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Xenocide [Audio Cassette]

Orson Scott Card , Scott Brick , Gabrielle De Cuir
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (173 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

Orson Scott Card's Xenocide is a space opera with verve. In this continuation of Ender Wiggin's story, the Starways Congress has sent a fleet to immolate the rebellious planet of Lusitania, home to the alien race of pequeninos, and home to Ender Wiggin and his family. Concealed on Lusitania is the only remaining Hive Queen, who holds a secret that may save or destroy humanity throughout the galaxy. Familiar characters from the previous novels continue to grapple with religious conflicts and family squabbles while inventing faster-than-light travel and miraculous virus treatments. Throw into the mix an entire planet of mad geniuses and a self-aware computer who wants to be a martyr, and it's hard to guess who will topple the first domino. Due to the densely woven and melodramatic nature of the story, newcomers to Ender's tale will want to start reading this series with the first books, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. --Brooks Peck --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

As the penultimate story in the series that began with the impeccable Ender's Game, this volume is essential for fans but neither the book nor audio rise to the level of the first two volumes. The planet Lusitania is home to a small Portuguese colony, a newly discovered sentient race called the Pequininos, the last surviving Hive Queen of the Buggers, and Descolada, a virus that will destroy the human race if it gets off-planet. Because of the virus, a starship fleet is dispatched to destroy Lusitania. On the distant Chinese world of Path, a young pious girl influences history by uncovering secrets kept well-buried for millennia and in the process sealing the fate of both Lusitania and Path. The sanctimonious tone used by the girl's reader has great depth and fits the character so perfectly that she creates a fully dimensional, aggravating character. The pacing is as uneven as the cast's ability to maintain their Chinese and Portuguese accents. The music is randomly placed throughout and loses its effectiveness. A great deal of talent went into this production and while the good parts dominate, this is still a weaker effort in the series. Available as a TOR paperback. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- A fitting culmination to the marvelous trilogy that began with Ender's Game (1985) and continued in Speaker for the Dead (1986, both TOR). Once started, Xenocide is almost impossible to put down. It continues the conflicts with the Penuininos (the alien race infected with a deadly virus); the Hive Queen and her workers; and the humans, including Ender, on Lusitania. What makes this title so fascinating are the new characters introduced here: Gloriously Bright and her father/mentor Han Fei-tzu, two of the ruling class on the planet Path. Their Chinese heritage, combined with their "possession" by obsessive-compulsive disorder, makes for an intriguing situation. The philosophical nature of this novel may be frustrating for some readers, and hardware fanatics may be disappointed by a solution that ventures into the more speculative realms of physics. For everyone else, however, Xenocide successfully pulls together all of the various themes Card has explored in this series. It will appeal not only to his fans, but also to readers of the speculative fiction of David Brin and Greg Bear. A thought-provoking, insightful, and powerfully written volume that no library should be without. --Cathy Chauvette & John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

As an armed fleet from Starways Congress hurtles through space toward the rebellious planet Lusitania, Ender Wiggin, his sister Valentine, and his family search for a miracle that will preserve the existence of three intelligent and vastly different species. 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. Above all, Card is a thinker--and this meaty, graceful, and provoking sequel to Ender's Game ( LJ 2/15/85) and Speaker for the Dead ( LJ 2/15/86) stands as a brilliant testimony to his thoughtfulness. A priority purchase.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Sequel to Ender's Game (1984) and Speaker for the Dead (1986), exploring the problems of alien contact and coexistence on planet Lusitania, where now three intelligent species dwell: human colonists; ``buggers'' (an arachnoid Hive Queen reasserts herself after the near extinction of her species in the human-bugger war); and the indigenous ``piggies,'' who, after a horrid flaying-alive ceremony, metamorphose into sapient trees. But the planet is rife with descolada virus; this mediates the transformation of piggies into trees, but in humans mutates into a deadly, ineradicable plague. Rather than permit the descolada to spread, Earth sends a battle fleet to blast Lusitania. Once again, Ender Wiggin and his sister Valentine will play prominent roles in the search for a solution--the upshot being, thanks to time travel, a ``rescolada'' rescue-virus that promises to turn a potential plague into a fabulous biological tool. Splendid plotting--if you can stomach Card's repulsive transcendence-through-torture notions; and, what with the frequent, irksome, and interminable theological/philosophical interludes, it's hard to escape the conclusion that Card's true purpose here is to preach rather than simply tell a story. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In his afterword, Card declares, 'The ideal presentation of any book of mine is to have excellent actors perform it in audio-only format,' and he gets his wish. Card's phenomenal emotional depth comes through in the quiet, carefully paced speech of each performer. This is a wonderful way to experience Card's best-known and most celebrated work, both for longtime fans and for newcomers." --Publishers Weekly on ENDER'S GAME

"The characters are memorable and the pace quick. An Earphones Award winner when originally released, this audiobook is well deserving of listeners' time."
-- AudioFile magazine on ENDER'S GAME
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ORSON SCOTT CARD was the first writer to receive both the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row, first for Ender’s Game and then for the sequel Speaker for the Dead. He lives with his wife and children in North Carolina.
 

