Crashlander is a fix-up novel by American writer Larry Niven, published in 1994 (ISBN 978-0345381682) and set in his Known Space universe. It is also a term used in the Known Space universe, denoting a human born on the planet We Made It.

First edition, published by Del Rey Books. Cover art by Don Dixon.

Plot Summary

Crashlander brings together the short stories featuring the space pilot Beowulf Shaeffer — "Neutron Star" (1966), "At the Core" (1966), "Flatlander" (1967), "Grendel" (1968), "The Borderland of Sol" (1975), and "Procrustes" (1993).

The stories are linked, and some of them extended, by a framing story, "Ghost". This story recounts Shaeffer's reunion with a ghostwriter whom Shaeffer had used to write about his adventures at the neutron star and at the core, Ander Smittarasheed. Ander, working for ARM agent Sigmund Ausfaller, has come to question him about his dealings with Pierson's Puppeteers, General Products and Carlos Wu, as well as what happened to Wu and ARM agent Feather Filip. Wu, Shaeffer and Sharrol Janss and their children, Tanya and Louis Wu, had secretly emigrated from Earth to the planet Fafnir to escape the control of Earth's United Nations government and the ARM.

"Neutron Star", "At The Core", "Flatlander"', and "Grendel" were previously included in the 1968 collection Neutron Star.

Most of the stories in the collection are retold from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller in Juggler of Worlds.

Crashlander (in-universe term)

A "Crashlander", in Known Space, is anyone from the planet We Made It. As the names imply, the colonists who first settled the planet almost did not.

External links

See also

At the Core

"At the Core" is an English language science fiction short story written in 1966 by Larry Niven. It is the second in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, November 1966, and reprinted in Neutron Star (1968), and Crashlander (1994).

The novel Fleet of Worlds is set in the aftermath of the story, from the Puppeteer point of view. The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds. The events are also referred to in Ringworld.

Belter (Niven)

In Larry Niven's fictional Known Space universe, a Belter refers to a resident of the Asteroid Belt around Sol, sometimes known as the Sol Belt to differentiate it from Alpha Centauri's Serpent Swarm.

Beowulf Shaeffer

Beowulf "Bey" Shaeffer is a fictional character from Larry Niven’s Known Space series. Shaeffer is a crashlander, a descendent of Earth explorers who colonized the planet We Made It, which orbits the star Procyon. He is the central figure of several stories which revolve around his dealings with Pierson's Puppeteers and human characters in unusual and potentially dangerous activities, which often test his wits and courage to see them through to completion.

Shaeffer’s first appearance is in the short story "Neutron Star" in 1966. Niven wrote six short stories between 1966 and 1993 and added a framing story ("Ghost") which ties them all together in the fix-up collection Crashlander. Shaeffer also appears in the story "Fly-by-Night" and in "Juggler Of Worlds", second book in the "fleet of worlds" series. His known activities span the Timeline of Known Space from 2622, when he became chief pilot of Nakamura Lines, to 2655 when he emigrated to the planet Home with his wife Sharrol and their children.

Edge (magazine)

Edge is a multi-format video game magazine published by Future plc in the United Kingdom, which publishes 13 issues of the magazine per year.


A fix-up (or fixup) is a novel created from several short fiction stories that may or may not have been initially related or previously published. The stories may be edited for consistency, and sometimes new connecting material, such as a frame story or other interstitial narration, is written for the new work. The term was coined by the science fiction writer A. E. van Vogt, who published several fix-ups of his own, including The Voyage of the Space Beagle, but the practice (if not the term) exists outside of science fiction. The use of the term in science fiction criticism was popularised by the first (1979) edition of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by Peter Nicholls, which credited Van Vogt with the creation of the term.

The name comes from the modifications that the author needs to make in the original texts to make them fit together as though they were a novel. Foreshadowing of events from the later stories may be jammed into an early chapter of the fix-up, and character development may be interleaved throughout the book. Contradictions and inconsistencies between episodes are usually worked out.

Some fix-ups in their final form are more of a short story cycle or composite novel rather than a traditional novel with a single main plotline. Examples are Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles and Isaac Asimov's I, Robot, both of which read as a series of short stories which may share plot threads and characters but which still act as self-contained stories. By contrast, van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher is structured like a continuous novel although it incorporates material from three previous Van Vogt short stories.

Fix-ups became an accepted practice in American publishing during the 1950s, when science fiction and fantasy—once published primarily in magazines—began appearing increasingly in book form. Large book publishers like Doubleday and Simon & Schuster entered the market, greatly increasing demand for fiction. Authors created new manuscripts from old stories to sell to publishers. Algis Budrys in 1965 described fixups as a consequence of the lack of good supply during the "bad years for quality" of the mid-1950s, although citing The Martian Chronicles and Clifford D. Simak's City as among exceptions.

Flatlander (Niven)

Flatlander is a term used in Larry Niven's fictional universe of Known Space. It is also the title of two works in the Known Space canon.

Flatlander (short story)

"Flatlander" is an English language science fiction short story written in 1967 by Larry Niven. It is the third in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Worlds of If, March 1967, and reprinted in Neutron Star, and Crashlander.

Grendel (short story)

"Grendel" is an English language science fiction short story written in 1968 by Larry Niven. It is the fourth in the series of Known Space stories featuring crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Neutron Star (1968), and reprinted in Crashlander (1994).

