As I began this book, I thought, "Wow, this would never have been published if Card weren't already such a successful author." The beginning of the novel wallows on and on with various characters' thoughts, mostly about how smart they all are. Meanwhile, nothing's really happening. But it's the Enderverse, so I kept reading. More than halfway, through, I realized that I'd read the book before. So that's really not a good sign. (I didn't find it memorable, alas.)
I did have an interesting thought this time through, though. I struggle with Card. I am a fan of (some of) his novels, but his politics are so deplorable that I don't like to support his work financially and I have occasionally wondered if he reads his own books. They seem so at odds with his personal politics (which he posts on his website and elsewhere; I now try to avoid them in order to continue enjoying his fiction).
Anyway, I remember Demosthenes and Locke from other Ender books and I enjoyed the way Card played with public opinion using Peter and Valentine. In Ender in Exile I noticed this:
P. 31: "Demosthenes was eloquent, but he always pushed a little too hard. Enough to energize the opposition, inside and outside America. Discrediting his own side if every argument."
Card has repeatedly claimed to be a Democrat (with qualifications). Is it possible, I wonder, that he fancies himself a Demosthenes? I'm thinking specifically about, well, most of what he posts. Race, war, sexuality, etc.
P. 50: "Fifteen-year-old females don't have to have their parents' consent to volunteer to be colonists. We're the ideal age for reproduction ... "
Obviously untrue (that 15 is the ideal age for reproduction) but very much in line with Card's other books glorifying child marriage. His real opinion? Or meant to be provocative?
Unrelated to the above point, but other lines that jumped out at me:
P. 94: "Sexual fantasies are scripts for future behavior." (Interesting idea. I'm still playing with it.)
P. 327, Afterword: "good men and women who have served our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other trouble spots where our responsibilities as the only nation with the strength and will to help beleaguered people against tyranny have been fulfilled."
(Weird. The only nation to help . . . what about all the other nations who are there, helping?)