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Encyclopedia > Protector (novel)
Cover of first edition (paperback)
Author Larry Niven
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Science fiction novel
Publisher Ballantine Books
Released 1973
Media Type Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-23486-3

Protector is a 1973 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. It was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1974. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (376x641, 96 KB) Low res scan of book cover (Protector by Larry Niven, 1973 Ballantine first edition paperback) for use in illustrating article about book. ... Laurence van Cott Niven (born April 30, 1938) is a US science fiction author. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended, generally fictional narrative in prose. ... Ballantine Books, founded in 1952 by Ian Ballantine, is a major book publisher and is currently owned by Random House. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... See also: 1972 in literature, other events of 1973, 1974 in literature, list of years in literature. ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... Laurence van Cott Niven (born April 30, 1938) is a US science fiction author. ... Known Space is the fictional setting of several science fiction novels and short stories written by author Larry Niven. ... The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb Kosiba. ... The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works. ...

The work is a prequel (of sorts) of his classic novel Ringworld and fleshes out a species originally introduced in the story called Pak Protectors. The novel is said to be based on a shorter version titled The Adults. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is one of the best-known prequels. ... Ringworld is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning 1970 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe. ... Protector eating the root of life Pak Breeders and Pak Protectors are two generic forms of fictional life in Larry Nivens Known Space universe. ...


Plot summary

The novel is comprised of two phases in the same space that are separated by 220 years of time.

The first half of the book follows the path of the Pak named Phssthpok who has travelled from the Pak homeworld in search of a colony of Pak in the distant system of Sol, which is our Earth. Upon his arrival, he captures a man named Jack Brennan, who gets converted to a protector. They land on Mars where Brennan kills Phssthpok and is rescued by two humans, Nick Sohl and Lucas Garner, who had set out to meet the alien. The first half of the novel ends with Brennan telling his story to the humans before he heads for the outer reaches of the solar system. The Sun is the star at the centre of the Solar System[]. The Earth and other matter (including other planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets and dust) orbit the Sun, which by itself accounts for more than 99% of the solar systems mass[]. Energy from the Sun—in the form of... Earth (IPA: , often referred to as the Earth, Terra, the World or Planet Earth) is the third planet in the solar system in terms of distance from the Sun, and the fifth largest. ... Jack Brennan is a fictional character in Larry Nivens Known Space universe, from the novel Protector. ... Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system, named after the Roman god of war (the counterpart of the Greek Ares), on account of its blood red color as viewed in the night sky. ... Nicholas Brewster Sohl is a fictional character in Larry Nivens Known Space universe. ... Lucas Launcelot Garner is a fictional character in Larry Nivens Known Space Universe. ...

The second half of the book follows the path of a human named Roy Truesdale who has been abducted with no memory of the event. While searching for his abductor, he befriends Alice Jordan who helps him figure out that the man he has sought is none other than Jack Brennan. Truesdale and Jordan find Brennan in the outer solar system on a fabricated world of Brennan's design called Kobold. Brennan has found out that there is a Pak invasion fleet headed towards human space and takes Truesdale to a human outpost colony called Home in an effort to divert attention away from Earth. During their journey they battle with scout ships from the Pak fleet. Brennan and Truesdale arrive at Home only to have Truesdale realize that Brennan plans to convert the colony into a defensive Human Protector army. Truesdale kills Brennan and lands on Home, but is himself infected with a mutated strain of the Tree-of-Life virus that quickly spreads to a number of other colonists, thus carrying out Brennan's plan despite Truesdale's initial attempts to thwart it. Upon his conversion to protector form, Truesdale immediately understands the necessity of Brennan's plan and completes it by breaking out of hospital confinement and infecting the entire population of Home. The modified virus either kills or converts the remaining inhabitants, resulting in an army of childless protectors. The new protectors see that they absolutely must act to save the rest of humanity, and start preparing for battle with the Pak invasion fleet. The tree of life as represented in Kabbalah, containing the Sephiroth. ...

In what is treated as a minor incident in the story line, told more or less in passing, it is mentioned that during his soujourn in the outer Solar System, Brennan had committed cold-blooded genocide, sending a large ice asteroid to crash on Mars and raise considerably the water content of its atmosphere, which is lethal to the Martian's metabolism. This was done for no more reason than that martians had killed a handful of humans, in a single long-forgotten incident. The incident serves to underline the Pak Protectors' inherent racism and xenophobia, and utter incapability of acting by objective moral principles.


