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Ender's Saga #2

Speaker for the Dead

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Now available in mass market, the revised, definitive edition of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic. In this second book in the saga set 3,000 years after the terrible war, Ender Wiggin is reviled by history as the Xenocide--the destroyer of the alien Buggers. Now, Ender tells the true story of the war and seeks to stop history from repeating itself. ...

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: The Speaker for the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War.

Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening...again, humans die. And it is only the Speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery...and the truth.

Speaker for the Dead, the second novel in Orson Scott Card's Ender Quintet, is the winner of the 1986 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1987 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

382 pages, Paperback

First published March 1, 1986

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About the author

Orson Scott Card

842 books18.9k followers
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 The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.

Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a long-term position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.

Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.

For further details, see the author's Wikipedia page.
For an ordered list of the author's works, see Wikipedia's List of works by Orson Scott Card.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,643 reviews
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11k followers
January 20, 2010
One of my ALL Time Favorites. I loved Ender's Game, but I think that this novel surpasses it on just about every level. Writing, emotional resonance, characterization and depth. This novel is a much more "adult" read than Ender's Game. It impacted me greatly and I found that it stayed with me long after I finished reading it.


Winner: Hugo Award Best Novel.
Winner: Nebula Award Best Novel.
Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.
Nominee: Campbell Award Best SF Novel.

Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,761 followers
August 16, 2007
While Ender's Game is a solid piece of modern sci fi, the sequel falls all too short. 'Speaker' is preachy and allegorical, and the characters often devolve into simple mouthpieces for the author's opinions, which are numerous, long, and not particularly original.

While I do respect that every author has his own point of view, and that one should be able to glean some understanding from their books, such a heavy-handed case detracts from the story and characters as a whole. The suspension of disbelief should not be broken by the author's message; rather, the message should be communicated by carefully built characters and situations so that it emerges naturally and believably.

While in the first book the main character was often guilty of extended internal monologue, this underlined the character's personal journey instead of just pushing a preconceived worldview. The second novel has a transparency of motive that, for me, destroyed both believability and the central flow of the story. Card's belief is not a hindrance to his ability to write a good story, but his overbearing expression of it sadly is.
Profile Image for Lacey Louwagie.
Author 7 books59 followers
July 17, 2007
Orson Scott Card has said that Speaker for the Dead is the book he always "meant to write" and that the only reason he wrote Ender's Game was as a "prequel," so he felt a little baffled when Ender's Game ended up becoming his most famous and most read work. After reading Speaker for the Dead, I understand where he's coming from. The complexity of issues tackled in Speaker for the Dead are much deeper than those in Ender; likewise, the cultures and worlds explored through Speaker are much more intricate. One thing I love about Orson Scott Card -- which I somehow always end up forgetting when I'm not reading him -- is that, despite the fact that he writes fairly "hard science fiction," his stories are still completely character driven. Unlike many SF writers, he spends as much time developing his characters as he spends developing his society, and the result is a compelling book regardless of the plot. (Heck, I even enjoyed Ender's Shadow, which basically had the same plot as Ender's Game except told from a different character's perspective.)

Despite my enjoyment of the book, there were a few things that annoyed me. Although Orson Scott Card's characters are well-developed, the female characters seemed to have less complexity; in particular, the principle female character spent about 3/4 of the book wallowing in her own self-pity. This may endear her to male readers with a knight-in-shining-armor complex (as, indeed, it endeared her to Ender), but as a female reader I wanted her to just get over it already. Orson Scott Card seems to play the female moral superiority card even as he grapples with some real ambivalence about female leadership -- the female leaders in this book were either veiled tyrants (whom Ender felt compelled to put in their place) or rendered ineffective as leaders the moment Ender burst on the scene. Finally, Ender himself is a main character in this book whom you're almost tempted to despise just because the author is so clearly in love with him. But truth be told, that didn't keep me from being a little enamored with him, myself -- although the "piggies," an alien race introduced in this book -- held my heart and my attention most completely.
Profile Image for Clouds.
228 reviews632 followers
October 20, 2015

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).

I really liked this book.
I’ve never read Ender’s Game .
I’ve never read any other Orson Scott Card.
But I will, because I really liked this book.

The overall premise is superb – mankind’s dark history with the buggers, their potential for redemption with the piggies, the mysterious Descolada plague, the precautions taken to protect the xenobiology making understanding the evolutionary leaps impossible... it’s fascinating stuff.

But it's the individuals who populate this world – Ender who is the very epitome of his race, the killer seeking redemption, the last Hive Queen, Jane, the insecure AI, Ender’s genius sister, Valentine, Novinho, the brilliant but bitter xenobiologist who Ender is determined to make accept his love – her dysfunctional family! and finally, there are the stars of the show – the piggies themselves – an alien race who rank up their with Hamilton’s Kiint as my personal favourites. Lots of sci-fi starts with a good idea or two – but very few have a cast like this.

It’s awkward, anguished personal stuff, wrapped up as a murder-mystery inside a scientific enigma, driven along relentlessly by a humble messiah.

My only complaint is the choice of names, the ‘buggers’ and the ‘piggies’. Let’s face it – these are bloody ridiculous names for well-crafted alien races.

One of the ways I judge a book is by how many moments remain behind afterwards, resonating with my understanding of the world. For Speaker , there are dozens – and they’ve lingered in vibrant, sparkling form.

The one I’ll never forget is the moment that gives Ender his purpose (and the book it’s title) – when he Speaks the Death of Marcão. It’s a scene that I knew was coming from the get-go, – a scene I tried to guess and second guess, and still found surprising, still found emotional and couldn’t have broken away from had my wife gone into labour while the house was on fire.

When the piggies ask for wood – I was grinning like a loony!

When the piggies realize why – my heart broke for the little aliens!

When Ender helped Human – my chest ached.

When they crack !
When Ender wins over !
When Valentine !
Olhado’s eyes!
When Ender Novinho!
When Ender Queen!
When Ender writes !

Speaker for the Dead is the kind of book I was looking for when I started my Locus Quest and I’ve found it hard to resist buying Ender’s Game and Xenocide immediately. But those are the bad old ways – to find a new author I like and then devour their catalogue before moving on - that’s a habit I’m trying to break. So I’ll space out the Ender's Saga books – enjoy them over a few months (or maybe years?) – but I will definitely be reading them at some point.

