Speaker for the Dead (Enderverse #2) ★★✬☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Speaker for the Dead
Series: Enderverse #2
Authors: Orson Card
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 500
Words: 136K

From Wikipedia.com

Eight years after the Descolada virus is cured, Xenologer Pipo and his thirteen-year-old son and apprentice Libo have developed a friendship with the Pequeninos. They allow Novinha to join their science team as the colony’s only xenobiologist after she passes the test at age thirteen. After accidentally sharing information about human genders with a male Pequenino named Rooter, the scientists find Rooter’s body eviscerated, a sapling planted within it. Guessing this may be a torturous sacrificial ritual, restrictions on studying the Pequeninos are enforced, barring the humans from asking questions directly at Pequininos.

A few years later, Novinha discovers that every lifeform on Lusitania carries the Descolada virus which, though lethal to humans, appears to serve a beneficial purpose to native lifeforms. When Pipo learns of this, he suddenly has an insight, and before he tells the others, races off to talk to the Pequeninos. Libo and Novinha find Pipo’s body cut open just as Rooter’s had been, but with no sapling planted. As Pipo’s death appears unprovoked, the Pequeninos are now considered a threat by the Starways Congress and restrictions on studying them are tightened. Distraught, Novinha makes a call for a Speaker for the Dead for Pipo. She is in love with Libo but fears that if he sees her files of research he will make the same discovery as Pipo and meet the same fate. She marries another colonist, Marcos Ribeira, so as to lock her files from being opened.

Andrew Wiggin, unbeknownst by others to be the Ender Wiggin responsible for the Formic xenocide, lives innocuously on the planet Trondheim. He responds to Novinha’s call, parting with his sister, Valentine, who has traveled with him but is now settled with a family. He travels with an artificial intelligence named Jane who communicates with Ender through a jewel earring; she was born in the Ansible network that enables faster-than-light communications and keeps her existence secret. After relativistic travel, Ender arrives at Lusitania 22 years later (1970 S.C.), finding that Novinha canceled her request for a Speaker five days after sending it. In the intervening time, Libo died in the same manner as Pipo, and Marcos succumbed to a chronic illness. Novinha’s eldest children, Ela and Miro, have requested a Speaker for Libo and Marcos. Ender, gaining access to all of the appropriate files, learns of tension since Pipo’s death: Novinha has turned away from xenobiology to study crop growth and had a loveless relationship with Marcos; Miro has secretly worked with Libo’s daughter Ouanda to continue to study the Pequeninos, breaking the law to share human technology and knowledge with them. Miro and Ouanda have fallen in love. With Ender’s arrival, Miro tells him that one of the Pequeninos, Human, has taken a great interest in Ender, and Ender becomes aware that Human can hear messages from the Formic Hive Queen. Ender discovers that Marcos was infertile: all six of Novinha’s children were fathered by Libo. Ender also learns what Pipo had seen in Novinha’s data.

As word of Miro’s and Ouanda’s illegal sharing of human technology with the Pequeninos is reported to Congress, Ender secretly meets with the Pequeninos. They know his true identity and they implore him to help them be part of civilization, while the Formic Queen tells Ender that Lusitania would be an ideal place to restart the hive, as her race can help guide the Pequeninos. Congress orders Miro and Ouanda to be sent off-planet for penal action and the colony be disbanded. Ender delivers his eulogy for Marcos, revealing Novinha’s infidelity. Miro, distraught to learn that he is Ouanda’s half-brother, attempts to escape to the Pequeninos, but he suffers neurological damage after he tries to cross the electrified fence. Ender reveals to the colony what Pipo learned: every life form on Lusitania is paired with another through the Descolada virus, so that the death of one births the other. In the case of the Pequeninos, they become trees when they die. The colony leaders agree to rebel against Congress, severing their Ansible connection and deactivating the fence, allowing Ender, Ouanda, and Ela to go with Human to speak to the Pequenino wives, to help establish a case to present to Congress.

The Pequenino wives help Ender corroborate the complex life cycle of the Pequeninos, affirming that the death ritual Pipo observed was to help create “fathertrees” who fertilize the Pequenino females to continue their race. The Pequeninos believed they were honoring Pipo, and later Libo, by helping them become fathertrees, but Ender explains that humans lack this “third life”, and if the Pequeninos are to cohabitate with humans, they must respect this difference. To affirm their understanding and agreement, Ender is asked to perform the ritual of giving Human “third life” as a fathertree.