Scott Brick first began narrating audiobooks in 2000, and after recording almost 400 titles in five years, AudioFile magazine named Brick a Golden Voice and “one of the fastest-rising stars in the audiobook galaxy.” He has read a number of titles in Frank Herbert’s bestselling Dune series, and he won the 2003 Science Fiction Audie Award for Dune: The Butlerian Jihad. Brick has narrated for many popular authors, including Michael Pollan, Joseph Finder, Tom Clancy, and Ayn Rand. He has also won over 40 AudioFile Earphones Awards and the AudioFile award for Best Voice in Mystery and Suspense 2011. In 2007, Brick was named Publishers Weekly’s Narrator of the Year.

 

Gabrielle de Cuir is a Grammy-nominated and Audie Award-winning producer whose narrating credits include the voice of Valentine in Orson Scott Card’s Ender novels, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Tombs of Atuan, and Natalie Angier’s Woman, for which she was awarded AudioFile magazine’s Golden Earphones. She lives in Los Angeles where she also directs theatre and presently has several projects in various stages of development for film.
 
Amanda Karr is an award-winning actress and director. In addition to television appearances on The Guardian and Days of Our Lives, Amanda has played Zelda Fitzgerald in the critically acclaimed musical Tender. On audio, she can be heard as the voice of Ender's cyber-friend, Jane, and as Pancho Lane in Ben Bova's Planet series.
 
John Rubinstein, a successful actor, has been seen in the films Jekyll, Choose Conner, The Truth About Layla, and 21 Grams. He has been featured in the television shows The Young and the Restless, Greek, Desperate Housewives, Day Break, Criminal Minds, Cold Case, CSI and Law & Order. John has read a number of audiobooks by such authors as Jonathan Kellerman, Orson Scott Card, Tom Clancy, and Gabriel Brownstein.
 
Stefan Rudnicki was born in Poland and now resides in Studio City, California. He has narrated more than 100 audiobooks, and has participated in more than a thousand as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He is a recipient of multiple Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as a Grammy Award as an audiobook producer. Along with casts of other narrators, Stefan has read a number of Orson Scott Card's best-selling science fiction novels, published by Macmillan Audio. In reviewing the 20th anniversary edition audiobook of Card’s Ender's Game, Publishers Weekly stated, "Card's phenomenal emotional depth comes through in the quiet, carefully paced speech of each performer...In particular, Rudnicki, with his lulling, sonorous voice, does a fine job articulating Ender's inner struggle between the kind, peaceful boy he wants to be and the savage, violent actions he is frequently forced to take. This is a wonderful way to experience Card's best-known and most celebrated work, both for longtime fans and for newcomers."
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

XENOCIDE (Chapter 1: A PARTING)

<Today one of the brothers asked me: Is it a terrible prison, not to be able to move from the place where you’re standing?>

<You answered …>

<I told him that I am now more free than he is. The inability to move frees me from the obligation to act.>

<You who speak languages, you are such liars.>

 

Han Fei-tzu sat in lotus position on the bare wooden floor beside his wife’s sickbed. Until a moment ago he might have been sleeping; he wasn’t sure. But now he was aware of the slight change in her breathing, a change as subtle as the wind from a butterfly’s passing.

Jiang-qing, for her part, must also have detected some change in him, for she had not spoken before and now she did speak. Her voice was very soft. But Han Fei-tzu could hear her clearly, for the house was silent. He had asked his friends and servants for stillness during the dusk of Jiang-qing’s life. Time enough for careless noise during the long night that was to come, when there would be no hushed words from her lips.

“Still not dead,” she said. She had greeted him with these words each time she woke during the past few days. At first the words had seemed whimsical or ironic to him, but now he knew that she spoke with disappointment. She longed for death now, not because she hadn’t loved life, butbecause death was now unavoidable, and what cannot be shunned must be embraced. That was the Path. Jiang-qing had never taken a step away from the Path in her life.

“Then the gods are kind to me,” said Han Fei-tzu.

“To you,” she breathed. “What do we contemplate?”

It was her way of asking him to share his private thoughts with her. When others asked his private thoughts, he felt spied upon. But Jiang-qing asked only so that she could also think the same thought; it was part of their having become a single soul.

