Remember those wonderful books and stories of your youth? Whether you grew up reading Nancy Drew or Winnie-the-Pooh, you no doubt recall the power and passion of books that moved you when you were first starting to read. In his new book, Rainbow Mars, Larry Niven appeals to that nostalgia.

In the 24th-century world of Hanville Svetz, time travel is a reality. Most of his temporal dislocation projects have been influenced by the personal whims of the United Nations galactic leadership, who wanted Svetz to travel to the past in order to capture extinct animals and bring them to the future. So far, Svetz has blundered on every time trip, but ultimately succeeded because he brought back even more exotic animals than he was sent to capture. (Would you believe Moby Dick in place of a regular whale, Quetzalcoatl instead of a snake, and a unicorn instead of a horse?) Now U.

N. leadership has changed, and the new ruler wants space travel and an exploration of Professor Lowell's discredited Canals of Mars. Svetz figures out a way to get to Mars almost a thousand years in the past when, amazingly, the Canals do exist and are populated by numerous exotic alien species. As you read Niven's descriptions, allusions to legendary science fiction characters suddenly become apparent characters such as Tars Tarkas from the Edgar Rice Burroughs lexicon of Barsoomian adventures, and various other Martian depictions courtesy of Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Stanley Weinbaum, and C.

S. Lewis.

Larry Niven enthralls readers with his skillful integration of myth, legend, fantasy, and classic science fiction. This is his best novel since the Hugo Award-winning Ringworld. Rainbow Mars also includes Niven's five original short stories about Svetz's adventures that were written over 25 years ago.

Larry D. Woods, an attorney, is an avid reader of science fiction.

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