Miro recovers from most of the physical damage from his encounter with the fence, but he is partially paralyzed; Ender transfers Jane to him, and she becomes Miro’s companion. Valentine and her family decide to travel from Trondheim to Lusitania to help with the revolt and will arrive in some decades due to relativistic travel; Ender has Miro meet them halfway. Novinha finally absolves herself of her guilt for the death of Pipo and Libo. She and Ender marry. Ender plants the Hive Queen as per her request, and he writes his third book, a biography of the life of the Pequenino, Human.

This is a very different beast of a book than Ender’s Game. In subject matter, tone and even philosophically. There is no outside threat uniting humanity but only a potentiality of a threat. That “threat” is the pre-industrial piggies that the Commonwealth of Humanity now wants to keep locked onto their one world. At the same time Ender is seeking redemption for his xenocide of the formics by finding a planet where the buggers can be reborn live again.

Card really dives into what makes a sentient being and the various ways different sentient creatures view each other and how they interact. He comes at it from a completely humanistic and evolutionistic viewpoint. Everthing in the book springs directly from those two ideas.

There is also an odd side story about Jane, an AI that spontaneously came into being with the use of the ansibles, the faster than light communication system. She seems to have some sort of relationship with Ender until she abruptly takes up with one of the side characters. It felt very forced and something that Card uses to bridge to the next book.

This felt like a closing on the Andrew Wiggin (Ender) character. I have my doubts about him being in the future books. I am ok with that, because Card has turned Ender into a prototype Beta-Male like Ross from the tv show Friends. Ender stays in the background, even psychologically, the entire time. It is so different from the previous book and I didn’t like that change. I almost wish Card had used a different character instead of turning Ender into what is shown here.

I will definitely be reading the rest of the original Enderverse books. However, I suspect I will not be enjoying them nearly as much as I did Ender’s Game or Card’s Pathfinder trilogy. This book felt much more akin to his Alvin Maker series than to the Formic Wars novels. Cerebral navel gazing instead of doing.


Enders Game (Enderverse #1) ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Enders Game
Series: Enderverse #1
Authors: Orson Card
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 251
Words: 106K

From Wikipedia.com

Humanity has mastered interplanetary spaceflight and they encounter an insect-like alien race called the Formics, and war breaks out. The humans achieve a narrow victory, but fearing future threats of a Formic invasion, create the International Fleet (I.F.) and train gifted children to become commanders at their orbiting Battle School.

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is born a “Third”: a rare exception to Earth’s two-child policy, allowed by the government due to the promise shown by his two older siblings. The eldest, Peter, is a highly intelligent sociopath who sadistically bullies Ender. His sister, Valentine, is more sympathetic towards him. The I.F. remove Ender’s monitoring device when he is six years old, seemingly ending his chances of Battle School. He is bullied by a fellow student, Stilson, but Ender turns violent and attacks him. Unknown to Ender, Stilson later dies from his wounds. I.F. Colonel Hyrum Graff visits Ender after hearing about the fight. Ender attests that by showing superiority now, he has prevented future struggle. Graff offers him a place in the Battle School.

Once at Battle School, Graff and the other leaders covertly work to keep Ender isolated from the other cadets. Ender finds solace in playing a simulated adventure game that involves killing a giant. The cadets participate in competitive war simulations in zero gravity, where Ender quickly masters the game with novel tactics. To further wear Ender down, he is promoted to command a new army composed of raw recruits, then pitted against multiple armies at once, but Ender’s success continues. Ender’s jealous ex-commander, Bonzo Madrid, draws him into a fight outside the simulation, and once again seeking to preemptively stop future conflicts Ender uses excessive force, and like Stilson before him Bonzo dies from his injuries.

Meanwhile on Earth, Peter Wiggin uses a global communication system to post political essays under the pseudonym “Locke”, hoping to establish himself as a respected orator and then as a powerful politician. Valentine, despite not trusting Peter, agrees to publish alongside him as “Demosthenes”. Their essays are soon taken seriously by the government. Though Graff is told their true identities, he recommends that it be kept a secret, because their writings are politically useful.

Ender, now ten years old, is promoted to Command School. After some preliminary battles in the simulator, he is introduced to Mazer Rackham, a hero from the Formic war who saw key patterns in the Formic behavior. Ender participates in space combat simulations created and controlled by Mazer. As the skirmishes become harder, he is joined by some of his friends from the Battle School as sub-commanders. Despite this, Ender becomes depressed by the battles, his isolation, and by the way Mazer treats him.

