I picked up Ardath Mayhar’s Khi to Freedom for the novelty of it. I have a friend whose name matches exactly to the first word in the title.
The plot of the book compares favorably to a combination of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Matrix. The book follows a human, Hale Enbo, as he works as a planetary scout exploring and documenting new races and species.
Through his travels, he encounters a race of beings called Khi. The Khi are a race who have ascended to the next plane of existence as guided by the Hril. The Hril would be considered the gods of the universe. Together with the Hril, the Khi communicate with Hale and give him the task of saving the universe by instilling in him the powers to manipulate reality.
Having read the book, the connection between the plot and ST:TNG’s storyline of Captain Picard and Q was the most logical comparison. Khi to Freedom was published in 1983, so the book may have had some influence in the writer’s creation of the Q storyline.
With his new god-like abilities, Hale is able to read the energy lines of objects similar to how Neo can read the code behind reality. But, I would not go as far to say that the book influenced the Matrix; they just have similar plot devices.
Ardath Mayhar’s Khi to Freedom is an unexpectedly good read. The writer’s descriptions of the new races encountered by the protagonist are vivid and clear. The plot is ahead of its time. And there is human-on-Khi action, how can you say no to that? Okay. I just made myself gag a little right there.