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Earth Unaware

(The First Formic War #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  49,196 ratings  ·  1,483 reviews

The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when El Cavador's telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it's hard to know what to make of it. It's massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed o

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published July 17th 2012 by Tor Books (first published July 1st 2012)
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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

Written as a prequel to the well-loved Ender's Game, Johnston's Earth Unaware tries to fill in some of the holes and unexplored history of the "Enderverse" and the first Formic War that led to Battle School, and Ender's adventures in vanquishing the "hormigas"/Formics. When this book works the most, it succeeds predominately on misplaced nostalgia for the earlier-published-but-later-in-the-chronology novels like Ender's Game, Xenophobe, Children of the
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a huge fan of the Enderverse, I knew that I would like Earth Unaware. I was not aware (hah!) of how *much* I would like it- I found it gripping and nearly impossible to put down.

Like Michael Flynn's "Wreck of the River of Stars", there is no question how the Formica wars turn out: very, very badly for the humans. We know that from the basic premise of the universe. So knowing the doom that is coming could lend a funereal tone to the work, but in Card and Johnston's hands it does not. The char
Oct 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I didn't have high expectations going into Earth Unaware. It's a collaboration, and even though Orson Scott Card's name is plastered on the front it's a good bet that Aaron Johnston did most of the writing. I wasn't particularly fond of their last collaboration, Invasive Procedures, where it felt (to me) like someone else writing a book based on an Orson Scott Card idea. For that matter, I haven't been overwhelmed by the recent Enderverse books such as Shadows in Flight and Ender in Exile.

Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
I've read Ender's Game two or three times, and I love it. Needless to say, the fact that it was getting a prequel series filled me with curiosity and trepidation in about equal measures. While finding out about first contact with the aliens could be interesting, Card could definitely much it all up with his asshole opinions. Turns out, though, that this was mostly neither. Card didn't assault me with a religious message, but this book also just was not that good.

The first chapters of Earth Unawa
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction, 2012
I didn't know this book existed until a coworker dropped it on my desk. I might have been happier then. I have read an awful lot of Orson Scott Card, starting in college when I came across Ender's Game in college and read it through in one sitting. (I did not sleep, I did not eat, I did not go to class, just read until I was finished. Luckily I'm a quick reader so it was a one day thing.)

I was skeptical about the Shadow books, but they were fine. So I was willing to give this one a shot.

It is *t
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
So many science issues it was distracting, either this book was written by the coaurhor with no real oversight by Card or I've lost a lot of respect for Card as an author. ...more
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the story, but despised the poor basic physics in this book. That has made it me least favorite of Card's books. Add the fact that it is an unresolved ending (unlike any of his other 12 or so books I've read) and it's 2 stars for me.

For those interested, the physics blunders mostly focused on a misunderstanding of relative velocity and what's speed means in space. They make a big deal out of a high speed docking maneuver in space, but that is absurd. As long as the 2 ships match each
Sep 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was not good. There was nothing grievously wrong with it - except the author's apparent complete lack of understanding of physics - but there were lots of little things that just rankled. First of all, some of the audiobook narrators were terrible, particularly the ones who voiced Victor and Lem. If you're going to write about a Venezuelan family of space miners you'd better find somebody who can pronounce Spanish words properly.

None of the characters were that great and many of them f
Rich Kulesus
Aug 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Die-hard Ender's Game Fanatics
Earth Unaware is to Orson Scott Card what "Lady in the Water" was to M. Night Shyamalan - The latest disappointing tale in a descending career abruptly punctuated by explanatory paragraphs to beat you over the head with every concept since he couldn't work it in more craftily. Ender's Game was Card's brilliant supernova of a novel, which, Like Shyamalan's Unbreakable and The Sixth Sense, expertly twirled the reader's mind an incredible twist ending that left one pondering the meaning for days to ...more
Aug 02, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ender's Game is still one of my top 5 books of all time. While I didn't like the followup novels as much -- they didn't quite my satiate my reading tastes as much as Ender's Game -- I could still appreciate how well they were written. Earth Unaware, however, is a completely different beast. Seeing that the book was co-authored should have set alarm bells ringing in my head, but I was excited to read a new Card novel, so...

