Flatlander: The Collected Tales Of Gil The Arm Hamilton by Larry NivenFlatlander: The Collected Tales Of Gil The Arm Hamilton by Larry Niven

Flatlander: The Collected Tales Of Gil The Arm Hamilton

byLarry Niven

Mass Market Paperback | May 1, 1995

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about

Gil “The Arm” Hamilton was one of the top operatives of ARM, the elite UN police force. His intuition was unfailingly accurate; his detective skills second to none; and his psychic powers—esper sense and telekinesis—were awesome.

Tough and deadly, Gil Hamilton could reach right into a person's brain for the truth . . . or for the kill!

Read all the stories of the legendary ARM operative, collected here in one volume for the very first time:

• Organleggers aren't stopping at robbing body parts from the corpses of the frozen dead. Now they're stealing from the living . . . and Gil is a prime target!
• The most beautiful woman on Luna has been falsely accused of murder. Unless Gil can prove her innocence, she's doomed to end up as a sack of spare parts in the organ banks. . . .
• And more . . . Plus an all-new, never-before-published Gil Hamilton adventure!
Larry Niven was born in 1938 in Los Angeles, California. In 1956, he entered the California Institute of Technology, only to flunk out a year and a half later after discovering a bookstore jammed with used science-fiction magazines. He graduated with a B.A. in mathematics (minor in psychology) from Washburn University, Kansas, in 1962,...
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Title:Flatlander: The Collected Tales Of Gil The Arm HamiltonFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 6.9 × 4.24 × 0.95 inPublished:May 1, 1995

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345394801

ISBN - 13:9780345394804

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from This was a great book! The stories are all great mysteries with a science fiction backdrop and I enjoyed the cheekiness of Gil's third arm. It lent itself to some comic relief and also got Gil out of some sticky situations. I also enjoyed how Niven addresses the moral/ethical dilemma of organ transplants and increased demand for transplantable organs. One funny thing I noticed is that since the stories in this book were written between 1969 and 1975, smoking plays a large role in Gil's character and large ashtrays play a large role in the interior decore of the settings - found that quite funny. Also funny from an IT perspective is the fact the computers use tapes - hahahaha!
Date published: 2017-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well ARMed... A great collection :-D
Date published: 2014-01-11