“We are contemplating the nature of desire,” said Han Fei-tzu.

“Whose desire?” she asked. “And for what?”

My desire for your bones to heal and become strong, so that they don’t snap at the slightest pressure. So that you could stand again, or even raise an arm without your own muscles tearing away chunks of bone or causing the bone to break under the tension. So that I wouldn’t have to watch you wither away until now you weigh only eighteen kilograms. I never knew how perfectly happy we were until I learned that we could not stay together.

“i“My desire,” he answered. “For you.”

“You only covet what you do not have.’ Who said that?”

“You did,” said Han Fei-tzu. “Some say, ‘what you i cannot have.’ Others say, ‘what you i should not have.’ I say, ‘You can truly covet only what you will always hunger for.’”

“You have me forever.”

“I will lose you tonight. Or tomorrow. Or next week.”

“Let us contemplate the nature of desire,” said Jiang-qing. As before, she was using philosophy to pull him out of his brooding melancholy.

He resisted her, but only playfully. “You are a harsh ruler,” said Han Fei-tzu. “Like your ancestor-of-the-heart, you make no allowance for other people’s frailty.” Jiang-qing was named for a revolutionary leader of the ancient past, who had tried to lead the people onto a new Path but was overthrown by weak-hearted cowards. It was not right, thought Han Fei-tzu, for his wife to die before him: her ancestor-of-the-heart had outlived her husband. Besides, wives i should live longer than husbands. Women were more complete inside themselves. They were also better at living in their children. They were never as solitary as a man alone.

Jiang-qing refused to let him return to brooding. “When a man’s wife is dead, what does he long for?”

Rebelliously, Han Fei-tzu gave her the most false answer to her question. “To lie with her,” he said.

“The desire of the body,” said Jiang-qing.

Since she was determined to have this conversation, Han Fei-tzu took up the catalogue for her. “The desire of the body is to act. It includes all touches, casual and intimate, and all customary movements. Thus he sees a movement out of the corner of his eye, and thinks he has seen his dead wifemoving across the doorway, and he cannot be content until he has walked to the door and seen that it was not his wife. Thus he wakes up from a dream in which he heard her voice, and finds himself speaking his answer aloud as if she could hear him.”

“What else?” asked Jiang-qing.

“I’m tired of philosophy,” said Han Fei-tzu. “Maybe the Greeks found comfort in it, but not me.”

“The desire of the spirit,” said Jiang-qing, insisting.

“Because the spirit is of the earth, it is that part which makes new things out of old ones. The husband longs for all the unfinished things that he and his wife were making when she died, and all the unstarted dreams of what they would have made if she had lived. Thus a man grows angry at his children for being too much like him and not enough like his dead wife. Thus a man hates the house they lived in together, because either he does not change it, so that it is as dead as his wife, or because he i does change it, so that it is no longer half of her making.”

“You don’t have to be angry at our little Qing-jao,” said Jiang-qing.

“Why?” asked Han Fei-tzu. “Will you stay, then, and help me teach her to be a woman? All I can teach her is to be what i I am—cold and hard, sharp and strong, like obsidian. If she grows like that, while she looks so much like you, how can I help but be angry?”

“Because you can teach her everything that I am, too,” said Jiang-qing.

“If I had any part of you in me,” said Han Fei-tzu, “I would not have needed to marry you to become a complete person.” Now he teased her by using philosophy to turn the conversation away from pain. “That is the desire of the soul. Because the soul is made of light and dwells in air, it is that part which conceives and keeps ideas, especially the idea of the self. The husband longs for his whole self, which was made of the husband and wife together. Thus he never believes any of his own thoughts, because there is always a question in his mind to which his wife’s thoughts were the only possible answer. Thus the whole world seems dead to him because he cannot trust anything to keep its meaning before the onslaught of this unanswerable question.”

“Very deep,” said Jiang-qing.

“If I were Japanese I would commit seppuku, spilling my bowel into the jar of your ashes.”

“Very wet and messy,” she said.

He smiled. “Then I should be an ancient Hindu, and burn myself on your pyre.”

But she was through with joking. “Qing-jao,” she whispered. She was reminding him he could do nothing so flamboyant as to die with her. There was little Qing-jao to care for.

So Han Fei-tzu answered her seriously. “How can I teach her to be what you are?”

“All that is good in me,” said Jiang-qing, “comes from the Path. If you teach her to obey the gods, honor the ancestors, love the people, and serve the rulers, I will be in her as much as you are.”

“I would teach her the Path as part of myself,” said Han Fei-tzu.

