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The Folk of the Fringe

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  3,359 ratings  ·  140 reviews
Only a few nuclear weapons fell in America-the weapons that destroyed our nation were biological and, ultimately, cultural. But in the chaos, the famine, the plague, there exited a few pockets of order. The strongest of them was the state of Deseret, formed from the vestiges of Utah, Colorado, and Idaho. The climate has changed. The Great Salt Lake has filled up to prehist ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 11th 2001 by Orb Books (first published 1989)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
I am trying to re-read this book for some reason, but I just might re-read Walk This Way by Aerosmith instead having already finished that book recently.
This book BUGS me. I think it's because half the characters are just so dang self-righteous. Like in the first story, how did they know the Mormons would have everything running in Utah? I reckon it's supposed to be about faith and such and just leaving things to faith but as I get older I become more of a skeptic and all I can think is, really?
Doc Opp
A relatively obscure Orson Scott Card, but one that may be the most revealing about the author. A tale of post-apocalyptic America, that has some interesting characters and ideas and is well told through a set of short stories.

Card's Mormon roots come through heavily in this book. There is a lot of Mormon theology and not too subtle proselytizing. There's also some fairly new age mysticism in the last story, which could turn off a lot of sci-fi fans who are excited by the world in other ways.

This was not what I expected. It's a well-known fact that Orson Scott Card is LDS. He uses LDS-themes and culture throughout his books. His series about Alvin is based on the Joseph Smith story. His series Homeward Bound is based on the Book of Mormon (and was so badly done, that I couldn't finish the first book).

This is an interesting beginning: American has been attacked during World War III and several large cities were bombed. Post-Apocalypse themes abound. The first story involves a group o
Read in '99--a year of uncertainty--like the world is on the brink; and the very year of the "Six Missle War". Jamie and Deaver Teague are unforgettable--so honest, so perceptive, so true--and so real. The eerie image of the flooded Temple--the painful truth of human failings magnified by the breakdown of civililization--the fringe a symbol of the tenuous hold thereon--and a very compelling and startling ending, albeit controversial. Reader beware--contains some disturbing elements. Also, some M ...more
This is the Mormonest book I've ever read and I was totally not expecting it.

I know OSC is Mormon and everything, but this book is written from the shifting viewpoints of a half dozen people, all of whom are completely fucking devout and guilty-feeling Mormons living in a newly formed pseudo-theocracy in what used to be Utah. It kinda sorta follows the life of someone born a few years before the big collapse but he is conspicuously not involved in the last part of the book... As a post-apocalyp
A couple of loosely connected short stories about an apocalyptic USA after a nuclear and biological war. Scruffy loner helps clueless group of Mormons get to Utah. They find a kid along the way whose parents have been killed by baddies who the next short stories are about. Child in rebellious get rich quick scheme and Child as a man helping a group of players realize how badly they need each other. One of Card's earlier pieces stuff from what I can gather in the writing. He has a very long last ...more
I'm about halfway through and I really dislike this book strongly. If I didn't need it for a book club, there is NO way I'd finish it.

Finally done. I read it in one day while I was home sick. If I hadn't needed it for book group, I wouldn't have made it through the second story. I really liked the first one, though. Hated all the rest, but I liked the first one. Definitely not one I'd recommend to anyone, though...
Elle M.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I decided to start reading all of OSC's lesser known books after I fell in love with a kid named Andrew Wiggin. I would love to LOVE this book. I did enjoy some of the characters, they gave off a very good "real" feel. I could imagine myself having to deal with some of those issues had this happened.

