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The Integral Trees / The Smoke Ring (The State #2-3)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  3,251 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
“Niven has come up with an idea about as far out as one can get. . . . This is certainly classic science fiction–the idea is truly the hero.” –Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

When leaving Earth, the crew of the spaceship Discipline was prepared for a routine assignment. Dispatched by the all-powerful State on a mission of interstellar exploration and colonization, Discipl
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Paperback, 459 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Del Rey Books (first published 1983)
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Kelldicott
Dec 02, 2007 Kelldicott rated it it was amazing
Brilliant idea, just brilliant. I know some readers criticize Niven's tendencies towards recycling ideas, positing that he's simply rehashing his basic premise of creating an "oddly shaped world" thingy and thereby seeking success off the back of his huge bestseller, the sci-fi masterpiece "Ringworld", but "the Integral Trees" is equally graceful and luscious in detail, another heavyweight stunner of impressive imaginative scope. I loved it, and the sequel. Totally great, believable sci-fi, akin ...more
Greg
Sep 09, 2008 Greg rated it did not like it
The story starts off well, following the descendants of a group of humans who colonized a gas torus surrounding a former star. The description of the environment is top-notch, complete with wondrous life-forms and its own set of physical laws. But the characters are so totally flat and unbelievable that I still could not remember their names by the end of the book. I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed with Niven's invented swear words and random marriages between his characters.

In short,
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Kathryn
May 26, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
It's not an easy concept to get your brain around at first (especially if you're like me, and first read this in middle school), but this book is set on a world that has no solid ground. Complete free-fall planet, with floating trees that are as big as moons, wandering lakes, and everything can fly. Strange STRANGE book, but it's fun to see Niven come up with a world with his own, heh, ground rules.
Hien
Aug 27, 2008 Hien rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Great world building here but there is no plot to speak of. The people here live on giant 100km long floating trees in a weightless gas cloud. The trees spin and provide artificial gravity. The reason the trees are called integral trees is because the two tufts of foliage on opposite ends curve in opposite directions (due to spinning in air) so the trees look like integral symbols. This concept would have made a good short story but there was not enough there to carry a full length novel.
Kayleigh
Sep 21, 2008 Kayleigh rated it it was ok
The setting of this book, the environment and science behind it all, is absolutely wonderful and typical of the weird and wonderful places and people you get from this author. Unfortunately, the plot and the characterisation fall short of Niven's usual fare and some of the potential that this book had was lost. It's sad that I read this book's sequel first and felt that I'd missed nothing by starting on that one.
Angella
Dec 14, 2007 Angella rated it it was ok
I sort of liked this book until my favorite character (or the only character I felt any sympathy for) was forced to do something I couldn't forgive. Excellent world-building by Niven.
Kathryn
Jul 05, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This edition contained two books: The Integral Trees, which I finished reading the other day (and which I discussed at my Sci-Fi Book Club meeting last night, on July 10, 2012) and the sequel, The Smoke Ring. After some consideration, I decided to review the two books as a unit, since that’s how they are set up in the volume I read. I will also note that I really enjoyed these books, which contain both hard science, fascinating sociology, and a good plot.

As the story begins (in The Integral Tree
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Jason
Aug 11, 2011 Jason rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I read this book when I was in high school when I was riding my wave crest of discovery within the realm of NEW WAVE OF SCIENCE FICTION--authors like Moorcock, Ellison, Farmer, Spinrad, etc. I had read some of the sci-fi "greats" at this point but more than likely you would find me buried in a Moorcock novel or a short story collection of Ellison's. My friends were always talking about Asimov, Pohl, Heinlein &, of course, Niven.

"Have you read RINGWORLD? You haven't! Man, it's a classic! If
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Peter
Dec 10, 2008 Peter rated it liked it
Recommends it for: science fiction fans
Shelves: science-fiction
The Integral Trees is good second-tier Niven, from early in the latter portion of his career, when his writing ability was just starting to fade. Call it his "Silver Age", if you like. In a fractional rating system, I'd give it a 3.6.

The story is set in the "Smoke Ring", which is another typical Niven Very Big Object - in this case, one that dwarfs even his Ringworld. Essentially, it's an inhabitable band of oxygen, other gases, water, and life which exists without gravity in a circle around a s
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Devin A.
Jan 29, 2012 Devin A. rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darth
Sep 10, 2007 Darth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: niven
Re-read THE INTEGRAL TREES & THE SMOKE RING - I first read them in Jr high, and they were really my introduction to Larry Niven. I have been reading Niven ever since, and that was more than 20 years ago.

Now, I have read some others opine on the characters in this duology, and I cant say much in defense of them. They can be a bit wooden and one dimensional, but it is a lot like the book version of the AVATAR movie. Yeah, the characters weren't the strongest, but the setting was SO spectacular
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Anja
Apr 19, 2008 Anja rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
This book is very interesting. It is set in a world very different from our own so you must remove all our preconceived notions of how things should be in order to understand this book.

