Today We Choose Faces

by Roger Zelazny
Reviewed date: 2007 Oct 9
Rating: 2
174 pages
cover art

I read Today We Choose Faces on the strength of its title. It does not live up to my expectations. Zelazny gives us a novelette's worth of story stretched to novel length. The plot is straightforward enough: Lange and his fellow clones are telepathically linked, and they are the secret architects of the House. All humanity lives in the House, an artificial environment that shapes and molds humanity. The ultimate goal is to better mankind and produce a race that will not destroy itself through war, as previous human civilizations have done.

As Lange and his clones reshape mankind, they operate on themselves too: using a machine, they excise portions of their personality that they find repulsive and outdated.

But of course it won't last. A mysterious Mr. Black objects to the reshaping of mankind, and is out to kill Lange and the rest of the clones. To combat the deadly assassin, Lange is forced to undergo memory therapy to recover the lost portions of his personality. His lost memories include the violent, primitive tendencies from his past life as a mafia hit man--the qualities that will enable him to kill Mr. Black.

The big secret is that Mr. Black is one of the clones, who long ago decided he didn't like the idea of castrating humanity by destroying its capacity for violence. Zelazny takes a hundred pages to build up to this revelation, but it's too obvious, and Zelazny isn't a good enough storyteller to hold my interest when I already know what's coming. Today We Choose Faces rates a two.

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