Does this ring any bells? The airships were plant forms that floated and could be used for transportation. There was a diverse cast of characters on some quest, including some sort of psychic centaur-like creature.

2 Answers 2


This sounds like John Varley's Gaean Trilogy (Titan, Wizard, Demon)

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

It has the living airships:

“That’s our way off this cliff,” he said. “His name is—” he pursed his lips and whis­tled three clear notes with a war­ble at the end, “—but I see that’s awk­ward to use mixed with Eng­lish. I call him Whistlestop.”

“You call him ‘Whistlestop,’” Cirocco re­peated, numbly.

“That’s right. He’s a blimp.”

“A blimp.”

He looked at her oddly and she grit­ted her teeth. “He looks more like a di­ri­gi­ble, but he’s not, be­cause he doesn’t have a rigid skele­ton. I’ll call him and you can see for your­self.” He put two fin­gers to his lips and whis­tled a long, com­plex tune with odd mu­si­cal in­ter­vals.

And the centaurs:

The Ti­tanide found them while they were tak­ing down the tent prior to mov­ing Bill. It stood on the top of the bluff where Cirocco had been the day be­fore. Cirocco waited for it to make the first move, but it seemed to have the same idea.

The most ob­vi­ous word for the thing was cen­taur. It had a lower part shaped like a horse, and an upper half so human it was fright­en­ing. Cirocco was not quite sure she be­lieved in it.

It was not as Dis­ney had en­vi­sioned cen­taurs, nor did it have much to do with the clas­si­cal Greek model. It had a lot of hair, yet its dom­i­nant fea­ture was pale naked skin. There were great multi-col­ored cas­cades of hair on the head and tail, on the lower parts of all four legs, and on the crea­ture’s fore­arms. Odd­est of all, there was hair be­tween the two front legs, in the place where a de­cent horse—which Cirocco’s mind kept try­ing to see—had noth­ing but smooth hide. It car­ried a shep­herd’s crook, and but for a few small or­na­ments, wore no cloth­ing.

The Blimps and Centaurs "speak" a very music-based language, but it's hinted that it may have a telepathic component.

The first book, Titan, is a fairly straightforward adventure story. The second book, Wizard is more of a "quest" type of story. The last book, Demon is a post-apocalypse/revolution/war story with a little social commentary thrown in. From the OP's question it sounds like they may only have read the second book. Although the third book has more of the post-apocalytic events, it also has a... larger-than-life character that would be pretty hard to forget.

  • 2
    This series is one of my favorites to reread, so even if it is not the book you seek, you might still want to read it.
    – user62707
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 16:36

I believe this is Dark is the Sun, by Philip Jose Farmer. It's set in the very far future, the characters travel in/on a giant plant pod for part of their adventures, and one of the characters is a plant-centaur shaman with psychic powers. The group of main characters were trying to recover their stolen 'Soul Eggs'.

enter image description here

  • Were there also centaurs in the Farmer Riverworld novels?
    – DWin
    Commented Dec 28, 2015 at 22:07
  • @DWin: No. Everyone in Farmer's Riverworld series is human or at least humanoid.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Dec 29, 2015 at 2:52
  • 1
    See scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/160169/… for a newer question that suggests this is the correct answer.
    – Otis
    Commented Jun 4, 2017 at 4:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.