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The Morphodite (1981)

by M. A. Foster

Series: The Morphodite (1)

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1102229,016 (3.39)1

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An interesting concept. What if societies were not dependent on key individuals? What if, instead, the stability of a society was dependent on a single, anonymous individual? In such a scenario, killing a King or a President, or a single supremely wealthy individual would not instigate a revolution, or social upheaval. The elimination of a single, unimportant person, however, could have severe ramifications. The challenge, then, for revolutionaries would be to identify that key everyman and eliminate that person to force a change in society. But how could one identify such a person in a society of millions? or even hundreds? How could you know that the single individual that was identified was truly they key to the society?

In this case, the repressive government of Lisagor went down the rabbit hole and found the answer. In addition to answering the big question above, they have created an assassin. One that can change his/her appearance completely by changing his/her DNA. They've also imbued this assassin with the ability to actually identify the identity of the key individual. Lisagor didn't really believe that this assassin could exist, but they were willing to try anyway. When it turned out that such a person could, in fact, exist - they were not prepared.

The dialog is a little stilted. But that's really my only complaint. ( )
  helver | Jan 29, 2018 |
This book is set in the future on an authoritarian planet that resists all change. Ironically, they create a man who can change his genetics at will (although not without cost) in order to save their government from pro-change conspiracies. The book is told from the point of view of the authoritarian government, and later from the point of view of the Morphodite.

I felt that the plot was unconvincing and the writing was, in general boring. I don't think I would have finished the book had I had something else to read at the time. An interesting premise was turned into a thoroughly unconvincing story. ( )
  raq929 | Jun 25, 2009 |
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Symbarupol, in Lisagor, on Oerlikon: 4 Chand 22 Pavilon Cycle 7:

Two men at their ease relaxed on the terrace of one of the many bland, pastel buildings which composed the city outline, and observed the fall of night over the subtle outlines of Symbarupol.
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