The story comes from a novel I found in my junior high school library in the '90s. I have the distinct impression that the book is at the latest from the 1970s, possibly decades earlier.

Story featured humans living on another world that featured miles-high gigantic trees; one of the defining features of the society was everyone wearing cloaks that acted as what today would be called wingsuits, and they would climb stairs/ladders/elevators to the heights and glide to neighboring trees. The society highly discourages traveling to or exploring the forest floor. "Here there be dragons," etc. Society teaches that mankind is from this world, had always been here, etc. Fairly primitive tech level.

Protagonist eventually discovers a laser pistol, follows clues/fights the power structure and discovers a cavern on the forest floor with the remains of a crashed ship and a memorial that makes it clear to the reader that the story is actually that of a crashed and fallen human colony. Story ends as the protagonist leaves the cavern.

Story sounds similar in many ways to Midworld, but is not; just features humans, no alien creatures. Is also not the other story I find when searching which features an intelligent super-tree. Hopefully someone can recognize this story and point me in the right direction, this has been bugging me for 30 years plus, now.

  • It's not Larry Niven's The Integral Trees - but you may enjoy it as tree fiction. Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:38

1 Answer 1


This sounds like Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green Sky trilogy: Below the Root, And All Between and Until the Celebration.


The planet Green-sky contains Orbora, a city built in giant trees and inhabited by humanoids known as the Kindar. They have built their homes among the branches, and can harvest food from vines and orchards found on the trees. The Kindar walk between trees where the branches overlap or connect using vines woven together like ladders. Low gravity also allows Kindar to fall great distances without being hurt and hang-glide through the air using their shuba, a silk cape-like garment something like a wingsuit that attaches at hands and feet.

The Kindar are forbidden from walking on or even looking at the forest floor, and are terrified of doing so from stories of the Pash-shan, monsters trapped beneath a web of vines at ground level. Young children who have fallen from the trees before learning to use a shuba have supposedly been captured by the Pash-shan, never to be seen again. In truth, the Pash-shan are the descendants of imprisoned Kindar who refer to themselves as Erdlings.

  • The question explicitly states "just features humans, no alien creatures" (my emphasis).
    – RonJohn
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 3:08
  • There are pets, but they are very much pets. No actual monsters.
    – cycad
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 5:27

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