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Speaker for the Dead | [Orson Scott Card]

Speaker for the Dead

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 by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. 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. Orson Scott Card infuses this tale with intellect by casting his characters in social, religious, and cultural contexts.

This, the author's definitive edition of the sequel to Ender's Game, also includes an original postscript written and recorded by the author himself, Orson Scott Card!.

Browse more titles in the Ender Wiggin series.

©1986, 1990 Orson Scott Card; (P)2002 Fantastic Audio, an Imprint of Audio Literature

What the Critics Say

  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 1987
  • Nebula Award Winner, Best Novel, 1986

"The most powerful work Card has produced. Speaker not only completes Ender's Game, it transcends it." (Fantasy Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Joe Sacramento, CA, USA 06-13-05
    Joe Sacramento, CA, USA 06-13-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Enderverse"

    This is my favorite science fiction series. The characters are easy to identify with, and you will find yourself sucked into this imaginary universe, nicknamed the Enderverse by fans.

    Recommended order of reading (in my opinion): Ender?s Game, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind. Reading the books in this order will keep you interested and keep the story moving more naturally.

    If after reading all of these wonderful books you are still itching for an Enderverse fix then read First Meetings. The list above is sorted by the Enderverse timeline. Meaning that the flow of events in the stories are uninterrupted. If you were to read the books in the order they were published, you would bounce back and forth in between time and few of the plot twists in future books would be revealed before you wanted them to be known. First Meetings, however contains short stories that occur both before and in between the list above within the Enderverse.

    94 of 95 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua N. Mitchell Denver, CO USA 04-13-06
    Joshua N. Mitchell Denver, CO USA 04-13-06 Member Since 2004
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    "Good story, okay narration"

    First, this isn't Ender's Game. It's an entirely different kind of story, so if you're looking for the pseudo-military sci-fi action of Ender's Game, you will be disappointed. That said, this is one of Card's better works, with rich, interesting characters and a fascinating (if slower-moving) plot.

    The multi-person reading is not very well done, however. At best, it's distracting; at worst, obnoxious--one of the female readers, in particular, has a habit of reading every sentence as though it's the saddest and most important thing ever written. The book's main narrator is (fortunately) quite good.

    Overall, recommended.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. T. Mitchum KC 01-07-09
    J. T. Mitchum KC 01-07-09 Listener Since 2007

    J.T.

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    "As implied by title: Not Ender's Game"

    I enjoyed this book, but I enjoyed it because I did not expect Ender's Game proper.

    There was a lot about Ender's Game I enjoyed, but I can sub-categorize all my favorite parts into two important distinctions. Military strategy and group leadership versus interpersonal development and politics.

    If you really only enjoyed the military portions of Ender's Game, then you may consider leaving Speaker of the Dead out. Scott Card wrote Ender's Game so he could write Speaker for the Dead. The way he writes the characters in Speaker for the Dead I have found to be a reliable measure for his other books in the Enderverse.

    Reading about waging a war is awesome because of the absolution both sides of a war feel, a solidarity under one banner, so to speak. At the end of war, we have fractured absolution and limited solidarity -- complex topics to say the least.

    Speaker for the dead is about this post-war universe. The threads of religion and science woven throughout the personalities is beautifully done in a way that should be neutral enough to spawn debate, but with the author's beliefs only somewhat veiled. Reading a book like this often makes me feel we are more predictable in groups than we are when left to our private choices.

    This book gives weight to the phrase "where there is a will, there is a way." Of course -- not all wills are good ones ...

    26 of 28 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Oliver Indiana 11-29-12
    J. Oliver Indiana 11-29-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great story, poor narration"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Use consistent narration. Using several different people that change the emotional delivery and even the gender of the voice is distracting and annoying. Plus, the woman sounds like she should be reading smut, not sci-fi.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Birney and Stefan Rudnicki ?

