12/27/2008 - Its update time, and I'm afraid I have some bad news... I'm officially done with Orson Scott Card. He's a bigoted hack who apparently can12/27/2008 - Its update time, and I'm afraid I have some bad news... I'm officially done with Orson Scott Card. He's a bigoted hack who apparently can only re-hash Ender's Game for a paycheck anymore (Re-writing Enders Game, an up-coming EG book, comic series, and video game, and an Enders Shadow comic series as well). He needs to stop, lock himself in the nearest basement, and cease contact with the rest of the world.
That aside, the book itself was terrible. And about half-way through it, I realized probably the biggest reason why I haven't liked any of his books in the last 10+ years: He's lost his ability to write convincing characters.
I know some people will disagree with me, but I always thought Enders Game was well written, most importantly Ender himself. He was a young, sad, brilliant boy who always felt he was apart from those around him. Card wrote that perspective well, very believably. I can't think of a line in the book that stood out to me as not being appropriate for the character. No line that may have been believable from an adult, but not from a bright child. And thats the very essence of my problems with all the Ender universe books after Children Of The Mind. Nearly every conversation, every internal monologue, just feels wrong for the characters they are supposed to belong to.
I've read Enders Game something like 25 times. I feel I have a fair grasp of how Ender should be written (not in such a way that I could write him). So when his character is written badly, it stands out in my mind. Like a discordant sound in music, it makes me cringe. And that was how I felt throughout all of Ender in Exile. Wincing, cringing, and shaking my head in disbelief that an author could so thoroughly mess things up. It doesn't help that Card writes in the back of the book that he didn't bother re-reading Enders Game or Speaker For The Dead when he wrote Ender in Exile. He couldn't be bothered to re-read his own books. Instead, he asked his devoted fans on his website to answer a couple of questions he had, and went from there. It baffles me that an author can have so little respect for his two most popular and awarded books!
The beginning of Ender in Exile actually re-writes Enders Game as well. Besides changing Buggers to Formics in every instance (a fact that still makes my head hurt), he changes events, settings, and characters for seemingly arbitrary reasons. Whats worse, Card writes that there will be a revised copy of Enders Game to be released soon with the last two chapters re-written to better reflect the events in Ender in Exile. It makes me sad to think of all the kids that may pick up this revised version of Enders Game some day and not have a chance to read the original ending. I hope the change in writing style will be so bad many readers will investigate the discrepancy and find out how such a wonderful book ended so badly.
Or maybe Orson Scott Card will lock himself in a basement before any of that happens.
(This was originally written when Ender in Exile was first announced)
This book isn't out yet, so this isn't a review so much as a musing...
After the travesty that was the Enders Shadow series, and the continued changes Orson Scott Card has brought to the Enderverse through his Marvel comic series (the first book of which comes out tomorrow), his script-writings, and his short stories, I am more than a little hesitant to even bother with this book. I haven't read the War of Gifts... so why this one?
As my father pointed out, this is completely different setting than we've really seen Ender in before. There is one short-story (presumably set after this book) dealing with Enders first encounter with Jane, but it sheds no light on Enders life, beyond a couple of days while visiting a planet, and even the scope of that is very narrow. Speaker for the Dead is VERY different from Enders Game, yet I still very much enjoy it. There is the hope that, since he is revisiting a story and universe much more closely related to Speaker than that of Enders Game, many of the problems I have with Cards more recent writings won't come into effect.
And unlike his previous releases, Card will not be getting my money this time. I plan on borrowing the book from the library. If I don't put the book down before the ending, I will consider buying it. If I can't, no loss to me. ...more
If you've never seen an episode (or even a clip) of QI, the british panel show from the BBC, you owe it to yourself to head straight to YouTube and stIf you've never seen an episode (or even a clip) of QI, the british panel show from the BBC, you owe it to yourself to head straight to YouTube and start watching. (I highly recommend the Mannequin Bird clip, and the Parthenon clip. These two made me cry with laughter) Stephen Fry is a delight to watch, Allen Davies is hysterical, and many of the guests add unexpected wit. Series regular Bill Bailey (who is also a regular on Nevermind The Buzzcocks, a similar show about pop music) stands out amongst the many other outstanding guests.
What does this have to do with "The Book of General Ignorance?" Well first, those two ugly characters on the front of the book are badly done drawings of Fry and Davies. And second, many of the questions from the show's General Ignorance part of the episodes, are in this book. Its a collection of the most random tidbits of knowledge you probably think you know, but don't.
This is the kind of book you take on a long road trip with your family, to entertain everyone as you drive. It might even pair well with an edition of Trivial Pursuit, though I suspect a few of the answers may contradict eachother. Its up to you to decide which one is correct....more
The second book in the 'Mistborn' series by Brandon Sanderson (chosen author of the final 'Wheel of Time' book), "The Well of Ascension" was a great fThe second book in the 'Mistborn' series by Brandon Sanderson (chosen author of the final 'Wheel of Time' book), "The Well of Ascension" was a great follow-up to "The Final Empire". While Empire didn't end on a big cliff-hanger, and works quite well as a stand-alone novel, Ascension picks up where Empire left off well.
For starters, Sanderson did a great job at reintroducing characters from the first novel, without having to dedicate too much space to biographies re-describing who they were. This is something Robert Jordan tended to do in the first several WoT books (though thankfully stopped that practice half-way through the series), and proves to me that Sanderson should be able to handle "A Memory of Light" (WoT Book 12) with similar style.
Second, it also shows that Sanderson can handle action sequences in an entertaining way. None of the Mistborn fights are too wordy and dragging, nor are they too sparse and unfulfilling. Reading his website annotations, he talks about how he reworked the first Mistborn battle because it usually takes him a bit to get into the swing of things. Without having read the original draft, I'm glad he did the re-write, because it shows just how well he can pull off re-evaluating his own work.
Third, Ascension sets up for the third (and final?) book in the series. Unlike Empire, there is a slight cliff-hanger to it, but when the book isn't the first in a series, this is a good thing, I think. There aren't too many authors right now that have me eagerly awaiting their next novel. Sanderson is one of the few....more