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He’s never had a book or short story turned into a major motion picture. But ask any fan — or writer — of “hard” science fiction who the most influential practitioners of the pure scientific-extrapolation genre have been, and odds are they will include Larry Niven.

Niven has just been named the latest recipient of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America’s Grand Master Award “for his invaluable contributions to the field of science fiction and fantasy.”

Niven’s best-known work is Ringworld (and its prequels and sequels), set in the far future and taking place on an artificial ring one million miles wide and roughly the diameter of Earth’s orbit, circling its own sun. The original 1970 novel won all three of science fiction’s highest honors, the Nebula, Hugo and Locus awards. Many of the concepts in Ringworld influenced later writers, scientists and video game creators.

Ringworld(1stEd)Ringworld itself, however, has never made it to the screen, despite both a 2004 announcement by the then Sci-Fi Channel, and a 2013 announcement by the now SyFy Channel.

Niven is also known for dozens of others novels, many short works of fiction, and several teleplays.

“I’ve always wanted one of these,” Niven said in response to SFWA’s announcement. “It does definitely mean I’ve gotten old. I’ve been publishing fiction for more than fifty years now. I’m convinced I picked the right career.”

The SFWA honor, formally known as the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, will be presented in early June in Chicago at the 50th annual Nebula Awards Weekend.

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