The axis of rotation of our Milky Way galaxy, through the center of the galaxy and perpendicular to the galactic plane. The axis points to galactic north and galactic south. In 2850, the Fleet of Worlds was moving in the direction of galactic north, parallel to this axis.
The center of our Milky Way galaxy. [Spoiler alert: "At the Core"] In 2645 Beowulf Shaeffer piloted a survey mission to the core in the starship Long Shot. The core was "a clear ball of multicolored light" five or six thousand light years across, with the stars so densely packed the light was more like day than night. He discovered a supernovae chain reaction had been set off, creating a radiation hazard so great he was unable to approach closer than four thousand light years from the core's edge. See core explosion.
(also "G") Short for "gravity". An acceleration or gravitational force equal to one Earth gravity.
Reference:Ringworld chs. 8, 19
Gee-Prime & Gee-Squared
Nicknames for two Human males of the family which circa 2646 owned Garvey Limited.
Reference: "The Handicapped"
The Puppeteers’ most important company in Human Space. It sold many diversified products in Known Space"General Products, the puppeteer-owned trading company, had sold many diversified wares in known space; but its fortunes had been founded on the General Products hull" (Ringworld ch. 7, p. 93-4)., but its fortunes mainly resulted from its exclusive manufacture of General Products hulls for spacecraft. [Spoiler alert: "At the Core"] The company was closed down in 2645, when the Puppeteer migration began, precipitating a major stock market crash in Human Space.
Reference: "Neutron Star", "At the Core", "Flatlander", Ringworld ch. 7
A nearly indestructible type of spacecraft hull made exclusively by a Puppeteer company, using secret technology.
Properties: It is very nearly impossible to damage, bend, dent, or even scratch a GP hull. The hulls can withstand almost any imaginable impact, as well as heat into the hundreds of thousands of degrees. Only gravity and certain wavelengths of light can penetrate them; those wavelengths which Puppeteers’ customers see as visible light. GP hulls are manufactured with openings for airlocks, engine nozzles, conduits etc. as specified by the customer. Hulls are delivered completely transparent; the inside is painted where transparency is unwanted. It is not commonly known that a GP hull is a single artificial molecule containing a small power plant which greatly strengthens its molecular bonds "Flatlander", Neutron Star p. 170. [Spoiler alert: Ringworld] During the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851, Louis Wu was concerned that using shadow square wire to tow the wrecked starship Lying Bastard would abrade its GP hull, but apparently no damage occurred. [End of spoiler alert]
Business: General Products generally makes only the hulls, which other companies use to build complete spaceships General Products usually makes only hulls, not complete spacecraft. This is indicated by the following: (a) When first shown the Long Shot, Beowulf Shaeffer asked "Does General Products build complete spacecraft nowadays?" The Puppeteer replied "We are thinking of branching out..." ("At the Core", Neutron Star p. 53). (b) "General Products... selling no more spacecraft hulls... [caused] the collapse of spacecraft companies with no hulls to build ships" ("At the Core", Neutron Star p. 70).. In 2641, 95 percent of all Human-built spacecraft used GP hulls. After General Products closed in 2645, no more GP hulls were sold. The secret of their manufacture was offered for one trillion stars, but there were no takers. The General Products guarantee on the hulls held for centuries and millions of ships. [Spoiler alert: "Flatlander"] The only documented case of Puppeteers having to pay off on the guarantee was Gregory Pelton’s claim for the hull of the Slower Than Infinity in 2645 (after the company had closed), following the hull’s disintegration from exposure to antimatter. [End of spoiler alert]
No. 1 GP hull: A sphere the size of a basketball "...the General Products Hull. There had been four varieties, from a globe the size of a basketball..." (Ringworld ch. 7, pp. 93-4).
No. 2 GP hull: A cylinder 300 feet long and 20 feet in diameter, pointed at both ends and with a slight wasp-waist constriction near the tail "Neutron Star", Neutron Star p. 12. Ordinarily, a No. 2 hull is just roomy enough for one pilot. Spaceships using this hull included the Lying Bastard, Skydiver, and Slower Than Infinity.
No. 3 GP hull: A cylinder 110 feet in diameter, with a flattened belly and rounded ends. Ringworld's Children p. 30. An unofficial source puts the length at "nearly 150 meters" (about 480-490 feet) Ringworld Roleplaying Game— Technology Book p. 27. The No. 3 hull makes a good multicrewed passenger ship. Spaceships using this hull include the Hot Needle of Inquiry, and the rendezvous ship.
No. 4 GP hull: Said to be the largest hull manufactured in Known Space, a globe more than a thousand feet in diameter "Neutron Star", Neutron Star p. 52; Ringworld p. 51. Oddly, the latter account also gives a diameter of "a mile wide" (Ringworld p. 57). However, this appears to be an error; see Editorial Note: continuity.. Generally, No. 4 hulls sold to customers are only used for colony projects. The Long Shot used a No. 4 hull. [Spoiler alert: Fleet of Worlds] Puppeteers use them to ferry grain from their farming worlds to Hearth.