I almost wonder if it needed to be a little longer, give it more time to go in depth on characters and events that led up to the war. But, alas, the story isn't so much about why or how it happened.
After reading this book again, I enjoyed it even more. The first time was when I was younger, and still saw much of the world as good or bad, black or white, clean or dirty. Some of the book disturbed me then. I even felt betrayed by Orson Scott Card! How dare he write this! It seemed nearly blasphemous. Now after having put another 10 years behind me, I really enjoyed the portrayal of people trying to be good, making mistakes, having to hang on to their faith by a thread. The whole world being ...more
L'incipit dei racconti è intrigante così come lo svolgersi degli eventi; si arriva però a punti in cui quasi ogni storia diviene irrimediabilmente stucchevole, ed intrisa di un sentimento religioso che non mi appartiene e che non posso comprendere né spesso condividere. L'ultimo racconto è forse quello che più si avvicina alla mia idea di misticismo, ma è costante la presenza di un sottofondo piuttosto moralista, sebbene voglia apparire illuminato dalla comprensione dell'umana debolezza e dall'i ...more
Michael This is some weird Mormon apocalypse book. The author is a conservative Mormon whose books I've read before--Ender's Game being his most famous--but this one is just weird. America is destroyed and the LDS are going to claw us back into civilization. Who knows, maybe there is some truth to that, right? I mean, I just read a book about the Mennonites coming out on top after society falls, so maybe the Mormons would be well positioned to survive due to the nature of their community. I'm ...more

Eh. Not one of Card's best. I'm not a fan of short stories anyway, and this collection didn't do it for me at all. Lots of focus on Mormons and non-Mormons after an end of the world type event. The characters weren't as well developed as I like, and the stories just didn't grab me.
Jacob Lines
This 200+ page book contains 5 stories set in a future in which the world has experienced limited nuclear war. Only some cities were destroyed, but large-scale civilization has collapsed – no manufacturing, no travel, no long-distance communication. The cities that remain are small and getting smaller as the people fight for dwindling resources. The note with the Table of Contents explains:
“In America’s future, when society has collapsed under the weight of war, civilization lives on among thos
My brother recommended this book to me several years ago, and I finally found a copy in the Chicago public library system. I didn't know going in that the book was a collection of loosely connected short stories, but I found the format worked quite well, despite not being what I had expected.

The setting is a post-nuclear United States. The only community that is really thriving, not just surviving, is the Mormon community in Utah and surrounding areas, now called the State of Deseret. The first
Folk of the Fringe is Orson Scott Card’s collection of short stories about a post World War III United States. Each story is loosely tied together by different characters or settings. The first follows a group of Mormons being forced out of their homes in the Eastern United States, the second follows a refugee they rescue, etc.

He sets up some parallels between these modern-day Mormons and the people being forced out of their homes two hundred years earlier. Gangs are killing their husband and fa
Really enjoyed it! And I'm still reeling. :-)

The first four sections were quite a fun read, although the juxtaposition of crudity (some mild, some ...not) with such open "Mormon-ness" took some getting used to. (Not least, I'm sure, because I'm not used to reading fiction that deals openly with LDS characters, LOL.) The character development seemed a little two-dimensional at first, too, until I got more comfortable with Card's "sampling" style of describing the characters. There was so much mor
The Folk of the Fringe is a collection of short stories, which makes it nearly impossible to rate as a whole. I felt that two of the stories in the book were 5-star material, while the others were a waste of my time. This doesn't mean they were bad; I often feel this way about short stories. Unless an author can get me emotionally invested in a hurry, I don't usually feel that a short story is an especially good use of my reading time.

I picked the book up knowing that it contained short stories
“The Folk of The Fringe” is a compilation of stories about the different ways that people react when faced by an event that cannot be undone, a cataclysm that forces every person to redefine their goals, drives every sould to question their values, and the life they are forced to discover/pursue after having done so, and whether such a life is desirable or worth living. The stories are about the different ways in which people respond to survivor guilt, the anguish, the choices.

TFOTF is also abo
I like how, generally speaking, Card does not shy away from showing some of the negative traits of Mormons and has plenty of non-Mormon good-guy main characters (only one of whom ends up converting). However, ultimately those are couched within hundreds of Mormon positive traits, and also the criticisms are never directed at Mormonism--only at individuals.