(I've now read Ender's Game and Xenocide too and loved them both, so we're still going strong with one more in the core series to go)
Profile Image for Doc Opp.
445 reviews196 followers
April 30, 2007
When I first read this book I was in middle school and I hated it. It was such a disappointment as a follow up to the brilliance of Ender's Game. I re-read it when in grad school, and it was an entirely different experience.

The book has elements of mystery, religion/mysticism, anthropology (albeit fictional anthropology), philosophy, politics, and intrigue. But its got a very slow start, and there isn't much in the way of action - its all about two cultures trying to understand each other. Its not a traditional sci-fi read, but for the right reader, it can be a really deep and meaningful experience.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
July 10, 2020
Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga #2), Orson Scott Card

A 1986 science fiction novel by American writer Orson Scott Card, an indirect sequel to the novel Ender's Game. The book takes place around the year 5270, some 3,000 years after the events in Ender's Game.

Some years after the xenocide of the Formic species (in Ender's Game), Ender Wiggin writes a book called The Hive Queen, describing the life of the Formics as described to him by the dormant Formic Queen whom he secretly carries.

As humanity uses light-speed travel to establish new colonies, Ender and his sister Valentine age slowly through relativistic travel.

Ender's older brother, the now-aged Hegemon Peter Wiggin, recognizes Ender's writings in The Hive Queen, and requests Ender write for him once he dies. Ender agrees and authors The Hegemon.

These two books, written under the pseudonym "Speaker for the Dead", launch a new religious movement of Speakers, who have authority to investigate and eulogize a person and their work after their death.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهاردهم ماه ژانویه سال 2015 میلادی

عنوان: سخنگوی مردگان؛ نویسنده: اورسون‌ اسکات کارد؛

در کتاب نخست این سری، پس از دوبار حمله‌ ی بیگانگان به کره‌ ی زمین، که نژاد بشر را تا آستانه‌ ی انقراض پیش می‌برد؛ حکومت جهانی برای تضمین پیروزی نوع بشر در جنگ بعدی، و حفظ یکپارچگی سیاره، دست به گزینش و پرورش نوابغ نظامی می‌زند، و سپس آن‌ها را در نبردهایی شبیه‌ سازی شده آموزش می‌دهد، تا هنر جنگ را در ذهن‌های نوپا، و تشنه‌ ی داناییشان نهادینه کند؛ پس طبیعی است که نخستین آموزش‌ها جنبه‌ ی «بازی» داشته باشند...؛ رمانهای «بازی اندر (1985میلادی)»، و «سخنگوی مردگان (1986میلادی)»، هر دو برنده ی جوایز «هوگو» و «نبولا» شده اند، و اورسون‌ اسکات کارد را تنها نویسنده ی برنده ی دو جایزه برتر آمریکایی در سالهای متوالی کرده اند. در «بسخنگوی مردگان» سالها بعد، یک نژاد بیگانه دوم کشف میشود، و دوباره، انسانها میمیرند، و ...؛ «بازی اندر» در کتاب‌های «سخنگوی مردگان»، «بیگانه‌ کش»، «فرزندان ذهن» و «اندر در تبعید» ادامه می‌یابد و داستان‌های «اندر» در سیارات و کهکشان‌های گوناگون را روایت می‌کند. علاوه بر این کتاب‌ها، داستان کوتاه «جنگ هدیه‌ ها» و رمان «سایه‌ ی اندر» نیز در این مجموعه قرار دارند که در همان بازه‌ ی زمانی کتاب اتفاق می‌افتند؛ لازم به ذکر است که کتاب «سایه‌ ی اندر» کتابی بسیار پرطرفدار اس،ت که از زبان یکی از شخصیت‌های دوست‌ داشتنی به نام «بین» روایت می‌شود

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 19/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
March 3, 2017
Ian McKellon, Ellen DeGeneres, Nathan Lane, Jim Parsons and Samuel Delany sit in a trendy coffee house in Chelsea and discuss Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel Speaker for the Dead.

Ian: Let me begin our book club meeting with a very special thank you to our very gracious host, thank you Andre, as always your staff have been kind and hospitable and have once again made us all feel at home.

[all thank the host and servers]

Ian: Alright, so … Speaker for the Dead, Card’s sequel to his fine novel Ender's Game, any opening remarks?

Nathan: Well, what can I say, I loved it.

[all agree]

Ellen: It reminded me of Ursula Le Guin’s writing, much more so than Ender’s Game or any other of his writing that I have experienced.

Samuel: Yes, and Card used Le Guin’s ansible, the device that allows for instantaneous communication across light years of distance.

Jim: On the set of Big Bang Theory, we often talk about the technology as a part of our back-story and we have frequently discussed the ansible.

Samuel: Speaking as a science fiction writer myself, I have to say that this may have been his virtuoso performance, again, more so than Ender’s Game, which has some irony because Card stated that this was the book he intended to write before Ender’s Game, and Ender’s Game was written almost as a prequel, and then it became far more popular.

Ian: Certainly this was the more spiritual of the two books.

[all agree]

Nathan: I think that Card also borrowed from or paid tribute to many other writers in this book: Heinlein, obviously Le Guin, Clarke, and also maybe Joe Haldeman.

Jim: The lost in time, relative time gaps, where a traveller in a near light speed vehicle will age less than someone on Earth may be a ubiquitous them in his work.

Samuel: Yes, this was reminiscent of his The Worthing Saga stories, where one character finds himself centuries, even millennia older than his peers.

Ian: What do you think of his use of the aliens as being described as “piggies”, was this perhaps an allusion to William Golding’s’ brilliant 1954 novel Lord of the Flies?

Ellen: I wondered about that too! I mean maybe, almost in reverse, as if they are the alien juveniles to our older, but still immature and incomplete adults.

Nathan: Yes, I think that was definitely a goal of his – to make the piggies into a kind of retro mirror to ourselves, although they are certainly alien.

Samuel: The inclusion of the Hive Queen and the Hegemon is also an important inclusion, very much like something Frank Herbert would write, to offer a path towards redemption.

Ian: So it’s unanimous, we all like his work and simply must invite him to our next book club meeting.

Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
January 16, 2019
So great to revisit one of my absolute favorite novels of all time!

