This book had a lot of interesting developments in it, especially in regards to the divergence of the Bobs into separate subcultures over time, and philosophical questions about identity. I also was intrigued by the fresh take on the O’Neil Cylinder concept and the fashionable BDO of the hour in sci-fi stories these days, the Matrioshka brain.
However, a lot of time was spent mucking about in the Ringworld O’Neil Cylinder just traveling from town to town interacting with the Ewoks, er, the Quinlans. Taylor once again shows his lack of imagination/laziness when it comes to aliens. He picks an Earth species or an Earth species mashup, gives them human intelligence and basically human behavior. Then he has his Bobs boggle at how universal behavior is. Sure it is, if you write it that way. (and those Quilt whales and sharks don’t count as imaginative because that’s basically Sagan’s floaters and hunters, brainchilded by Arthur C Clarke and taken up by numerous other authors such as Ben Bova).
So A+ for physics, technology, and political shenanigans as usual, Taylor’s strengths, and D on interesting alien cultures.
Enough intrigue is raised in the evolution of the Bobs, inter-Bob relations, and their relations with the humans to spawn a couple more books in a new trilogy that I will read if they should come out with avid enthusiasm. Until they get to the fifth or six boat ride up river.