Speaker for the Dead

Orson Scott Card, Author
Orson Scott Card, Author Tor Books $26.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-93738-6
Reviewed on: 02/15/1986
Release date: 08/01/1991
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. (March 3)
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