Back when I first read this, Andrew Wiggin immediately jumped into my heart to become my ultimate role-model, my hero, and the idealized version of myself. Ender's Game had him go through some horrific things and really set the stage for the man he was later to become, but it is the full-grown man that really pulls on my heartstrings.

No. He wasn't truly at fault for wiping out the Formics. That can be laid at other's feet.

But he absolutely pulled the trigger. And the end of Ender's Game showed us the beginning of his redemption. Where redemption takes the form of Understanding. And then telling All the Truth, the good and the bad. Exposing it to the world for good or ill. I LOVE how this turned into a very powerful force for good.

Better yet, I love how turning it upon this special world of Lusitania transforms everyone's lives this dramatically. Or how it affects four intelligent species. Or how it paves the way for real redemption.

I'm not all that fond of Christian motif stories because they're generally all ham-fisted and overdone. Like, A LOT. But this one does NOT go that way. It's humanist. It's understanding that all of us have good and bad within us, and that accepting (and really understanding) each other is can be the most life-affirming thing that any of us can do.

The story of Speaker for the Dead is powerful on all levels of worldbuilding, strange aliens, mystery, love, and sheer cussed awesomeness. The threat of another Xenocide times three is shocking enough on its own, but when combined with all the events from Ender's Game, Speaker basically turns me into a quivering ball of emotional jelly. And worse, the characters, and I mean ALL the characters, from Pequenios to Navi's family to Andrew himself, just draws such a warm feeling from me that I can't even stand it.

It's more messed up than Ender's Game. More wonderful. Deeper, adult, complex, painful, and glorious.

I can't particularly think of ANY novel that deep down affects me more on a personal level. I'm thinking along the lines of putting this in one of my top ten best novels of all time. :)

So gorgeous. So important. :)
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews614 followers
December 17, 2014
Card claims that this is his masterpiece. He said that he only wrote Ender's Game so that he could write this. It's such a shame though that Ender's Game became such a hit, and Speaker for the Dead became its shadow.

Before I start with the serious part of the review, let me start with something that I can't seem to erase from my mind while reading this. The new alien species are called piggies. Piggies. The thing running inside my head was

and it stayed like that till the end. I'm not proud of it, but for me, Card wrote of a new alien species, in which they are pigs. Not so new to me.

Another thing running in my mind would be the word ramen. It kept appearing from time to time. Mr. Card, a ramen for me would be

I believe that this is my first time using pictures for my review. Might be my last time, but who knows what the future might hold.


Like what 90% of the goodreads people say about this, Speaker is more of a philosophical novel, rather than a hardcore SF-war one. That didn't bother me, to be honest, because the issues tackled in the novel were quite interesting. There was not a dull moment in the novel, so that's a good start. The reason why I didn't like this though would be because of the bad ending. After such an amazing world building and character development, the ending was just terrible (for me). It felt rushed and incomplete. He could've made the novel a bit longer, considering how average the size is. It's either the novel was inadequate in size, or I was just wanting more.

Only two characters from Ender's Game were still present in this novel, Ender and Valentine. I really liked both characters, so I was thrilled to read more of the two. The novel was 90% Ender of course, and probably 5% Valentine. I'm not complaining much because Ender's one of my favorites, but the other characters were just not interesting to me. The main problem would be their names. I hated their names. They were made up and weird as shit. I hate those things, it hinders my ability to like a character. If I hate the name right from the start, odds are I'll hate the character itself. Come to think of it though, even if the characters had better names, I don't think I'd like them as much as some characters from Ender's though. Most of the characters here were rather flat and boring. They contributed a lot in the plot, but I couldn't see myself remembering them in the future.

Plot wise, this novel was above satisfactory. It didn't falter off at one point, so consistency was present. Chapter after chapter I was impatient to know what would happen next, and what would be the explosive ending I was expecting. I was really disappointed though. Even the secret of Pipo was terribly bullshit. After reading the whole novel to find out about it, it felt like Card gave me a piece of canned meat, after expecting a nicely grilled steak.

4/5 stars. Main problem would be the dull characters and terrible ending. Overall though, this novel was really great. The "journey" was good, but not enough to garner a 5 star rating. I really liked Ender's Game more, but I'm not saying don't read this, on the contrary, I'm also recommending this. Not sure if I'll read Xenocide right away, because the ending of this one doesn't make me want to know what's going to happen next, but I will read it probably next year (2015).
Profile Image for Brian.
32 reviews1 follower
August 4, 2008
Calling this book the sequel to Ender's Game is like calling Mary Poppins the sequel to Star Wars. It's boring, overly observational, and totally unrelated in style and setting to Ender's Game.
Profile Image for Blaine.
747 reviews604 followers
December 29, 2021
When you really know somebody you can’t hate them. Or maybe it’s just that you can’t really know them until you stop hating them.
I decided to go back and reread Ender’s Game and this book before finally reading the rest of the series. I did not know that Mr. Card had originally written Ender’s Game as a short story, and that he only blew it out to a full-length novel when he realized he needed to create too much backstory to include within Speaker for the Dead. So, with that understanding, it’s no surprise that this novel not only builds nicely on the ending of Ender’s Game, but in many ways is the richer, fuller story. The tensions and mysteries between the Piggies and the humans, and between the scientists and the civil/religious authorities, keep the plot moving nicely. And Ender Wiggin remains a sophisticated, engaging character.

Speaker for the Dead is a more adult book than Ender's Game, really expanding on the philosophical focus of the original:
A strange thing happened then. The Speaker agreed with her that she had made a mistake that night, and she knew when he said the words that it was true, that his judgment was correct. And yet she felt strangely healed, as if simply saying her mistake were enough to purge some of the pain of it. For the first time, then, she caught a glimpse of what the power of speaking might be. It wasn’t a matter of confession, penance, and absolution, like the priests offered. It was something else entirely. Telling the story of who she was, and then realizing that she was no longer the same person. That she had made a mistake, and the mistake had changed her, and now she would not make the mistake again because she had become someone else, someone less afraid, someone more compassionate.
Highly recommended, though if you’re like my kids, and what you really liked about Ender’s Game was the whole concept of Battle School, you may have trouble getting into this story.
Profile Image for Dave.
3,010 reviews331 followers
October 5, 2022
Time to Meet A New Species

Speaker For the Dead is a magnificent epic work full of surprises. It joins as well as echoes the great science fiction works such as More Than Human, The Dune Trilogy, and Stranger in a Strange Land. But, make no mistake about it, Speaker is a bold original work that stands on its own. Originally conceived before Ender’s Game at least in idea form, it is a sequel to Ender’s Game but has as little in common with the world of Ender’s Game as a player piano has with a one-legged ostrich whose done a dozen shots of ouzo.