    These weren't the only narrators. I would have stuck with them.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 07-08-03
    Amazon Customer RIDLEY PARK, PA, United States 07-08-03 Member Since 2001
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    "Listen to the Speaker"

    Speaker for the Dead is a terrific sequel to Ender's Game. Where Ender's Game was exciting and suspenseful science fiction, Speaker for the Dead is like Ender himself, all grown up. Where Ender was a brilliant child reacting to the pressures and problems of the IF, Andrew Wiggin, the Speaker for the Dead, brings wisdom and maturity to the character we all came to love in Ender's Game.

    Terrificly narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and the rest of the awesome Fantistic Audio players, I highly recommend this book. The Afterword by the author is also helpful in putting the first two books of series in perspective.

    Orson Scott Card has created a terrific universe with his Ender Wiggin series. I am proud to say that I discovered it here on audible.com and look forward to listening to some of the later books in the series soon.

    29 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jan Alpine, CA, USA 02-13-08
    Jan Alpine, CA, USA 02-13-08 Member Since 2004
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    "The Anti-Ender's Game"

    I picked this book because I had very much enjoyed Ender's Game and "Speaker" is the continuation of the story. However, it is also completely different in speed and style. While "Ender's Game" is mostly science fiction of the technical kind (spaceships, battles, etc.) and moves along well most of the time, "Speaker" is a tedious, slow-as-molasses study of religion, family relationships, childhood neuroses, and endlessly repeated sermons on tolerance. The passages in Portuguese, on the Catholic teachings, and others are tedious and boring.
    You may end up liking "Speaker", but it won't be for the same reasons you may like "Ender's Game". Be forewarned.

    34 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Fabel Lancaster, PA, United States 04-24-13
    Scott Fabel Lancaster, PA, United States 04-24-13 Member Since 2008

    I'm a corporate training consultant and adjunct professor who loves to read! I'm always looking for the next big thing.

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    "Great story, but the performance was dreadful"

    After having read "Ender's Game," I was eager to read "Speaker for the Dead." I was definitely not disappointed. According to interviews with the author, Orson Scott Card, "Speaker for the Dead" was the original book that he wanted to write. He wrote "Ender's Game" as a kind of introduction to "Speaker for the Dead." Although "Ender's Game" has become far more well-known and more popular than "Speaker for the Dead," I can see why this was the story that the author really wanted to write. The story is much richer and deeper. I feel as if it's written for a more mature audience, and its themes reflect that maturity. Don't get me wrong. I loved "Ender's Game," yet I think I enjoyed "Speaker for the Dead" just as much--only for different reasons.

    Let me get the bad news out of the way. The audio recording of this book was terrible. I don't want to say that the actual performance of the narrators was bad because it really wasn't. The problem was that there were just too many narrators, and they were used inconsistently throughout the book. At times, there were shifts from one narrator to another mid-paragraph, and it didn't seem to be done for any reason. I certainly don't want to say that this lessened the story in any way. After all, it's the same story whether listening to one narrator or 50. Even so, the shifting back and forth was distracting. As if that weren't bad enough, there was also periodic background music that was played during the performance. Again, this seemed to show up in random locations. There was one location in particular in which music just started playing mid-sentence and the ended in the middle of the following sentence. Usually, I expect some of that background music to signal a change in chapter, theme, or something else recognizable. That was surely not the case here. Again, it didn't lessen the story, but it was distracting. It wouldn't be such a bad thing for the story to be re-recorded without the performance issues.

    Now, on to the good news. This book takes place 3000 years after "Ender's Game"; however, thanks to space travel at relativistic speeds, both Ender and Valentine are still alive--and in their 30s! In many ways, this book picks up not long after "Ender's Game" concludes. Ender has now become the Speaker for the Dead. After the events that occurred earlier in his life (in "Ender's Game"), he decides to dedicate himself to speaking the death of other people. Perhaps he sees this as atonement for his earlier life. In this book, humans have discovered a new, alien life form, the Pequeninos (also known as "piggies"), on the planet Lusitania. A death occurs on this planet, and Ender is called to speak the death.