Reference: "Neutron Star", "At the Core", "Flatlander", Ringworld chs. 7, 24, The Ringworld Engineers, Ringworld's Children ch. 7
During in the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851, Louis Wu proposed that the explorers "play god" to overawe the primitive natives, and thus ensure their cooperation. Speaker-To-Animals initially rejected this idea. However, late in the expedition, the explorers did resort to the God Gambit to get food from the natives, with Speaker playing a "god" and Halrloprillalar Hotrufan his acolyte.
Aboard the starship Lying Bastard were bulbous goggles which developed black spots where too much light impinged vertically. The First Ringworld Expedition explorers wore these in 2851 when approaching so near the Ringworld's sun that polarization in the ship's hull was insufficient.
Reference:Ringworld ch. 9
In Sol System after about 2125, various improvements in living conditions gradually brought about an era of peace and prosperity. Medical breakthroughs in tissue regeneration and alloplasty greatly eased the organ bank problem interstitial notes, Tales of Known Space p. 135. Eventually, ubiquitous psychistry treatments and effective anti-psychotic drug treatments made violence committed by people over the age of 14 quite rare. Disease and mental illness were conquered. By 2355, attempts to change human nature and end violence even restricted most Humans living in Sol System from knowing the truth about humanity's violent past. Only one in 12 qualified for History of Earth courses, and even those did not reveal the whole truth. According to Sue Bhang, psychistry was one of three major factors bringing about the Golden Age; the other two were increased food production and birth control with forced contraceptive shots "The Warriors", Tales of Known Space p. 142. Probably nearly all these advancements and changes were brought about by the subtle interventions of Brennan-monster. [Spoiler alert: "The Warriors"] The Golden Age of peace was ended in 2383 by the first Kzinti invasion of Sol System in the First Man-Kzin War.
Reference: "The Warriors", "The Ethics of Madness", "Madness Has its Place"
A spacecraft system which converts the ship's momentum relative to the nearest large mass into heat. The starship Slower Than Infinity carried this system in 2645. In 2647 it was apparently standard equipment on all Human-built ships, and was used by the starship Argos. A spaceport indicator could detect landings via gravity drag.
A type of starship propulsion used by the Kzinti Empire. In 2367, at the beginning of the First Man-Kzin War, it had been in use for centuries or perhaps millennia, and was their only starship propulsion system. It creates an artificial gravity field inside the ship, polarized to cause a push in only one direction. Cabin gravity must be used to compensate for high acceleration. One special-built ship, the Tracker, was observed accelerating at 200 gees using the gravity planer, at great energy cost, but other Kzinti ships were not as speedy. The drive made a noise like continually ripping cloth. This technology was acquired by Humans in 2366, giving them their first artificial gravity technology. This led to Human development of the later gravity polarizerThe following info is from Ye Editor's communication with Larry Niven: (a) At the time of the First Man-Kzin War, it was the Kzinti Empire's only space propulsion system; (b) The gravity planer does not provide an "inertialess" push; cabin gravity must be used to compensate for high acceleration; (c) The 200-gee acceleration observed in "The Warriors" was achieved at great energy cost, and not used again; (d) Humans "stole" the tech from the Kzinti, and improved it to produce the gravity polarizer..
Reference: "The Warriors", "Telepath's Dance", "Madness Has Its Place"
Different accounts use this term to refer to two apparently unrelated space propulsion technologies:
(a) In the account published as Protector, "gravity polarizer" refers to a Pak space drive. It allows the spacecraft to be propelled in any direction within a gravity well, so long as the direction of travel is always at least slightly "down" towards the bottom of the gravity well. In use, flying a spacecraft propelled by this drive is analogous to flying a paraglider, or hang glider, in Earth's atmosphere. Despite extensive study in situ from Phssthpok's spacecraft after it landed on Mars, Humans were never able to develop artificial gravity from the Pak drive "Olympus Base on Mars was rebuilt to study Phssthpok's cargo pod in situ, that being easier than trying to lift it against gravity with the gravity polarizer still going... The gravity polarizer seemed beyond human understanding." Protector pp. 103-4.
(b) Humans developed an improvement on the gravity planer, working in a similar manner Per communication with Larry Niven by Ye Editor., during or after the Man-Kzin Wars. Confusingly, this technology was also called a "gravity polarizer". The Kzinti, in turn, obtained this technology from Humans, and were still using the gravity polarizer as late as 2657. However, in Human Space, fusion drive had been the standard since before 2100, and continued to be long after the wars were over. It is unclear if the gravity polarizer was ever used extensively in Human Space, but may have been used on some Human military ships during the Man-Kzin Wars. See also space propulsion.