For his final test, under observation by I.F.’s commanders, Ender finds his fleet far outnumbered by Formic ships surrounding their homeworld. Hoping to earn himself expulsion from the school for his ruthlessness, he sacrifices his entire fleet to fire a Molecular Disruption Device at the planet. The Device destroys the planet and the surrounding Formic fleet. He is shocked to hear the I.F. commanders cheering in celebration. Mazer informs Ender that the “simulations” he has been fighting were real battles, directing human spacecraft against Formic fleets via an ansible, and that Ender has won the war. Despite Graff congratulating him, Ender becomes more depressed, realizing that he has committed genocide and become just like his brother.

Ender spends several weeks isolated before recovering. He learns that war has broken out on Earth. Ender and Valentine join a group of space colonists.

On their new planet, Ender becomes the colony’s governor. He discovers a structure that matches the simulation of the giant game from Battle School, and inside finds the dormant egg of a Formic queen. The queen telepathically communicates to Ender that before the first Formic war, they had assumed humans were a non-sentient race, for want of collective consciousness, but realized their mistake too late. Instead, she had reached out to Ender to draw him here and requests that he take the egg to a new planet for the Formics to colonize.

Ender takes the egg and, with information from the queen, writes The Hive Queen under the alias “Speaker for the Dead”. Peter, now the leader of Earth and age 77 with a failing heart, recognizes Ender as the author of The Hive Queen. He asks Ender to write a book about him, which Ender titles The Hegemon. The combined works create a new type of funeral, in which the Speaker for the Dead tells the whole and unapologetic story of the deceased, adopted by many on Earth and its colonies. Ender and Valentine leave the colony and travel to many other worlds, looking for a safe place to establish the unborn Hive Queen.

After reading, and immensely enjoying, the First Formic War trilogy, I realized that I had never read the original Enderverse saga. I had read Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, but never delved beyond that. Mainly I suspect because I’d read enough of Card’s other works that put me off of him (mainly the Homecoming series and Alvin the Maker series). But because I’m a completionist at heart, I realized there was a gap in my Enderverse reading that should be fixed. Plus, The Second Formic War trilogy appears to be on hold as the second book was published in ‘19 and there’s no definite date for the final book yet.

I’ve read Ender’s Game multiple times over the years. I’ve never read the original short story and I suspect I never will. I’ll stick to the fully fleshed out novel.

This time around, it struck me that the main theme of the story seems to be that survival of a species justifies any and all action. Don’t get me wrong, if the bugs had attacked Earth for real, I’d totally be advocating for complete and utter xenocide. But I don’t have to worry about that, so it’s the “idea” that Card plays with here and it’s as an “idea” that I reacted to. I do not believe that survival of a species is the be all and end all. That obviously comes from my worldview as a Christian. On an individual level, Christians have been tortured and killed for Millennia in attempts to get them to deny Jesus Christ. When they don’t, bad things happen. They give up their life because what they believe is greater than the circumstance of death or having their fingernails pulled out and their joints broken (a common tactic experienced by many Chinese Christians in the 20th and 21st century). So if an individual can hold that something is greater than himself, cannot an entire species do the same?

That was the thought process swirling around in my head as I was reading this time around. In the end, Card allows Ender to atone (even though it wasn’t Ender’s will that had destroyed the bugs, hence the “game” part of the title) by giving him a Formic queen egg.

Now I want to go re-watch the movie!


Earth Awakens ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Earth Awakens
Series: Enderverse: First Formic War #3
Authors: Orson Card & Aaron Johnston
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 341
Words: 136K


From Wikipedia.org

With an alien invasion in progress in China, humanity is divided on how to defend itself. The Chinese government is determined to go it alone, despite suffering catastrophic losses. Captain Wit O’Toole of the Mobile Operations Police (MOP) and Mazer Rackham have managed to destroy one of the three alien landers, but because they achieved the first significant human victory of the war without official approval and using a nuclear warhead obtained without authorization, they are in the custody of Chinese General Sima. During the invasion, Mazer Rackham saves Bingwen, a very intelligent eight-year-old Chinese boy who now comes up with a clever ploy to get them released: he spreads word over the internet that they were acting under Sima’s orders and gives Sima full credit.