I think one of the biggest flaws in this book is its failure to address the issue of plural marriage. While it's not a part of the mainstream
I've found myself drawn into the, what I'll call the "what-happens-after-Rome(i.e. America)-burns?" genre.For some reason they get lumped in the science fiction section I guess because they're obviously set in the future, but there's nothing technologically advanced about the groups they describe. What makes this one interesting is that Card draws on his own Mormon culture in this set of stories and imagines a crumbling America where only the territory of Deseret and surviving Native American tr ...more
Card intertwines excellent science fiction with LDS culture. Setting is post Nuclear / Bio war with resulting anarchy. He has a story of LDS migrating from North Carolina to the state of Deseret, escaping groups of 'mobbers' as they go. Another story is about cultural of rural types including a cripple teach who talks through his computer as he attempts to teach some school bullies. The Sweetwater Pagent company travels to these towns and presents roadshows. Card authored the Hill Cumorah pagean ...more
I found this book to be very depressing. It is about a post-nuclear-destruction America where the United States has been punished for being so wicked. Pockets of people survived, and a large state of 'Deseret' has begun to thrive in the Rocky Mountains. This book is really a collection of short stories of the 'survivors', with a small thread that connects them all. It makes you think twice about how bad conditions might get before the Second Coming. But images of the Salt Lake Temple being under ...more
Luke Zwanziger
Some of the greatest short stories I have read. In a post-appocolyptic America, a Morman mecca is set up in Utah. A collection of short stories with main characters Mormans, these stories are not preachy, but are just solid stories in which the characters happen to be Morman. The one part about Baptists killing Mormans on the East coast was kind of funny/ridiculous and sad (because it could happen with extremists out there.)

From empty highways beset with bandits waylaying sojourning Mormans tryi
Brandon Jensen
I liked the concept and image of post-nuclear war Utah and America. I've always that the us LDS folks are organized and oriented in a direction that would allow for a quick reaction to disaster and being able to pick up the pieces of a lost society. This is a collection of short stories with a character from a previous story being represented in the next which thinly ties them together.

My favorite was Pageant Wagon. In a few pages we get to know the Aal family and have a sense of the post-nucle
Tom Mueller
A collection of intertwined short stories, bringing to mind the style of Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. "Folk" is also reminiscent of Stephen King's dystopian work The Stand. Setting is an undetermined date at some point in the future, after a nuclear disaster has wiped out much of humanity. Earth's capacity to sustain plant life is severely altered as well, requiring methodical crop rotation. To say much more would give away too many spoilers. Sci-Fi fans - especially of dystopian works - ...more
This book was a fascinating look at Orson Scott Card's vision of what America could be like in the very near future. Despite the author drawing strongly on Mormon history, theology, culture, and worldview (which I'm not familiar with), I really loved this book. A set of several short stories, it weaves together a picture of how people might come to work together and survive after our modern society has collapsed. I especially felt the first story to be chilling and gripping, since I'm familiar w ...more
James Ronholm
Beware - there were for me some very troubling scenes in this book (involving in-humane treatment of children). This doesn't detract from the story but for some people it might be good to know that before they start reading.
Fred D
Though I knew that Card was Mormon when I read this book, I wasn't sure after reading this book how 'active' he was. He seemed to portray a lot Mormons in the book in a negative way, which puzzled me. I later found he is very much a devout Mormon, so knowing this casts this book in a different light to me. What I love about Card is that his protagonists are basically good people, with flaws, struggling to do the right thing when faced with serious challenges. That above all, this belief in the p ...more
While the individual stories in the book are fine, the book as a whole suffers from the author's preoccupation to prove something through them. This is Orson Scott Card's attempt to write about mormons without being preachy. It largely fails and winds up being a giant wagging finger - Don't Persecute Mormons, Mormons are Better, America belongs to the Native Americans. While I don't have any particular take on those positions, the use of fiction as a blunt object to pound these ideas home is slo ...more
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  • Davy
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
More about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #3) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #4) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #5)

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“It's called civilization. Women invented it, and every time you men blow it all to bits, we just invent it again.” 639 likes
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