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The Memory of Earth

(Homecoming Saga #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  15,231 ratings  ·  565 reviews
High above the planet Harmony. the Oversoul watches Its task. programmed so many millennia ago. is to guard the human settlement on this planet-. -to protect this fragile remnant of Earth from all threats. To protect them. most of all. from themselves. The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no tech ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  15,231 ratings  ·  565 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
I haven't set aside a shelf titled "science-fantasy" but now and then there are books that should be called that. This is a slightly odd book in a couple of ways. It's firmly a fantasy but set in a science fiction universe with a science fiction set-up.

I found the book's opening interesting and was drawn into the story. Sadly it tends to lag badly in several places gets bogged down often. Aside from that the story itself is an interesting one and I think many will like it.

There is something I f
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm not an Orson Scott Card hater and though I despise many of his politcal views I am a fan of a lot of his work, especially the Ender Game series which think is terrific. This one, I just didn't like. It wasn't horrible, but it is certainly nowhere near as good as the Ender series. Plus, all of the things that I don't like about Card (e.g., politics and moralizing) seemed to be front and center in this story. It was just too much and I didn't enjoy reading it.

Jul 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Here's the biggest problem with this book: Card's a terrible world-builder.

(Okay, the biggest problem might've been that whoever edited this book didn't feel comfortable telling Orson Scott Card that big chunks needed to be rewritten or scrapped, but I can't be too hard on our hypothetical editor: this book came out in 92, right when Card was big.)

Sure, he's fine when telling us about his world - this is a book about a matriarchy, a city ruled by women, a city where women hold power, and no ma
Mel Windham
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
The first I realized right off the bat was that this book was a retelling of the "Book of Mormon." Not the entertaining (and not-so-accurate) musical, but the actual book. Instead of Nephi, the main character is called Nafai. His brothers Laman, Lemuel, and Sam become Elemak, Mebbekew, and Issib. And instead of God leading the way, it's the Oversoul, a supercomputer that watches over humanity on the planet Harmony over the past forty million years.

At first I thought this was pretty cool and a ne
Dec 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
I liked this whole sci-fi series. I've heard that it has a lot of Mormon themes in it (the author is Mormon or lapsed Mormon or something like that) but to be honest, I didn't notice it at the time I was reading it and it didn't interfere with my enjoyment. Dramatic stories, fun characters, big mysterious computers...
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
An interesting story premise, and a well-written narrative, though only the start of what will apparently be a very long tale. Unfortunately, I found all the major characters so obnoxious (and frequently stupid) that I have no interest in reading the rest of their story.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the descriptions of the cultural and political systems used in the setting as they are very different from any other kind I have known of. I have also gotten to like many of the characters, and even some of their strange names, though a few of them still bother me (such as "Luet").

The only reason that I gave this book four stars rather than five is that I would have liked for it to surprise me a bit more. Being very familiar with the story that it is b
D. A.
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
MEMORY is one of those books you either love or you hate. Well, let me revise that. Love, like, or hate.

I liked this book. It reminded me a good deal about DUNE (which if you haven't read yet, you should). It has a strange culture, one that mixes old school tech--like horse-back riding and actually walking from place to place and swords and arrows--with cool new tech--clearly illustrated by the Oversoul's mental blocking and Issib's flotation devices.

Card draws up a fascinating group of people,
Scott Marlowe (Out of this World Reviews)


*** This review originally appeared on Out of this World Reviews. ***

So I'd never read anything by Orson Scott Card before. Of course I had heard of him and seen his books all over, but he was just one of those authors I never quite got around to reading. While that misstep has now been corrected, I had to put down The Memory of Earth.

I fully intended to read the book front to back, but something had been nagging me almost since the beginning. Given that I was a newcomer to Card's wo
Dec 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
This series had good potential, and I liked this novel, but once the series started getting "preachy" I dropped it like a hot potato. Card is a perfectly decent writer, though his style is pretty straightforward and lacking much flourish, but he let's his personal beliefs creep into most of his works. If it were just a couple of his novels that were thinly veiled Mormon mythologies it would be fine, but a large percentage of his later work is very colored by his religious beliefs. This novel and ...more
Barb Middleton
May 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I admire how the author creates complex characters with plenty of pathos (except the villain - he's one dimensional), but the plot doesn't quite come together. It is the first in a series and interesting. The author is good at his craft. The book, Scythe, by Neal Shusterman has a similar premise that does come together.
Maggie Holt
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Memory of Earth has an INCREDIBLY compelling plot line with sub-par execution.