Meanwhile, Victor Delgado and Imala Bootstamp drift to the alien mothership in a ship disguised to avoid being destroyed. Victor manages to enter and explore the vessel. They survive a failed drone attack on the alien ship and, after getting away again, confront Lem Jukes, whom they suspect of involvement in the attack. Actually, it was launched by Lem’s father, Ukko. Lem tried to stop or delay it.

Based on what he has learned, Victor devises a plan to capture it, and reluctantly accepts Lem’s help in carrying it out. The MOPs, including Wit and Mazer, are recruited to become the rest of Victor’s boarding party. Despite Victor’s objections, Imala volunteers as well.

When the Formics detect the intruders, all of their forces on Earth leave to go to their ship’s defense. Lem leads a force to hold them off, resulting in a fierce space battle. Aboard the Mothership, Wit has to sacrifice his life, exposing himself to quickly lethal levels of radiation, but Victor’s plan succeeds, and the ship is captured intact. However, Victor’s cousin, Edimar, backtracks the path of the alien ship and discovers that it was only a scout ship; the real Mothership is reconfiguring itself into a battle fleet that will arrive in about five years.

My Thoughts:

Overall, I enjoyed this final book in the First Formic War trilogy. But much like the slide from the first book to the second, there was something missing from the second to the third book. I simply can’t put my finger on what it is, but that enjoyment factor just wasn’t as high. Still a good read at 3.5stars though.

There was a LOT more politics involved in this book than in the previous and so depending on if you like political thrillers or not, that will shape your enjoyment of the book. There is also a storyline about the survivors from Victor’s old spaceship (all the women and children) and it should have been cut or tied off in the previous book. It felt like it was added simply to justify the very end of the book where one of the women discovers that the “mothership” at earth is actually just a scoutship and the real mothership is on its way and will arrive in about 5years. That could have been done with one of the Juke scientists and had several chapters removed from the story, thus streamlining the story and the number of POV’s.

Bingwen is definitely an Ender prototype. He ends up going to secret school run by the Chinese and is treated like absolute crap by his “mentor”. This is the beginning of the Space School and you see its mindset clearly here. It is sad but at the same time it is good to see how the world went from what we would consider normal to the world where Ender grew up and what was considered normal then.

This trilogy was good enough that I am going to try the entire Ender quintet next. I’ve read Ender’s Game multiple times and read Speaker for the Dead once back in 2000 but never got past that. Now that I’ve got a better handle of how Card writes (having read some of his Ender’s Shadow series, the Pathfinder series, the poorly executed Alvin Maker series and his absolutely atrocious Homecoming saga which I abandoned after the first book) I think I can take the complete change in tone. Plus, the Second Formic War trilogy isn’t completed.

In regards to that. This trilogy was released in 3 years. One book a year, bam, bam, bam. That’s the power of having 2 writers. OR they pre-wrote it. However, the Second Formic War trilogy was started in ’16 and book 2 was released in ’19 and there is no release date yet for book 3. I really want to read it but won’t until it is complete, so reading the original Ender books is probably the best way to keep my toes in the Ender pond while I wait.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Earth Afire ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Earth Afire
Series: Enderverse: First Formic War #2
Authors: Orson Card & Aaron Johnston
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 373
Words: 148K


From Wikipedia.org

A century before the events of Ender’s Game, an alien spaceship enters the solar system and soon makes known its hostile intentions by destroying harmless human ships. Then, it wipes out a ragtag fleet of asteroid miners who have banded together in a desperate attempt to stop it. All of the adult male members of Victor Delgado’s extended clan die in the battle. The survivors are unable to transmit a warning, so Victor volunteers for a near-suicidal mission to try to reach Earth in a tiny, hastily converted unmanned cargo ship. He makes it to the Moon, but is unable to get the authorities to take him seriously. Thus, humanity is totally unprepared when the First Formic War starts.

The invader sends three enormous landing craft to southeast China. The Formics emerge and use gas to defoliate the area and kill everyone. Despite suffering stupendous losses, the suspicious Chinese government refuses outside help.

Before the landing, Mazer Rackham had been training the Chinese military on a new transport aircraft, the HERC, in exchange for training on their new invention, drill sledges that can tunnel quickly underground. During the Formic invasion, he saves Bingwen, a very intelligent eight-year-old Chinese boy, but is then shot down. Bingwen saves his life, with the remote help of Mazer’s romantic interest, Kim. Bingwen and Mazer then set off to destroy the nearest Formic lander.

