The image of 'ghosts of the dead' comes from a book that I thought was Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson but wasn't.

It was a story about a utopian community that was under attack from a military force that was trying to take forests from the community. The decision was made to resist the military by dressing as the ghosts of people they had already killed - this caused horror and a breakdown amongst the troops. There was also struggle and tension about the best methods to use.

There was also, I think, a disturbing account of a highly monitored prison camp in a barren landscape - this included stuff about disturbing sexual relationships between two key characters. One of these characters was also something of a seer or dreamer I think.

Does this spark a memory for anyone? The idea led to a 'ghosts of the dead' action against the Iraq war. To have the book would be good.

  • Were there actual ghosts or not? Did the story happen in the past, in today's world, in the future, in an alternate universe? Do you remember approximately when you read the book, and whether it was new then?
    – user56
    Apr 9, 2012 at 17:13
  • It was, I think, set in the future. Ther were no actual ghosts - the 'ghosts of the dead' were played by relatives. I read it in about 2002/01. I don't think it was new.
    – chris
    Apr 9, 2012 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


You may be thinking of The Word for World Is Forest, a 1976 novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, based on her earlier short story of the same name. The peaceful people of the forest planet are enslaved by militaristic humans. In a prison camp, a woman is raped by one of the invading humans. Heartbroken, her husband dreams of war, a first for his people. He conveys his dream to his people, who then hail him as their savior. They begin a rebellion against the humans, which becomes a bloodbath, as their attack is completely unexpected by the humans, who know the forest people have never had wars.

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