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5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity isn't judged by biology alone
Some argue that this book was superior in all ways to Ender's Game. I agree that the story was wonderful, detailed, mysterious, and well-researched, and overall I'd say it was a very powerful novel. Stylistically, this one's superior.

I still enjoyed reading Ender's Game more, though.

Don't get me wrong. Speaker for the Dead is a wonderful novel, and...
Published on Dec 31 2010 by Ria (Bibliotropic)

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The average reader's review guide....report......thing
Ok I dont read a huge amount of books so for anyone that just casually reads like me then maybe my review will be more relevent to you. Ok im a pretty huge fantasy setting kind of guy Lord of the rings,Terry Pratchett, that sort of thing. But im actually a closet trekker from the 80's and a huge star wars fan so science fiction is an interest of mine but not so much in...
Published on March 8 2004 by J. R. Buck


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5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity isn't judged by biology alone, Dec 31 2010
By 
Ria (Bibliotropic) (Saint John, New Brunswick Canada) - See all my reviews
Some argue that this book was superior in all ways to Ender's Game. I agree that the story was wonderful, detailed, mysterious, and well-researched, and overall I'd say it was a very powerful novel. Stylistically, this one's superior.

I still enjoyed reading Ender's Game more, though.

Don't get me wrong. Speaker for the Dead is a wonderful novel, and I'm glad to have read it. The book before it just appealed to my interests more. That being said, though, it's interesting to see just how Ender grew up, how he became a different person and yet still showed signs of the killer-child he used to be.

I'm still a sucker for cultural relativism, though, and this book had that in spades. What might be appalling to us is perfectly normal, even respected within other cultures, and learning to see past ourselves is very often the key to solving the mystery and understanding others. The way Card handled the killings of the humans by the piggies was wonderful to read, and trying to solve it kept me amused through the book. ("Is this why they did it? Or maybe because of this?")

I applaud the man for the research that he put into the writing of this novel, in linguistics and anthropology and biology. The little details made everything so believable, so realistic, that when his smooth writing style drew me in, I forgot everything around me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars `No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless.', Nov. 25 2010
Three thousand years ago, Ender Wiggin completely destroyed the alien race known as the Buggers. Ender disappeared after and was reviled for this xenocide: the total destruction of the only other known race of sentient beings known in the galaxy. A powerful voice - the Speaker for the Dead - came to be heard: telling the true story of the Bugger War.

A new race of beings was discovered on the recently settled planet of Lusitania. This discovery, of a race the humans called the Pequininos, (also known as `the Piggies') was seen as an opportunity to atone for the destruction of the Buggers. And thus, to avoid any tragic misunderstandings that might lead to war, strict rules have been put in place to prevent the human colonists from influencing the evolution of the piggies. Only trained xenobiologists are permitted to interact with the Piggies, and contact is limited.

`The piggies were not to be disturbed.'

Over time, two xenobiolologists are killed by the Piggies in what appears to be a bizarre fashion. One consequence of each death is that a Speaker for the Dead is called for a different member of the colony. A Speaker is summoned, and travels to Lusitania. In order to speak for the dead, he also has to understand the living and this includes both the Piggies and the human colonists.

It happens that the Speaker who responds to the request is the original Speaker for the Dead, Ender Wiggin himself, and he has another mission as well.

`On his starship, Ender Wiggin had no notion of the freight of other people's dreams he carried with him.'