The Mobile Operations Police (MOP), a small but elite international force, enters China (without official authorization). The MOPs save Bingwen and Mazer from a Formic attack. The lander is heavily shielded, but it does not extend underground. Mazer manages to find some drill sledges and HERCs to transport them close to the lander. MOP Captain Wit O’Toole obtains a tactical nuclear weapon from anonymous Chinese who do not agree with their government’s stance on foreign assistance. They destroy the lander, but then Captain Shenzu arrives and places Mazer under arrest.

Meanwhile, Victor and Imala (a Customs Agent assigned to Victor upon his unauthorized arrival) manage to drift close to the Formic ship, using a disguised ship provided by Lem Jukes (the only son of the richest man alive) to avoid being destroyed. Victor breaks into the alien ship through a gun port.

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed the first book, Earth Unaware, so much that I broke my usual way of reading and dived immediately into this the second book in the First Formic War trilogy. This was another really good entry but for whatever reason I didn’t enjoy it quite as much, hence the halfstar knocked off.

Part of it is that the Lem and his father Ukko Jukes thing got tiresome. Lem lives and breathes everything through the lens of thinking his father is out to test him. He’s paranoid about it, to the point where it got on my nerves. Then Ukko will go and do something to justify everything Lem has thought. That was just as frustrating, if not more so, to read about.

A lot of the action takes place in China. I rather enjoyed these sections and found the boy Bingwen to be an Ender-prototype. He was smart and intelligent and didn’t act like a baby. While many of the adults around him were panicking he was trying to figure out ways to fix whatever the problem was. He was not a superhuman, but Card definitely has a thing for writing very intelligent young people (Ender or Rigg from the Pathfinder trilogy). Bingwen also brought a very human touch to the story. His adventures as an 8year old getting beat up, trying to take special tests to get ahead and then his parents dying, taking care of his aged grandfather, it was all SO human. Mazer Rackham is the military look, Victor and Imala are the political look and Bingwen is the purely everyman look.

I liked how all the threads were woven together in this story. There were no obvious demarcations between Card and Johnston, to the point where I wonder if Johnston did most of the writing with Card supplying the ideas. It doesn’t really matter though, as it was a good tight story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Earth Unaware ★★★★✬

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Earth Unaware
Series: Enderverse: First Formic War #1
Authors: Orson Card & Aaron Johnston
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 323
Words: 131K


From Wikipedia.org

A family of “free miners” living on the spaceship El Cavador is working an asteroid far out in the Kuiper Belt when they detect what appears to be an alien ship decelerating from near light speed as it approaches the solar system. Meanwhile, Lem Jukes, son and heir of the hard-driving founder of the largest mining corporation, is also in the remote region, far from the prying eyes of competitors, secretly testing a “glaser” (gravity laser) that promises to revolutionize mining. Back on Earth, Captain Wit O’Toole goes recruiting among the elite New Zealand Special Air Service for the even more select, multinational Mobile Operations Police (MOPs).

Jukes orders his ship to “bump” El Cavador from the asteroid the family is mining, as it is the only suitable one nearby for his test. During the violent collision, an El Cavador crewman is killed. The miners hack into the corporate ship’s network, planting a message for Lem Jukes and downloading confidential files pertaining to the glaser. Jukes, fearful of a scandal involving the death of a free miner and the danger of the miners selling the confidential files to his competitors, sets out for Weigh Station Four, where he intends to plant a hacker to strip El Cavador’s files.

El Cavador’s transmission equipment having been destroyed in the bump, the crew are unable to warn another mining clan about the intruder, and can only watch helplessly as the alien pod destroys them. El Cavador rescues a few survivors. In the meantime, Victor and a few others modify a “quickship,” an automated vessel normally used to send processed metals to Luna, to carry one person to warn Earth. When the pod attacks El Cavador, the men on the quickship ram and disable the pod using mining equipment. During the attack, the aliens emerge to battle the humans. Their physiology is revealed to be Formic (ant-like).

El Cavador heads to Weigh Station Four to use their laserline transmitter. As a backup, Victor volunteers to take a datacube with the evidence of the aliens’ hostile intentions to Luna aboard the quickship. The journey is perilous, but their duty is clear.

Meanwhile, the Juke ship makes its way to Weigh Station Four, only to come under attack from roughnecks who recognize the crew as despised corporates. Several of the attackers are killed by Chubs, a man seemingly junior to Lem Jukes, but revealed as having been assigned by Ukko Jukes to protect him. The corporates are still able to leave behind a hacker to strip El Cavador’s files, but the scheme becomes moot when the Formic ship destroys the station.

