are mass-produced genetically-engineered cloned people, created by the Multiworld Union
political bloc in C. J. Cherryh
's epic future history
sometimes called the "Alliance
-Union Universe". This future history spans several novels and many accompanying short stories, and azi feature importantly in the novels Cyteen
, Downbelow Station
, and 40,000 in Gehenna
In scenes reminiscent of Aldous Huxley
's Brave New World
, we are told how the minds of azi are programmed by hypnopaedia
, or "tape"
, from birth. Tape
gives an azi his or her knowledge of life and how to be a person as well as values
, reason for existence
, comfort in life, and ultimately, instructions
to be followed. If an azi becomes confused or difficult, his mind is erased and reprogrammed with new tape. If this happens frequently enough, he and his entire batch are considered defective, and destroyed.
Azi are engineered for quality, to be the best possible product. They are invariably beautiful, and Cherryh's novels contain horrific scenes of rank upon rank of beautiful, empty people.
Cherryh never explicitly comes out and says it, but azi are undeniably slaves
of the state that created them. The "Born Men" who own them are given a semi-divine status, and are to be obeyed in all things.