Humanity is an imperfect species. Actually, that’s putting it very generously – humanity is a deeply flawed species. We’re selfish and self-destructive, ignorant to the point of blindness, arrogant to the point of madness. It’s almost a wonder we’ve come so far, or at least that we haven’t destroyed ourselves along the way. For all our triumphs, every advantage of our intelligence and self-awareness is also reflected countless times in insane invention, in total megalomania. We are our own worst enemy.
In light of this, it seems somewhat reasonable to consider the possibility of a do-over. Perhaps another species could do better than us – perhaps a species more interested in its own collective survival, and more able to coherently absorb the lessons of its forebearers. Perhaps a species somewhat more animal, more willing to be part of a grand organism than a wild, unpredictable individual. Perhaps such a species deserves that chance. Or perhaps such a species doesn’t even need to be offered a chance – if we were ever put against a creation that combined humanity’s intelligence and strength with an animalistic unity of purpose, would we even stand a chance?
Chimera Ant is a story about that question – or at least, about that question and a number of others. It catalogs the rise of the (surprise) Chimera Ants, a species that continuously evolves, absorbing the quirks and powers of any species it consumes. The queen of the Ants wishes to build a Perfect Being – the ultimate animal, destined to rule over all others. In order to do that, she constructs her child out of the best pieces available – and in the first of Chimera Ant’s many strange reflections, the construction of a Perfect Being end up requiring a great deal of flawed, self-involved, self-destructive human beings. As her army of Ants grows, their human DNA becomes more and more prominent, and the “imperfections” of human nature become more and more apparent in their behavior. “Fortunately,” this intermingling of human and ant instincts isn’t restricted solely to one side – as Chimera Ant unfolds, even the humans begin to demonstrate that ant nature isn’t perhaps quite so inhuman as it seems. And by the end…
Well, I’ll get to that. For now, let’s start by setting the stage.