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The Integral Trees

(The State #2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  8,219 ratings  ·  190 reviews
In the far future, the crew of an interstellar expedition abandoned the main spacecraft, which housed an AI who monitored the crew for the all-powerful State. The “mutineers”, as the AI calls them, made a new home in a gas torus that rotates around a neutron star, rich in trees, animals, sufficient water, but no real gravity. Five hundred years later, their descendants liv ...more
Kindle Edition, 251 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Spectrum Literary Agency, Inc. (first published 1983)
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Shmuel Hardly. It IS about The State, so it's in the same overall universe. But other than that, no real connection. It would seem to be placed after the **b…moreHardly. It IS about The State, so it's in the same overall universe. But other than that, no real connection. It would seem to be placed after the **beginning** of "A World out of Time", because they have ships big enough for a full crew.(less)
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Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and beca
May 20, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Integrating the trees f(z) around the Smoke Ring C, we have

The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

Imagine living with air, water, plants and animals - but No land. Welcome to the Smoke Ring around a far star.


The thoughts of a man now inside a computer program in charge of the star-ship Discipline. . . 
It was taking too long, much longer than he had expected. Sharis Davis Kendy had not been an impatient man. After the change he had thought himself immune to impatience. But it was taking too long! What were they doing in there?
His senses were not limited. Sharis's telescopic array was power
Kara Babcock
As a math major, reading this book prior to class often came with the burden of disclaiming, "It's not about math." And that's a little disappointing, actually, because I don't read enough books about math, especially fiction books. And The Integral Trees would make a damn good title for a math novel.

But no, Larry Niven had to go and steal the title for his own nefarious purposes. It actually took me longer than it should have taken to realize why the integral trees were named as such—I admit I
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
This summer I have chose to re-read books I read or tried to read back in high school. I'm positive that books I read when I was 15, or 16 years old will read differently now that I'm in my 40's. The Integral Trees and it's follow-up book, The Smoke Ring were such books.

I remember this book as a book about "space fairies." Humans live in this weird alien fairy type planet where they mutate into flying fairy-like creatures due to the low gravity environment.

Well......I guess this book was sort
Morgan McGuire
Jun 02, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this negative stars. Good ideas embedded in sickening sexism and mediocre writing. I couldn't get past the first few chapters.
This is an old favorite, mainly because the world Niven imagines is so unbelievably cool. Let me see if I can lay it out: a gas giant planet is orbiting a collapsed star a billion years after a supernova; the collapsed star is one of a binary with a normal star like the Sun. The gas giant's atmosphere has been slowly leaking away into orbit around the collapsed star, forming a ring of atmosphere through which the core of the planet orbits. This ring is dense enough to support life all the way ar ...more
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 4/5

Larry Niven is one of those grand masters of science fiction. Literally. Named the 2015 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master, he's been a finalist for the Hugo novel award eight times for different works. In my quick (though surely inaccurate) count of published novels and collections, I got to the number 95. This is only my seventh Niven book (thus I've not even read 8% of his works), but I haven't loved any of them. I haven't even really l
Jun 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: non-sci fi lovers, fantasy readers even, Niven lovers
In short, if you're considering reading Niven for the first time, pick this book first. It's not a very long book at all (I read it as a teenager) so if find you hate him, then you don't endure much. :) You get the interesting/strange world premise, lots of interesting inter-human development, plot twists, and a small/manageable but not overwhelming dose from the science aspect of sci-fi.

One of the first sci-fi books I read. I'm not really a sci-fi fan, but I picked this off my Dad's bookshe
Kest Schwartzman
Fantastic worldbuilding clearly took all the time Niven was willing to put into this book- the characters are a clear afterthought.

The real problem, though is a nightmare of anti-feminist bullcrap. The female "lead" (I'm putting lead in quotes as all the women in this book are very clearly portrayed as pets whose only opinions are those of their men) joined a sort of nun warrior class at 14, because that was the only way to avoid being raped (a woman can either make babies or join this separate
Brad Wheeler
Classic Niven. Interesting situations, cool science. The characters are interesting but not fantastic, certainly far less fantastic than the setting.

The Integral Trees takes place in gas torus around a neutron star. There's air and water and plants and animals, but no ground. Everything and everyone is continually in freefall. The human colonists--who have, by the way, lost much of their technology and are only vaguely familiar with their offworld origins--live on the giant integral trees (so n
Mar 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
The Integral Trees is a precursor to Karl Schroeder's Virga series, and the spiritual and intellectual forefather of Niven's magnum opus, Ringworld. It shares that sense of a vast, fantastical yet possible, limitless world where anything can happen... and populated with people very strongly reminiscent of JM Barrie's Lost Boys, or Brian Aldiss' Starship crew. It's a story we've read a thousand times before in some form or another... the outcast finds adventure, glory, wealth, gets the girl, resc ...more
Clayton Yuen
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Such a novel idea, the Integral Trees by Larry Niven, so fantastic in its conception. With Ringword awarded all the high accolades, this storyline again revolves around another ring, a ring around a neutron star, as a gas torus . . . how oddly interesting.