I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to `Ender's Game', and am looking forward to reading the third novel in this series. This book could be read and enjoyed on its own, but I'd strongly recommend reading the series in order. Orson Scott Card has created a fierce, complex world occupied by beings with a mixture of historical, contemporary and likely future problems.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever, July 15 2004
By 
Shon Tamblyn (Carmichael, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, along with ENDER'S GAME both rate as some of the best books ever written.
I remember when I discovered SPEAKER as a freshman in high school. Ender's Game had been one of my favorites since childhood, and over the years I had heard rumors of a second in the saga. On a school trip I entered a book store and discovered not only was there a second book in the Ender Series, but a third. I felt like I had discovered a buried treasure. I rushed back to my hotel room, ripped open the front cover and was shocked by what I found.
Ender was no longer the child that I loved, but a 45 year old man. The book takes place 3000 years after the first (Ender is still alive due to almost constant near-light speed travel). Instead of being the savior of the world as he was in the first book, Ender is the equivallent of satan, and he is the one who wrote the "scripture" that is used against him. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the book.
To make a long story short...I loved the book, but it did take some getting used to, as I had grown very attached to a much younger and different character. The book had moved onto more of a philisophical tone, a tone that as a child I had completely overlooked (but is still present to a minor degree) in the first book. I can't say I completely understood the philosophy in this book, but the intrigue and mysteries that were unravled by Ender helped to keep my interest, and as I have read it many times over the years, social issues continue to emerge that I had not considered before.
After finishing SPEAKER, I tried to compare it to ENDER'S GAME. It is like comparing apples to oranges. Both book were great in their own way and it is extremely difficult to decide which book was actually better.
I leave it to you. Decide for yourself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of sequel that you will thoroughly enjoy., July 6 2004
By 
Travis Stein (Houston, TX (USA)) - See all my reviews
Card does not go the traditional route with sequels to books as many authors have done in the past. Speaker For The Dead is meant to be a standalone book , which means you do not have to have read Ender's Game to understand what goes on in the book. However, Speaker For The Dead is a sequel in the sense that some of the background is needed from Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow to get fully what the book is talking about when it refers to Ender the Xenocide and Peter the Hegemon, and so forth. However, reading Ender's Game is not critical to the actual story itself. Speaker for the Dead follows the raveged with guilt Ender Wiggin to the world of Trondheim. Ender and Valetine are currently stationed after their choice to not return to Earth where Ender could be used as a pawn for warring nations. Ender is a teacher at a local university as is Valentine. However, Ender get's a call to go to the distant world of Luisitania to speak the death of Marcao, the husband of one of the central characters in the novel (Novinha). Still looking for that one world where the bugger hive queen may finally be hatched again to thrive and live in peace among the human worlds, Ender takes the call to become Lusitania's Speaker of the Dead. This novel will not disappoint any readers that were fans from the first book. The novel is a bit more mature as Ender thanks to space travel is in his mid-30's (which is more around the figure of 3,000 years). Also laced with interesting philosophical arguments (though not buried with them as Xenocide was) and a mature but yet fascinating storyline, Speaker for the Dead is a good read for any fan of the Ender's Series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My all-time favorite book - full stop!, June 16 2004
By 
thoughtstorms "thoughtstorms" (Arlington, Texas, USA, North America. Earth, Sol System, Milky Way, Universe) - See all my reviews
Seriously.
It does take some 'work' - the Portugese names are an enjoyable challenge to pronounce right - even in your head. The story is COMPLEX and brilliant. It is a standalone book - you need not have read "Ender's Game" (somecentury to a theatre near you!) to read and love this book.
If you give it your reader's 'all' - i predict it will move you and open new thoughts you never imagined. The entire series is like this, but for my mind - this one is the best. It is satisfying - even with threads left dangling! The growing series of books built around Ender Wiggin are worth the money and time to acquire and devour ... or maybe you'll savour them slower.
Speaker for the Dead - i have read now in excess of 5 times. More than the rest. It contains a novel system of ... let us say 'dealing with bereavement' in what i see as a healthy and fulfilling way.
That is all you get from me on this subject. I'll not blunt the sense of discovery that makes this book uniquely powerful - to me at least.