Forget game theory. Forget computer games and battle training. The buggers were vanquished. Humans have spread to 100 worlds. It’s 3,000 years later and the great xenocide of the buggers is a collective guilt trip. Ender is still around - bouncing through lightspeed travel saves some time. He’s been around an awful long time as has Valentine. And he’s now the Speaker For the Dead, here to spread the truth and his past is obscured but he’s almost a sacrilegious leader revered across the cosmos. But, what till you meet his new best friend Jane, the seductress of the cosmos.

Most of the action takes place on a small backward colony which has importance because the forests around it are teeming with intelligent piggies. And, we don’t want to screw up this second intergalactic meeting of species. But, with limited contact, and carefulness about revealing technology, it’s a conundrum how to find out anything. The cultures are just so different. And the piggies are just as good at not revealing much.

Along the way, Card questions so many things and what makes us sentient and how do we deal with that which we don’t understand.

Can’t give this one enough star ratings. It’s up there. Right up there On the top shelf.
Profile Image for Britney.
Author 3 books34 followers
December 29, 2008
UGGHHH! I figured since some of my all-time favorite books are Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, that Speaker for the Dead - another installment of Ender's life - was going knock my socks off too...I was SO disappointed. This book won the Hugo and Nebula awards - and one critic even said this was Card's best work. I have to assume that they weren't reading the same novel I was. They just couldn't have been. It was awful. This book was such a let down, I wish I never would have read it. It completely ruined the future Ender for me, so I'm going to forget the whole story as soon as possible. It was SO far out there, completely boring, and just too nuts that during the most intense part of the book, I found myself reading it as "and blah blah blah, and then blah blah blah..." Ender isn't the same brilliant and complex character he once was, and the new characters Card introduces are just sad. If you are looking for another story that brings back the excitement and intrigue of battle school, look elsewhere. Ender's future is bleak...make a good future for yourself by picking a different book.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
49 reviews
May 15, 2018
I can understand why this book might not enthrall all of its readers but for me, it was brilliant. The anthropological framework certainly entertained me and the deeper themes hooked me.
The concept of a Speaker for the Dead and the healing properties of truth make the book a self-searching read. Perhaps the book does not glorify the catholic concept of confession, but it certainly values repentance and forgiveness while acknowledging the absurdity of the act of forgiveness. Above all, it reminds readers of our common humanity and urges each to pursue peace through understanding.

"When you really know somebody, you can't hate them...Or maybe it's just that you can't really know them until you stop hating them...Once you understand what people really want, you can't hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can't hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart."

"...she felt strangely healed, as if simply speaking her mistake were enough to purge some of the pain of it. For the first time, then, she caught a glimpse of what the power of speaking might be. It wasn't a matter of confession, penance, and absolution, like the priests offered. It was something else entirely. Telling the story of who she was, and then realizing that she was no longer the same person. That she had made a mistake, and the mistake had changed her, and now she would not make the mistake again because she had become someone else, someone less afraid, someone more compassionate."

"Sickness and healing are in every heart. Death and deliverance are in every hand."

"How suddenly we find the flesh of God within us after all, when we thought that we were only made of dust."
2 reviews3 followers
June 2, 2007
My favorite book of all time, if only because it brings back sentimental memories. More than simply a sci-fi page turner, it deals with non-trivial matters such as guilt and love. In a whole different league than the rest of the Ender series, not to mention the rest of Scott Card's works. A must read for anyone who was ever interested in sci-fi.
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
550 reviews1,064 followers
September 1, 2022
An astonishing book. People weren’t kidding when they said this is nothing like Ender's Game.

Speaker For The Dead is so fraught with human drama, on occasion you would be forgiven for thinking you are reading a Southern Gothic mystery. This is also where things get interesting, since, to be honest, I didn’t really care for the characters all that much. When it comes to the human condition, and emotions, the author seems to be dealing in extremes here, even though he clearly has a lot of understanding or empathy for people. And that’s really at the heart of the novel, in which a new alien species has been discovered. Ender Wiggin’s role in this endeavour is basically to convince humans to see the aliens as “people” too (and not as aliens – since that was what led to the Bugger Xenocide). In essence Speaker For The Dead is a study in acceptance and cultural differences (whether you agree with everything it says is up to you).

I wasn’t expecting a lot from Speaker For The Dead, and to be sure, I did nit pick as I was reading it: this character is too whiny, oh that is just silly, etc. However, I simply couldn’t stop reading. The bits featuring Ender himself were really good, and if anything, he could have featured even more in the story. At one point, I was thinking to myself that this didn’t really even need to be a Science Fiction novel, to tell the story the author was telling, but I was wrong. This is Science Fiction, and it is good Science Fiction. And no, I’m not even referring to soft science here, but there is a compelling xeno-biological mystery that is integral to the story line. Not to mention the interesting take on time dilation, instantaneous communication and Artificial Intelligence (which, in this instance, should be a separate discussion). Conclusion: I’m not really qualified to write a review for a book like this.

There is a theme of redemption here, since Ender gets a second chance at dealing with an alien race (in a manner vastly different than portrayed in Ender’s Game). We also get to see what Ender’s final decision is/was regarding his promise to the Hive Queen at the end of Ender’s Game. Will Speaker be to everyone’s liking? I think not. In fact, I didn’t think it would be to my own liking, and yet I couldn’t put it down. Despite the issues that I had with the characters. Despite the occasionally ponderous pacing. Despite the complete and utter lack of any real (what you might call) action. I suppose this is what you might call “literary” Science Fiction. Despite, occasionally, not wanting to like the novel so, I would be the biggest hypocrite ever if I did not give it 5 stars. I was under its spell.
Profile Image for Spider the Doof Warrior.
433 reviews237 followers
June 20, 2013
I've read this book several times since I first read Ender's Game back in 2001.
The problem with this book is everything could have been solved by simply asking the aliens how they reproduce from the start instead of assuming they reproduce like humans do. That kind of story almost always annoys the beejeesus out of me.

