Satanís World
by Poul Anderson

The title is misleading, but otherwise, this is the best Nicholas van Rijn story so far. It is strong on evolution shaping instincts and attitudes of species to fit their environments. It is explicitly libertarian at a couple points. The attitude of the inter-galactic Polesotechnic League toward the various governments is that they are irrelevant at best and obstructionist nuisances at worst.

A high point is the confrontation between van Rijn and the governor of Luna who hates the league, freedom, and capitalism. The plot involves a race of brutes who, through a perverse twist of evolution, were better suited to the changed environment on their planet that the peaceful, highly civilized, species they replaced and whose technology they adopted, which made them a threat to all other civilizations. The location of their planet was a secret until associates of van Rijn learned about it. Luckily, they were able to outsmart the brutes in time to save the day.

Year Read: 2001

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