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Paperback book, probably from the 1950s or 60s.

Premise, a colony has been established on a mountain plateau of a jungle planet. (pop maybe 200-500 people) There are ape like creatures living in jungle. The colony is trying to survive on the plateau. (Afraid of the ape creatures, or what else might be in the jungle, so they won't leave plateau.)

The Protagonist (late teens?) is having problems with the colony (I seem to recall the story opens he is barricaded in a hut looking out window with weapons and seeing a body (a friend? family member?) lying dead near the hut. Maybe they were agitating for more exploration of jungle and leaders did not want that, tried to arrest them and killed the other person in the struggle. [Or maybe it was one of the colony police who he killed when they tried to attack him?]

Eventually they agree to expelling him from the colony. And a young woman goes with him in exile. I recall she was always limping, pretty sure it was not from an accident while in exile. (I think she had a genetic problem with her one leg. (too short, twisted, club foot, something like that) so her status in the colony was very low. He was near-sighted, everything beyond about 50 feet was a blur. [Possibly they both were scheduled for sterilization so they would not pass their bad genes?]

So they go exploring and eventually meet the ape-like aliens. I think they eventually can communicate by sign language mimicry.

After awhile they get to the alien village, which had a large open monkey bar/jungle gym structure made of logs, with many levels. I think to stay in the village he had to defeat someone on the structure (knock them off, where they would certainly die in the fall).

The cover may have had a picture of this structure.

  • I occasionally think of a story similar to this, but unfortunately I don't remember the author/title. Additional details I remember from what I read were that the protagonist was nearsighted but the colony didn't have the technology for corrective lenses, and that he was armed with a bow. – John Thompson Apr 24 '18 at 15:04
  • Yes I think your thinking of the same book, as both those same points jibe with what I remember. – NJohnny Apr 24 '18 at 18:12
  • In thinking about this, I believe this may have been an Ace Double book. (After you finish reading the first book, flip it over (to back cover) and its a second book, (instead of a back cover) – NJohnny Apr 24 '18 at 18:16
  • I was just thinking the same thing. Something to go on. – John Thompson Apr 24 '18 at 18:22
  • The Tree Lord of Imeten: novel by Tom Purdom is looking good, it's an Ace Double. I'm trying to find a synopsis. Side B is Empire Star • novel by Samuel R. Delany – John Thompson Apr 24 '18 at 18:31
4

Googled "Ace Double Jungle Planet" images and found the cover among all the other covers. :)

The Book is "The Tree Lord of Imeten" by Tom Purdom (the other half was "Empire Star" by Samuel R. Delany)

enter image description here

From a review on rrhorton.blogspot.com:

Harold is a 21 year old man living in a colony of refugees from a regimented 21st Century Earth. The colony has been established on a plateau on a planet of Delta Pavonis, on a world otherwise dominated by forest, mountain, and ocean. His mother and sister are long dead, and his father and his best friend have just been murdered in some never specified political dispute. A young woman, Joanne, negotiates a deal whereby the two are exiled off the plateau, but not killed.

In the forest they encounter two separate intelligent species -- a ground-dwelling species without hands (just paws) but great linguistic facility; and a tree-dwelling apelike species which has just entered on an Iron Age. The tree-dwellers are violent, and they have enslaved many members of the ground dwelling species. Harold and Joanne are captured by the tree-dwellers, and, sickened by the slaveholding, they scheme to escape and work to free the slaves.

All fairly routine, really, but it's redeemed by a pretty decent job of portraying the two species, particularly the ground-dwellers, and by the fairly well-characterized main characters. Minor effective details are Harold's extreme nearsightedness and Joanne's limp.

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