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Speaker for the Dead Mass Market Paperback – Aug 15 1994
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Ender Wiggin, the hero and scapegoat of mass alien destruction in Ender's Game, receives a chance at redemption in this novel. Ender, who proclaimed as a mistake his success in wiping out an alien race, wins the opportunity to cope better with a second race, discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. Orson Scott Card infuses this long, ambitious tale with intellect by casting his characters in social, religious and cultural contexts. Like its predecessor, this book won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Card's novel Ender's Game introduced Ender Wiggin, a young genius who used his military prowess to all but exterminate the "buggers," the first alien race mankind had ever encountered. Wiggin then transformed himself into the "Speaker for the Dead," who claimed it had been a mistake to destroy the alien civilization. Many years later, when a new breed of intelligent life forms called the "piggies" is discovered, Wiggin takes the opportunity to atone for his earlier actions. This long, rich and ambitious novel views the interplay between the races from the differing perspectives of the colonists, ethnologists, biologists, clergy, politicians, a computer artificial intelligence, the lone surviving bugger and the piggies themselves. Card is very good at portraying his characters in these larger, social, religious and cultural contexts. It's unfortunate, then, that many of the book's mysteries and dilemmas seem created just to display Ender's supposedly godlike understanding. A fine, if overlong, novel nonetheless.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. - T. S. Eliot
We start off where the last book ended. Now Ender the writer of "The Hive Queen and the Hegemon", after traveling three thousand years of penance as a Speaker for the Dead is summoned to a planet where there is a new race and an opportunity to put things right.
Even though the author says that you can read this book as a complete story without reading the first novel it is actually part of a five book series. True the essential background will be repeated or contemplated in this volume it is still not as complete as reading the first volume.
Once again you can bypass the introduction but then you will have missed crucial information on the author and his intent. The introduction can also be used as part of a good writing course.
The first book was thinly veiled as a version of "Starship Troopers" and you can see that somewhere the author must have read some field manuals. In "Speaker for the Dead" you can see that Orson Scott Card knows his Catechism. I used to teach RCIA so he could not fake it. I also come from a strong LDS background. I suspect he spiced it up with a little "Tony Hillerman." Our main character may have changed focus a tad form the first book but people change, authors change, and we change.
The only part of the writing the did not go too smoothly was the inclusion of references to "The Tempest" it seemed a tad forced where other authors such as Dorothy Sayers for example with "stale flat and unprofitable" would not be spotted if one had not read "Hamlet" but it fits her story like a glove.Read more ›
As you get through half of the book you begin to realize that the author has really challenged himself in creating a plot with multiple characters, including aliens. It appears that Earth has created something of a Prime Directive like in Star Trek to restrict the people on a new planet who are studying one race. You start off with one, than two and finally you end up with three alien races involved in the story, or at least affecting Ender's challenges. As in the first book you see how creative Ender is in analyzing the people around him and figuring them out...weaknesses or strengths. It is very appropriate that he becomes a speaker for the dead. This is not an action story but you won't be disappointed with all the intrigue of a "who did it and why" story.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Although wildly different from Ender's game, it manages to create a delicious symmetry between the two and by the end might very well be the better book. Read morePublished on May 28 2014 by J. Semeniuk
Lost in the translation, or lack of it. Riddled with foreign language quotes and no translation. Not enjoyable. Interesting concept.Published on May 17 2014 by l beaven
I rated it four stars compared to other book in the series such as ender's game and ender's shadow which were better. Read morePublished on April 26 2014 by Martin Rajotte
really nice sequel, I'm still considering reading the third book because I tought that this one already gives me the ending I wished to see.Published on April 22 2014 by carla
I found the book very captivating and would recommend it to all my friends. It follows up very nicely on Ender's Game and shows a deep concern for people and the possibility of... Read morePublished on Dec 18 2013 by FRANK ENNS
The story contained some interesting ideas about guilt and redemption but it should have been a novella not a full book. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2013 by B. Williams
I read this book ten years ago and was definitely too young to understand any of it, so I recently reread it and realized just how good it is. Recommended.Published on July 20 2013 by meraxes
My whole family has or is presently reading the Ender series. All are great! And the Bean series is even better!Published on March 14 2013 by Adrienne L Hill