Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Science Fiction Review: Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quartet series Book 2) by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quartet series Book 2)
by Orson Scott Card 

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.

My Review:
Speaker for the Dead continues Ender’s story some 3000 years after the conclusion of his fateful game. Since that time, Ender has traveled the hundred worlds learning about and speaking for the dead. Now a new alien race has been discovered: the seemingly harmless, but intelligent piggies of planet Lusitania. Harmless until an unprovoked and brutal murder at their hands draws Ender’s attention.

For those who’ve read Ender’s Game, this has the same feel and builds on that distant past, but it is a wholly new and different story. This is not only a murder mystery, but a xenobiological one. Almost as much time is given to the stories of the dead and their survivors as there is to the mystery of Lusitania’s flora and fauna. But these aren’t the only lifeforms explored.

I found this book hard to put down. It’s science fiction at its finest. Believable, flawed characters, both human and not, and intriguing science based on both imagination and real theories. No battles, but plenty of struggle. In short, it was a delight.

I guess the one thing I must warn about is the author’s preface. I started reading it and quickly (well, several pages in) realized it was going into quite a bit of detail about the story I hadn’t yet read. Interesting, but there are spoilers.

Overall, I loved it. I’d recommend this to folks who enjoy science fiction that really delves into the science, without forgetting the humanity behind it.

I borrowed this from the library after reading Ender’s Game.

About the Author:
Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and its many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Quintet, the five books that chronicle the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, that follows on the novel Ender's Shadow and are set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, that tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien "Buggers." Card has been a working writer since the 1970s. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977 -- the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelette version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog.

The novel-length version of Ender's Game, published in 1984 and continuously in print since then, became the basis of the 2013 film, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin. Card was born in Washington state, 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 runs occasional writers' workshops and directs plays. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University.

He is the author many sf and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), There are also stand-alone science fiction and fantasy novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. He has collaborated with his daughter Emily Card on a manga series, Laddertop. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's recent work includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.

Source: http://us.macmillan.com/author/orsonscottcard

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