid belts elsewhere. Born and raised in low gravity, native Belters tend to be tall and thin. Belters created their own distinct culture, placing high value on independence, self-reliance, neatness, and care for one's self and machinery. Living and working in vacuo, carelessness or lack of maintenance can be deadly. Belters don't use gesture or make careless movements; in a small mining ship, one could easily hit the wrong control by mistake. They tend to be anarchic, scornful of authority, and intolerant of fools. Other cultural byways include the Belter strip haircut, elaborate paintings on their spacesuits, and calling Earth natives Flatlanders, with the implication they're a bit helpless.
Reference: "The Warriors", World of Ptavvs, The Patchwork Girl, Ringworld ch. 12
The standard Belter haircut. All the hair is shaved off except an inch-wide strip from front to back, which is allowed to grow out.
The first epic hero in English literature. Written in Old English and based on Norse myth, in Beowulf the hero fights and defeats two trolls, Grendel and Grendel's mother; and later a dragon. In 2647 Beowulf Shaeffer had to be told of this origin of his first name.
A binary star, with a glowing red gas filament mating the binaries in fusion fire at their bulging equators. Their gravitational dance pulls the fiery stream into a blazing maypole spiral. By 2505 the sight had become a famed interstellar tourist attraction. It has one named planet, Cue Ball.
The larger star of Mira, a binary pair. It is orbited by the planet Mira Ceti-T.
Reference: "A Relic of the Empire"
(Also called "Primary") A banded orange Jovian planet orbiting Sirius A. Jinx, a Human colony world, is a moon orbiting this planet. According to an unofficial source, Binary orbits at 4.3 AU, is more massive than Jupiter, but is smaller and more dense, with a degenerate matter core Ringworld Roleplaying Game— Explorer Book, p. 39.
Reference:World of Ptavvs p. 50
On Earth in 2850, a typical method of birth control was by a tiny crystal injected under the skin of the forearm. It took a year to dissolve.
Reference:Ringworld ch. 2
On crowded Earth starting in the mid-21st century, Human population was strictly controlled. The Fertility Board granted the birthright, specifying the number of children any individual was allowed. Most couples were granted two children, but some were denied any and some were granted more, based on genetic desirability. It took two birthrights to produce one child, generally one from the mother and one from the father Information from the author.. In 2648, albino Beowulf Shaeffer was denied any birthright, and genius Carlos Wu had been given an unlimited birthright. A scandal in 2650 resulted in drastic changes; every person had the right to one child; second and third birthrights could come automatically for such things as high IQ, useful psychic powers, or survival traits such as natural longevity or perfect teeth; birthrights could be purchased at one million stars apiece; the Birthright Lottery was created; and one could also engage in a fight to the death for birthrights, in the arena.
Reference: "Grendel", "The Borderland of Sol", Ringworld ch. 2
On Earth after the reform of the Fertility Laws following a scandal in 2650, each year the number of births assigned by the Fertility Board fell short of the deaths. To keep the population stable, the shortfall was made up by a lottery, with drawings each New Year's Day. Ten to 13 percent of each generation was a result of the lottery. Louis Wu had one child by lottery, and Teela Brown was the descendant of five generations of Birthright Lottery winners. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] During the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851, Nessus revealed that Puppeteers had manipulated members of the Fertility Board, with bribery and blackmail, to create the scandal, and then to create the Birthright Lottery. He claimed Puppeteers wanted to make Humans luckier.
Reference:Ringworld chs. 2-3, 9, 13
Puppeteers use blackmail as a standard, accepted business practice. The following instances of blackmail or intent to blackmail are documented:
(b) Shortly thereafter, Bey blackmailed the same GP executive with his supposition that the hidden Puppeteer homeworld had no moon.
(c)Dr. Richard Schultz-Mann hoped to form a blackmail contract in 2644 with the Puppeteers over the location of their hidden homeworld. This would have involved him voluntarily undergoing selective memory erasure.
Reference: "Neutron Star", "At the Core", "A Relic of the Empire", "The Color of Sunfire"
The fashion for Humans on Earth by 2645 was to paint skin, dye hair, and color eyes any and every color or colors, including stripes and plaids. Louis Wu used body paints to appear as a comic-book Fu Manchu, his costume for his 200th birthday party on Earth in 2850. Teela Brown appeared at the same party in blue skin with a netting of silver threads.
Reference: "Flatlander", Ringworld chs. 1-2
In 2322 booster rockets used extremely compressed helium to boost a spacecraft from Earth into orbit. See also air rocket.