Earth Unaware is more of a series of short stories that are loosely tied
John Sorensen
Nov 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The story was typical Orson Scott Card. Solid characters, I wanted to read more. I was entertained. However, the physics and common-sense errors in this book were absolutely horrible, it made me want to scream. If that was it, I would give the book 4 stars.

Here is an example: In the first chapters of the book, the need for one of the characters to give an update to the board, drove all of the action - to speed up tests. Then that same character, who had to do a bunch of things for the updates to
A decent enough entry in the Ender saga. I would have preferred that all the various characters and plot points got tied together more before ending the book. All the MOPs backstory was a waste of time, briefly introducing Mazer Rackham and then booting him offstage. We know we'll see him again, but in this first book, it seems very gratuitous. Most of the science of this book is very fictional, so check your science background at the door, if you've got one. Finding out that the book was writt ...more
Scott Danielson
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, fiction
One of the pleasures of listening to science fiction audiobooks over the years has been hearing Orson Scott Card's Ender series. Besides being expertly narrated by an ensemble led by Stefan Rudnicki, these audiobooks are entertaining because Card isn't delivering the same book over and over. In Earth Unaware, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston take the series in yet another direction.

I know, I know. It's been proven time after time. When a book series gets to the point where [Original Author] p
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
While this book says it's by Orson Scott Card, I'm wondering if most of the writing was actually done by Aaron Johnston, who worked w/ Card while writing the comic book version of this story.

If you'll remember, I accidentally read book 2 of this series first. Since Card often starts strong but goes downhill in subsequent books, I was excited to read book 2 was excellent. Apparently Johnston has the opposite problem as Card. Thanks to Earth Unaware, I started disliking characters. This
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
As far as I'm concerned, Card can write as many stories in the Enderverse as he wants. Milk that cash cow, man! Especially if the stories are as compelling as these. It was particularly thrilling to read how certain elements in Ender's Game started out (eg: Battle School, the MD, the IF, etc). My only complaint is that the dialog isn't as snappy as Card's other books, but that could be a side effect of the co-authoring. I still found it very enjoyable! Loving the fleshed out backstory and can't ...more
Eric Herboso
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I went into this thinking I'd be reading the story of the elusive Mazer Rackham. Without giving anything away, let me say that this is much more than that.

As the first in a planned trilogy, I am a little upset that I can't yet read the sequels which have yet to come out, but this is actually a very good sign when it comes to how good a novel is. I'm extremely pumped by the story, even though (since it's a prequel) I technically know what's going to happen.