No, I'm sorry, Orson Scott Card is NOT a good writer. Why doesn't anyone else NOTICE this? It drives me nuts. Maybe I should read this again, but I don't want to. I just seems like this one simple little thing would have changed everything. But OSC has to make things SEEM complicated. Like Novinha can't marry the man she wants to marry because he'll learn everything because she will be one person with him.
Why? For what reason do married people have to be the SAME PERSON? So, if you have some secret account, your husband gets to share it suddenly? This makes no sense. There's no real reason for it. I have got to get these OSC books out of my house. Anyone want them?

Edit-I am sorry, but no real actual scientist would ever, ever encounter aliens and assume they reproduced the same way humans do! This is just so deeply dippy. Couldn't Libo or that other fellow simply have said, we can't turn into trees, don't cut us? And you get 2 people in which this happens to. How are we supposed to believe that two people could not have said, don't do this, our bodies don't work like that. SEE? Simple! I'm sorry, OSC is overrated!

Another Edit

Now, you have to understand that I was a fan of OSC since Jr. High school when I read Seventh Son for the first time.But he's been driving me crazy. There's the homophobia to consider, the constant nagging in his stories and SWITCHING FROM THIRD PERSON TO FIRST PERSON! It's extremely irritating. You are not SAYING something silently but THINKING it and there's no reason to switch from third person to first person every few paragraphs.

I'm skimming through this book and I still can't believe that characters would actually be this stupid in the sense of letting themselves be killed by the piggies when they didn't have to be. This doesn't make them look noble or self sacrificing but really, really dumb and lacking in respect for another being's culture and way of life.

Also, the romance between Ender and Novinhua is not believable. Perhaps from Ender's side, but not from her.

On the bright side, at least Jane is AWESOME. I love her. I do find her whole part very satisfying and I hate when Ender turns her off and she becomes lost.

12/18/12 Edit-

Why did I read this book again? I think I need to just not read OSC the way I should NOT watch Anti-christ by Lars von Trier because I don't even want to SEE all of that genital mutilation.

I will hurt.

OSC just isn't a good writer. It seems like he is but he isn't. He nags and lectures. He tells when he should show you. He has no subtlety. His bad guys are too evil and his good guys are too good. He's terrible at character development. You're better off reading Wraethlu or something like that. Especially if you are keen on gay rights. That serious has fantastic character development, interesting beings going from being human to something else dealing with that. It's also very gay friendly too, unlike OSC who will never be gay friendly and will always think homosexuality will destroy society if you just allow people to openly be themselves.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jeraviz.
913 reviews404 followers
May 15, 2020
Las 5 estrellas de La voz de los muertos son muy distintas a las 5 estrellas de El juego de Ender. La primera novela de la saga es una historia juvenil, llena de acción que a muchos de nosotros nos abrió la puerta de la Ciencia Ficción de pequeños. Esta segunda es una novela mucho más pausada, madura y no tiene nada que ver con la primera.

Es de alabar la valentía del autor de romper con el formato de la primera y lanzarse a la piscina con una historia lenta que prioriza el desarrollo de los personajes antes que la acción. En algunos momentos me recordó al relato intermedio de Los propios dioses de Isaac Asimov y eso ya me dice mucho.

De momento una saga perfecta, no sé cómo continuará pero será difícil mantener este ritmo.
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews780 followers
September 11, 2011

Ender's Game is one of those rare sf classics that are placed in the top 5 of most "All-time best sf books", I have seen it occupy the pole position in a few such lists. Such accolade is not undeserved as Ender's Game is a great book, and one of the best military sf novels ever published, alas military sf has never been my favorite sf sub genre so Speaker for the Dead is much more to my taste. What makes this book very special are the existential and philosophical issues raised by this book. I also love the Pequeninos (piggies) alien species and their highly unusual stages of growth. Their culture is very alien and this leads to a terrible misunderstanding and a couple of tragic human deaths, that said, there are some recognizable human characteristic in their behavior. Characterization has always been a particular strength of Orson Scott Card and this is very much a character-centric book, though the sf element, the sense of wonder and immersion is very strong. The character of Andrew Wiggin (Ender) is very different from the previous novel he has grown up, grown old and attained a lot of wisdom. Some of the alien piggies characters such as Rooter and Human are as vivid as the human ones. For me this book has a lot more emotional resonance than its predecessor as I can identify with some of the problems the characters go through. This book epitomizes all that I look for in a perfect sf novel.

The two books in the Ender's Saga that follow this one, Xenocide and Children of The Mind are not shabby either.
Profile Image for Kerry.
517 reviews70 followers
October 3, 2014
Blah. After Ender's Game, I was all excited to read this one, and it . . . was pretty boring. It wasn't TERRIBLE -- I finished it, but it was mostly boring.

The only really interesting things about it were a) biological concepts that are totally different from what we have here on earth, which, after watching a lot of "forehead aliens" on Star Trek is a nice change, and b) the impact of the whole you-don't-age-when-you're-travelling-close-to-the-speed-of-light thing (i.e. relativity and whatnot.) Besides that . . . eh. Jane could have been interesting, but she wasn't. And I missed Valentine. And the stupid Portuguese names were too similar and therefore confusing.
Profile Image for Stuart.
718 reviews267 followers
January 28, 2016
Speaker for the Dead: Way too much talk about morality, guilt, and redemption through the truth, at the expense of plot and narrative

Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead really opened my mind to the wonders of the SF genre back in junior high. Ender’s Game was a gripping coming-of-age military SF adventure about child genius Ender Wiggin, which raised serious questions about training children for military combat, and whether genocide can ever be justified, even in self-defense of humanity.


Speaker for the Dead revolves around a dysfunctional family of xenobiologists and xenologers, and features an adult Ender Wiggin (now know as Andrew Wiggin, Speaker for the Dead) who is only in his mid-30s thanks to the time relativity effects of interstellar flight. On Lusitania, a new alien species has been discovered, the pequeninos (or piggies, as they are commonly known), the only other alien race to be encountered since the buggers were exterminated by Ender Wiggin, the Xenocide. So now the Hundred Worlds and Starways Congress are much more cautious about alien contact, and restrict all contact with the piggies to just the handful of xenobiologists and xenologers.

