Monday, December 29, 2008
Speaker for the Dead
This is book two of Mr. Card's 'Ender' series, the first one being "Ender's Game." This book, to me, had a very different feel. The first book felt...isolated. We're all alone with Ender, enduring all the horrible trials he's being put through in the first book. "Speaker.." doesn't feel as "sci-fi" as the first. It has more characters fleshed out. We get get to meet and experience more of them.
"Speaker.." continues Ender's story. He is 35, but over 3,000 years have passed since the first book. (It has to do with space travel at light speed or something. You don't age as fast when you're in interstellar flight. Something like that).
Ender is on a quest to find a new home for the Hive Queen, while trying to make some kind of personal amend for what he was made to do to buggers (what the entire galaxy blames him for), by being a Speaker for the Dead (unbeknownst to the galaxy, the original Speaker. No one knows the original Ender and the original Speaker for the Dead are the same person, or that either one is alive after 3,000 years.)
We head to Lusitania, a newly populated world where a new species of intelligent being is found. The galaxy is so afraid they will do to this new species what they did 3,000 years ago to the buggers, what they blame Ender for, that they maintain a very hands-off approach to studying and interacting with them. Lusitania is extremely Catholic, which I found rather odd for a Sci-fi book. Odd just in that it mentions religion at all. The inhabitants are strictly Catholic and also Portuguese, so that threw another spin on the customs.
A series of events leads to the death of two "anthropologist" (I think they're called xenologists in the book) and to fears of this newly discovered life-form. Ender is called to Speak for the dead scientists and in the process heals a community and specifically a family torn apart by their deaths, as well as helping discover the true reason why the scientists were, in the eyes of the humans, tortured and murdered.
I enjoyed this one more than the first book and will continue on with Mr. Card's series.