|Forty Thousand in Gehenna|
Date: 01 October, 1983 — Book
Fiction, Science Fiction
At the tail end of the Union-Company war, the Union decided to colonize several planets that were hospitable to human life. Each colony had thousands of azi-clone workers, military advisors, and civilian techs, and a promise of supplies in three years.
Supplies that never came— because the colonies were designed to fail. The Union knew that the colonies, without support, would disperse and cause irrevocable ecological change, something that would give trouble to other groups attempting to build bases in the locales.
In Gehenna, however, there were other reasons for the colony falling apart. The calibans, huge reptilian earth-movers, were not entirely non-sapient as reports suggested. They also had an effect on the colonists, and new children would sometimes run off to live in their mounds. Even the colonists who stayed behind were different, and through the decades, changes happened, changes that could affect the world outside.
The back of the book talks about the relationship between the colonists and the calibans, but one assumes that the humans stay more or less the same. Cherryh instead speaks of adaptation, of learning new ways to think, and how some things are impossible without experience.