The story involves the emotional trials of the Ribeira family, which has been struck with a series of tragedies tied to interactions with the piggies, as well as contact with a deadly plague called the Descolada which scrambles DNA in unexpected and fatal ways. Despite her parents finding a way to prevent the Descolada from harming humans, the main character Novinha loses her parents to the plague. Although she takes on their mission to study the biology of the piggies, along with a father/son pair of xenologers (Pipo and Libo), tragedy strikes both of them fatally as they are killed by the piggies after discovering information related to the Descolada. Novinha, who considers Pipo a father figure and Libo as her lover, is emotionally devastated and retreats further from the community of Lusitania. She later decides to marry Marcao Ribeira, who turns out to be an abusive drunk, and although they have six children together, their family life is toxic and everyone’s emotional lives are a mess. It is the death of Marcao, along with the earlier deaths of Pipo and Libo, that triggers the main events of the story.

Andrew Wiggin answers a call for a Speaker for the Dead sent initially by Novinha (to speak the death of Pipo), but later requests are also made by her eldest son Miro (to speak the death of Libo) and her eldest daughter Ela (to speak the death of Marcao) after Andrew has already begun his journey. When he arrives, it becomes clear that Novinha regrets her request (which cannot be cancelled), and that the family is in disarray due to the abuse of Novinha by her husband Ribeiro, and her refusal to reveal what information about the Descolada lead to the deaths of Pipo and Libo.

It takes only a week of sleuthing and infiltration of the family by the incredibly perceptive Speaker for the Dead to unearth layer after layer of secrets and emotional pain buried in the Ribeiro family, and despite the resistance of various family members, he finally undertakes to reveal the true story behind Pipo, Libo, Novinha, and Marcao, and this cathartic Speaking before the Lusitania community provides one of the key moments of the book. There is also a subplot about Starways Congress finding out about illegal contact with the piggies and attempting to shut down the colony (which it views as being in rebellion) and its ansible communications network, along with an artificial intelligence named Jane that has formed a connection with Ender Wiggin over the 3,000 years since the genocide. However, I found this subplot quite underdeveloped and not really critical to the plot. Most likely it was added to lay the groundwork for the following two sequels, Xenocide and Children of the Mind, which are widely regarded as inferior to the first two books. Finally, the Hive Queen also features as part of the redemption of Andrew Wiggin, as he seeks to find a new home for her race to atone for his unwitting act of Xenocide 3,000 years earlier.


Apparently Orson Scott Card had always wanted to write Speaker for the Dead, and wrote Ender’s Game partly to set the stage for this story. Unfortunately, it is very clear that the book is mainly an opportunity for him to espouse his various views about morality, guilt, lies, and redemption via revealing of the truth, no matter how painful.

I don’t have any problems with OSC’s ideas about redemption via truth, that lies can only destroy family relationships, and that guilt must eventually be let go if people are to ever move on with their lives. However, I would say a good 75% of the 415 pages of Speaker for the Dead are weighed down with endless, well-meaning descriptions of the pain and suffering of the characters, and it got to be extremely annoying after a while. I think if OSC had simply allowed the story to speak for itself, he wouldn't have to spell out exactly how emotional and cathartic the Speaking was. I also didn't like the fact that the Speaker seemed so all-knowing and infallible for much of the book. Finally, I thought it was such a waste that just 25% of the story was devoted to the fascinating alien biology and alien thought-processes of the piggies. The book would have been better served by a 50/50 breakdown, or even the reverse.

This is where Ender’s Game succeeded and Speaker for the Dead failed, because the former story was driven by the action of the plot with occasional thoughts on the moral implications of the story, whereas Speaker for the Dead is almost entirely a discussion of those ideas, with the storyline taking a backseat (and several storylines are barely explored at all, so why bother?). So the irony is that while OSC is probably much more enamored of Speaker for the Dead, I think Ender’s Game has had a greater impact on readers, especially younger ones. And while I can’t say I didn’t like Speaker for the Dead, I really wish it could be rewritten with less exposition and more plot-driven narrative. It would be a much better book.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,919 reviews3,402 followers
January 26, 2020
This book picks up 3000 planetary years after the first one. I say planetary because when you hop along on space ships like Ender has, it’s been only 22 years.
Yup, Ender is 35 but humanity has spread over 100 planets and 3000 years, making his deeds legend. Some herald him for being humanity’s savior but even more despise him for killing off a species.
And he’s still looking for what to do with the queen egg he has been given at the end of the previous book to atone for his involvement in the xenocide.
Due to how most people regard him, Ender no longer exists. Instead, there is Andrew Wiggin or The Speaker for the Dead (there are a whole guild of Speakers now and they are regarded as a form of priest).
We begin by living on a colony world where another alien species has been discovered some time ago so the planet gets cordoned off. The one settlement, which had already been there when the aliens were found, is allowed to stay in place but no other settlements may be erected. Plus, only one scientist is allowed to study the aliens (well, him and his apprentice).
But one day things go horribly wrong, there is death amongst the humans and people get frightened once more.

As in the first book, here too, the author has some insightful comments about human society.
Such as the fact that rejected males like to call females stupid and weak out of their frustration over being rejected.
Or that people cry for peace and attack the military for example, second-guessing decisions they cannot even understand most of the time, but as soon as their own safety is at risk, these same „pacifists“ cry for blood.
However, the author also gets things wrong once again. Because Portuguese is supposedly just like Spanish. Uh-huh. About as much as German is the same as Russian.

Anyway, what probably annoys me so much is how the author tries to give one the impression of being an everyday guy while also trying to lift himself up over others. As pretentious and pompous as his characters who think they know everything there is to know about an alien species just through empathy and who are constantly wrecked with guilt but only carry the weight of the world on their shoulders so they can make themselves more important in their display of what they are willing to do for redemption.
I get that Ender regrets his part in the xenocide and it commends his character. However, he was a tool and a tool only. A necessary one, but still just a tool.
Not to mention the xeno-biologist who wants to deny herself love and a marriage to save her beloved () because „her discovery“ (it wasn’t, she had just amassed information which the xeno-biologist subsequently looked at) got a man killed and supposedly she didn’t want the same to happen to her beloved. Self-important much?! The xeno-biologist who was the first casualty was a scientist, a human with his own brain and his own decisions and he had studied the alien race before the afore-mentioned drama queen was old enough to know left from right. His curiosity and need for discovery (not to mention going alone after knowing what the aliens were capable of) got him killed. Just like when the dead man's son comes to her, she thinks he came for her - it never occurs to her that HE wants/needs comfort. It’s not all about you, you know.

