- Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (Aug. 15 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812509250
- ISBN-13: 978-0812509250
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 80.6 x 434.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 176 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #31,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Xenocide: Volume Three of the Ender Quintet Mass Market Paperback – Aug 15 1992
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Card returns to the highly popular, award-winning story of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the boy wonder who saved humanity from alien invasion and, guilt-ridden over his near-total destruction of the alien species, has now become a sort of traveling conscience. This third Ender novel picks up where Speaker for the Dead left off: on the planet Lusitania, Ender and the other human colonists strive to neutralize the "descolada," a possibly sentient virus that adapts itself rapidly to every attack. Meanwhile, tensions are rising between the colonists and the indigenous "pequeninos," who rely on the descolada for their survival; and the fleet sent by Starways Congress to destroy the rebellious colony closes in with its doomsday weapon. With the help of their family, their pequenino friends, and Jane (an artificial intelligence living in the galactic computer network), Ender and his sister Valentine race against time to resolve these crises. The plot is sometimes compelling, but the novel's many flaws make the book more often dull and irritating. Card's style is openly didactic, and when his characters do veer away from lengthy philosophical and scientific ruminations, they venture into contrived personality conflicts and endless self-deprecation. Some, notably Ender, Valentine and the wonderchild Wang-mu, are simply too good to be true--too smart, too reasonable, too kind and generous. The reader quickly tires of such impossible perfection.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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If Lusitania is destroyed, then other sentient species will be destroyed. Andrew (Ender) Wiggins is working to prevent this, and the plot turns on whether Andrew, the members of his family and the leaders of the other species can work together to prevent this multiple xenocide. Research is undertaken in the hope that the descolada's deadly components can be neutralised without destroying the virus.
But the ultimate fate of Lusitania may rest with the Chinese Taoist colony of Path, with Han Fei-Tzu and his daughter Qing-Jao (`Gloriously Bright'). Gloriously Bright is able to discover various truths, but is unable to deal with some of the reality exposed.
`There are many different purposes in this world, many different causes of everything.'
Xenocide is a long novel with multiple themes. The themes of duty and absolution that were so much a part of `Speaker for the Dead' are continued, but there is also considerable reflection on the nature of life and the consequence of choice. Families are split apart as well during the battle to save or destroy Lusitania.
I liked this novel, and although in parts it moved very slowly because contemplation slowed action, I find myself lining up for the fourth instalment. I am intrigued by some of the questions raised, and keen to know what happens next. The worlds created are rich in detail and full of existential dilemma.
In all honesty, ANY sequel to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead would probably be something of a disappointment. Those two books did a superb job of telling an excellent story in an extremely detailed universe. It's a miracle the Card managed to follow them up at all, given their scope, but, sadly, the follow-up will leave even the most faithful Ender fan let down.
Card clearly likes to write. That's why he's written so many books. But he must have REALLY wanted to write this time around, because every single conversation is long beyond belief. Every character has something to say concerning some ethical or philosophical issue, but then some other character who has a different take on that issue shoots down the points made by the first person. And then the first person goes and shoots down the shoot-down. Except then the second person shoots down the shoot-down of the shoot-down, and that soon gets shot down as well. I am NOT exaggerating.
This is the root of all problems in Xenocide. Card writes too much when it comes to everything, especially all the trivial, boring points, and as a result, everything else gets bogged down too. The story is good, but you can only get bits and pieces at one time because there's so much dialogue shoved in between.
All of this is encompassed in the single, biggest flaw in the entire series: Orson Scott Card only wrote half a book. Everything is left unfulfilled because the author decided to leave the end to the saga until Children of the Mind. It's a shame, too, because this book had so much potential. I'm sorry for writing this, Mr. Card; just put the whole story in one package next time, and shut up about philosophy already.
Card exposes the flaws and the beauty of the human psyche in what is easily one of his best works to date.
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