WHEN you have absorbed the book and\or the series ; and when you decide the writer is a brilliant voice to be cherished - i highly recommend the following books by him (in no particular order):
"Wyrms"
"Memory of Earth" (the city of Basillica is maybe THE place in all of fiction to which i would permanently relocate.)
"Treason" (- or if you can find the older version "Planet Called Treason"
ALL of "Maps in a Mirror" - specifically 'The Originist' and "Breaking the Game' .
"Pastwatch - the Redemption of Christopher Columbus"
"Red Prophet" (my choice for best in the 'Alvin Maker' series)
Most of his books and some short stories compilations have the first few chapters (depending on length) available to read online for free at his site:
[...]
Thank me later - or i welcome the discussion of any of Card's works!
-keith-
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected treasure!, April 23 2004
By 
Vahania63 (Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
Ce commentaire est de: Speaker for the Dead (Paperback)
Somehow I missed Ender series and when I started to read it now, the first book, 'Ender's Game', didn't impress me so much (I am not saying it was a bad novel, it just wasn't up to the hype surrounding it). But 'Speaker for the Dead' was totally different. It's more a phylosophical book then just sci-fi (many present sci-fi attributes notwithstanding). It covers many interesting aspects of religion, ethics, etc. The planet and aliens living there are just a background for this book. The only shortcoming for me originate in its advantage - I didn't feel good coonnection with the first book, both in the plot and novel structure and in character development. I would think that Ender in the second book is a totally different person, even taking into the account the age difference. Some plot developments looks unsubstantiated (such as travel to different planets that allowed Ender to stay young), but since that is not a main point in this book (at least for me) it didn't bother me.
I am moving to the next Ender' book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary Reading for Lovers of Sci Fi, April 11 2004
By 
stephanie314 (San Antonio, TX USA) - See all my reviews
Orson Scott Card is by far my favorite author of any kind of genre. I fell in love with his books when I was about eleven years old and read Ender's Game, the prequel to this book which tells the story of child prodigies who are forced to train for war at a very early age with the hope of destroying an alien menace. This book rang so true to me that I have read it more times than any other novel. Yet, while Ender's Game is still probably my favorite book of all time, it is quite a bit less mature than Speaker for the Dead, which tells the story of what happens to the protagonist of the first book, Ender, after he leaves the armed services at the tender age of fifteen as a hardened soldier. Speaker for the Dead explores what I feel to be one of the most poignant of all human emotions, regret, and provides a rare glimpse in fiction of the effects of a dysfunctional family on children. Equally impressive is the ability of Card to create two distinct alien species that the reader cares for but cannot relate to. The book itself is comprised of so many twists and turns that revealing anything else would almost ruin the story, but suffice it to say that Card has never disappointed me yet (except in his books about Mormonism - oh well, we can't all be perfect...).
It seems that most people's problem with this book is that it is not a repeat of Ender's Game. It's a completely different kind of novel; it answers the question of what somebody can do after saving the world. Some seem to think that Ender's attempt to turn around his destruction of an entire sentient species is unrealistic or preachy or something, but I think that it's totally life-like. I've known plenty of remarkable, smart, charismatic people who chose to give their lives to God or humanity or something like that; Ender was the most remarkable, intelligent, and charismatic boy who ever lived. Why shouldn't he want to put right the wrongs of the world?
At any rate, if you want to read Ender's Game, then by all means buy that book and read it as many times as you want. This book is much more complex and philosophical than Ender's Game, and it certainly isn't action-packed; if that's not the kind of book you want to read, don't get it.
On the other hand, if you want an amazing novel full of surprises, joy, and pain, Speaker for the Dead is an excellent novel; highly recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The average reader's review guide....report......thing, March 8 2004
By 