Which leads me to the characterizations. Valentine was, of course, the maternal kind staying on the planet she now called home because she had married and gotten pregnant and that is what (pregnant) women do. Always only good for philosophizing (even though having only theoretical knowledge).
While Ender goes exploring without hesitation and saves several species instead of just one (the author had to make him even more fantastic in this sequel, of course).
Then we have Novinha, the which is problematic in and of itself but the author doesn’t stop there. Oh no. In the end, Novinha also - I guess "misery loves company" is true after all.

Moreover, it really bugs me how this author lets his characters preach tolerance and love for all to us readers when in reality he is this uber-religious homophobic person saying „wonderful“ things like this:
"Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced, but to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society" which he then clarified by saying that „the goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not shake the confidence of the community in polity's ability to provide rules for safe, dependable marriage and family relationships.“ And there is much more where this came from and it’s never getting any better.
I resent people who try to preach to me while being vile themselves.

It shows on the page, too. Like the audacity to presume you know a person or even species simply by reading about them.
The whole concept of the Speakers rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, what Ender wrote in his publication at the end of the last book was indeed what the last queen was telling him, but how would humanity know this to be accurate?! Moreover, I had less of a problem with Ender becoming a Speaker than with all the other Speakers that followed his example. How humanity thinks and feels about fellow humans and what you can learn from papers and stuff on the dead is not necessarily how they actually were, no matter how much empathy you have.

To me it all reads like pseudo-intellectual, self-aggrandizing nonsense, bloated to the point of bursting. But as long as we keep clapping ourselves on the shoulders … *rolls eyes*

I don’t mind authors trying something new, going in a completely unheard-of direction. I read Asimov’s Foundation and a lot of his stuff was „out there“ as well. But Asimov had style (albeit almost no female characters to begin with) and his creation was vast and impressive. Or a different example: Kim Stanley Robinson. The bookgods know I was soooo annoyed with all his characters and wanted to scream and give up on his Mars Trilogy but the guy had done his research, he knew his science and the scope of the world he created was astounding. Not so here even though we have 100 colony worlds and Jane (no, not the funny guy from Firefly).

Anyway, add to that that the story was dragging (nothing like Battle School to hold my interest) and that the writing style was still nothing special and you might understand why this is not for me. And yes, I did round up my rating.
Profile Image for ChopinFC.
269 reviews75 followers
February 5, 2020
5 Stars ( Amazing)

Speaker for the Dead continues with a powerful and wildly original sci-fi saga about Ender Wiggins and the exploration of humanity in space.

Certainly Orson Scott Card became most famous for his original work with 'Ender's Game'- a book about a boy who is groomed to become a mastermind commander of Earth's fleet against 'invader alien' species known as the 'buggers'. 'Ender's Game' was a massive hit and placed Orson Scott on the map. The book was eventually adapted into a major motion picture. Yet as Orson himself describes it:

" I wrote Ender's Game as a background story and reference... the story that I always wanted to tell was 'Speark for the Dead' " - Orson Scott Card

What an amazing tale of humanism, compassion and acceptance is seen in Speaker for the Dead!

I was blown away by this concepts of this book!

Set over 3000 years after the events in Game, the story has Ender — only in his mid-30's due to the relativistic effects of a lifetime of interstellar travel — leading a nearly monastic life as a Speaker for the Dead, voyaging from colony to colony and performing a eulogistic ceremony in which he "speaks the truth" about the lives of the recently deceased. The events of the previous book have
a profound impact in Ender's life, and as he transforms himself into the ``Speaker for the Dead,'' he takes the opportunity to atone for his earlier actions.

The narrative although rich and descriptive can have some confusing elements in the beginning. Ender tries to save the last surviving 'buggers' by finding an ideal world where they could thrive and not be threatened. He finds a planet of Lusitania , inhabited by an alien species known as 'piggies' and colonized by 'Portuguese' settlers. Especially in the beginning many names and quotes are in Portuguese, which could be troublesome for many English readers. I'm lucky as having 'Portuguese' as my first language, so it was all quite seamless and organic.

After the initial introduction, the story flows quite naturally and all sci-fi elements and humanistic components really fall into place! This long, rich and ambitious novel views the interplay between the races from the differing perspectives of the colonists, ethnologists, biologists, clergy, politicians, a computer artificial intelligence, the lone surviving bugger and the piggies themselves. One amazing component is the A.I. known as 'Jane' that is all knowing and her interaction with Ender!

Ender's Game was a character book, a coming of age set in the background of an exciting space opera. In contrast, in Speaker for the Dead the reader already know about Ender's fate and how he got there. There's an impressive amount of depth to this story, and central themes revolve around picking up the pieces. But it is also a story that confronts issues of duty and accountability, to oneself as well as others. In the end I felt tremendous empathy as a reader for the characters in the book and moved me to continue reading the series ahead.

5 Stars
1 review3 followers
July 6, 2007
What's a hero to do once he's accomplished his heroic deed? Ender doesn't quite know--and unfortunately, Card doesn't quite seem to know either. Ender decays into something of a pathetic and self-pitying figure who wanders about uttering platitudes and aphorisms. It's Card at his preachiest, and thus at his worst.
Profile Image for Davie.
162 reviews
April 30, 2008
Made me question what I thought I liked about Ender's Game. Like a Dan Brown book, it manipulates you into reading onwards in order to find out what the hell was going on in the first chapters -- even as you suspect more and more strongly that it's not going to be worth it in the end. Hokey space soap opera.
Profile Image for Frankh.
845 reviews160 followers
November 23, 2014
I never expected Ender's Game to be so damn engrossing when I finally got around it last January. I certainly wasn't expecting I would even read anything written by Orson Scott Card ever, considering his homophobic stance which had personally offended me. However, I wasn't quick to dismiss his literary contributions to the science fiction genre, so I put aside my negative bias and bought the Ender Quartet series.

