I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".
Taken for what it is, a work of Science Fiction, it is an entertaining escape. The listener should not bring any preconceived notions beyond this. It is fascinating and entertaining. However, it is fiction. It does not appear to be a discourse of his own political opinions (despite what others say) - save for the aftward.
However, Mr. Orson Scott Card, for whom I'm an immense fan, should re-read his Civil War history, for the causes he cites here for the cause of this fictional civil war are similar to the REAL causes of the last civil war and though opinions crossed boarders, it was a matter of mostly rural states vs. mostly urban (mostly urban states holding the majority vote).
In this fictional civial war it was the about liberals vs. conservates (liberal opinions being mostly urban and convervatives being mostly rural) - he supposes that the next war will fracture along county lines as opposed to State lines... Perhaps. But perhaps for different reasons than he supposes. Primarily because of the fact that after Civil War 1, the US congress made it illegal for States to secede. Seceding later became more difficult after the State Militia was turned over to the National Guard - taking any military power out of the hands of individual states. Therefore, nothing but a complete takeover of the government by it's own military and backed by a majority of 350 million mostly armed citizens would work.
Mr. Card needs to understand that the seemingly polorized opinions amongst the media (he being sort of in the media), does not represent the opinions of most Americans who are as fractured in their alignments along the lines of the political spectrum as he is. We merely choose sides based on what it most important to us. So it is not inconceivable that there are many Republicans that are pro-choice or many Democrats who are ani-gun control. As we are not in the media, we are drowned out by the money backed party line.
If you are an Orson Scott Card fan because of the science fiction aspect of his stories, expect something different from this book. However, his books are really about intrigue, political maneuvering, and strength of character. Empire brings those elements to a current setting.
Be prepared for the range of emotion that would be inevitable if you witnessed another Civil War in America. Some parts are painful; more so than if they were taking place at a future time and place instead of here and now.
Orson Scott Card is a democrat... a liberal, even. And yet, we find ourselves reading a book where the Conservative Right makes up the majority of the protagonists. Why would Card do that? Probably because even though he's a democrat, he's actually a democrat of the "Right to Choose the Right (or wrong)" variety, rather than the "I'll do whatever I want to do, and you can go hang" variety.
Empire opens us up to a world not too far off from the one we live in today... I even got the impression that the book takes place mostly in 2007/2008. He shows us how the heated, bitter, angry partisan attitude in this country could, though hopefully won't, tear the nation apart.
I am a long-time fan of Card, and like many of his fans, his earliest work will always be our favorite. But like anybody in any career, he has matured, and he's moved away from the boyish fun and intrigue of Ender's Game and become much more politically oriented, it seems. Empire is more of a lavishly decorated political commentary, an allegory, even, than it is a true novel of Science Fiction. The "holes" that so many other reviewers are keen to point out are the kinds of holes you could find in any one of Aesop's Fables (the Grasshopper and the Ants, for example).
Though this is not my favorite Card novel, it is certainly an entertaining political story which deserves attention, and having Stefan Rudnicki narrate it certainly makes the audio experience pleasant.
This book will (hopefully) make you recognize and question your own fanaticism. I know it did for me. Also, I could listen to this narrator all day, he always does a superb job.
Computer Tech / Business Owner / Soccer Referee / Soccer Assignor / Soccer Trainer / Community Leader / Kiwanis / George F Hixson Fellow
Orson Scott Card is always a great read. He has never let me down.
M Crichton's State of Fear has environmentalists conspiring to blow up the West Antarctic Ice Sheet to advance their cause. Here, progressives mount a terrorist attack on the U.S. government and frame the right for it. In each case the author's political opponents are not only portrayed as cartoon villains, but to rationalize this portrayal they are required to commit an act that is completely inconsistent with their own philosophy.
Card always tells a good story. I enjoyed this one and will read Part 2. But the injection of his personal beliefs, and his manipulation of reality in order to justify those beliefs, has damaged his credibility.
Smart, like-able characters. Fast paced action, Never a dull moment. My family enjoyed the two books. We would read/ listen to another if the duet were expanded. I love the dignity given to the main characters, men, women, seniors and even small children. The author's voice is compassionate and loving. That is why I read his books. Lucky for me & my family, Card is a prolific writer.
Characters are smart and well acted
It is scary possible and makes you really look around you.
The set up in the begining
In the near future the end begins
Great book but you have have a good head on your shoulders to like it. Right Wing and Left it makes you look at both sides of politics and how they work. If you are dogmatic in your politics don't even bother picking this up, you'll hate it. If you have an open mind READ IT!
a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.
I have read many Card Ender, Bean, Memory of Earth, even his non-fiction helps for budding authors. This was initially a very divergent tale from most as I started the book. As the story unfolded the true Card came out. Characters with depth, relationships, histories....even unfollowed paths that do not show as obvious. Further into the book it does become a little obvious that the conception of the tale was not his own, and others were helping weave the tale though. The pace is quite good for the book. As it progresses through the last third some scenes become obvious, and the entire premise of Red vs Blue seems to be very CNN-Fox like in their marketing.
For the entire book what was most interesting to me was Card's commentary in the afterward. Even though it is obvious Card is on the conservative side of the political spectrum, he does admit it causes a bias on his part. He chastises both right and left, Democrat and Republican, conservative and liberal in his warnings of the devisive nature or our current political climate. The only item I wish he would have stressed a little more is the press's roll in the escalation on both sides.