The State (Larry Niven)


The State (Larry Niven)

"The State" is a totalitarian world government in a future history that forms the back-story of three of Larry Niven's novels. The State features in the novels "A World Out of Time", "The Integral Trees", and "The Smoke Ring". It is also the setting of a short story, "The Kitemen" (collected in "N-Space") and a stalled fourth novel, "The Ghost Ships".

The State rules over an extremely crowded world. It has technologies which enable personalities to be transferred chemically from one body to another, and transfers the personalities extracted from the medically unsalvageable bodies of "corpsicles" frozen in the past to mindwiped criminals to use them as agents in circumstances where their free-thinking skills can still be useful to the State, such as in piloting ramships to other stars.

The State has also perfected the storage of human personalities within AI systems, and transfers copies of the personalities of "checkers" loyal to the State to the ramships' control computers in order to keep a watch on the revived corpsicles.


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