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The Integral Trees

The Integral Trees

Michael Whelan,Larry Niven
PDF book size:
1562 kb
ePub book size:
1854 kb
Fb2 book size:
1953 kb
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4.8 of 5
Ballantine / Del Rey; 1st edition (March 12, 1984)
Science Fiction
Del Rey / Ballantine, 1984. Hardcover with dustjacket, "First Edition: March 1984" stated on the copyright page with a complete number line: "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1". Novel set in a a gas torus, a ring of air around a neutron star. There is a sequel, "The Smoke Ring" (1987). Nominated for the Nebula and Hugo Awards for Best Novel.
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7 Reviews
  • A team of misfits on an adventure makes a good basis for a story, and tribal cultures are always tasty. Let Larry Niven loose on them, though, and you get a novel that is nominated for a Nebula for Best Novel in 1984, and a Hugo ditto the following year.

    Niven's tales often hang on an epic structure: the "Ringworld" Ringworld (A Del Rey book), for example. In this novel, a central star ("Voy") is too close to its gas-giant planet ("Gold"), and the atmosphere of Gold has been sucked off into a gas torus, a vast ring around the star. The thicker part of the torus is breathable—this is the Smoke Ring where humans can survive.

    The humans that do live here have adapted to the conditions in the torus, where gravity is nonexistent, but tidal forces may be felt. Mostly, the tides affect dwellers at the "out" and "in" ends of any of the millions of integral trees. The length of these massive growths can almost span the smoke ring, and they were dubbed "integral" because the opposing winds at either end bend the tufts outward into an ∫ shape. These tufts collect smoke, dirt, animal life and insects from the wind; tufts and trunks impact free-floating water globules—"ponds"—and this provides moisture for the life on the tree.

    When Quinn tribe's tree sinks too far in the smoke ring toward Voy, the tribe's leader—the "Chairman"—sends the tribe's least useful citizens to climb the tree to its free-fall zone at the trunk and farther "out" on a hunting trip, to find a way for the tribe to survive. Unfortunately, the tree has its own plans, and those plans don't take into account the humans living on the "in tuft".

    The State is hinted at in flashbacks and founding documents, and in the opinions of 'Discipline,' the AI personality of the ship that brought humans to the smoke ring. 'Discipline' has carefully forgotten the mutiny that separated it from the humans, so it cannot be biased against the descendants of the mutineers, and it stays out of the gas torus to preserve the ship's physical integrity.

    When the disaster at the Quinn tree brings 'Discipline' back into contact with the survivors, that contact brings humans under the eye of the State for the first time in hundreds of years. The Quinn survivors worry about being made "copsiks" (slaves) by another tribe or captured by the longer-limbed free-falling fluff-jungle dwellers; they should be more worried about Discipline's intentions.

    If you haven't encountered "The Integral Trees" yet, it's time. The people of the Smoke Ring may be strangely shaped by their gravity-less environment, but their cultural adaptations prove they are all too human.

  • Niven has a peculiar propensity of contradicting himself (or, rather, the characters) on occasion, in word or deed, which makes for some unpleasant speed-bump moments for the more careful and thoughtful reader. Aside from that minor quibble, I've read this book probably on the order of twenty or so times, so that speaks for itself towards it being a good read.

  • What a fantastic book! I've read a ton of Niven books, and this is one of my favorites. He's typically known for hard sci-fi, but this is something kind of different. The concept of this world is unique and fascinating, making it hard to put this book down. So glad I discovered the Man-Kzin series all those years ago, because I've enjoyed every book my Niven ever since. This guy is truly at the top of his game.

  • I found it fascinating to conceive of a society living in free fall - atmosphere, plants, animals, but no inhabitable planet. I also enjoy reading about simpler times, as a society develops, and reading science fiction about alien lifeforms, with a touch of humans reaching out - seeking other worlds. This book has it all... and I'd love to be able to fly! In this book, in the place the humans discover, it is said that everything has wings but the humans (but of course, they fix that..). I read this book for the first time, and found it added much to my understanding of the Smoke Ring, a place in the back of my head since my youth.

  • I first read this book back in grade school, and something reminded me of it as I sat at work nearly 2 decades later. I started searching for this book and eventually found a supplier via Amazon. The day it arrived I tore open the packaging, got comfortable on the couch and prepared to enjoy this literary journey.

    Everything I remembered from reading it 20 years ago was still there and I enjoyed it almost as much now as I did then. If you happen across this book, pick it up. You won't be disappointed.

  • I love books by Larry Niven - his universe is so diverse and varied it is always amazing. I remembered reading this book a long time ago from a stash of my older brothers' books and I remembered loving the story and concept - so I saw this on an Amazon recommendation and decided to get it - the best part was that it was both books in one and I did not recall reading the second book. I breezed through the first book on a business trip, and started the second book very quickly. The unique concept of the book is captivating, and for any sci fi reader who has not experienced this book yet, I would strongly recommend it. This edition is also a large format size, which is nice as it might be too cumbersome if it were any smaller with both books in it.

  • Product wise, the book arrived on time, well packaged and showing only mild wear as expected buying "good" condition. The book itself I would recommend to every reading person pre teen or older. It's a fantastic story set in an even more fantastic world. I love Larry Niven and this is some of his top work.