And I'm glad I gave myself the chance to do that because I can honestly say that two books later into the series, what Card accomplished in both Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead has made me into a massive fan.

Unlike its predecessor, Speaker for the Dead is more humane in scope, focusing on the empowering choice of peace and tolerance whilst Ender's Game dealt with war and annihilation of a species that threatened our own.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is no longer the sole and primary focus of the story though his importance is still pronounced; but in a different sense from his destroyer days. Set three thousand years later after the bugger wars, Ender is no longer that prodigy child who won the war for humanity's survival; he's a man in his thirties who traveled the stars for so long that he never had a chance to feel at home. Together with his sister Valentine, Ender had seen humanity spread across the galaxies, and he had moved with them but as a Speaker; one who tells the truth about a person's life upon death. He is in fact the very first Speaker since space travel has slowed down his ageing process, and he wanted to once and for all discard Ender by speaking on behalf of the dead to impact their histories on the living. This is the perfect form of penance for Ender, and the only people aware of his identity are his sister and the sentient artificial intelligence Jane who sought him out herself and hoped one day that he could help human beings accept her kind.

Though Ender still plays a huge role in Speaker for the Dead, the story is focused on a human settlement called Lusitania which is a largely Catholic community that lives alongside a newly discovered species called "piggies". Ender was called to speak for someone's death in that place, a summoning by a suffering young girl named Novinha. But before Ender ever gets there, Novinha (who was now an adult) cancels the summoning, especially after she figures out a significant revelation about the piggies, and wants desperately to protect it to avoid bloodshed among the people she loves the most. Puzzlingly enough, Novinha's other two children have also called for a speaker, and this is when Ender knew that something troubling is brewing in the stifling confines of Novinha's family; that there is a corrosive wound that has made it essentially hard for both her and her children to move forward with their lives.

The book's plot goes twofold. On one hand, the anthropological examination of the piggies' culture and practices is zoomed in, enabling readers to understand this species in the human context but even that is already limited. With Ender's arrival, he served as an ambassador between humans and piggies, offering agreeable alternatives for co-existence between these two species. On the other hand, Ender's presence was also a powerful instrument that shattered the shackles that surrounded Novinha and her children. By speaking on behalf of their dead father, Ender exposed the painful truth and the healing process thus began. He had also unwittingly woven himself into the family's fabric, and perhaps in doing so he finally had a home to belong to after being a vagabond for so long.

Speaker for the Dead is an astounding follow-up that is drastically different from Ender's Game in tone, setting and execution, and yet in most ways it was also able to surpass its predecessor. It's a daring commentary on science and religion, challenging the limitations of both fields. It also served as a heartfelt testament about the freeing capacity of truth and compassion. It's a searing examination of what makes families grow together and communities prosper as one. The characters are memorable and sympathetic even when they do and say things that are more harmful that they thought (I'm of course referring to Novinha and her insistence to conceal the truth which cost her the love and trust of her own children).

And as much as I enjoyed Ender as a child in the first book, I was pleased to see him in this new role as Speaker, and that he is making amends from his past transgressions and in my eyes he has truly become a mender of worlds.

* A well-developed and earnest parable about forgiveness and acceptance set in a futuristic backdrop of moral ambiguities and social discord.

Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,889 reviews428 followers
November 11, 2015
'Speaker for the Dead' is a grown ups' book, a literary science fiction that has a lot of Big Questions, and by the end Ender answers the best he can by his understanding of what's needed.

Perhaps this novel, book two in the Ender series, may not satisfy those who want a comic book hero. Ender is the kind of hero that has more living man as part of his character than a storybook person. He wants to be a husband, father, and someone who is building a home, not a military genius, not an adventurer, explorer or even a businessman.

The title and job he takes on, Speaker for the Dead, is a penance for his perceived sin of genocide (Ender's Game) which almost crushes his ability to survive. Being Speaker for the Dead is how he maintains self-respect, and at the same time, he hopes to evolve the human intellect past its instinct to murder the different. He preaches walking in the Other's shoes as the way to understand, but in a holistic way of seeing. If aliens have sentience, then they can maybe see how the Other may have the same aspirations all living intelligences must have. The Buggers (an alien race discovered in space), by this definition, were not only ahead of humans scientifically but also morally Jane (a wonderful character) is a proof flesh isn't necessary for an evolved intelligence. She is a powerful metaphor for what is possible and a god icon at the same time. Lack of flesh leads her initially to being heartless, as all superior gods are

Biblical references much! Maybe Ender is Jesus, and maybe his brother Peter and sister Valentine could be representing...Biblical disciples? Guessing is part of the joy of reading. Some of my musings: the alien planet, which this book is about - maybe a metaphoric Garden of Eden? The Piggies (a new, recently discovered, alien race) are a symbol for who we humans are today, and they have a literal Tree of Life? Or not - you decide...

People have been arguing for decades about what is Literature and what is simple entertainment. I think Literature has become too solipsistic and it needs to admit new genres like Speakers of the Dead. This is a beautiful read.
Profile Image for Mike.
1,115 reviews153 followers
April 8, 2012
5 Star all-time favorite best book. I have no idea why this second reading of Speaker for the Dead was so moving. My previous rating of 3 Stars is now incomprehensible to me. I am not a very emotional person and I have seldom been moved to laughter, tears, heartache or sheer joy while reading but this book did all that. I was mesmerized by the story of Ender, the colonists of Lusitania, the pequininos, Jane, Novinha and the Hive Queen. So very different from Ender's Game and, yet, so perfect a sequel. There are hundreds, if not thousands of reviews on the book. I can add little except note that you will find:

Laughter Grief
Delight Anger
Joy Sorrow
Desire Rejection
Serenity Rage
Elation Desolation

Treat yourself to Ender’s Game and follow up with this one. What a little treasure.
Profile Image for Laure.
134 reviews67 followers
October 18, 2017
A very good science-fiction book. I could not put it down for a while! I wanted to know of course what the 'Little Ones' 's secret was, but there is more than that in the book. There is an attempt to give a spiritual dimension to the story. However, the conflict resolution feels a bit too pat for me. The Utopian reality that the characters all embrace at the end of the book seems forced. A good ending is not always what is needed. I would have liked to see a more nuanced reality emerging from this alien world.
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