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Midworld: The Alan Dean Foster Novel That May Have Inspired Avatar

When humans arrive on the planet Midworld, they convince an unsuspecting native to help them find a depleting natural resource.

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  • Photo Credit: Rohit Tandon / Unsplash

On a jungle planet called Midworld, a primitive society thrives: For centuries, the native species has existed symbiotically with nature, treating plants and animals as their equals. Alien but human-like, they live among the many layers of dense canopy, bonded to photosynthetic familiars called “furcots.”

Our hero, Born, is an inhabitant of Midworld—but he’s one of the few who dares to venture beyond his own territory. His insatiable curiosity ultimately leads him to Jan and Logan, two lost and crash-landed Earthling explorers. Believing that they’re simply interested in learning more about his planet, Born decides to show them the lay of the land. But he soon realizes that his new human companions aren’t as innocent as they seem—in fact, their ulterior motives could destroy Midworld’s ecosystem entirely. Suddenly, Born is left to decide whether he will help them in their quest, or fight them for the sake of the home he loves.

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  • 1978 edition of Midworld (left) and author Alan Dean Foster (right)

    Photo Credit: Alchetron

Midworld is one of several installments in the Humanx Commonwealth series by Alan Dean Foster, who has written for the the Star Wars and Star Trek universes. It's thought that he may have inadvertently influenced another major sci-fi franchise, as well.

After the release of James Cameron’s 2009 film, Avatar, some readers felt that Cameron may have been inspired by the verdant, threatened alien world in Midworld. Avatar features a similar plot involving nature-centric aliens and humans who want to exploit their planet’s resources.

The following excerpt of Midworld sees Born when he first discovers Jan and Logan’s crashed aircraft. Both parties are taken aback by the other’s physical differences, but Born eventually agrees to help them them find their destination...

Click here to read an excerpt of Midworld, and then download the book. 

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Featured photo: Rohit Tandon / Unsplash