    This book is far more philosophical than "Ender's Game." The Speaker for the Dead does not deliver a traditional eulogy for those who have died. Instead, he speaks the truth. This concept resonated strongly with me because I think a lot of people don't get to have the truth spoken at their funerals. While this idea of speaking for the dead is a central theme of the book, there are many others. For example, the interactions between the humans and the piggies is extraordinary. It frames the way in which we, as humans, look at anything or anyone who is different from us, as something that needs to be either protected or changed. We seem to think that we are the most evolved species and, subsequently, the most intelligent. Although the book doesn't necessarily contradict this belief, it does make the reader question it. Finally, I want to also mention that the Catholic Church is alive and well in the far-off future. There were very interesting discussions of religious themes throughout the book. The Catholic Church has a prominent role on Lusitania, and it must somehow align its teachings with the new reality of an alien life form.

    Overall, this was an enjoyable read. It still exists in the same general universe as "Ender's Game," yet it is its own story. The more mature philosophical themes make this a great book for older readers, but it's still science fiction. This seems to be a great combination, and I look forward to reading other books in the Ender series.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danathar Stafford, VA United States 06-19-09
    Danathar Stafford, VA United States 06-19-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Great book, really don't like the female reading"

    Just like Ender's game this is a great book. Harder to get through though. Card spends more time on character development than really needed. The woman who does a good bit of the reading is a bit too melodramatic for my ears.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Madison, WI, USA 01-12-03
    Todd Madison, WI, USA 01-12-03 Member Since 2001
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    "A brilliant book"

    I listened to Enders Game and really loved it. Orson Scott Card is a fabulous writer. So when it came time to download a new book, I got Speaker for the Dead. And again I loved the book.

    The author manages to create a completely new society and social structure of another species on a far away world. The interaction between the humans and this other species makes you question your own assumptions about people of other cultures. How much of our current world tension is a result of true incompatibility and how much is due to just misunderstanding the other culture?

    So the book has that whole deep "hmmm" thing going on and it's just entertaining. It's got enough mystery to keep you guessing about how situations will turn out. A sentient computer "program" named Jane adds another element of interest.

    As with Enders Game, this audiobook used multiple narrators. They all did an excellent job with the exception of a way overly dramatic female. I found I couldn't wait 'til we moved on to another narrator. Sorry lady. Turn down the acting knob a little. Even with Little Miss Drama, this book is well worth listening to.

    28 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 09-16-13
    Gohar Issaquah, WA 09-16-13 Member Since 2008

    I Like scifi-fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Wot, Got, Pillars of Earth, Century trilogy. Last read: Maritan. luvd it

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    "Good read for mature audiences"

    This is not in the same pace as Enders game was. People who loved the first book in this series for its war games and teen rivalries might find this one slow and boring at times. I enjoyed both the books. First one was definitely a fun read and this one has its moments but it starts slow. The author did a great job writing this book in '86 when there was not much of internet fancies we have now. The philosophical part of the book is also way heavier than the first book and one which takes a while to settle. Very interesting read. I wish the names chosen for the lead characters were more nuanced and easy to remember. They are Portuguese names but sometimes even foreign names are easier to remember.

    Narrators did a great job switching between characters. The female narrator was sometimes spoke so low (almost to a whisper) which made it difficult to hear when driving. Overall a good read. I highly recommend.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 207 results PREVIOUS1221NEXT
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  • Venice
    Accrington, Lancashire, United Kingdom
    6/23/05
    Overall
    "Probably my favourite book ever"

    This audio book amazed me. It follows on from Enders Game but is a vast departure from that story in both style and content. Listening to this book is like meditation - it's so deep and moving, and yet never boring. Pure Bliss! Wonderful narration. The first ever audio book to make me cry.

    So good that I wish I had never heard it, so that I could discover it for the first time again.

    One of Audible's gems.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Garry
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Confusing narrative"
    What would have made Speaker for the Dead better?

    A shorter introduction. With any other book I would have given up within the first hour. I found it hard to work out what was happening and who was who a lot of the time


    If you’ve listened to books by Orson Scott Card before, how does this one compare?