El Cavador sends a short-range, broad radio call and is able to contact the Juke ship and a Chinese mining vessel. El Cavador sends its women and children aboard the Chinese vessel, which is too small to help in the attack. The plan is to plant mining explosives along the hull of the alien ship. Unfortunately, one of them detonates early, drawing the attention of the Formics, who at first engage the humans wearing space suits, but subsequently attack without any protection. Seeing the battle go against them, Chubs withdraws Lem Jukes and his men and moves the corporate ship away, as the Formic ship destroys El Cavador.

Victor arrives at Luna, only to be largely ignored and confined for his illegal arrival. Meanwhile, Wit O’Toole prepares his MOPs for any situation, including what he thinks is a hypothetical alien attack. Victor is eventually assigned a case worker who believes his story and helps him transmit the evidence onto the Nets

My Thoughts:

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. While a collaboration between Card and Johnston, I suspect Johnston did the heavy lifting in terms of the writing itself. I have no problem with that though. In the intro Johnston talks about how he and Card had collaborated on this very story for comics and so that moving into novel territory wasn’t much of a stretch.

I think the various characters were what made this a notch above the typical SF offering. It helps that in Ender’s Game you got “characters” in spades, so this felt very much in tune with that. Lem Jukes makes for a great badguy/notbadguy. I felt sympathy for him while simultaneously wanting to take my Combat Knife to his guts.

I’m usually not a fan of multiple points of view, but with the authors limiting them to three, it gave me the overall view that needed to be seen. Being familiar with Ender’s Game and the Enderverse, I’ve been curious how the world got to the point where we see it in Ender’s Game. This first contact story sets the stage quite well. We get Lem Jukes and his corporate crew in space, Victor and the free miners in space and then Rackam Mazer and the MOPS on Earth.

This story is all about aliens coming to kill us and how we ignore that threat. Exciting and yet scary and tense at the same time. Perfect recipe for a great story.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ender’s Game (2013 Movie)

First off, I read Ender’s Game back in highschool and absolutely loved it. I’ve re-read it twice since then and each time I enjoyed it. The last time I read it back in ’12 it really struck me just how cruel the world was that Ender inhabited.

Second, Card’s politics and religious views don’t bother me at all. So I wasn’t part of the self-righteous crowd screaming for his blood when the movie was announced. I don’t agree with everything he advocates, but it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of or critical thinking about his books.

The movie is a great companion to the book. It shows just how cruel the world, the other candidates and even DeGraff are. All the action, all the genius and all the “hugeness” of the Formics are in the movie. However, the movie IS shallow and by itself doesn’t stand very well. The whole Valentine/Peter political thing was removed and while I understood it, it made the movie just an adventure/scifi movie.

I do plan on buying this on bluray sometime and I would recommend it. BUT. Only after making the person read the book 🙂

And there it is. My thoughts on Ender’s Game The Movie.

Ender’s Game (Enderverse #1)


Ender’s Game
Enderverse #1
Orson Scott Card
Ebook, 289 Pages
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I read this originally back in the 90’s and remember being blown away, especially by the “twist” at the end.

Reading it again, it almost hurt.

How Ender is treated, used, etc, is just brutal. It is rationalized by the characters, but you can tell that the author isn’t saying it is ok. The fights, the killings, the loneliness, the complete lack of sympathy, his awful brother, it just made me want to take him into my arms and cry for him.

Excellently written. Humanity on the cusp of extinction, yet preparing to self-destroy themselves the moment that cusp is behind them.

The reason I didn’t give this 5stars is because of the ending. The rise of the Speakers of the Dead, the narrative was different enough, the subject matter so different, that I felt rather jarred reading it. Even though it made sense. It just didn’t seem to fit with what came before.

Shadow of the Hegemon

Shadow of the Hegemon
Ender’s Shadow #2
Orson Card
3 stars
442 pages

a sequel to Ender’s Shadow.

All the Battleschool children, except Ender, are back on earth. Achilles kidnaps a bunch of them to take over the world, tries to kill Bean. Bean hooks up with Peter Wiggins, who reveals himself and the world changes.

I doubt I will read any of the novels after this one. Ender’s War and Ender’s Shadow were engrossing, not this one. Just politics “in the future”, oooooohhhhhh.