2.0 out of 5 stars
Lack of knowledge hinders this book, Jan. 24 2001
I will be very blunt in this review, even though I have been a huge fan of Mr. Card since reading Ender's Game over ten years ago, this latest effort of his just fars fall short of bar he set for himself. The problem is that he writes a novel that deals with the military strategies and political intrigues of a world nearly two hundred years from now, but it appears without actually having thought how advances in technology would effect this. His idea of combat is actually outdated for this day and age, the over use of armor and discussion of supply lines actually comes from WWII military thought.
Anyone who has read Brookings Institute reports or bothered to ever read even Scientific America or such info would know that the future is to be based more around the individual soldier, who will be very much like the Mobile Infantry in Robert Heinlein's classic Starship troopers, which was written in 1959.
At least with Ender's Game he was descirbing combat that was nonexistent in our day and age and was purely theoretical, he could then enjoy descibing those battles in his own personal way. But when choosing to write a military-political back on our homeground you have to be that much more aware of "realism".
Also as student of Political Science, I think Mr. Card's understanding of world affairs and interactions is very basic and actually, for anyone who is also in that field of thought very "traditionalist" or "realist". For others its dated to again a pre-WWII philosophy. Again I think it fails to accept the modifications to human interaction that have occured in the last twenty years alone due to technology advances. His net is about as advanced as the internet is today, if at all.
I think in reading the Afterword he left in the book one understands why Mr. Card's vision is so limited. He claims knowledge on subjects from having one book in the area, and in one case on Thailand the concise history. I have read Guns, Germs and Steel, as Mr. Card has and highly recommend it as well, but one of the points of that book which Mr. Card misses is that dynamic changes in technology, through the luck of viral competition and the societies that arise from climate farming techniques, that are unexpected can make all the difference between a Spain conquering the Aztecs or the Aztecs conquering Spain.
Mr. Card though writing interesting characters, creates a world, where even thought there was a political stagnation due to the Bugger Wars, there has been no attempt to advance or theorize how that society is different from today, beyond pulling the old stock bit that sci-fi writers have been using since the 60s that America will go into decline and become a second rate power.