Copyright 1988 by
Orson Scott Card
I first read this in 2001 and most recently on the 3rd April 2005
In the far future, but in the distant history of this novel, there was a revolution.
The old government was overthrown and the new Republic transported its former masters
to permanent imprisonment on the planet Treason.
The transportees were to be imprisoned until such time as they were able to build their
own starship to fly to freedom. However, the Republic was far less merciful than it
might have seemed at the time, for the planet lacked all of the metals necessary to
construct even one starship, let alone the prerequisite technological infrastructure
Three thousand years later, the transportees' descendants remain isolated from the rest
of Human culture. Their world has split into warring countries, each dedicated to
whatever speciality will bring them benefit from the very limited trade with the
Republic, or whatever government exists in universe outside.
Our young protagonist is a Mueller, heir to the throne of his country. The Muellers
specialise in bodily regeneration. They shrug off injuries and physical trauma, their
bodies rapidly heal scars, cuts and amputations. A few unfortunate
individuals become monsters, their bodies sprouting extra limbs and organs, and it is
this profusion of spare limbs, in trade with the Republic, that has made the Mueller family the rulers of their land.
Our hero discovers to his and his family's shock, that he is one of these unfortunates,
destined to sprout new arms and legs uncontrollably, now doomed to life as a farm
animal, treated as less than human, fed, watered and maintained as a limb-factory.
However, our hero is royalty, and is thus able to evade imprisonment by fleeing
his country, and thence the tale begins.
This is the 1988 revised version of "A Planet Called Treason".
It's another quest, quite an interesting one. It has some unusual adventures, and
set in to this intriguing backdrop.
But all I really wanted to know was what was going on in the Republic and the
rest of the world off-planet.
I thought the passage of 300 years, rather than 3000, would have been adequate to build the odd starship
fleet or two, especially bearing in mind who introduced FTL to the Republic. But hey,
that's just me carping, after all I've never built a starship. But I'm pretty certain
it's just a matter of project management. Put the right processes in place and Bob's
your uncle. And while I'm carping - something I so rarely indulge in - let me mention
the cover. The cover, wisely unattributed, appears unrelated to anything within the
novel, so don't be thinking that this is anything about an astronaut walking dejectedly
back to his squashed spaceship.
Loaded on the 14th August 2005.