Speaker For The Dead

I love Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, and recommend it to everyone.  Speaker for the Dead is the sequel.

Now what if, you took the main character, thrust him one thousand years into the future, and he once again he encounters alien lifeforms? The type of story is different, Ender is no longer in a military environment, instead he has to deal with politicians and scientists.

I like that Card seems to have a respect for all the characters, opponents have rational intelligent reasons for their actions, and that drives them. There were many opponents, but no bad-guys. Which I suspect is the theme of a Speaker for the Dead, that “Once you understand what people really want, you can’t hate them anymore.” (pg 370).

I was enjoying it, alot, for the first two thirds of the book. However, the climax was kinda a bummer.  I was expecting the wisdom of Ender, who, allegedly is one of the smartest and empathetic humans ever, but it is very difficult to write a character smarter than yourself. And what we got was just normal wisdom from one of the great writers of science fiction.

Another problem, and I can’t really get past this one. It’s been 1000 years since Ender’s Game, and Ender is still alive, due to close to lightspeed travel. Does Card think that human culture won’t change freakishly in one thousand years? How can Ender not be hopelessly dated?

Favorite quote, “…don’t try to teach me about good and evil. I’ve been there, and you’ve seen nothing but the map.”

Each chapter was from the view of an omniscient observer focusing on one character, but the voice was always the same narrator. Tracey Chevalier did a much better job of this technique in The Lady & the Unicorn, where each chapter had a distinctly different voice.

my judgement: eh, it was alright.



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