Larry Niven Wiki
Beowulf schaeffer by arcas art-d4s3myv.jpg

Beowulf Shaeffer is an albino Crashlander, a human pilot who was hired by the Puppeteers to test fly the Long Shot, the first Quantum II Hyperdrive ship to the edge of the Galactic Core.[1]

He discovered and reported on the core explosion (about 20,000 light years from Known Space). After the expedition the Puppeteers left Known Space to an unknown location.[1]

In 2641, Shaeffer was the pilot of the Skydiver, piloting it around the neutron star BVS-1 in an attempt to determine what had happened to a pair of researchers from the Institute of Knowledge on Jinx. [2]

Beowulf was married to Sharrol Janss but the Fertility Board of the United Nations of Earth had absolute control over reproductive rights on that planet (its population was about 18 billion at the time). The Board denied a parenthood licence to Shaeffer based on his albinism, considering it an undesirable genetic trait. Sharrol was unable to leave Earth because of her Flatland Phobia and they asked Carlos Wu, a friend of Sharrol's who has an unlimited parenthood license, to help them. Sharrol and Wu were married on a two-year contract arrangement[3]; Tanya Wu was born in 2649 and Louis Wu a year later.[4]

Shaeffer returned to Earth in 2650 and both children were raised by Sharrol and Beowulf. Carlos remained a family friend to both Bey and Sharrol. Several years later, amidst unusual and perilous circumstances, Louis, his sister, mother, and Beowulf along with Carlos and his girlfriend, Feather Filip, secretly and illegally emigrated from Earth to Fafnir.[5]

Upon reaching Fafnir, Feather shot Shaeffer in the chest with an ARM punchgun, but Carlos managed to escape with Tanya and Louis and Sharrol killed Feather by cutting her throat, then decapitating her. Sharrol then placed Bey's head in Carlos's nanotechnology-based AutoDoc where it reconstructed his body, sizing it to the Intensive Care Cavity of the autodoc, which was tailored to Carlos's body proportions. Eventually, Beowulf recovered, was reunited with Sharrol, and had two more children with her, Jeena and an unnamed second child.[5]

Appears on[]

  • Neutron Star
  • At the Core
  • Flatlander
  • Grendel
  • Ringworld (Alluded to only)
  • The Borderland of Sol
  • Procrustes
  • Ghost
  • Fly-By-Night
  • Juggler of Worlds
  • Betrayer of Worlds (Mentioned only)
  • Fate of Worlds (Mentioned only)


  1. 1.0 1.1 At the Core
  2. Neutron Star
  3. Flatlander
  4. The Borderland of Sol
  5. 5.0 5.1 Procrustes