Summaries: The Man-Kzin Wars Series

This battle for supremacy has been documented in the Man-Kzin Wars series of anthologies, which contain stories of this volatile period of Known Space's history written by other writers, with Larry Niven's permission .

Man-Kzin Wars I

The Warriors - Larry Niven

Earth's "Golden Age" comes rapidly to an end as a human colony ship encounters the Kzinti for the first time.

Iron - Poul Anderson

Following the libertion of Wunderland at the conclusion of the first Man-Kzin War, a privately owned hyperspace craft encounters sinister Kzinti activity in a rogue star system that's almost as old as the universe itself.

Cathouse - Dean Ing

Following a Kzinti attack, a lone civilian is stranded on a distant planet, in what appears to be an alien zoo. His only companions are two female Kzin who, to his surprise, turn out to be as sentient (a trait that's been bred out of modern Kzin females).

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Man-Kzin Wars II

Briar Patch - Dean Ing

This story continues where "Cathouse" finished. Locklear leaves Scarface, Kit and Boots to explore the earthlike habitat of the mysterious alien zoo, and discovers that the stasis cave on that side of the force shield is full of Neanderthals.

The Children's Hour - Jerry Pournelle & S.M. Stirling

Chutt-Ritt, the new Kzin governor of Wunderland in the aftermath of the fourth attempt to invade Sol, proves to be such a cunning and dangerous enemy that Earth-based UN Forces send a small party to assassinate him. Using an unorthodox entry into the Alpha Centauri star-system (the Kzin don't know quite literally what hit them), the small band of humans find themselves hiding in plain sight on a world under the thumb of Kzin occupation. With its shifting alliances and rekindled romances, this story is a loving tribute to the classic "Casablanca."

Man-Kzin Wars III

Madness Has Its Place - Larry Niven

Niven paints a picture of the peace-loving Sol system in the years before 2375, when the Kzin make their appearance known with a devistating attack. A few humans in ARM are able to piece together enough information and technology in advance to start secretly building Sol's defenses, but will it be enough?

The Asteroid Queen - Jerry Pournelle & S.M. Stirling

In this sequel to "The Children's Hour", Hari and Ingrid are still on Wunderland, active in the resistance. Meanwhile, an asteriod miner finds a very unusual rock and unwittingly awakens a deadly Slaver from his 1.5-billion-year slumber in stasis.

Inconstant Star - Poul Anderson

In this sequel to "Iron", Robert Saxtorph's hyperdrive craft Rover is hired by Tyra Nordbo, daughter of an accused Kzinti collaborator, to search for her father and clear his nam. The Rover discovers not only Peter Nordbo's fate but also another deadly remnant of the Slavers.

Man-Kzin Wars IV

The Surivor - Donald Kingsbury

The disturbing life story of Short-Son of Chiirr-Nig, a rare cowardly Kzin (as a kit he earns the name Eater-of-Grass rather than fight) caught up in the conclusion of the first Man-Kzin war. This story introduces the Jotoki to Known Space and gives a detailed look into Kzin society, from the lowest ranks to the Patriarchy itself.

The Man Who Would Be Kzin - Greg Bear & S.M. Stirling

Another slightly eerie story, this one about a human telepath posing as a Kzin and boarding one of their ships.

Man-Kzin Wars V

In the Hall Of The Mountain King - Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling

This distant sequel to "The Children's Hour" pays homage to "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," as mistrustful human and Kzin work side-by-side in a gold mine and uncover an even deadlier treasure from the distant past. In-Depth Review by Joel.

Hey Diddle Diddle - Thomas T. Thomas

The four crewmen of the Callisto are suffering from an acute case of cabin fever when the deep radar provides welcome relief from boredom:a Slaver stasis box. After crashlanding on the tree-covered world of Beanstalk, the crew set out to find the Slaver box before the Kzin detect it too. Unfortunately their efforts are somewhat hampered by a Bandersnatchi crushing their spaceship....

Man-Kzin Wars VI

The Heroic Myth of Lt. Nora Argamentine - Donald Kingsbury

The sequel to "The Survivor" (MKW4) continues the story of Nora Argamentine and Mellow Yellow, the cowardly Kzin. The story is told through the eyes of Nora's cousin, Major Yankee Clandeboye, who is on a mission to find out what happened to her.

The Trojan Cat - Gregory Benford & Mark Martin

After being captured by the Kzin, Kenneth Herrenmannen is blackmailed into capturing the Feynman, a slowboat that left Wunderland during the Kzin invasion. With its journey nearly complete at 0.5 light years from Sol, the Kzin plan to turn the captured ship into a Kzinti Trojan Horse to ensure their victory at Sol.

Man-Kzin Wars VII

The Colonel's Tiger - Hal Colebatch

The mysterious reports from the Angel's Pencil, detailing the anatomy and physiology of the attacking Kzin, trigger a memory of an ARM agent. After a little searching, he finds the account of a Colonel Vaughn, who battled with a "tiger man" in India during the earth year 1878.