Read from the Book

DEATH BY ECSTASY   First came the routine request for a breach of privacy permit. A police officer took down the details and forwarded the request to a clerk, who saw that the tape reached the appropriate civic judge. The judge was reluctant, for privacy is a precious thing in a world of eighteen billion, but in the end he could find no reason to refuse. On November 2, 2123, he granted the permit.   The tenant’s rent was two weeks in arrears. If the manager of Monica Apartments had asked for eviction, he would have been refused. But Owen Jennison did not answer his doorbell or his room phone.   Nobody could recall seeing him in many weeks. Apparently the manager only wanted to know that he was all right.   And so he was allowed to use his passkey, with an officer standing by.   And so they found the tenant of 1809.   And when they had looked in his wallet, they called me.   I was at my desk at ARM Headquarters, making useless notes and wishing it were lunchtime.   At this stage the Loren case was all correlate and wait. It involved an organlegging gang apparently run by a single man yet big enough to cover half the North American west coast. We had considerable data on the gang—methods of operation, centers of activity, a few former customers, even a tentative handful of names—but nothing that would give us an excuse to act. So it was a matter of shoving what we had into the computer, watching the few suspected associates of the gang lord Loren, and waiting for a break.   The months of waiting were ruining my sense of involvement.   My phone buzzed.   I put the pen down and said, “Gil Hamilton.”   A small dark face regarded me with soft black eyes. “I am Detective-Inspector Julio Ordaz of the Los Angeles Police Department. Are you related to an Owen Jennison?”   “Owen? No, we’re not related. Is he in trouble?”   “You do know him, then.”   “Sure I know him. Is he here, on Earth?”   “It would seem so.” Ordaz had no accent, but the lack of colloquialisms in his speech made him sound vaguely foreign. “We will need positive identification, Mr. Hamilton. Mr. Jennison’s ident lists you as next of kin.”   “That’s funny. I—back up a minute. Is Owen dead?”   “Somebody is dead, Mr. Hamilton. He carried Mr. Jennison’s ident in his wallet.”   “Okay. Now, Owen Jennison was a citizen of the Belt. This may have interworld complications. That makes it ARM’s business. Where’s the body?”   “We found him in an apartment rented under his own name. Monica Apartments, Lower Los Angeles, room 1809.”   “Good. Don’t move anything you haven’t moved already. I’ll be right over.”   Monica Apartments was a nearly featureless concrete block, eighty stories tall, a thousand feet across the edges of its square base. Lines of small balconies gave the sides a sculptured look above a forty-foot inset ledge that would keep tenants from dropping objects on pedestrians. A hundred buildings just like it made Lower Los Angeles look lumpy from the air.   Inside, a lobby done in anonymous modern. Lots of metal and plastic showing, lightweight comfortable chairs without arms, big ashtrays, plenty of indirect lighting, a low ceiling, no wasted space. The whole room might have been stamped out with a die. It wasn’t supposed to look small, but it did, and that warned you what the rooms would be like. You’d pay your rent by the cubic centimeter.   I found the manager’s office and the manager, a soft-looking man with watery blue eyes. His conservative paper suit, dark red, seemed chosen to render him invisible, as did the style of his brown hair, worn long and combed straight back without a part. “Nothing like this has ever happened here,” he confided as he led me to the elevator banks. “Nothing. It would have been bad enough without his being a Belter, but now—” He cringed at the thought. “Newsmen. They’ll smother us.”   The elevator was coffin-sized, but with the handrails on the inside. It went up fast and smooth. I stepped out into a long, narrow hallway.   What would Owen have been doing in a place like this? Machinery lived here, not people.   Maybe it wasn’t Owen. Ordaz had been reluctant to commit himself. Besides, there’s no law against picking pockets. You couldn’t enforce such a law on this crowded planet. Everyone on Earth was a pickpocket.   Sure. Someone had died carrying Owen’s wallet.   I walked down the hallway to 1809.   It was Owen who sat grinning in the armchair. I took one good look at him, enough to be sure, and then I looked away and didn’t look back. But the rest of it was even more unbelievable.   No Belter could have taken that apartment. I was born in Kansas, but even I felt the awful anonymous chill. It would have driven Owen bats.   “I don’t believe it,” I said.   “Did you know him well, Mr. Hamilton?”   “About as well as two men can know each other. He and I spent three years mining rocks in the main asteroid belt. You don’t keep secrets under those conditions.”   “Yet you didn’t know he was on Earth.”   “That’s what I can’t understand. Why the blazes didn’t he phone me if he was in trouble?”   “You’re an ARM,” said Ordaz. “An operative in the United Nations Police.”   He had a point. Owen was as honorable as any man I knew, but honor isn’t the same in the Belt. Belters think flatlanders are all crooks. They don’t understand that to a flatlander, picking pockets is a game of skill. Yet a Belter sees smuggling as the same kind of game, with no dishonesty involved. He balances the thirty percent tariff against possible confiscation of his cargo, and if the odds are right, he gambles.   Owen could have been doing something that would look honest to him but not to me.   “He could have been in something sticky,” I admitted. “But I can’t see him killing himself over it. And … not here. He wouldn’t have come here.”   Room 1809 was a living room and a bathroom and a closet. I’d glanced into the bathroom, knowing what I would find. It was the size of a comfortable shower stall. An adjustment panel outside the door would cause it to extrude various appurtenances in memory plastic, to become a washroom, a shower stall, a toilet, a dressing room, a steam cabinet. Luxurious in everything but size as long as you pushed the right buttons.   The living room was more of the same. A king bed was invisible behind a wall. The kitchen alcove, with basin and oven and grill and toaster, would fold into another wall; the sofa, chairs, and tables would vanish into the floor. One tenant and three guests would make a crowded cocktail party, a cozy dinner gathering, a closed poker game. Card table, dinner table, coffee table were all there, surrounded by the appropriate chairs, but only one set at a time would emerge from the floor. There was no refrigerator, no freezer, no bar. If a tenant needed food or drink, he phoned down and the supermarket on the third floor would send it up.   The tenant of such an apartment had his comfort. But he owned nothing. There was room for him; there was none for his possessions. This was one of the inner apartments. An age ago there would have been an air shaft, but air shafts took up expensive room. The tenant didn’t even have a window. He lived in a comfortable box.   Just now the items extruded were the overstuffed reading armchair, two small side tables, a footstool, and the kitchen alcove. Owen Jennison sat grinning in the armchair. Naturally he grinned. Little more than dried skin covered the natural grin of his skull.   “It’s a small room,” Ordaz said, “but not too small. Millions of people live this way. In any case, a Belter would hardly be a claustrophobe.”   “No. Owen flew a singleship before he joined us. Three months at a stretch in a cabin so small, you couldn’t stand up with the air lock closed. Not claustrophobia, but—” I swept my arm about the room. “What do you see that’s his?”   Small as it was, the closet was nearly empty. A set of street clothes, a paper shirt, a pair of shoes, a small brown overnight case. All new. The few items in the bathroom medicine chest had been equally new and equally anonymous.   Ordaz said, “Well?”   “Belters are transients. They don’t own much, but what they do own, they guard. Small possessions, relics, souvenirs. I can’t believe he wouldn’t have had something.”   “His space suit?”   “You think that’s unlikely? It’s not. The inside of his pressure suit is a Belter’s home. Sometimes it’s the only home he’s got. He spends a fortune decorating it. If he loses his suit, he’s not a Belter anymore.   “No, I don’t insist he’d have brought his suit. But he’d have had something. His phial of Marsdust. The bit of nickel-iron they took out of his chest. Or, if he left all his souvenirs home, he’d have picked up things on Earth. But in this room—there’s nothing.”   “Perhaps,” Ordaz suggested delicately, “he didn’t notice his surroundings.”   And somehow that brought it all home.   Owen Jennison sat grinning in a water-stained silk dressing gown. His space-darkened face lightened abruptly beneath his chin, giving way to normal suntan. His blond hair, too long, had been cut Earth style; no trace remained of the Belter strip cut he’d worn all his life. A month’s growth of untended beard covered half his face. A small black cylinder protruded from the top of his head. An electric cord trailed from the top of the cylinder and ran to a wall socket.   The cylinder was a droud, a current addict’s transformer.

From Our Editors

Gathers all of the adventures of extraordinary agent Gil Hamilton into one volume, along with a brand-new story, by the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of Ringworld. Reprint.