The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven Book Review

The Draco Tavern - Larry Niven

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Title: The Draco Tavern
Author: Larry Niven
Rating: 4/5 stars



I'll admit it- I seem to have a harder time reading short story collections than novels. Or rather, it takes me longer. There's something about the self-contained nature of short stories which can often make me too lazy to finish the entire book.

The Draco Tavern is unique in the sense that while it is a collection of short stories, it is also the story of the titular tavern and its owner, Rick Schumann. It presents self-contained, yet cohesive stories of understanding between different species and intergalactic cultures. The best description I can give comes from a quote from the book itself.

"The Draco Tavern isn't just a pub. It's how humanity interacts with at least twenty-eight sapient species throughout the galaxy. Somewhere among these trillions of alien minds are the answers to all of the universal questions."

There's a lot to like about The Draco Tavern from the mysterious Chirpsithra, long-lived and claiming to own half the universe to the tavern itself, alive and full of energy that comes with interacting with a myriad of different species. Some of the stories can be slow and rather philosophical such as the ones contemplating the human existence to ones in which our hero participates in adventures like going hunting with the Folk.

The writing suits the kind of story it presents. It's written in the first-person point of view and the narrator adapts to the kind of tale he's telling. For example, in the stories where aliens start talking about philosophy and the nature of the universe, the narrator also contemplates the topics.

The stories can be read as standalone, although there are some which reference certain events in other stories. I actually found them to be more enjoyable that way, considering that I read short story collections the same as I do novels.

I recommend this book for fans of science fiction and for those who like short stories.