Brand : Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card (1992-08-15)

Not4prophet |

A complete work in itself

Orson scott card came up with the central idea of "speaker for the dead" before "ender's game", and after you read both books you'll understand why he originally thought of "ender's game" as just an introduction. the two books are separate works that share only their one major character. "speaker" is set three-thousand years later, when ender is still alive because of the relativistic effects of space travel. he's spent the time wandering among various planets settled by humans and speaking the deaths of various people, a newly invented ritual where he attempts to tell the deceased's entire life story from an impartial perspective. on the planet of lusitania, meanwhile, humanity has encountered a new and intelligent, but technologically primitive species known as the pequinos. because the destruction of the buggers is now viewed as the worst crime in human history, this new lifeform is seen as a chance for redemption. "speaker for the dead" is a big, ambitious work, and its topics and goals are very different from those in "ender's game". while the idea of alien contact does get mentioned quite a bit, large portions of the book are also focused on the experiences of one particular family whose members work with the pequinos. religion plays a big role in this book, and card has a unique vision of how authority, in terms of both church and government, will be organized in the future. like all of the very best science fiction novels, "speaker of the dead" presents us with a lot of original insights about the future of human society, and raises countless questions that are relevant to us today. card's writing is, needless to say, outstanding. while reading "speaker for the dead", i was constantly stunned by his accurate dialogue, and by the way that he is able to bring a huge and diverse cast of characters to life. it's interesting to note that card spends almost no time on descriptions, yet he still effectively communicates the look and feel of almost every location in the book. "speaker for the dead" shows us one of the greatest authors of a generation at the top of his game; it's a book that nobody should miss.

Kh |

Like fruit in your cereal

Speaker for the dead (the first sequel to ender's game) rolls up the entire plot of the first novel and tosses it in the trashcan. ender's game was based on descriptive, fast-paced action. it was a good novel and had a fine plot, but like most sequels to action films, the same thing wasn't likely to work again. to the shock of all, our main-man ender retires from his career in the military and takes up religion. he becomes a speaker for the dead. he goes to funerals and basically gives a biography (to be interpreted by those who attend) for the person who has died. ender is requested to speak the death of a man on the planet lusitania, the only other planet known that contains a second intelligent species- the pequeninos, and with them, a virus deadly to humans, but as essential as air to the pequeninos. ender meets the ribiera family, the family that called for him. he goes about his business, finding facts needed for him to speak the death. but the town is keeping things from him. using his cool temper, placid tone of voice, and kind personality, he breaks the secrets held by the ribieras and tries to bring the family back together after decades of hatred while gathering information for the speaking. on top of this, the pequeninos (also called "piggies") have been killing the scientists observing them. the piggies are still in their caveman days of evolution and want all the technological advances humans have. but government ruling won't permit this, stating that the piggies need to evolve on their own. while some scientists are trying to find the reasons for the killings, others are unsure as to whether they should help the piggies or follow the government's ruling. both ender and the situation with the pequeninos contribute fairly to the plot with neither overpowering the other. this book provides a new angle to the man once though of as only a military celebrity and adds different elements for the continued success of the stories. it is an excellent continuation of the ender series, giving the reader a new, refreshing, but different taste.

Arethree |

More of the same good story!

Orson scott card sure hooked me with the first book, and now i am into the shadow series, because he just keeps adding more into the gaps and spaces that existed in the first book - the broad strokes - and now he is going back and filling in the details. great storytelling, good characters, deep questions.