The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Giles the goat-boy, also known as George Giles, was reared on a goat farm by a keeper. He gradually discovers that he has a special and heroic role in life. He lives in a land dominated by a school, New Tammany College, which is split into rival factions, primarily West Campus and East Campus. West Campus is controlled by an all-powerful computer, WESCAC, and dominated by a Grand Tutor. After learning more about his background, Giles decides that he has a daunting task: to displace the false Grand Tutor of the West Campus and end the control of WESCAC by entering its deep vitals and unplugging it. During the course of his adventures, he also meets such traditional heroic challenges as finding and mating with the love of his life, defeating and even killing enemies both human and animal, and performing such tasks as passing through the narrow and treacherous Scrapegoat Grate on his way to Commencement Gate.

A strange woman who later turns out to be Giles’s mother piques his interest in the world outside when she visits him at the goat farm where Max Spielman, a disgraced and outcast professor from the West Campus, has reared him from infancy. George, who has a strange half-human, half-goat body that prevents him from walking upright for long, first thinks that he was born from one of the goats on the farm. He instinctively feels called by some destiny higher than living out his life on the farm. Max and Giles, in the company of a black laborer named...

(The entire section is 571 words.)