The title of Voorloper keeps tripping me up. The word refers to an itinerant human trader on the planet Voor, but I keep reverting to the conviction that it’s an ungainly alien creature à la the bog lopers of the Witch World. It’s disconcerting, especially since the edition of the novel that I have is lavishly illustrated in the style of the late 1970s. Dad has a porn ’stache, kid and girl have Peter Max-style faces and hair, and everybody’s wearing elaborate embroidered Russian-style jackets.
There certainly are inimical aliens in the book, but they’re truly alien and physically insubstantial. The humans refer to them as Shadows. There are no known intelligent species on the planet, and nothing humanoid. It’s open for colonization under the rules of the Forerunner universe, which disallow colonies (but allow trading posts) on inhabited worlds.