The Dalta/Quinn tree is dying, though they don't want to admit it. Their last hope lying in the final search party set out up the trunk that consists mostly of cripples. When a series of events take the group from bad to worse they lose all hope for their home tuft but instead hold out hope that the group may sta
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Thomas Pfaff
Aug 16, 2007 Thomas Pfaff rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: hard sci-fi lovers
I read this book while I was taking Calculus II. Actually I read it outside of the class in the evenings before class each night. Humorously many people commented on it, some thinking it was some nerdy extra-curricular calculus thing.

Integral Trees. I remember a delusional robot and tribes of people crawling all over trees that are falling apart as they fall into the atmosphere of an uninhabitable planet or so. A very neat idea. Niven's books tend to be drawn out but seem to have been so origina
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Amy
Aug 21, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
Larry Niven is great! His settings are scientifically fascinating, and the plots are interesting from a human standpoint. This novel is set in a ring of atmosphere that has been stripped from a gas giant planet in orbit around a neutron star in a binary system. (The astronomers in my friends list will understand.) Anyway, it is about several sparsely-populated human societies which have developed there, in low gravitational fields.
James
Jan 29, 2017 James rated it liked it
The first half is a good novel, with an interesting premise, cool setting and great action.

The second half is a bad novel, set a couple decades later and following the least interesting characters from the first half, while being somehow too focused on both romance and personal finance.

Oddly, this is the same review I gave to Wuthering Heights. Three stars.
Daniel
Sep 28, 2007 Daniel rated it really liked it
A colony of humans marooned in a free-fall ring of breathable atmosphere surrounding a neutron-star.... As far as imaginative world-building goes, this book tops even Niven's masterpiece, Ringworld. The story and characters aren't half bad either, though I would have liked this novel even if they had been an afterthought.
Benjamin Duffy
Aug 31, 2009 Benjamin Duffy rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
Niven's imagination builds a fantastic world, but the characters are forgettable, the plot uninteresting and the end off-putting. It's Ringworld writ small, basically, with its strengths less impressive and its weaknesses more pronounced. Having said that, it's a pretty short read and as such, worth it.
Jen H
Aug 02, 2011 Jen H added it
A GREAT story!! I think it is out of print. Good writing, interesting characters in a very different social dynamic in an alien "world" that is not a planet. This book's second part holds up to my expectation and hopes.
Wetdryvac Wetdryvac
May 21, 2011 Wetdryvac Wetdryvac rated it did not like it
Another elementary school late night read. I remember there being so many WTF moments in this book that my disbelief simply kicked in and stayed in. Not what I look for from a book. Need to re-read now and see if I was missing some reach of science on Niven's part.
TQM Doctor
Aug 10, 2008 TQM Doctor rated it really liked it
A confusing book to get started with. So much so that it took me two tries to get into it. But once I started to understand this new universe, the story began to be much more enjoyable. Now I'm on to the next in the two-book series.
Susan
Mar 29, 2008 Susan rated it really liked it
Classic old-school sci-fi: weird solar system, no gravity, humans have evolved prehensile toes... you get the picture. I think the book jacket says it all: "The idea is truly the hero." You won't get attached to any of the characters, but it's still engaging reading.
Allen Garvin
Apr 28, 2009 Allen Garvin rated it really liked it
Strong scifi novel with interesting world & culture building, set in Niven's other, non-Known-Space continuum (World Out of Time, etc). Characters are a bit weak, but the slowly revealed history of the world is fascinating.
Rob Springer
Aug 14, 2009 Rob Springer rated it it was amazing
I might have given it more stars if I could have remembered more about it! I looked it up on Wikipedia. The worlds Niven creates are mind blowing, and this, and the Ringworld, are the two most amazing.
Karen
Feb 28, 2016 Karen rated it liked it
Intriguing cover, interesting setting. I love the way Niven thinks up his environments. I wish there had been more on the evolution/adaptation and the differences between humans now and humans living in the smoke ring.
Shido
Apr 16, 2012 Shido rated it really liked it
Another great Larry Niven fiction. Larry has a brilliant imagination. Imagine human beings living in a free-fall world where they depend on giant floating trees as their land! Larry always attempts to bring science into his narratives, and he does so again with his story The Integral Trees.
Jessica Keepe
Sep 05, 2009 Jessica Keepe rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult
Didn't much care for this book, it was very strange....
Anca Maria
Jul 20, 2013 Anca Maria rated it it was amazing
I like the book.
Sharon Eudy Neufeld
Feb 13, 2010 Sharon Eudy Neufeld rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
disappointing
John
Jan 25, 2008 John rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Deva Fagan
Shelves: scifi
This book did a beautiful job creating life on another world and how a species (human) evolves when faced with a completely different environment.
Frank
Dec 23, 2007 Frank rated it liked it
I love Niven's ability to imagine new worlds, and human societies very different from our own. If you like fun escapist sci-fi, then this should appeal.
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Laurence van Cott Niven's best known work is Ringworld (Ringworld, #1) (1970), which received the Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics. The creation of thoroughly worked-out alien species, which are very different from humans both physically and mentally, is recognized as one of Niven's main strengths ...more
More about Larry Niven...

Other Books in the Series

The State (3 books)
  • A World Out of Time (The State, #1)
  • The Integral Trees (The State, #2)
  • The Smoke Ring (The State, #3)

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