Patrick's Reviews > Shadows in Flight

Shadows in Flight by Orson Scott Card
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Jan 18, 12

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read on January 17, 2012

Lots of spoilers here, though I leave out some specifics. Fair warning.

I have to admit to very mixed feelings on this one. I love Bean. I wanted more Bean. BUT...I can see why Card had to mostly move on to the lives of the children. So it's bittersweet to get the bits of Bean perspective we do.

This was definitely not what I expected--a character study of immature geniuses trapped on a small ship. I hadn't expected Bean to be so big and trapped in the cargo hold to stay alive. I just hadn't expected the typical Card aggressive, arrogant, and wise-cracking characters to appear in his isolated 6-yr-olds. It's fascinating, probably realistic in the meta-sense of prolonged time in an enclosed space facing your own mortality and not receiving typical love and nurturing will probably cause some weird quirks to personalities, but extreme in my view as to the specific flaws, hurts, and plans of the characters. But I'm likely naive when it comes to psychoses, so who knows? I liked that we had one strong sense of the kid named Ender right away and through his viewpoint Carlotta and Soldier, but those views were challenged and proven shallow very naturally through the plot movement. I don't know if I like any of the kids...

The stark isolation and focus on four characters growing up there was unexpected, fascinating, and vaguely disappointing--probably just because of expectations. It's a great first half of the book. Leading to...

I LOVED the ship they run into and what happened there. I loved the new information about past knowledge from the larger world we had taken for granted. I can see that Card's hands are tied in creating further contact between Bean or his children because of the already existing Ender series. Ender or Jane would have thought about Bean if they had any inkling of what was going on with him.

Speculation featuring spoilers: But maybe they could have contact with new, weird Ender-soul Peter? Hmmm. I was convinced this plot line would lead to an explanation of how Star Congress developed the geniuses with OCD condition central to the plot of some of the other books, but now I'm not sure. Maybe the mentioned side research lines back on Earth led to that rather than something a Bean kid directly did? And I'm still mostly convinced that Volescu somehow got away from the colonists and started the Descoladores, but I can see it accidentally or roguely coming from Bean descendents after the end of the book. Thus leading to a meet-up with Ender/Peter, Bean's idol and annoyance in one package...

This was MUCH better than Ender in Exile, but I think I liked it less than any of the other Ender or Bean/Shadow novels. It's short and I think Card meant to tick people off with the abrupt ending. 3.5 stars.

One final note: There are some sexual comments on the 2nd or 3rd page. Later discussions reveal some of the concerns as relevant, but it's jarring coming from 6-yr-olds. Like many of Card's characters, these kids regard sexuality as supposedly witty banter material just like everything else.
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Nels Paulson This generation can not as Speaker for the Dead happens in some 2,000 years. In two thousand years what kind of civilization will be present on the planet..Bean?


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