“Not so,” said Jiang-qing. “The Path is not a natural part of you, my husband. Even with the gods speaking to you every day, you insist on believing in a world where everything can be explained by natural causes.”

“I obey the gods.” He thought, bitterly, that he had no choice; that even to delay obedience was torture.

“But you don’t i know them. You don’t love their works.”

“The Path is to love the people. The gods we only obey.” How can I love gods who humiliate me and torment me at every opportunity?

“We love the people because they are creatures of the gods.”

“Don’t preach to me.”

She sighed.

Her sadness stung him like a spider. “I wish you would preach to me forever,” said Han Fei-tzu.

“You married me because you knew I loved the gods, and that love for them was completely missing from yourself. That was how I completed you.”

How could he argue with her, when he knew that even now he hated the gods for everything they had ever done to him, everything they had ever made him do, everything they had stolen from him in his life.

“Promise me,” said Jiang-qing.

He knew what these words meant. She felt death upon her; she was laying the burden of her life upon him. A burden he would gladly bear. It was losing her company on the Path that he had dreaded for so long.

“Promise that you will teach Qing-jao to love the gods and walk always on the Path. Promise that you will make her as much my daughter as yours.”

“Even if she never hears the voice of the gods?”

“The Path is for everyone, not just the godspoken.”

Perhaps, thought Han Fei-tzu, but it was much easier for the godspoken to follow the Path, because to them the price for straying from it was so terrible. The common people were free; they could leave the Path and not feel the pain of it for years. The godspoken couldn’t leave the Path for an hour.

“Promise me.”

I will. I promise.

But he couldn’t say the words out loud. He did not know why, but his reluctance was deep.

In the silence, as she waited for his vow, they heard the sound of running feet on the gravel outside the front door of the house. It could only be Qing-jao, home from the garden of Sun Cao-pi. Only Qing-jao was allowed torun and make noise during this time of hush. They waited, knowing that she would come straight to her mother’s room.

The door slid open almost noiselessly. Even Qing-jao had caught enough of the hush to walk softly when she was actually in the presence of her mother. Though she walked on tiptoe, she could hardly keep from dancing, almost galloping across the floor. But she did not fling her arms around her mother’s neck; she remembered that lesson even though the terrible bruise had faded from Jiang-qing’s face, where Qing-jao’s eager embrace had broken her jaw three months ago.

“I counted twenty-three white carp in the garden stream,” said Qing-jao.

“So many,” said Jiang-qing.

“I think they were showing themselves to me,” said Qing-jao. “So I could count them. None of them wanted to be left out.”

“Love you,” whispered Jiang-qing.

Han Fei-tzu heard a new sound in her breathy voice—a popping sound, like bubbles bursting with her words.

“Do you think that seeing so many carp means that I will be godspoken?” asked Qing-jao.

“I will ask the gods to speak to you,” said Jiang-qing.

Suddenly Jiang-qing’s breathing became quick and harsh. Han Fei-tzu immediately knelt and looked at his wife. Her eyes were wide and frightened. The moment had come.

Her lips moved. Promise me, she said, though her breath could make no sound but gasping.

“I promise,” said Han Fei-tzu.

Then her breathing stopped.

“What do the gods say when they talk to you?” asked Qing-jao.

“Your mother is very tired,” said Han Fei-tzu. “You should go out now.”

“But she didn’t answer me. What do the gods say?”

“They tell secrets,” said Han Fei-tzu. “No one who hears will repeat them.”

Qing-jao nodded wisely. She took a step back, as if to leave, but stopped. “May I kiss you, Mama?”

“Lightly on the cheek,” said Han Fei-tzu.

Qing-jao, being small for a four-year-old, did not have to bend very far at all to kiss her mother’s cheek. “I love you, Mama.”

“You’d better leave now, Qing-jao,” said Han Fei-tzu.

“But Mama didn’t say she loved me too.”

“She did. She said it before. Remember? But she’s very tired and weak. Go now.”

He put just enough sternness in his voice that Qing-jao left without further questions. Only when she was gone did Han Fei-tzu let himself feel anything but care for her. He knelt over Jiang-qing’s body and tried to imagine what was happening to her now. Her soul had flown and was nowalready in heaven. Her spirit would linger much longer; perhaps her spirit would dwell in this house, if it had truly been a place of happiness for her. Superstitious people believed that all spirits of the dead were dangerous, and put up signs and wards to fend them off. But those who followed the Path knew that the spirit of a good person was never harmful or destructive, for their goodness in life had come from the spirit’s love of making things. Jiang-qing’s spirit would be a blessing in the house for many years to come, if she chose to stay.

