Shadows in Flight

Orson Scott Card. Tor, $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3200-4
Card’s fifth novel narrated by Julian “Bean” Delphiki (after Shadow of the Giant) mingles transcendent strangeness and didacticism. On a spaceship cut off from the rest of civilization, Julian is raising his three remarkable children, doomed to die young by the engineered genes that also make them inhumanly brilliant. Triplets Cincinnatus, Carlotta, and Ender (named for Bean’s old classmate) are only six years old and already smarter than nearly any adult, but just as emotionally immature as any children. Bean tries setting them up as an incestuously reproducing super-race who will be parents at age eight and dead at 22, but when an unidentified alien ship appears, the children eagerly embrace a less depressing way to prove themselves. Bean’s endless lectures make him appear a mouthpiece for the author; his children’s snarky resentment of being talked down to will similarly ring true for readers. Agent: Barbara Bova Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 01/17/2012
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