Inconstant Star

Inconstant Star is a science fiction fix-up novel by American writer Poul Anderson. It is formed by the novellas Iron and Inconstant Star. first published in The Man-Kzin Wars (1988) and Man-Kzin Wars III (1990), respectively. The title is from the tumbling alien artifact that sends out radiation. Due to the tumbling effect, the output can only be seen briefly from a given point in space, looking like a star, but then disappearing as the artifact moves.

The title also references another Niven story, "Inconstant Moon", which is not part of the Known Space series. The novel is the story of Robert Saxtorph and his ship Rover, hired for peaceful missions, but which run into Kzinti at every turn.

Juggler of Worlds

Juggler of Worlds (2008) is a science fiction novel by American writers Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner, a sequel to their Fleet of Worlds .It is set in the Known Space universe. Most of the book revisits earlier stories (the Beowulf Shaeffer stories in Crashlander from the points of view of Sigmund Ausfaller and several Pierson's Puppeteers, and "The Soft Weapon" and parts of Fleet of Worlds from the point of view of Nessus). The novel also severely revises the established knowledge of the Outsider race. The final quarter of the book returns to the setting of Fleet of Worlds.

Known Space

Known Space is the fictional setting of about a dozen science fiction novels and several collections of short stories written by Larry Niven. It has also become a shared universe in the spin-off Man-Kzin Wars anthologies. ISFDB catalogs all works set in the fictional universe that includes Known Space under the series name Tales of Known Space, which was the title of a 1975 collection of Niven's short stories. The first-published work in the series, which was Niven's first published piece was "The Coldest Place", in the December 1964 issue of If magazine, edited by Frederik Pohl. This was the first-published work in the 1975 collection.

The stories span approximately one thousand years of future history, from the first human explorations of the Solar System to the colonization of dozens of nearby systems. Late in the series, Known Space is an irregularly shaped "bubble" about 60 light-years across.

Within the Tales of Known Space, the epithet "Known Space" refers to a relatively small region in the Milky Way galaxy, one centered on Earth. In the future that the series depicts, spanning roughly the third millennium, humans have explored this region and colonized many of its worlds. Contact has been made with other species, such as the two-headed Pierson's Puppeteers and the aggressive felinoid Kzinti. Stories in the Known Space series include events and places outside of the region called "Known Space" such as the Ringworld, the Pierson's Puppeteers' Fleet of Worlds and the Pak homeworld.

The Tales were originally conceived as two separate series, the Belter stories set roughly from 2000 to 2350 CE and the Neutron Star / Ringworld stories set in 2651 CE and later. The earlier, Belter period features solar-system colonization and slower-than-light travel with fusion-powered and Bussard ramjet ships. The later, Neutron Star period features faster-than-light ships using "hyperdrive". Niven implicitly joined the two settings as a single fictional universe in the short story "A Relic of the Empire" (If, December 1966), by using background elements of the Slaver civilization from the Belter series as a plot element in the faster-than-light setting. In the late 1980s—having written almost no Tales of Known Space in more than a decade—Niven opened the 300-year gap in the Known Space timeline as a shared universe, and the stories of the Man-Kzin Wars volumes fill in that history, bridging the two settings.

Larry Niven bibliography

This is a complete bibliography by American science fiction author Larry Niven.

Love and Other Planets

Love and Other Planets is the second album by British singer/songwriter Adem Ilhan, who records under the name Adem. According to Ilham, the album itself is a loose concept album about "space. And cosmic things. And people."

Neutron Star (short story)

"Neutron Star" is an English language science fiction short story by American writer Larry Niven. It was originally published in the October 1966 issue (Issue 107, Vol 16, No 10) of Worlds of If. It was later reprinted in the collection of the same name and Crashlander. The story is set in Niven's fictional Known Space universe. It is notable for including a neutron star before their (then hypothetical) existence was widely known."Neutron Star" is the first to feature Beowulf Shaeffer, the ex-pilot and reluctant hero of many of Niven's Known Space stories. It also marked the first appearance of the nearly indestructible General Products starship hull, as well as its creators, the Pierson's Puppeteers. The star itself, BVS-1, is featured in the novel Protector (1973), where it is named "Phssthpok's Star". A prelude to the story is also included in the novel Juggler of Worlds.

Pierson's Puppeteers

Pierson's Puppeteers, often known just as Puppeteers, are a fictional alien race from American author Larry Niven's Known Space books. The race first appeared in Niven’s novella, Neutron Star.

Procrustes (short story)

"Procrustes" is an English-language science fiction short story written in 1994 by Larry Niven. It is the sixth in the series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer. The short story was originally published in Crashlander (1994).

The story is retold, from the point of view of Sigmund Ausfaller, in Juggler of Worlds.

Ringworld's Children

Ringworld's Children is a 2004 science fiction novel by American writer Larry Niven, the fourth in the Ringworld series set in the Known Space universe. It describes the continuing adventures of Louis Wu and companions on Ringworld.

The Borderland of Sol

"The Borderland of Sol" is an English language science fiction novelette written in 1975 by Larry Niven. It is the fifth in the Known Space series of stories about crashlander Beowulf Shaeffer.

The story was originally published in Analog, January 1975, printed in the collection Tales of Known Space, Niven, Del Ray, reissued 1985 (ISBN 978-0-345-33469-5), and reprinted in Crashlander, Larry Niven, New York: Ballantine, 1994, pp. 160–207 (ISBN 978-0-345-38168-2). The story won the Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 1976 and was nominated for the Locus Poll Award for Best Novelette in 1976.

It is one of the earliest works of fiction to feature a black hole.

Segments of the novel Fleet of Worlds serve as a prequel to the story.

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