This is one of my favorite books. I have recently completed rereading it for perhaps the fifth time.
This is the second of Orson Scott Card's Ender novThis is one of my favorite books. I have recently completed rereading it for perhaps the fifth time.
This is the second of Orson Scott Card's Ender novels, but it is a *very* different book than Ender's Game, a fact that apparently divides some readers of this book who enjoyed the first book and were expecting more of the same. Game is an action oriented book--it's a book set in war time, featuring young children being trained for war via various war games, video games, and psychological tests and manipulation. Speaker is much more of an intellectual novel. There is very little action. It is a novel of redemption, healing, growing, understanding, and learning peace. It is, in many respects, the antithesis of Game.
Although Speaker is set in the same universe as Game, and has the same protagonist, it is really a novel that stands on its own. You will have a deeper appreciation of Speaker if you're familiar with Game, but it isn't required. Speaker was originally conceived as the intersection of two separate ideas, neither of which involved writing a sequel to "Ender's Game". The idea of using Ender as a protagonist came after Card realized that setting the story in a universe where humanity had already met another species, with disastrous results, would lend more weight to the circumstances surrounding their interactions with a new race. Once Card decided that the Speaker would be Ender, then the original "Ender's Game" short story was rewritten as a novel, adding enough background to Ender's character to make it a proper set up for Speaker.
Speaker is a story dealing with speculative anthropology--a fairly unusual sub-genre of science fiction. On a foreign world, 3000 years after the events of Game, human colonists have found an intelligent, but pre-industrial civilization. Anthropologists study them, trying to find out as much about them as possible, while concealing as much as they can about their own civilization. The "piggies", in turn, are always testing and probing the anthropologists trying to find out what they can about human beings, despite their efforts not to "contaminate" piggie culture by revealing anything.
The novel is set in motion by the murder of one of the anthropologists by the piggies, for reasons that are undetermined. One of his associates is a very young woman acting as the colony biologist, a girl who views herself as an outcast from the community, and who views Pipo, the murdered anthropologist as a father figure, and who blames herself for Pipo's death--something he saw in her work led him to a realization about the piggies that he immediately raced off to ask them about, immediately before his murder. The colony is Catholic, and because she considers herself an outsider amongst her own people, Novinha summons a speaker for the dead from off-world to Speak Pipo's death, in defiance of the Church, whom she knows considers speakers to be heathens. Twenty-two years later, Andrew Wiggin, speaker for the dead, arrives, bearing secrets of his own, to find Novinha grown, and widowed, and mother of an extremely dysfunctional family.
What really makes the novel work is not just the individual stories of the piggies, the mystery of their murders (another murder happens off screen before Ender arrives), and the mystery surrounding Novinha's family and the apparently self-destructive behavior that led her to deliberately put herself in an abusive marriage. Each of those stories are individually fascinating. But what pushes the book into top-tier territory for me is the way Card interweaves the stories with common themes--redemption being perhaps the strongest. Ender has been the master of his own fate during the twenty years of his life that have passed during all his years of star travel since the end of the Bugger War. But during all that time he has never learned to overcome the isolation and disconnectedness he learned and had forced upon him during the course of Ender's Game. As he uncovers the mysteries and secrets surrounding the piggies and Novinha's family, he also finds his personal barriers dropping, and finally finds himself reconnecting to the human race. His attempts to redeem Novinha from her guilt help him towards his own redemption, and along the way he manages to confront and overcome hostility from one of the church leaders, reintegrating Novinha's family back into the community and discovering and reconciling the fates of the human colonists with those of the piggies....more
Ender in Exile rekindled my interest in the Ender franchise, so I'm working my way back through the ones I've already read, and will be reading the onEnder in Exile rekindled my interest in the Ender franchise, so I'm working my way back through the ones I've already read, and will be reading the ones I haven't read yet as well (mostly in the sister ...Shadow series).
I reread Game almost immediately after rereading the original novella again in First Meetings in Ender's Universe. The original story is still very good, but it was much improved by the addition of the back story that comprises the first half of the novel, where we see Ender's life at home briefly before he's drafted, and we meet his siblings. We also get to see his introduction to Battle School, and how he came to command his army. The novel also expands on and adds depth too his supporting cast at the school, and it gives a name and a face to the nameless enemies from the novella.
Most of the second half of the novel is the same as the novella it came from, with details (buggers, supporting cast) added at appropriate points. The novel also adds a coda to set up Speaker for the Dead, and the coda, in turn, was great expanded later to good effect in Ender in Exile.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of mediocre Superman stories. There are, perhaps, dozens upon dozens of good Superman stories. Morrison and Quitely'sThere are hundreds upon hundreds of mediocre Superman stories. There are, perhaps, dozens upon dozens of good Superman stories. Morrison and Quitely's All Star Superman is one of the really great Superman stories.
As I understand it, the concept behind the "All Star" books (there was also one for Batman, and I think one for Wonder Woman is in the works or underway) was to put top talents on a 12 issues story arc unbound by continuity. This certainly appears to have worked for All Star Superman. This book collects the first half of the story. Morrison gives us a Superman who is human, hero, and legend. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luther, and the Smallville gang each have a chance in the spotlight, and each shine. Quitely's art is wonderful, too, really bringing out unusual dimensions to these characters. It's a definite departure from the iconic Curt Swan art of my youth, but his depictions of Smallville and the Fortress are breathtaking. Can't wait to get my hands on Vol 2 to see how the whole thing turned out....more