Integral Trees, The  (#140) 

1983-10The State: The Smoke Ring Novelserial, Analog, October 1983, November 1983, December 1983, January 1984

0-3453-2065-4Larry Niven

cloth, March 1984, Del Rey (Ballantine);
paper. February 1985;
paper, Futura Publications, 1985;
as De Integraalbomen, paper, from Meulenhoff, Amsterdam, 1985;
Audio: Blackstone Audio Books, read by Pat Bottino, May 1996;
Integral Trees, The (Omnibus)
Locus winner, Hugo nominee, Nebula nominee first Smoke Ring novel. See the sequel, Smoke Ring, The


This story is set in an incredibly exotic environment, the gaseous envelope of a binary star system in which one of the pair is a neutron star. The bizarre life forms which populate the Smoke Ring, as it is termed, are a tour de force of imagination for Niven.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the story is the way that the suvivors of a lost colony ship and their descendants evolved a new physiology to help them exist in the low gravity environment of the Smoke Ring and their symbiosis with the Integral Trees themselves.