A Darker Geometry - Gregory Benford & Mark O. Martin

This story depicts man's first contact with the Outsiders, an event that leads to the use of hyperdrive by humans. It is a tale that has generated much controversy among Niven fans, who argue whether it can be considered "canon" or not as it sems to contradict or rewrite many of the assumptions behind Known Space (for example, it introduces the "Guardian" caste of Puppeteers, who seem to go against everything Niven wrote about the cowardly species). Here are further comments from Andrew S Duncan.

Prisoner of War - Paul Chafe

A surveillance trip into the Sol system by the Kzin scout ship Silent Prowler ends in disaster after a cat-and-mouse chase with the earth destroyer Excalibur. The Kzin Fleet Commander is the only survivor and is taken as a prisoner of war.

Man-Kzin Wars VIII

Choosing Names - Larry Niven

Short story about a captured telepath, who demands his own Name in the wake of the first Kzin attack at Sol.

Telepath's Dance - Hal Colebatch

A sequel to Niven's "The Warriors," exploring what happened to the Angel's Pencil.

Galley Slave - Jean Lamb

When the Kzinti take over of a patrol ship in the vicinity of earth, a female computer programmer helps to defeat the invaders by reprogramming the food synthesizers to weaken her foes. This partially free story is available to read on-line.

Jotok - Paul Chafe

A story of a Jotok scout coming to a pre-civilized Kzin world. Very insight on early Kzinti civilization.

Slowboat Nightmare - Warren W. James

Another story about a slowboat taken over by a Kzin ship. The few human survivors must use every resource and weapon, and all their monkey cleverness, to take on the Kzin crew.

Man-Kzin Wars IX

Pele - Poul Anderson

This is Poul Anderson's last published story; it first appeared in Analog Science Fiction Magazine right around the time that he passed. In this sequel to "Inconstant Star" the star Pele, thirty light years from Earth, is about to undergo a major cataclysm: a 10-Jupiter mass gas giant is about to be absorbed by the star. As the planet "Kumukhahi" begins its deadly spiral, science ships from Earth and Kzin and a passenger ship containing Tyra Nordbo arrive to witness the destruction. Of course the dishonoured Kzin "Chrul-Captain" just can't resist being a hero and uses a prototype ship to get right in the middle of the action.

His Sergeant's Honor - Hal Colebatch

Set during the last days of the Kzin occupation of Wunderland, "His Sergeant's Honor" tells the story of Raargh-Sergeant, who defends the life of a collaborator who has been branded a traitor by the Provisional Free Wunderland Government, all for a sense of honor.

Windows of the Soul - Paul Chafe

Captain Joel Allson of the ARM has a murder on his hands when a dismembered body is found in a transport tube on the asteroid/space station world of Tiamat. Man and Kzin make strange bedfellows in this noir-ish detective thriller.

Fly-By-Night - Larry Niven

Larry's newest Known Space short story returns us to the adventures of one of its favourite characters, Beowulf Shaeffer, ex-pilot, adventurer and one of Larry's popular "space tourists."

Set after the events of "Procrustes" (see the colection Crashlander), Shaeffer finds himself onboard a passenger ship, the Odysseus, just as it is being captured by a ship of Kzinti pirates. Shaeffer is taken prisoner and develops an unusual alliance with a non-practising Kzinti Telepath, "Fly-by-Night" and his octopus-like Jotoki slave, "Paradoxical".

There are quite a few "in-jokes" to watch for in the story:

  • Shaeffer screaming and leaping at a Kzin - ok he's got an excuse - he's in a vacuum and must expel all oxygen from his lungs before they pop.
  • The Kzin of the title using corks on his claws so he can use a human-designed laptop keyboard.
  • A kzin using cheese as a face disguise!

Man-Kzin Wars X

One War for Wunderland - Hal Colebatch

The story of how the first Kzinti invaders were spotted on Wunderland and how the Wunderland Government prepared for the first onslaught. This proved difficult in the light of the ARM-censored culture on war information and weaponry.

Professor Nils Rykermann, the University of Munchen's Biologist, is called in to sit on the Wunderland Defense Council Meetings before the invasion begins in force. But despite the efforts of the Meteor Defense crews and the heroic bravery of the Serpent Swarm asteroid miners, Rykermann doubts that the Wunderland forces can keep the Kzinti at bay, and he takes to the hills to go into hiding with fellow scientist Dimity Carmody.

This is the first time that the start of the Wunderland invasion has been touched on in the Man-Kzin Wars series. This novel-length story by Hal Colebatch describes the space and ground war for Wunderland in graphic detail, and continues the cycle begun in "His Sergeant's Honor."

The Corporal in the Caves - Hal Colebatch

Thirty or so years into the Occupation, Kzinti forces are still mopping up the resistence of feral humans living in the Hohe Kalkstein cave system. Thought cleverly-laid traps despatched over half the kzinti squads, the surviving Kzin leader earned himself a commission and his Name, Raargh. A later attack by the cave-dwelling Morlocks forces the Kzin and remaining humans to fight as one force to survive the onslaught, forging a permanent alliance between Raargh-Sergeant and Rykermann of the Resistence.