The central idea is that we (humans) destroy earth through our warmongering, destructive natures. Some escape earth and traverse space to set up shop on Harmony. Harmony is so named because that is the goal -- curb human ingenuity so that we can never develop super-civilizations (think: we live in a global economy now; everything is readily accessible; the North Koreans are developing missiles that would reach LA,
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was ok
Fans of ENDER'S GAME--BEWARE! This is not on par with that novel in any way. Personally, I can't believe how many of the novels within this series I've read when I realize I should have ended with this one. To me, this novel felt like it was one of Card's many forgotten manuscripts, written while he was a writer honing his craft, left at the bottom of a desks drawer in a beat up manila folder to gather dust. Then, when the Ender novels garnered much appraisal & awards, Card's publisher must have ...more
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Once upon a time, I was a huge fan of Orson Scott Card. I eagerly devoured his short stories, and read his series with high anticipation.. and was never disappointed. Back in those days, his moral messages were heavy, but struck a note that was universal.

I don't know what happened, but I know exactly WHEN it happened.. it was in the middle of the Ender's series.. suddenly the book got preachy, complete with bible quotes and a cast of characters so moralizing that I was barely able to stomach the
Kent Winward
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
The Memory of Earth left me wondering if it is blasphemous for a Mormon to compare God to a computer? The re-telling of the Book of Mormon as science fiction works to create a sense of familiarity, which anyone who knows the Old Testament (let alone the Book of Mormon) will feel as they read the book. The most interesting aspect of this book for me, wasn't the story or the characters, but musing throughout on archetypal story-lines and the moral questions raised and answered by scripture/fiction ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
This had shades of Asimov's Foundation series, mainly the parts that I liked without the parts I didn't. I felt connected to characters and sucked in to the interesting culture, loved the bits about how there were archaic sayings that had lost meaning and technology that had been lost this far out into humanity's future. Also getting a bit of a sense of the Biblical story of Joseph and his visions and having brothers who resent him. Definitely looking forward to reading more and have not felt le ...more
Jun 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was the first Orson Scott Card novel I read and I liked it a lot. If I remember correctly I went through the five books in this saga (Homecoming Saga) in about two weeks. Several years later I found out that the series is loosely based on the Book of Mormon (Orson Scott Card is mormon). Go figure.
Jennifer Busch
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Orson Scott Card is a very creative science fiction and fantasy writer! This book (series) is a great look into the philosophy of life on other planets and the possibility of higher intelligences. The last books in the series introduce new characters that are not a likeable as the earlier books and the storyline suffers because of it.
Eddie D. Moore
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story was a little hard to get into in the beginning, maybe since the names are very strange. The biblical parallels are obvious, yet they pull the reader deeper into the story.
Terrence Weijnschenk
Starts slow in the build up to an intriguing story: people's thinking is being surpressed (genetic manipulation, an implant?, some kind of waves?) but the Powers that Be slowly lose their grip and people are starting to feel free and to think for themselves. But can they?
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
If I hadn't known the story (Nephi from the Book of Mormon), I wouldn't have finished it. Some of the religious ideas, family dynamics, and the setting itself in another world were intriguing, but overall the story was bogged down in a whiny teenager's hyper-sexualized thoughts. A wearisome read without much payoff.
Stephen Gallup
Oct 08, 2014 rated it liked it
More or less by chance I've been reading a lot by Orson Scott Card recently--probably because each title I've picked up seems different enough from the others to make me curious about the author's range.