Yet even as he tried to imagine her soul and spirit, according to the teachings of the Path, there was a cold place in his heart that was certain that all that was left of Jiang-qing was this brittle, dried-up body. Tonight it would burn as quickly as paper, and then she would be gone except for the memories in his heart.

Jiang-qing was right. Without her to complete his soul, he was already doubting the gods. And the gods had noticed—they always did. At once he felt the unbearable pressure to do the ritual of cleansing, until he was rid of his unworthy thoughts. Even now they could not leave him unpunished. Even now, with his wife lying dead before him, the gods insisted that he do obeisance to them before he could shed a single tear of grief for her.

At first he meant to delay, to put off obedience. He had schooled himself to be able to postpone the ritual for as long as a whole day, while hiding all outward signs of his inner torment. He could do that now—but only by keeping his heart utterly cold. There was no point in that. Proper grief could come only when he had satisfied the gods. So, kneeling there, he began the ritual.

He was still twisting and gyrating with the ritual when a servant peered in. Though the servant said nothing, Han Fei-tzu heard the faint sliding of the door and knew what the servant would assume: Jiang-qing was dead, and Han Fei-tzu was so righteous that he was communing with the gods even before he announced her death to the household. No doubt some would even suppose that the gods had come to take Jiang-qing, since she was known for her extraordinary holiness. No one would guess that even as Han Fei-tzu worshiped, his heart was full of bitterness that the gods would dare demand this of him even now.

O Gods, he thought, if I knew that by cutting off an arm or cutting out my liver I could be rid of you forever, I would seize the knife and relish the pain and loss, all for the sake of freedom.

That thought, too, was unworthy, and required even more cleansing. It was hours before the gods at last released him, and by then he was too tired, too sick at heart to grieve. He got up and fetched the women to prepare Jiang-qing’s body for the burning.

At midnight he was the last to come to the pyre, carrying a sleepy Qing-jao in his arms. She clutched in her hands the three papers she had written for her mother in her childish scrawl. “Fish,” she had written, and “book”and “secrets.” These were the things that Qing-jao was giving to her mother to carry with her into heaven. Han Fei-tzu had tried to guess at the thoughts in Qing-jao’s mind as she wrote those words. i Fish because of the carp in the garden stream today, no doubt. And i book—that was easy enough to understand, because reading aloud was one of the last things Jiang-qing could do with her daughter. But why i secrets? What secrets did Qing-jao have for her mother? He could not ask. One did not discuss the paper offerings to the dead.

Han Fei-tzu set Qing-jao on her feet; she had not been deeply asleep, and so she woke at once and stood there, blinking slowly. Han Fei-tzu whispered to her and she rolled her papers and tucked them into her mother’s sleeve. She didn’t seem to mind touching her mother’s cold flesh—she was too young to have learned to shudder at the touch of death.

Nor did Han Fei-tzu mind the touch of his wife’s flesh as he tucked his own three papers into her other sleeve. What was there to fear from death now, when it had already done its worst?

No one knew what was written on his papers, or they would have been horrified, for he had written, “My body,” “My spirit,” and “My soul.” Thus it was that he burned himself on Jiang-qing’s funeral pyre, and sent himself with her wherever it was she was going.

Then Jiang-qing’s secret maid, Mu-pao, laid the torch onto the sacred wood and the pyre burst into flames. The heat of the fire was painful, and Qing-jao hid herself behind her father, only peeking around him now and then to watch her mother leave on her endless journey. Han Fei-tzu, though, welcomed the dry heat that seared his skin and made brittle the silk of his robe. Her body had not been as dry as it seemed; long after the papers had crisped into ash and blown upward into the smoke of the fire, her body still sizzled, and the heavy incense burning all around the fire could not conceal from him the smell of burning flesh. That is what we’re burning here: meat, fish, carrion, nothing. Not my Jiang-qing. Only the costume she wore into this life. That which made that body into the woman that I loved is still alive, i must still live. And for a moment he thought he could see, or hear, or somehow i feel the passage of Jiang-qing.

Into the air, into the earth, into the fire. I am with you.

XENOCIDE Copyright © 1991 by Orson Scott Card

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From AudioFile

Book Three in the popular Ender Quartet is meticulously directed by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, who also narrate the novel, along with an ensemble cast. XENOCIDE follows the lives of the humans, a race called the pequeninos, and the insectoid Hive Queen on Lusitania as the Starways Congress prepares to wipe out all life on that planet. Each chapter is introduced with an eerie dialogue between the Hive Queen (de Cuir) and a sentient tree (Scott Brick). A different narrator reads each of the various subplots. At the close of this audiobook, author Card speaks for four minutes about the series and its audio adaptation. S.E.S. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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