    Ender's game is probably just about my favourite book so I was eagerly looking forward to the next instalment of the trilogy. However, I was hugely disappointed. Others have commented about too much religion and I agree.


    What didn’t you like about David Birney and Stefan Rudnicki ’s performance?

    I found it very confusing having multiple speakers reading the same part. The voice of the narrator helps you build a picture of the character that adds to the book. So, to have a different voice pop up every few minutes reading the same character was off-putting in the extreme.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Most of the parts with Ender were still pretty good.


    Any additional comments?

    Unlikely to read the 3rd part of the trilogy which is a shame given how good Ender's game was.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kim
    Broenshoej, Denmark
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read/listen"
    Would you listen to Speaker for the Dead again? Why?

    The story is doing a great job on explaining the aftermath of Enders Game. Often I find myself sad to having a story end, and that I did with Enders Game, until I figured that a large series of books was doing a great job covering different perspectives of what happened after Enders Game, as well as along side of it.
    There will be a day where I crave to listen to these stories all over again.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Speaker for the Dead?

    The revelations of the piggies. When you finally get an insight to how they live, and how being different and trying to help can seem as an act of aggression.


    What about David Birney and Stefan Rudnicki ’s performance did you like?

    The voice action was great. The voices to begin with are great for reading, I did not find any annoying or overacted voices. Instead they had a good sense of making me know who was talking, without exaggerating.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The books does strike emotion, both laughter, sadness and compassion.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is great, though I advise anyone wanting to read it, to start from Enders Game.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matheus
    Diemen, Netherlands
    4/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book, awfull portuguese."
    Any additional comments?

    This book is amazing, could not stop listening, and the interpretation is also nice. But as a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker, it was painful to listen to any Portuguese spoken on the book, most was beyond recognition. I had to wait the English translation to understand what they wanted to say. The characters names in Portuguese were also very badly spoken, hard to match with any normal names in Brazil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Danamic
    Prestatyn, Wales
    12/13/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A different follow on from Ender's Game"

    Some may not like it... but I do.

    The book becomes a philosophical debate about the inward struggles that we face when confronting things we cannot understand.

    Would I listen to it again? Probably not...

    Will I listen to the next book in the series? Already have.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    BEXLEY, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Different to what I thoughts"

    This was a good book very different to the first book in the seris but it takes the main character Ender in a new direction.

    I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gustav
    London, United Kingdom
    6/17/12
    Overall
    "Changes the gears for the series (still great!)"

    I love this whole series. The second book is as always wonderfully narrated. This book is quite different from the first, and that is a good thing. The author isn't being lazy and looking at the same questions over and over again. This, as it happens, is true for most of his books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Piano man 2007
    Europe
    8/12/11
    Overall
    "Too much christianity for me !"


    The book has its good and bad side. I like the detailed characters, altough the whole story is interwoven with religious stuff, sin, christianity, self-pity ... Can you image planets being colonized thousands of years from now with bishops as a main function in society ? I sure can't and I sure not hope so, just too far fetched...

    I looked him up on wiki after hearing the book that's when I found out his story are interwoven with his mormone religion...

    The book won a hugo award, main reason I wanted to hear it. But my guess is is that America gave this man an award because christianity is 30% of the SF story...

    3 stars for the characters & plot, -2 for religous crap ...

    All in all worth hearing though

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • iplayedthatgame
    uk
    4/16/11
    Overall
    "my favourite book"

    This story takes ender and follows him into his adult life , it shows how the battle school and descisions he made while there affected his adult life , showing for me that osc has a real understanding and empathy for his character and not just writing another story because the first book did well.
    This really comes across with the relationship ender has with his sister with jane and the familly he befriends, also with the comunity he affects just by being there.
    As this is the second book in the series you may feel that you need to read the first and you should because it is an excellent book but the refferences in this book explain themselves so you can read it as a book and not feel left out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John
    DublinIreland
    2/5/11
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    Excellent book, fantastic narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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