St. Martin's Press
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Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Orson Scott Card books, Science Fiction books
A Planet Called Treason (1979) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. It was originally published by St Martin's Press and Dell Publishing Co. After being heavily revised, the book was republished under the title Treason (1988) by St. Martin's Press.
A Planet Called Treason Wikipedia
The premise of this novel is the banishment to the seemingly metal-poor planet Treason of a group of people who attempted to create rule by an intellectual elite. The novel centers on the descendants of these anti-democratic thinkers who remain imprisoned on the planet. Through the ages, these descendants have formed nations which warred and allied with one another to gain advantages over their rivals in the race to build a starship. Due to the metal-deficiency on Treason, nations are forced to obtain it through a system of barter using teleportation devices known as Ambassadors.
The protagonist of the book is Lanik Mueller, heir apparent to the Mueller family kingdom. The Muellers, through generations of eugenics, have the ability to heal at an accelerated speed and regrow body parts naturally. The dark side to the Mueller nation is that, in order to obtain iron and other metals, they trade organs and body parts, which are harvested from radical regeneratives ("rads"). Radical regeneratives are people whose bodies can't distinguish between health and injury, and so grow extra appendages as well as organs of the opposite sex; although this is a normal phase for most Muellers at the age of puberty, the bodies of radical regeneratives never outgrow it.
After it is discovered that Lanik is a radical regenerative, Lanik's father must essentially banish him from the kingdom, so as to avoid sending him to the "pens", a place where radical regeneratives are kept in order to harvest their body parts; exile also functions to get Lanik out of the eye of the Mueller public, as well as to prevent harm from coming to Lanik's supposed younger brother Dinte. The banishment comes in the form of sending Lanik as an emissary and spy to the Nkumai, a rival nation. Due to his radical regenerative body, Lanik has grown breasts, which makes him appear to be a woman. Using this subterfuge, he poses as an ambassador from the matriarchal nation of Bird in order to discover what the Nkumai are trading in exchange for their abundant metals, which have allowed them to dominate their region militarily.
This mission is only the beginning of the adventure for Lanik, who discovers the secrets of the most powerful nations and at the same time gains additional abilities to save his people and determine the fate of his planet.
Lanik travels to many of the regions of the planet Treason throughout the book, and discovers that those residing in different regions have different powers or capabilities. He first passes through the land of the Ku Kuei while on his way to Nkumai, learning that they can control the flow of time in a bubble extending out from themselves. When he comes to the land of Schwartz, he discovers that the people there are able to form rock to their will, as well as take energy from the sun. Lanik learns both of these skills and uses them to kill the "illuders" from Anderson. The illuders, as Lanik calls them, have the ability to appear to be anything they wish, clouding the minds of those around them to their will. The regions of Treason are named after each of the banished inhabitants. The occupations of the founders are listed (where known).
The regions are (alphabetically):Allison (theology)
Anderson (leader of the rebellion, politics)
Drew (dream interpretation)
Ku Kuei (philosopher)
Nkumai (theoretical physicist)
Lanik Mueller - main character, heir apparent of the Mueller throne, radical regenerative. Note: Also called Lady Lark.
Lanik Mueller 2 - a copy of the main character, grown from a loose organ of the original. He led the Nkumai against everyone, but later realized he was being used and joined the Muellers. A radical regenerative.
Ensel Mueller - Lanik's father, king of Mueller.
Dinte Mueller - Lanik's brother, killed by him, later was impersonated by a second Lanik Mueller (regrown from a loose organ) who had learned the powers of the "illuders".
Helmut (Schwartz) - Lanik's friend who discovers him dying in Schwartz, offering him help and curing him of his radical regenerative state. Helps him defeat the "illuders."
Mwabao Mawa (Nkumai) - de facto ruler of the Nkumai, later found to be an "illuder".
Saranna (Mueller) - the love of Lanik's life.
Lord Barton (Britton) - a Lord in Britton who helps Lanik learn of the "illuders".
Glain (Britton) - a man Lanik lives with for about a year.
Man-Who-Fell-on-His-Ass (Ku Kuei) - the first of the Ku Kuei Lanik met.
Man-Who-Knows-It-All (Ku Kuei) - a Ku Kuei who taught Lanik and Saranna how to control time.
Percy Barton (Britton) - Lord Barton's "son", actually an "illuder". Later found to be Mwabao Mawa.
Ruva (Mueller) - Ensel's wife. Plotted against Ensel.
Vran (Britton) - Glain's wife.