Reference: "The Ethics of Madness"
Human longevity drug, created in a Jinx biological laboratory. Different accounts indicate it was introduced circa 2325 or invented after circa 2347 According to Louis Wu, "...boosterspice... had been introduced... about two hundred years after an alien ramship reached Sol system" (Ringworld's Children ch. 15, pp. 190). This refers to events in the first half of Protector, in 2125. Therefore, about 200 years after 2125. Contrariwise, according to Beowulf Shaeffer, "Bellamy was born before a certain Jinxian biological laboratory produced boosterspice" ("Grendel", Neutron Star p. 251). Bey estimates Bellamy's age at 300, so less than 300 years prior to that account, which is set in 2647.. However, the drug was not in widespread use until sometime after 2375 but before 2400 "Madness Has Its Place", the first part of which is dated 2375, deals extensively with the health issues of aging, but never mentions boosterspice. Therefore it was not in common use at that time, at least not as a treatment for the elderly. And by 2882, "Boosterspice had kept some humans hale and sapient for half a thousand years, sometimes more" (The Ringworld Throne, Prologue p. 16). 500 years prior to 2882 would be 2382.. By 2685, only the desperately poor did not use boosterspice regularly "He himself was aged. Half his beard and most of his hair were white. His withered skin look like he'd slept in it. A man who doesn't buy boosterspice is a man on the edge of starvation" ("The Color of Sunfire", Bridging the Galaxies p. 76).. Boosterspice preserves a youthful appearance indefinitely, and causes scars to disappear. By 2878, an aged appearance was so rare in Human Space that it was almost unrecognizable "The City Builder woman climbed briskly... But her hands and face were wrinkled as if worn too long. [paragraph] An unsettling sight. Louis wasn't used to that. Intellectually he knew what it was: the sign of age..." (The Ringworld Engineers ch. 19, p. 187).. When used by someone showing symtoms of old age because they have not used the drug, it can reverse the outward appearance of aging, but not all of its symptoms Richard Schultz-Mann was off boosterspice for two decades. When he resumed treatments, the gray patches in his hair disappeared, but the twinges in his back remained ("A Relic of the Empire", Neutron Star p. 44).. By 2830, boosterspice had the potential of keeping someone alive for a thousand years "Louis Wu was one hundred and eighty years old. As a regular user of boosterspice, he didn't show his years. If he didn't get bored first, or broke, he might reach a thousand" ("There Is a Tide", Tales of Known Space p. 201). , and by 2882, boosterspice had kept some healthy and sapient for 500 years, sometimes more The Ringworld Throne: Prologue, p. 16.. Boosterspice is generally believed to have been genetically engineered from ragweed genes. But Louis Wu speculated in 2893 that the drug might have been secretly developed from the tree-of-life left in Phssthpok's spaceship on Mars "He'd been told as a child that boosterspice had been made via genetic engineering done on ragweed. It now struck him that the longevity treatment had been introduced... about two hundred years after an alien ramship reached Sol system. It could fit" (Ringworld's Children ch. 15, p. 190). Phssthpok, a Pak protector, entered Sol System in a ramship in 2125 (Protector p. 190). "If the United Nations was playing with tree-of-life... half a thousand years ago... what else have they done with it?" (Ringworld's Children ch. 16, p. 213). The City Builders had a compound which Nessus claimed was superior to boosterspice, completely arresting aging for 50 years per use. See also lifespan and aging.
Reference: "A Relic of the Empire", "Grendel", "There Is a Tide", Ringworld chs. 10, 12, 21, The Ringworld Throne: Prologue, Ringworld's Children ch. 15, 16
Human female Flatlander, member of the First Ringworld Expedition. Teela Jandrova Brown IKLUGGTYN was the descendent of five generations of Birthright Lottery winners. At the beginning of the expedition, in 2850, she was twenty years old, was tall and had a "fragile beauty": black, wavy hair; large eyes described as brown or green Ringworld ch. 12, p. 161); Nordic-pale complexion; an oval face; small mouth, and a tiny nose. Louis Wu found her very pretty, although initially he thought her vapid. She was actually quite intelligent, although very innocent; she had never been hurt enough to be traumatized, either physically or emotionally. She could not empathize with another's pain, either physical or emotional. She had never learned to reject anyone, nor to deliver a calculated insult. A very fast reader, Teela could perform complex math in her head. She had never heard live music, only recordings. Lacking any urge for adventure, Teela had never been off Earth, but agreed to join the First Ringworld Expedition because she fell in love with Louis Wu. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] On the Ringworld, Teela's experiences and the traumas she endured matured her and allowed her to empathize with others; see Ringworld (story summary). By the end of the First Ringworld Expedition, Teela had fallen in love with Seeker, and remained on the Ringworld with him when the Expedition left.
The first known old, cold neutron star. It was discovered in 2639 by the Institute of Knowledge on Jinx. It has an estimated mass of 1.3 solar masses and a rotation period of two minutes 27 seconds. Its estimated composition is 11 miles of neutronium covered by about half a mile of degenerate matter covered by 12 feet of ordinary matter.