Music Box - Hal Colebatch

After the last of the Kzinti forces on Wunderland surrendered, Raargh-Hero escaped the cities, taking with him the last surviving member of Chuut-Ritt's family, a kit named Vaemar.

Since then, Raargh and Vaemar have been living in the wildlands, hunting their own prey and doing an odd job or two for neighbouring farmers. But with the political situation on Wunderland finally stabilising, Vaemar is in danger of becoming a political tool to lead the Kzin on Wunderland to victory again. Raargh takes him to visit Professor Rykermann - now turned politician - for his advice. Unfortunately Vaemar and Raargh are captured en route by a group of humans loyal to the memories of Chuut-Ritt.

This story also reunites Professor Rykermann with Dimity from the first story "One War for Wunderland".

Peter Robinson - Hal Colebatch

This last story is a little hidden gem. Set during the contemporary Known Space era of the Ringworld Throne, an expedition by the Institute of Knowledge on Jinx, funded by the Puppeteers sets of to explore a recently detected slaver stasis box.

When arriving at the target, the team of explorers (including Wunderlanders, a Jinxian and two Kzinti) approach the stasis box, which is floating freely in space. Sensors detect that it is nine miles in diameter, the largest box ever discovered.

The prologue and the first seven chapters of "One War for Wunderland" can be read at Baen.com

Man-Kzin Wars XI

Three at Table - Hal Colebatch

Arthur Guthlac, a survivor of the Occupation and Liberation of Wunderland, discovers a mysterious woman and a wounded Kzin living in the wilderness.

Grossgeister Swamp - Hal Colebatch

Vaemar, last survivor of Chuut-Riit's bloodline, investigates a rash of disappearances and uncovers a horrifying secret deep in a Wunderland swamp.

Catspaws - Hal Colebatch

Colebatch's cast of characters—Vaemar, Nils Rykerman, Raargh, Arthur Guthlac and Dimity Carmody—encounter a Protector created from Wunderland's cave-dwelling Morlocks.

Teachers Pet - Matthew Joseph Harrington

Fleeing the Kzinti, Peace Corben turns her stolen ship towards the failed colony planet of Home and discovers the real reason the world was abandoned. (Read the story all the way through to learn more about the spread of the Kdaptist sect among the Kzin.)

War and Peace - Matthew Joseph Harrington

Now a Protector, Peace Corben meddles in the later Man Kzin Wars in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

The Hunting Park - Larry Niven

A group of Kzin ambassadors gain valuable insight into humanity when they barely survive an African safari.

Man-Kzin Wars XII

Echoes of Distant Guns - Matthew Joseph Harrington

This introductory chapter is really three seperate vignettes set around the dawn of the Man-Kzin Wars. The first concerns Kzinti and the Grogs, the next the ARM, and the last the Smart (a race called the Pierin).

Foreign Legion - Hal Colebatch and Matthew Joseph Harrington

The Jotoki unleashed the Kzinti on the universe by employing them as mercenaries. Later they "recruited" a Roman Legion from Earth to help in the fight against the Kzinti. Centuries later, the descendants of that legion (and the Jotoki who brought them) are discovered on a distant Kzin colony world by a human who wants to bring them home.

The Trooper and the Triangle - Hal Colebatch

A short story of a Kzinti warrior who doesn't fit in.

String - Hal Colebatch and Matthew Joseph Harrington

In this sequel to "Peter Robinson," Richard and Gay Guthlac and Charrgh-Captain encounter a Slaver stasis box with quite unexpected contents.

Peace and Freedom - Matthew Joseph Harrington

Peace Corben returns. The smart-alec Protector recruits a small army of humans, as well as the young kzintosh Shleer, to fight a Thrint and his Tnuctipun thralls.

Independent - Paul Chafe

A single-ship pilot accused of killing his passenger remembers nothing about the trip and is forced to team up with a vengeful Kzin to clear his name.

The Best Of All Possible Wars

A "best-of" collection containing The Warriors and Madness Has Its Place by Larry Niven, The Man Who Would be Kzin by Greg Bear and S.M. Stirling, and In the Hall of the Mountain King by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling.

The Houses of the Kzinti

Jerry Pournelle, S.M. Stirling and Dean Ing

Another compilation of Kzinti stories, containing the "Cathouse" stories by Dean Ing, and "The Children's Hour" (and its sequel) by Jerry Pournelle and S.M. Stirling. This title is now otherwise out of print.

Annals of the Man-Kzin-Wars: An Unofficial Companion Guide

Annals of the Man-Kzin-Wars: An Unofficial Companion Guide

This is a Companion novel to the Man-Kzin Wars series. Whilst in-depth and detailed, we do feel that some of the information contained inside has no doubt been researched from this very website.