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The Worthing Saga (Worthing #1-3)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  7,786 Ratings  ·  294 Reviews
It was a miracle of science that permitted human beings to live, if not forever, then for a long, long time. Some people, anyway. The rich, the powerful--they lived their lives at the rate of one year every ten. Some created two societies: that of people who lived out their normal span and died, and those who slept away the decades, skipping over the intervening years and ...more
ebook, 488 pages
Published December 15th 1992 by Tor Books (first published 1978)
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May 27, 2014 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


This is Sprockets und I am your host, Dieter. Tonight our guest is North American writer und author, Orson Scott Card. Orson, tonight we discuss The Worthing Saga.

Card: Thank you, Dieter, it’s nice to be here, thank you for inviting me.

Dieter: The book is delicious. There is sleeping, thousands und thousands of years of sleeping und dreaming.

Card: Yes … well a prominent element of the book was the fictional drug somek, whereby a person could go to sleep and effectively completely hibern
Feb 19, 2013 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Personally, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, but the book's rating tells a different story
Recommended to Eric by: Nick Bozenko
I am filled with reader's rage. No preamble for this review:

Problem 1: Just because Somec, a drug/technology where people could sleep for years without aging, exists, doesn't mean everyone would agree to take it -- which is exactly what happens on Capitol. Everyone in society is okay with skipping through years and decades of life and watching their peers and families grow old while they age unnaturally simply because either a) it is good for society or b) it is an honor to be given Somec. And t
Doug Cannon
Feb 13, 2008 Doug Cannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just finished re-reading this book, and I enjoyed it much more this time around. I began thinking about this book because of the opening chapter, "The Day of Pain". People often say "How can a loving God allow good people to suffer?" Or the more cynical version when people say, "I do not believe God exists, because if he did, there would not be so much suffering in this world."

Card does an excellent job of describing what a world might look like if people were not allowed to suffer. No pain, n
Aaron Wolfson
I read this several times as a teenager, at which time I was neck deep in a massive Card phase. It's a collection of several of Card's earliest stories, all set in a future world where the planet is one giant city, people take a drug that allows them to "hibernate" for years without aging, and which has basically no culture, art, or any other redeemable quality.

At the center of it are two men, Jason Worthing, who is the last descendant of a race of people who can read minds, and Abner Doon, who
Dec 10, 2008 Bryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, favorites
I love so many things about this book, its hard to know where to start. The basic premise is a bit complicated, however while reading it, everything makes perfect sense. Instead of trying to type up a plot summary, I'll discuss some of the wonderful themes and devices used in the book.

Since The Worthing Saga is a compilation of a few different stories tied together, it actually describes two different dystopias and their eventual collapses. I find that many people tend to overlook the dystopic
Kevin Xu
May 12, 2009 Kevin Xu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first book basically he has ever written, which provided the foundation for all the other books he has ever wrote since.
Amanda Morris
Sep 29, 2008 Amanda Morris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has so many intricacies in it, so many complexities. I read this book wondering what one thing had to do with another and when I got to the end, it all tied up, it all made complete sense and fit so well together and left me with a very satisfied and amazed feeling. There were so many issues in this book and it left my mind swirling in thoughts.

I loved the distinct, different societies in this book. From the society that looks like it came straight from "Little House on the Prairie" to
Mar 09, 2009 Manny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Mormons in space. I think. I really know nothing about the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A friend of mine recommended the book, and I read it, but I was seriously underwhelmed.
Sep 12, 2010 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adore
The Worthing Saga reaches further back than you might imagine, the blurb on the back suggests the scope of time, but does nothing to describe the moral scope of the novel. Reading reviews, after reading the book, I have to agree, that for long stretches you forget this is a sci-fi story, and focus on the oh-so-human element Card brings forward.

I've only begun reading Card this past year, and the strength of his stories amazes me. This story in particular, rings with truth. The story is rife wit
Steve Walker
Jan 18, 2013 Steve Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say I am really enjoying Orson Scott Card. A big fan of the Ender series, particularly the first book Ender's Game (masterpiece), I never read much more of his stuff. Recently been reading the Alvin Maker series and stumbled on this book. Just a wonderful writer.

That said, this book does not get 5 stars. This is one of Card's early novels. It started as a handful of short stories set in the world of Capitol. The stories had the same backdrop and explored similar issues, but they weren'
April Brown
This book needs it’s own blog post, or two. As a writer – just reading this book you learn so much abut the writing process and how to see other characters through one character’s eyes. You can also learn how to weave, I think it was 20,000 years of history into a story, and literally thousands of characters as well, and the story still makes perfect sense. Not only that, he also picked a current time, and wove the telling of the ancient story within the current storyline in an excellent manner. ...more
Feb 24, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Card goes back to some of his first science fiction writing and melds the early tales into a compelling saga. Jason Worthing, blue-eyed mind reader, is sent from Capitol on a colony ship. His ship is attacked and his colonists memories are erased. He has to raise them as children in adult bodies. He creates a 'utopian' society. This book collects stories of Jason's childhood and Jason's children both before they leave Capitol and after, as well as a time far, far into the future when Jason retur ...more

I expected a lot from the author of "Enders game", and I was not disappointed. The theme of a savior figure that the people don't understand or appreciate is woven throughout this story just like in Enders game. It made me think about how we believe in and treat God. There are so many different layers to this book, from the simple medieval world where Lared lives to the cold world of the Capitol, where billions of people live in massive metal structures that are all connected. Card in his maste
Feb 26, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015reviews
First sentence: In many places in the Peopled Worlds, the pain came suddenly in the midst of the day's labor. It was as if an ancient and comfortable presence left them, one that they had never noticed until it was gone, and no one knew what to make of it at first, though all knew at once that something had changed deep at the heart of the world.

