68k Mentat

Web of the Chozen, by

Rating: Not that great

Plot

Bar Holliday is a planetary scout in a galaxy where humanity has developed into complacent sheeple, ruled by a socialized government controlled by a council of nine corporations. Bar lands on a planet which had been colonized by a pre-FTL christian community. Their supercomputer mutated a programmable virus to transform them all into a fundamentally different species, as well as turning the planet into a paradise for the species. After being infected, Bar soon comes to appreciate the species, but plots to overthrow the computer. He succeeds in making the human empire destroy the computer, as well as the entire planet, leaving Bar and George, the christians’ patriarch, as well as their two children, to repopulate the species. Bar turns into a revolutionary terrorist, commandeering a cargo ship and then massacring and infecting an early-stage colony planet. The story ends with all but a small, zoo-kept population, transformed into Chozen.

Politics: Bar opposes the stagnation and lack of identity in socialism, which is also conflated with the idea that it is a) the final stage of human society and b) that humanity, as a species, thus hit its evolutionary dead end. The later half of this story suffers from poor motivation on Bar’s part, who resents the fact that he did not choose to mutate into a Choz, but then believes that all of humanity should be forced to change for their own good. He has some valid points, but they probably would have been better represented if Chalker had put more thought into the political arguments

Women:

Mara, George’s daughter, exists to give both men something to fight for. Marsha, the other woman in the story, is an intelligent, free-thinking person, but is also abducted by the two men, conveniently helps them breed, and injures herself after she exerts herself as a soldier.