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altheaann

altheaann

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Treason - Orson Scott Card I very much enjoyed the first half of this book. I felt that it set up an interesting situation and characters: Lanik is a young man from a clan which has learned to genetically regenerate themselves, making them undefeatable in battle and virtually immortal. Unfortunately, sometimes the genetic modification goes wrong, and rather than just regenerating lost or damaged limbs, etc, the body keeps growing new parts, requiring surgery, becoming monstrous. Usually, those people are harvested for extra parts - which are sold offworld. But since Lanik was the heir, he is spared that fate - and merely exiled.
So far, so good.
Lanik goes on a quest to discover the secret of why a rival clan is acquiring unprecedented amounts of metal - which their planet lacks. What are they selling offworld? He meets a powerful black woman, a leader of her tribe, who causes him to re-evaluate his racial beliefs. She's a wonderful character.
But rather than stopping here, and tying the story together, at this point the book becomes formulaic and overblown.
Lanik travels from tribe to tribe, at each one acquiring some kind of superpower. (Each tribe is descended from one genius scientist who has passed on their secrets and abilities to their descendants - which is a pretty dumb concept in and of itself.) However, Lanik pretty much remains an arrogant bastard with a sense of entitlement. When he discovers he has been deceived, and that there is some sort of plot going on, rather than investigating the motivations and reasons behind the secret plan, he commits genocide against the tribe that the deceivers came from, and without consulting anyone, makes a decision that will affect everyone on the planet.
Card obviously wishes the reader to contemplate the moral decisions that Lanik has made, but I also got the feeling that Card thinks that Lanik was right, that his actions, although unpleasant, were justified by the strength of Lanik's convictions that what he was doing was the right thing for his planet. However, I disagree quite strongly - I do not believe that because someone is stronger, or believes themselves to be more enlightened, that they have the moral right to make major decisions for others. I also do not feel that the deaths of innocents are justified merely because those innocents belong to the same race or tribe as people that you perceive have done you wrong.