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 live in various, sometimes waring, clans.
A scouting expedition by men and women from one of these groups meets with hardships and enforced servitude. A revolt ensues. And all the time, the AI of the original ship, observes and waits…
"Niven has come up with an idea about as far out as one can get, a created world without a world. . . . This is certainly classic science fiction.”
- Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine
“The best work yet by one of the best in our business, The Integral Trees is the most imaginative work I've seen in the last five years."
- Jerry Pournelle
"Niven's masterly use of SF strategies once more hits every note, springing surprises and plot turns with dizzying pace. The bizarre but plausible setting is meticulously worked out and at times lyrically evoked … Niven, one of the princes of 'hard' sf, appeals to the aficionado's delight in working out a basic premise with rigor, yet with unforeseen angles."
- Gregory Benford, The Los Angeles Times
"... The concept of a human society evolved to inhabit a free-fall environment remains in clear focus; The Integral Trees is a convincing piece of environmental engineering by one of the masters of the art."
The plot and characters "combine with the happily mind-boggling and original premise to make this marvelous, sense-of-wonder, hardcore SF that's sure to be popular."
- Publishers Weekly
about the author:
Born April 30, 1938 in Los Angeles, California. Attended California Institute of Technology; flunked out after discovering a book store jammed with used science fiction magazines. Graduated Washburn University, Kansas, June 1962: BA in Mathematics with a Minor in Psychology, and later received an honorary doctorate in Letters from Washburn. Interests: Science fiction conventions, role playing games, AAAS meetings and other gatherings of people at the cutting edges of science. Comics. Filk singing. Yoga and other approaches to longevity. Moving mankind into space by any means, but particularly by making space endeavors attractive to commercial interests. Several times we’ve hosted The Citizens Advisory Council for a National Space Policy. I grew up with dogs. I live with a cat, and borrow dogs to hike with. I have passing acquaintance with raccoons and ferrets. Associating with nonhumans has certainly gained me insight into alien intelligences.
In 2015, Larry Niven received the Grand Master Award, given by The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.