J. R. Buck - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ok I dont read a huge amount of books so for anyone that just casually reads like me then maybe my review will be more relevent to you. Ok im a pretty huge fantasy setting kind of guy Lord of the rings,Terry Pratchett, that sort of thing. But im actually a closet trekker from the 80's and a huge star wars fan so science fiction is an interest of mine but not so much in the book format. When i read Ender's Game i was totally converted into it and Orson Scott Card was a new god to me. Enders game is truly one of if not the best stories i have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Because you dont read it you experience it. I read the book in three days and for a person who takes maybe a good month and reads a little here and there its an amazing thing. So i finished it and read Ender's Shadow which takes place at the same time as Enders game. And is also a book to be experienced. Then I read Speaker for the dead. It confused me because it was almost written by a different person. It takes place almost 20 years after the very end of Enders game. Ender is almost forty and only a few times in the book actullay makes reference too the one before it. It doesent give as much info on what has happened since either. We are not told what has happened to anybody else he has met with the exception of Valentine who is only in the story for a couple of chapters. Card rambles about the catholic religion and the language of Portugal for long spaces of paper. Now for the good stuff because there is alot. Ender is still cool. Hes cool and in control of most situations like in Enders game. The new aliens are so bizarre in how they reproduce and their very morals. They truly are alien aliens. Unlike in movies where its just a few pieces of rubber on their face. This book makes you think about morals and how we treat others who are different as well. The mystery will most likely make you want too flip straight too the end too find out about it. But this isnt a sequel too Enders Game so dont let it fool you. This book is the beginings of hard science fiction and religion. It is not the pick up whenever for some light reading. Its more accurate too say that Enders Game is the prologue and this is the begining of the real fact's story. The End of this book finally gets exciting as the mysteries of the story finally come bobbinh too the surface. But for most readers its alot too ask too wait that long for the story too progress. I am going too read the next one if for no other reason than too see what happens. But by no means is this book very similar too Enders Game. It is not an adventure in the traditional sense.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An amazing novel, March 5 2004
By 
Evan Wearne (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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Speaker for the Dead is the second book Ihave read by Orson Scott Card, and I have to say I don't care much for his style. How he starts every chapter with something relevant, but from a different point of view is cool. But on the whole, he has much writing the bores me. The first novel was really good. This novel also had a really good plot. There were points where I could not put the book down. But then there were times I was wondering why I was reading. Then again, I am not the interested in science fiction novels, and look more for excitement. There were interesting topics that simply lacked excitement.
What happens. Ender has survived many years by space travel. He leaves his sister Valentine to go to a new planet where they have discovered a new race of beings with intelligence similar to humans. He wants to keep the human race from destroying the pequennos and he wants to help a young girl whose role model was murdered by the piggies. He arrives twenty two years after the murder took place to discover another murder had taken place and that the people of Lusitania were breaking the rules. Rebellion or submission to the Starways council are the peoples choices. Ender is the Speaker for the Dead.
An okay novel, but one I will probably never read again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not "Ender's Game", but an excellent story in its own right, March 2 2004
By 
Jason (United States) - See all my reviews
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It has been three thousand years since Ender Wiggin defeated the buggers. Over time the name "Ender" has been transformed from one that was celebrated as a savior of humanity, to one that is universally reviled as responsible for the extermination of an innocent species. Relativity has left Ender a young 35 year old, wandering the known worlds seeking to release the Hive Queen from her cocoon prison, and with that act his own redemption. No longer practicing the ways of war which he learned in Battle School, he is now a "Speaker for the Dead", telling the stories of the deceased so that those left behind may truly understand the truth of the lives of the departed. As a "Speaker for the Dead", Ender is called to a distant outpost of humanity where he must solve the mystery of the only other sentient race that has been encountered since the Bugger War.
Readers of "Ender's Game" expecting more of the same from "Speaker for the Dead" may be disappointed. Although "Speaker" is not the same style of story as "Ender's Game", it is nevertheless the natural sequel. What Card gives us is a wonderful story about an alien society. There is emphasis on the friction that naturally arises when different cultures interact, stemming from differing perceptions. This theme is played out throughout the book in the interactions between not only the humans and alien pequeninos, but amongst the other various characters as well. Card strives to show us that the we must seek to build relationships based on understanding in order to bridge our differences.
While it is not militaristic sci-fi in the mold of "Ender's Game", "Speaker for the Dead" is an excellent story in its own right. If you just can't get enough of Ender, it's definitely worth checking out.
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