Along the way I've noticed that a fair number of other readers object to the author's themes and messages, calling the writing "preachy," "Mormon propaganda," "religious allegory,' etc. Personally, I wouldn't recognize an LDS message if it bit me on the butt. I do react badly to being preached a
Travis Bow
Jul 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Classic Orson Scott Card... doesn't sound that interesting from the cover blurb, but the execution of the characters makes it a great story in spite of a somewhat brainy and heavily allegorical story line. Got me thinking about some issues:
-What it means to have faith and obey a deity even when you don't agree with or understand why you should... does this make you an idiot/robot, or a very good person?
-Utilitarian ethics: Is it better to do an evil thing to stop an even more evil thing from h
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the first of an older series of Card's I'd somehow never picked up. Based on ease of acquisition - either from the library or the used bookstores - I assumed that it wasn't very popular among his fans, and may not be very good.
I was pleasantly surprised. It's a perfectly decent, solid start to what looks like it'll be an interesting series.
Many of the classic Card elements are present: dangerously intelligent children, wildly dysfunctional family and sibling relationships, incredible m
Stephen Hughes
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
This story is an interesting hybrid between Sci-fi, Religious-"fiction" (more on that later) and Historical fiction. The first of a series of five, it has a unique feel as both historical and Sci-fi, since it's set millions of years in the future, where humans on another planet are prevented from developing technology (like wheels and atomic bombs). Still, within the city of Basilica, characters have developed extensive technology around the arts, music, and even levitation. It seemed p
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fascinating re-imagining of a story from the Book of Mormon (actually, only the first few chapters of the first book). Card's creative engagement with a familiar text opened new possibilities and gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of the original story that I had taken for granted. In imagining a more detailed account of the story, he was able to read between the lines of the Book of Mormon, exploring what might have been, and probing theological subjects in non-traditional way ...more
Decent sci-fi lacking some impact...: Orson Scott Card knows how to tell a story. This book is nothing more than the prologue for a five issue epic about our distant relatives on a distant planet in the distant future.

Card develops the characters nicely and the story never gets boring - it's an easy and enjoyable read. But it lacks the incredible imagination Card displayed in "Speaker for the dead", maybe because this time, there are no fascinating aliens present. Instead, we get a society proh

May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you’ve never read Orson Scott Card before, I wouldn’t start here. Having read all of the Shadow books currently published, the Enders Saga, and the Formic War novels I was already a huge Card fan. I loved the writing in this novel, as usual; Orson brings to life a whole new world and incredibly in-depth characters.

That being said, this novel felt a tad “preachy” to me, and dragged in certain spots as much as an Orson Scott Card book can. I loved the hierarchy of women and wish it had been ex
Mar 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Wow. Where to begin. I really don't want to rant and rave. I debated giving this 2-stars because I generally reserve 1-star for things I really hated, but the problem is, I did not really like this novel at all. I am not indifferent or apathetic to it, but it isn't quite hate. But certainly would never recommend it to anyone. So 1-star it gets.

Why? Well, it is boring -- a friend of mine called it "dull and lifeless" which is as an apt description. The characters are totally unlikable. ALL of the
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is a fun story about a distant future, on a faraway planet. Mankind destroyed Earth 40 million years ago, and people settled on an earth-like planet. They set up an "Oversoul" that prevents people from militarizing, so as to prevent destruction of their adopted planet. The only problem is, the Oversoul is starting to wear down.

The characters are all well-developed, and much of the story hinges on the relationships between them. Interestingly, in their home city, only women are allowed to ow
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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

Homecoming Saga (5 books)
  • The Call of Earth (Homecoming, #2)
  • The Ships of Earth (Homecoming Saga #3)
  • Earthfall (Homecoming, #4)
  • Earthborn (Homecoming, #5)

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“That's what Father and Mother are, thought Nafai. They stay together, not because of any gain, but because of the gift. Father doesn't stay with Mother because she is good for him, but rather because together they can do good for us, and for many others.” 2 likes
“He splashed into the water, his whole body, not with the reverent attitude of prayer, but with a desperate thirst; he buried his head under the water and drank deep, with his cheek against the cold stone of the riverbed, the water tumbling over his back, his calves. He drank and drank, lifted his head and shoulders above the water to gasp in the evening air, and then collapsed into the water again, to drink as greedily as before.

It was a kind of prayer, though, he realized as he emerged, freezing cold as the water evaporated from his skin in the breeze of the dark morning.

I am with you, he said to the Oversoul. I'll do whatever you ask, because I long for you to accomplish your purpose here.”
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