- Author: Larry Niven
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 (2391 A.D.)
CHAPTER 2 (2391 A.D.)
CHAPTER 3 (2391 A.D.)
CHAPTER 4 (2391–2392 A.D.)
CHAPTER 5 (2392 A.D.)
CHAPTER 6 (2392 A.D.)
CHAPTER 7 (2392 A.D.)
CHAPTER 8 (2396 A.D.)
CHAPTER 9 (2396 A.D.)
CHAPTER 10 (2396 A.D.)
CHAPTER 11 (2399–2401 A.D.)
CHAPTER 12 (2402 A.D.)
CHAPTER 13 (2402 A.D.)
CHAPTER 14 (2402 A.D.)
CHAPTER 15 (2402–2403 A.D.)
CHAPTER 16 (2403–2404 A.D.)
CHAPTER 17 (2404–2409 A.D.)
CHAPTER 18 (2410–2413 A.D.)
CHAPTER 19 (2414–2419 A.D.)
CHAPTER 20 (2420 A.D.)
CHAPTER 21 (2420 A.D.)
CHAPTER 22 (2420 A.D.)
CHAPTER 23 (2420 A.D.)
CHAPTER 24 (2420 A.D.)
CHAPTER 25 (2420–2423 A.D.)
CHAPTER 26 (2423 A.D.)
CHAPTER 27 (2423–2435 A.D.)
CHAPTER 28 (2435 A.D.)
THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KZIN
MAN-KZIN WARS IV
S. M. Stirling
Man-Kzin War IV
Created by Larry Niven
Welcome to the hottest pocket in Larry Niven’s Known Space: the time of the assault on pacifist humanity by berserker felinoids from the planet Kzin. This time humanity’s representatives to the Warrior Race are Donald Kingsbury, Greg Bear, and Steve Stirling. As is traditional in this war for species survival, in all cases “monkey cleverness” (i.e., human cunning) is more than a match for felinoid ferocity. But as is also traditional, victory never comes cheap to those out on the sharp edge of The Man-Kzin Wars.
Copyright © 1991 by Larry Niven
Copyright © 1991 by Donald Kingsbury
The Man Who Would Be Kzin
Copyright © 1991 by Greg Bear and S.M. Stirling
Cover art by Steve Hickman
First printing, September 1991
Electronic Version by Baen Books/www.baen.com
Last month a stranger in New Jersey asked permission to use the kzinti in his fanzine. (Fanzines, fan magazines, exist strictly for recreation.) Gary Wells wanted nothing of Known Space, just the kzinti, embedded in a Star Trek background.
I wrote: I hereby refuse you permission to use the kzinti in any literary property.
The last guy who did that involved the kzinti in a sadomasochistic homosexual gangbang, badly, and published it on a computer network. A friend alerted me, and we spoke the magic word and frightened him away. (Lawsuit.) I’m still a little twitchy on the subject, so don’t take any of this too personally….
Wells persisted. He sent me the Fleet bio for his kzin: a crewman aboard a federation battlewagon. He’s got his format well worked out. It would have been fun to see what he might do with it; but I’m going to refuse him anyway. I don’t want the playground getting too crowded.
I hope the network bandit doesn’t turn up again.
I wouldn’t be so picky with a story set in someone else’s territory … but when you play in my playground, you don’t vandalize the equipment. Jim Baen and I have solicited stories which we bought and then rejected because they didn’t fit my standards.
The bandit’s kzin was ridiculous. Large warm-blooded animals that have to fight don’t have big impressive dongs. There’s no flexibility in their mating habits. (We have some partial understanding of why humans are an exception.) Humans will smell wrong; this is established as important to kzinti.
Yet such matters can be handled with taste, or at least verisimilitude.
* * *
If you once read Donald Kingsbury’s Courtship Rite … but the nightmares have since gone away… “The Survivor” is your chance to get them back. Kingsbury writes horror stories for bright people. You will come to understand his cowardly kzin, and even to sympathize with him, but not, I hope, to love him. Grass-Eater is not normal.
“The Man Who Would Be Kzin,” as portrayed by Greg Bear and S.M. Stirling, isn’t normal either.
There are writers out there who know considerably more about the kzinti than I do. The Man-Kzin Wars authors have already delved deep into normal kzinti family life. The kzinti are mean and dangerous and intelligent. I fear I’ve been taking them too lightly.
Copyright © 1991 by Donald Kingsbury
His tail was cold. Where could he run to?
The Short-Son of Chiirr-Nig fluffed the fur inside his suit to help him keep warm. At the airlock exit he hadn’t had time to appropriate better surface garb from the public racks. The suit was non-standard, too large and good only for a limited surface excursion. Eventually he would freeze. The oxygen mask and support pack should last indefinitely.
Ruddy light from an enormous red sun gilded the snow-swept rocks. A dim rose cast itself across the hunching sprawl of atmosphere-tight buildings that spread down into the valley gloom. The scene demanded infra-red goggles to penetrate the shadows, but Short-Son had no goggles. Could he run to the mountains? The jags against the sky had been named the Mountains of Promised Victory by the founding warriors of Hssin, but they were mountains of death.
Dim as R’hshssira was, the sanguine glare from the snow peaks drowned the stars along the horizon. But above, undismayed by the pale glow of R’hshssira, the heavens peered from a darkly mauve sky, seeming to give more light than Hssin’s litter-runt-of-a-star, even as they peered through wisps of cirrus.
If there was little light, there was warmth. But one had to be standing out on the open plain of Hssin in full daylight—forge-red R’hshssira looming full round in the sky—to feel the warmth. Nevertheless it was real warmth that soaked into space armor—if one was willing to freeze his backside and tail.
Short-Son of Chiirr-Nig turned his back to the sun, his tail held up to the radiation.
His warrior elders sometimes joked about whether Hssin was a planet or a moon because no kzin was really sure whether the pitiful primary, R’hshssira, was a father star or a mere lost whelp with slave. R’hshssira was too cool, too small to be a star, already having collapsed, without igniting its hydrogen, to the density of a heavy metal. Still it bathed them in a bloody warmth.
A star-beast in hibernation, its metabolism inactive.
A beast with no rotation, no magnetic field, fighting nothing. It slept and the slave satellite Hssin patrolled protectively close to the master’s lair.