Note that there are some marvel comics a
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story took a bit to get into, but that's not offputting to me because world- and character-building in speculative fiction often requires that, especially those with an epic style. This story was pretty fascinating and kept our interest rapt on a very long road trip. ...more
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
I now have read twelve books in the Ender Universe. And, sadly, I think I'm done reading books in that universe. The last book I read from Scott Card was Ender in Exile, and I largely left off reading that book with a positive feeling. I wrote in part: "With so many books and so many authors in the wild to enjoy, I'm not exactly sure why I keep coming back to the Ender well. Regardless of whether I figure it out or not, I'll be back to take another drink and more than likely enjoy the taste just ...more
Robert Blaylock
Oct 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won volume two of this series in a drawing on Goodreads. Not wanting to read the series out of sequence I bought EARTH UNAWARE in paperback. While the book successfully (and, I hope, intentionally) mimics the tone of ENDER'S GAME, I suspect that much of the writing here is actually by Aaron Johnston. That's not a bad thing. In fact, despite some readers' qualms about gaffes in the the physics utilized in the book, I found most of the scientific exposition to be considerably more detailed than ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
After Card and Aaron Johnston began writing the Ender's Game comic book series, they began to see that what happened prior to Ender's story deserved a story of its own. Hence, Earth Unaware, having to do with the events leading up to the first Formic War.
Vico is young, but a master mechanic. He and his family have a small ship, El Cavador, and they mine asteroids out in the Kuiper Belt. They are the first to discover an anomalous ship heading their way. Lem Jukes, heir to Jukes Unlimited, a rut
Jacob Ediger
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ender's Game is a book about people who happen to live in the future and what technology there is there to drive the story and is not explained in detail, it is left at the level of "magic." In Earth Unaware technology is used to drive the story and explained in detail. This would be OK if the author had any appreciable understanding of the technicalities of space travel, unfortunately they do not. Spaceships are treated as cars on a highway, occasionally being required to pull over to make repa ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
When I saw Aaron Johnston listed as co-author on this book, I was ready for it to be something of the general quality of Invasive Procedures - in other words, poor. Indeed, I nearly gave it up after the first few chapters because I didn't think I could handle 350 pages featuring a host of emotionally damaged, introspective characters plagued by dysfunctional family relationships - written by someone other than Card - just then. Having no other book on my "must read" list ready to hand, I stuck w ...more
Staci Johnson
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I cannot wait for the next installment on the Formic Wars.
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Science fiction may not be for everybody, but IMHO, it ought to be! The science stretches your imagination with exciting technological possibilities and the fiction enriches your mind with great plotting and character development that equals or surpasses other mysteries and thrillers which don't happen to be set in remote outer space at some remote future time. So if you haven't been a sci fi fan, welcome aboard from here on!

In Earth Unaware, the authors have gone back to recapture the very begi
Apr 06, 2013 rated it liked it
The only other Orson Scott Card book I've ever read was Ender's Game. So I may not have the best background for determining if this was a good book or not. On the other hand, it may give the best background to determine if it was good.

Honestly, I liked Earth Unaware. It was full of intriguing plot-lines and characters, intense action sequences, and extremely interesting business models (space mining). Sure, it was a little far-fetched with ultra-intelligent teenagers inventing remarkably useful
Ashley E
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Let me start off saying, that this is the first Orson Scott Card book that I've read (though certainly not the last), so while I had a vague notion that it was some sort of prequel thing to the Ender books, I didn't really know what it was about. Fortunately, I didn't need to know a thing. It was amazing anyway.

Earth Unaware follows a large and scattered group of characters through the initial discovery of the "hormigos", or Formics, when they first invade our galaxy. It's not the easiest book t
William Bentrim
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johsnston

This book is a back story for Ender’s Game. If you have not read the Ender series, do so, you will not regret it. Victor is a mechanically talented young man in a mining clan thrust into the role of interstellar hero.

Card has the ability to create characters with utter realism. You may even think you have met some of his characters. Stretching the comparison, I was a small independent computer dealer in competition with corporate entities l
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Enderverse Fangasmic Types
Shelves: science-fiction
Ender's Game is one of the Masterpieces of Science Fiction space opera literature. This novel, the 1st in a trilogy of prequels expands on the Formic wars, mentioned in Ender's Game.

This 1st prequel is a disappointment. My take is that it was only written to line the pockets of the authors and publishers, esp with it and its sequels coming out with the EG movie. Even this 1st book ends without being a standalone. I suspect the prequels are a single book split into 3 just to make more money.

Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
This novel began as a graphic novel in the increasingly bloated and now franchised series that began with _Ender's Game_, and it has all the strengths and weaknesses of a graphic novel: a page-turning plot and incredibly shallow characters and setting.

Though billed as the work of Orson Scott Card, the book is in fact a collaboration with Aaron Johnston, and the writing is consequently spotty. There are passages that sound like Card, with his characteristic tense dialogue and sense of character,
Nick C.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
A good prequel to the original ender's game series. Sadly, the writing is not as good as the traditional standards set by Orson Scott Card, but if you are a long time fan of the series like me, I would recommend reading it just for the back story. I would definitely NOT suggest this book as a way to get started into the series because it can give false impressions on what the earlier books writing is like. The characters are mostly memorable but the extreme diversity of the people and places vis ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The First Formic War (3 books)
  • Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)
  • Earth Awakens (The First Formic War, #3)

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