A fascinating character in Vernor Vinge
's A Fire Upon the Deep
. The Flenser is a member of a species of gestalt
creatures who has decided that random chance
isn't a good enough process any longer. He decides to create new packs
) by flensing
away the "unfit
Contrast the Flenser to the Pilgrim, who takes accepts new parts into his gestalt whith little planning or concern.
Pilgrim is, of course, a good guy and Flenser is a bad guy. Without much effort, you can read Flenser as Vinge's criticism of any attempt at genetic engineering. Better to take what chance offers than to try to control our destiny.