Reference:Protector: "Interlude" (pp. 103-4); "The Warriors"; "Madness Has Its Place"; "The Soft Weapon"
A "holo wall" space opera show, based on E.E. "Doc" Smith's classic Lensman space opera series, published 1939-1950. In 2126, Pauline Earthiel and Officer-One Valpredo remembered watching the show when they were children. The fictional properties of inertialessness as depicted on the show were somewhat different from those of the real inertial reduction device invented by Raymond Sinclair.
(also called "Great Oval Ocean") In addition to numerous shallow seas of relatively moderate size, the Ringworld holds two enormous salt water oceans on opposite sides of the Ring. They are the only deep oceans and the only saltwater on the Ringworld. Each spans nearly the entire width from rim wall to rim wall. The Great Ocean is located near Fist-of-God, where the starship Lying Bastard crashed during the First Ringworld Expedition in 2851. It contains a number of "island" groups which are full-scale Maps of inhabited planets. The Other Ocean is star-shaped. An enormous radiator fin projects from the underside of each, presumably to cool the oceans. See also Mapping the Ringworld in Appendix: The Ringworld
[Spoiler alert: "The Handicapped"] Aliens living on Down with a powerful telepathic mind-control ability. The species was thought to be just an animal until they initiated first contact with a Human, Garvey, circa 2646.
Sex and reproduction: The adult female form is sentient, the males and juveniles are non-sentient. The female becomes sessile (unmoving) when she reaches adulthood.
Physiology: The female adult form is a five-foot hairy cone, four feet across at the bottom, with a bald, rounded top, and long fur the color of sand. She has a very wide, lipless mouth, and no eyes. Her hands have four slim fingers, like spreading toes on chicken feet. Her feet are dog-like; hands and feet are naked and pink. The juvenile form vaguely resembles a hairy bulldog, with no nose. Its mouth is a flat lipless slit hiding two serrated horseshoe-shaped cutting surfaces. The non-sentient male resembles the juvenile form, but is the size of a Chihuahua. A Grog claimed ultraviolet light would kill them; Down orbits a red sun.
Behavior and Psionics: Grogs are desert dwellers. The non-sentient males and juveniles are controlled by the females, otherwise living as wild animals. Planned parenthood is easy for Grogs, who claim they want no increase in their territory. When she reaches adulthood, a female settles down on a rock. She has perfect telepathic ability and a powerful mind control ability similar to ThrintunPower. She has no need of eyes or other sensory organs, as she can experience life through the senses of animals she controls. She can implant information in the mind of a Human, which appears as a "crystalline certainty". Her ability to control animals is total; she can cause them to run and jump into her mouth to be eaten. Her ability to control Humans and other sentient beings close to her seems similarly unlimited, although she probably would be unable to control Bandersnatchi. Grogs claim there is a range limit to their Power, and that even all working together they cannot reach more than halfway around Down. But there seems no way to know if their Power has more range than they admit to.
Evolution: It has been speculated Grogs are an atrophied form of Thrintun, although this has been mis-characterized as "devolved". However, in the Thrintun it is the males who are sentient, the females non-sentient. The Grogs claim to know nothing of any existence prior to living on Down.
Interspecies relations: Quite naturally, many find the Grogs' Power to be terrifying. Grogs seem equally terrified others will exterminate them because of this fear. After first contact circa 2646, Garvey Limited formed an exclusive contract with the Grogs to provide them with supplies and services. The company fought fear of Grogs with a public relations campaign to convince people they are harmless. Grogs began herding livestock on Down. One instance of them taking passage on a starship, in 2647, was documented. However, although Wunderland changed its laws to allow Grogs to testify in court as expert lie-detectors, no account describes them as ever having been employed off Down, or living elsewhere.
A car unable to fly, such as an archaic twentieth century automobile. See also freeways.
Reference: "At the Core", "Flatlander"
A Human colony world, orbiting bright CY Aquarii, a variable star, at a wide distance. The planet is surprisingly Earth-like, with an 18-hour day and one diminutive moon. Circle sea is its biggest ocean. Its ecosystem includes velt of blue-green, knee-high ferns, and forest of bright alien colors. In 2647 it was very sparsely settled; its population including visitors was half a million. A weather dome protected the settlement from the sun's fierce ultraviolet radiation. Colonists venturing outside tanned themselves black and wore goggles. Most Humans there ate only two meals during the short day, brunch and dinner.
A ground-dwelling lifeform native to Gummidgy, probably a sessile (non-moving) animal like the Gummidgy orchid-thing. In 2647 one left tooth marks on the boot of Warren, a hunter.
A sessile (non-moving) animal native to Gummidgy. They attach themselves to magenta tree branches and wait for food to fly by. Garvey possessed one circa 2646.
Reference: "The Handicapped", "Grendel", Ringworld ch. 10
A deadly predator which attacked Louis Wu some years prior to 2851. It tore a large strip off his skin, but was poisoned by the meat.
Reference:Ringworld ch. 12
(also called "flywheels") Large gyroscopes mounted in a spacecraft and used to orient or turn it.