I gave this novel 5 stars because of the super-charged, fascinating, mind-blowing storyline and characters. Definitely a great read!
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this novel, author Larry Niven constructs a believable world wholly unlike our own, without recourse to the supernatural or even the super-scientific, and populated by transplanted humans whose society has devolved into small, isolated, xenophobic, sometimes warring tribes. Although the Smoke Ring in which the story is set is alien in a great many respects, part of Niven's genius is his ability to paint a lucid picture of this setting with a minimum of words. This frees him to develop his cha ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The story here concerns the descendents of Earth travelers who, five hundred years earlier, chose to settle in an array of massive, free-floating trees that orbit a neutron star. During a particularly lean time, a small group is sent out to search for additional resources, and then an environmental disaster strikes...

By this point in their history, the tree people have lost most of their technology, and scientific knowledge is limited, so (like Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels) this is a science fic
A planet without ground, where the inhabitants are ruled by the whims of tide and wind. Not sure which is most fascinating: the unique setting, or the awkward delivery of the most mechanized sex scenes ever. Way to keep it systematic, Hard SF.
Timothy Boyd
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in his "known space" universe. A fantastic series by one of the master writer's of SiFi. Very interesting colonization story. Very recommended
Jun 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting. not great but interesting.
Mar 13, 2018 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I listened to about five minutes. The narrator has an odd way of emphasizing everything. I could not transcend the reading style and wasn't particularly intrigued by the premise.

I might try again later, but I find the casual sexism of books in this period off putting. In the precursor, which I haven't read, the "girls" are just vanished, eliminated from the society. Well, problem solved.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Integral Trees is classic hard-science fiction, and one of Niven's best solo books outside of his Known Space series. The characters are uniquely interesting, and the description of the setting makes up for any shortness of the plot. It's a relatively short book, but the plot hinges on such complex concepts that the reader feels like they've conquered a physics text at the end. The Michael Whelan cover on the first edition is one of the best from Niven's books.
Roddy Williams
‘For five centuries they had survived, descendants of the mutinous crew of the starship Discipline. The Earth, The State, even the Discipline were legend at best. The Smoke Ring was all they knew: an immense gaseous envelope formed around a neutron star and inhabited by free-fall life-forms, most of which were edible and all of which could fly. This was their universe.

But slowly, they began the long climb from barbarism: and somewhere, beyond the Smoke Ring, the Discipline and its cyborg ‘advise
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I checked this out from the library numerous times as a teenager, but hadn't read it since. It's as good as I remembered. Better even, because I understood more of the science behind it.
Pat Cummings
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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, 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 th
Hugh Mannfield
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in the Sci-Fi section of my favorite used book store and I’m glad I did.! In The Integral Trees, Larry Niven explores the possibilities of life in a gas torus. The physics is imperfect, just as it was in Ring World, but the imaginative life forms more than make up for it. An interstellar seeder ship, presumably sent from Earth, detours from it’s mission of planet finding to investigate a gas torus orbiting the neutron star in a binary pair. The real story begins some five hundr ...more
While Larry Niven is renowned in science-fiction circles from the massive alien structure described in his 1970 novel Ringworld and follow-up novels, the more complex habitat described in his mid-eighties The Integral Trees is less known. After conversations with friend, scientists and fellow SF writer Robert Forward, Niven came up with the "Smoke Ring", a gas torus between a dying gas giant and a neutron star. Thick enough to form a breathable atmosphere in the centre, the Smoke Ring is home to ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Integral Trees by Larry Niven
I must admit, I love this story. I have read it three times and I recently went through it again in audio format. Though as far as the audiobook, I could not stand the narrator! It was read by Pat Botino, who I think is the most dry sounding, worst acting (if there is any), terrible audiobook narrator I have ever listened to. Granted, I haven't listened to many audiobooks, but I would definitely avoid anything else involving him.
The Integral Trees takes place in
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a memory of reading and enjoying this a long time ago so I was pleased to find it available for the kindle. I was only a few pages in before I realised two things, firstly that I remembered very little about the story except for the trees themselves and secondly, it wasn't the story I was expecting so there's another book out there about space growing trees that I need to track down!

In spite of all that I found it was a great book, fast-paced and all very much science fiction not fantasy.
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome setting - unique, intriguing and sets the stage for so much of the plot and characters.

Rest of the book is average I guess, possibly since it was obviously written as part one of a series.
When you read a Niven book you expect interesting world-building, unique characters and good science. In my experience you also expect an average story (although Ringworld and The Protector's War were better than average). That is right where this book sits.

The integral trees are large, miles long trees with a tuft at each end going in opposite directions giving them the look of an integral sign. These trees exist in the 'Smoke Ring' which is the sweet spot of a large gas torus that rotates arou
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This tale of a planet in which there is no gravity and people live in "integral trees" or "jungle clouds" consists of the very definition of very rich, hard scifi world building. Unfortunately the characterization is weak, and there is a distinct sense that the mistreatment of women depicted in the book is viewed by the author as an ideal and not something to critique. Recommended to fans of hard scifi for the rich world it builds.

Check out my full review.
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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

Other books in the series

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

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