Premise/plot: Imagine living in a world where there is no pain, no suffering, no grief, no fear, no anger, no violence, no injury. Wrong actions, in a s
Note: My audiobook review is at the end of this review.

Orson Scott Card never ceases to amaze me in the questions he tackles in his writing.

In The Worthing Chronicle, Jason Worthing comes to a small village where Lared resides and asks him to write his story. As Lared writes we learn of two worlds - Capitol and Worthing. It is through Jason's story that Card explores the reasons why a god would leave their children unprotected when they have the power to provide lives full of happiness and devo
Bruce Freedancer
Possibly one of the greatest books I have ever read. A collection of linked short stories, set in two different time zones and places, yet with a thread that connects them both.

What makes this book so special to me is that it attempts to answer the riddle of Joy and Pain, by exploring what life might be without pain, and whether it would even be worth living.

The feeling that without pain we have something precious taken away from us, a certain loss of our own claim to humanity, but really only b
Nov 07, 2014 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite OSC book.

OSC really shows his Mormon roots in this tale without hitting the reader in the face with morality. He uses the setting of the book to explore the relationship of Justice and Mercy. In the Abrahamic religions, the idea of sin and reconciliation are applied as the balance between Justice and Mercy in Mormonism. If a judge forgives a criminal mercy is served but not justice, etc. These themes are brilliantly woven into the book in the simple life of an innkeepers son in an a
Feb 05, 2016 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I jumped into this blind. I haven't read much Orson Scott Card and this showed up in my library's limited audiobook selection. I wish I had better understood that the Saga is a collection of three separate books with three separate perspectives. Without understanding that, the first transition three me for a loop.

I'm left pondering what makes a successful civilization, what we can do to protect our communities from corruption, and how far privilege can spiral into out of control power.
Jon B
Jun 10, 2012 Jon B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty much my dream book. This book details what would happen if you crash landed on a different planet and had to remake civilization. A very very interesting read. The main character goes into cryo so he is able to witness the world evolve over thousands of years.

This book gripped and captivated me, a pure 5 star rating.
Oct 20, 2015 DAVID L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OCS is a wonderful writer. His stories are about people so they continue to hold up over time. This story is a great example of that. This story reminds me of why it's not good for people to have everything they want all the time. Loved it.
Jun 27, 2016 JonSnow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uncertain when read. Before 2003.
Jun 27, 2008 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A book about near immortality and its consequences. Ideas somewhat reminiscent of Asimov's Naked Sun, but explored in a way that only Card could pull off. Excellent!
Justin Thrash
Apr 08, 2013 Justin Thrash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best Card book that I've read so far.
I know this will surprise you, but I thought The Worthing Saga was even better than Ender's Game (and I loved Ender's Game)! I don't have time for a real review, but here are my quickest, most concise thoughts on this collection of stories:

1. What does it mean to be a God? To me, this was the central theme of the main story in the book.

2. Though there are certainly sci-fi elements to the book, it did not feel very sci-fi to me (I loved it anyway).

3. How I understand and interpret mythology, pain
Jul 04, 2017 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Worthing Saga is a loose and non-linear collection of a series of novellas and short stories centering around the rise and fall of a rich planet named Capitol, and the flight from it of Jason Worthing, who can read minds. Worthing founds a colony, where he plays botanist and heightens mental powers in the population. The stories span millennia, with generations rising and falling.

Orson Scott Card is ...difficult. While "Ender's Game" was a revelation to me as a teenager, I find myself seein
As Card himself describes this, it's the culmination of decades of work on the story of Jason Worthing, one of Card's earliest creations. Yet I found this collection of works rather choppy, betraying just what it is -- a pulling together of pieces created at different times, and with very different ideas about what the author was trying to say. I do find the some of the concepts intriguing, especially the idea of living longer by "sleeping" away huge parts of one's life (I still have trouble see ...more
James Christensen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christopher Litsinger
I don't know, the central idea of the stories in this book is that there is this drug (somec) that you can take and then you can sleep for years and years without aging and get woken up and continue life. And pretty much everyone (with some very rare exceptions) thinks this is totally worth doing. And the most powerful people get to sleep way more than everyone else so that they can live "longer".
Like, I could see sleeping long enough to let compounding interest make me super rich, but I don't s
Mar 06, 2017 Brandon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is quietly one of Orson Scott Card's best books. It is the type of book that has stuck with me for many years. It was addictive to read, and remains one of only a handful of books I have reread (and plan to reread again someday). It is not just the easy-to-read nature, but the premise and characters that makes this book so compelling.
Kelsey Nadeau
Jul 10, 2017 Kelsey Nadeau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you had to ask me for my all-time favorite book: it's this.
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Should I keep reading? 1 6 Nov 20, 2014 07:35PM  
What's The Name o...: sci fi called the w---saga [s] 8 78 Apr 01, 2013 09:29AM  
Torn about reading 5 18 Mar 26, 2013 07:29AM  
On the cliffs 2 25 May 12, 2011 07:42AM  
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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
More about Orson Scott Card...

Other Books in the Series

Worthing (3 books)
  • Capitol (Worthing, #1)
  • Hot Sleep (Worthing, #2)
  • The Worthing Chronicle (Worthing, #3)

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“If there were no goodness in people, mankind would still be confined to loping across a Savannah somewhere on Earth, watching the elephants rule, or some other more compassionate species.” 5 likes
“I cut the wood however I like, but it's the grain that decides the strength and shape of it. You can add and subtract memories from people, but it isn't just your memory that makes you who you are. There's something in the grain of the mind.” 3 likes
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