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©1991 Orson Scott Card (P)2000 Audio Renaissance
"Thought-provoking, insightful, and powerfully written." (School Library Journal)
"As a storyteller, Card excels in portraying the quiet drama of wars fought not on battlefields but in the hearts and minds of his characters." (Library Journal)
I've been waiting a while to get this book because I liked the direction Scott took in Speaker for the Dead. With Xenocide, that direction continues with much less action and much more thought. Now, that said, the story does tackle a few too many issues. Overcoming a virus that can kill everything, okay, sure--standard sci-fi fare. Solving the problem of faster-than-light-travel, I guess I can buy that. Answering the meaning of life by uncovering the "true" religion, ENOUGH ALREADY! Xenocide contains a sub-plot on a planet with all Chinese, in a kind of neo-Confucian political system centered on a religious system no unlike the Taoism practiced in Taiwan. This is yet another book from a big author using Chinese Characters and settings--I guess it is a trend. Out of all I've seen so far, however, Card's treatment of Chinese is most shallow, coming off with very few redeeming values in the end. Also, the audio book readers always read the Chinese characters' dialogue with very cheap Chinese accents, reminding me of Hong Kong movies that show Westerners always speaking with really bad Chinese accents--really a bad move that only adds to the kind of stupid image imposed on the Chinese characters. I don't think this is Scott's intention, though.
This is one of a series of books written about the future and a group of people who grew up in it. It has some really good portrayals of what aliens might be like, but seems unrealistic when it comes to the inter-communications among species. It does get boring in many places with so much detail, but the plot is OK and the author does think out his characters pretty well. I didn't enjoy the series of books as much as I had hoped from reading the Audible write-ups, but it is OK and once you get through some of the boring stuff, you might like it. Don't bother with reading Children of the Mind. It is the most boring in the series and doesn't bring anything to the next in the series. It is mostly a discussion on theories with no substance.
there are elements of this book which are very interesting but to be honest there were times I was embarassed for Card. The writing is a little juvenile. It was almost like a child was telling the story at bedtime and you knew that this is not how the world works (in any time).
I loved "Ender's Game", but this book is a philosophical beating. There is so much dialog and so little action in this book that I found it hard to pay attention while listening. Its well written and well read by the narrator, but I felt mentally exhausted trying to understand the obvious philosophical undertones. Some people enjoy that, but I found it boring.
Now I've finished Number 3 in the Series and found that it sucked me in with soap opera like precision. I rated it in the middle because it it well written and spoken. I'm not fond of soap operas so the general format of the story was boring at time to me yet it was good enough to keep my attention. The stories' continuity with the other books is well done and the Fleet still hasn't gotten to Enders new and final home. Please remember this is really only part of the story. You MUST get "Children of the Mind" to Complete it.
The phrase "jumping the shark" describes when an otherwise good story, event, series, etc. crests from being great and relevant to being stupid and pointless. In other words, you might try to pinpoint exactly when a band or t.v. show or series of books (like Dune) went from being "great" to being "over."
There's a moment like that in Xenocide, involving negative space. I'm able to go pretty far with Card in his imagination of the future, but deciding that his characters would suddenly develop "faster than light travel" just seemed like a betrayal of the understanding of physics that we had come to expect from his universe. Of course there are precedents in the series (the buggers' use of "psychic" communication and the end of the Ender's world with the weird planet the buggers created for him) but I still found this aspect of the novel to be a bit much.
Having said that, it's still a good read. Like all the books in this series, Card's imagination is what shines through. He's quite an original thinker and this book is no different in that regard (I guess my problem about, then, is rendered moot!).
I loved the first two novels in the series, but this one doesn't quite live up to my expectations, although it was good. The performance is fantastic as usual, but the story of all the actions on Path left me wondering why so much dialog was necessary...it bored me and was overly wordy. Also, the method of solving the "problems" left me feeling cheated and the resulting appearance out of the void reinforces this feeling. Still, there is a solid continuum of story line that leads into the next novels that leaves me looking forward and not back.
That Ender is seen needing his 'sister' to save himself.
Trying to figure out the end of the book.
As the third book in a trilogy where you know the characters bringing additional depth to them without being predictable or trite is a real challenge. This book meets that, strong plot that can carry the listener - yet the topics, ideas and moral dilemmas are worthy of deep consideration. The narration is outstanding. Absolutely 5 stars
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