Main article: Pak Protector
A species called Pak lives on a planet near the Milky Way core, as a species with three main stages of development: Child, Breeder, Protector. A Pak is born, and matures into a Breeder, at which point he and she may bear children. Breeders are not particularly intelligent. Around 40 years of age, a root called Tree-of-Life begins to smell delicious to all Breeders, and they eat it and metamorphose into the Protector stage via a virus that lives in the Tree-of-Life. A Protector's joints expand to give his muscles a greater momentum arm, his skin wrinkles into a tough armor, and his nails turn into retractile claws. A second heart develops near the groin, the mouth fuses into a beak, and all sexual characteristics disappear. The most important change is that the brain expands, giving a Protector a tremendous intellect. A Protector has no motivation other than the preservation of his bloodline, and to that end the Pak homeworld is never free from war, since all Protectors are constantly trying to ensure their progeny's survival at the expense of everyone else. If a Protector has no children left, he no longer feels the urge to eat and dies unless he can adopt the entire Pak race and work towards their benefit.
Origin of Humanity 
Two and a half million years ago, a group of Protectors hollowed out an asteroid, turned it into a ship, and set sail for the galactic arms. They eventually settled on Earth, but discovered that the Tree-of-Life root would not grow, meaning that no Breeders would turn into Protectors, and the Protectors would die without the root. The Protectors spent their time building a laser strong enough to send a message for help back to the Pak homeworld. Eventually, the Breeders, known to us as Homo habilis, evolved into present-day forms, including humans.
Phssthpok had lost all of his children in a war on the Pak homeworld, and needed to find meaning for his life, or he would die. After spending much time in the homeworld's library, he found the story of the Pak expedition to find a habitable planet in the galactic arms. He worked out that the soil of earth lacked thallium oxide, and mounted a rescue mission aboard a ramship 33,000 years ago, arriving in the Solar System in 2125 AD.
According to the novel, Persephone is the tenth planet of our solar system. While actually proposed in the 1970s to account for perturbations for the orbit of Neptune, Niven gives it additional qualities such as retrograde motion, an orbit tilted 61 degrees to the ecliptic, and a mass slightly less than that of Saturn.
Brennan created a sphere of neutronium measuring 8 ft in diameter, and maintained it in a stasis field at his world of Kobold. It is a material consisting of densely-packed neutrons, such that there is no denser substance, and his sphere has a surface gravity measured at 8 million g.
Kobold is the manmade world that Jack Brennan, as a protector, bubble-formed from an asteroid and mantained an ecosystem in. Kobold was Brennan's home for over 200 years. It was destroyed at the departure of Brennan and Roy Truesdale from Kobold.

Protector eating the root of life Pak Breeders and Pak Protectors are two generic forms of fictional life in Larry Nivens Known Space universe. ... Binomial name †Homo habilis Leakey et al, 1964 Homo habilis (IPA ) (handy man, skillful person) is a species of the genus Homo, which lived from approximately 2. ... Understanding planetary habitability is partly an extrapolation of the Earths conditions, as it is the only planet currently known to support life. ... Planet X is a large hypothetical planet orbiting beyond the orbit of Neptune. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... Atmospheric characteristics Surface pressure ≫100 MPa Hydrogen - H2 80% ±3. ... Prograde motion is the motion of a planetary body in a direction similar to that of other bodies within its system, and is sometimes called direct motion, especially in astrology. ... A degree (in full, a degree of arc, arc degree, or arcdegree), usually symbolized °, is a measurement of plane angle, representing 1/360 of a full rotation. ... The plane of the ecliptic is well seen in this picture from the 1994 lunar prospecting Clementine spacecraft. ... Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 140 kPa Hydrogen >93% Helium >5% Methane 0. ... A sphere (< Greek σφαίρα) is a perfectly symmetrical geometrical object. ... Neutronium is a term used in science fiction and popular literature to refer to an extremely dense phase of matter composed primarily of neutrons. ... This article is about a foot as a unit of length. ... DIAMETER is an AAA protocol (Authentication, Authorization and Accounting) succeeding its predecessor RADIUS. // The name is a pun on the RADIUS protocol, which is the predecessor (a diameter is twice the radius). ... This article or section should be merged with Stasis A stasis field is an imaginary phenomenon that is often used in science fiction that slows the passage of time inside it, or stops it entirely. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... The nominal acceleration due to gravity at sea level on the Earths surface, also known as standard gravity, is defined as exactly 9. ...

Timeline of events

Cover from a 1981 edition of Protector.
Cover from a 1981 edition of Protector.
  • 2.5 MYA — Settlement of Earth by Pak colonists.
  • 33,000 BC — Phssthpok departs Pak homeworld.
  • 32,800 BC — First emigration wave departs Pak homeworld.
  • 32,500 BC — Second emigration wave departs Pak homeworld.
  • 32,500- BC — Pak scouts depart Pak homeworld.
  • 2125 AD — Phssthpok arrives at Sol. Brennan turns protector.
  • 2340 AD — Kidnap of Truesdale.
  • 2341 AD — Discovery of Pak fleet. Departure of Flying Dutchman. Destruction of Kobold.
  • 2346 AD — Discovery of Phssthpok's Star.
  • 2350 AD — Arrival at Home.
  • Hey Michael! And i mean you........creator of M&M Studios!

Image File history File links Protector-Niven. ... Image File history File links Protector-Niven. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... In astronomy, geology, and paleontology, mya is an acronym for million years ago and is used as a unit of time to denote length of time before the present. ... (21st century - 22nd century - 23rd century - other centuries) The twenty-second century comprises the years 2101 to 2200. ... The 24th century (Gregorian Calendar) comprises the years 2301-2400. ... The 24th century (Gregorian Calendar) comprises the years 2301-2400. ... (Redirected from 2350) (23rd century - 24th century - 25th century - more centuries) The 24th century (Gregorian Calendar) comprises the years 2301-2400. ...

See also



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