Speaker for the Dead-EG 02-4/5

By Orson Scott Card

Unraveling their secrets may cost Ender his own.

2017-02-02_EG2 Speaker 4 Dead Cover.jpg

Humanity has spread throughout the stars, colonizing a thousand worlds, until they discovered Lusitania, home of the pequeninos. Determined to not let them follow in the buggers’ fate, Congress moves swiftly, passing strict laws to limit human interaction with the pequeninos, ensuring that they continue to thrive without interference.

But tragedy still strikes; prompting many to reevaluate the fledgling species. For most the debate is academic, but not for Ender Wiggin. As a child he nearly wiped out the bugger species, and since then he’s spent 3,000 years searching for a planet where the last bugger queen can safely awaken. Lusitania might be such a world, but first Ender must solve the mystery of the pequeninos, and decide whether to protect them from humanity, or sacrifice them to the queen.

While rooted in the vast conflict of cross-cultural communication and interaction, the story quickly branches out. Rich characters struggle to understand themselves and others, creating a network of complex relationships that fill every scene with deeply personal conflicts, which often overshadow the main conflict, even as they echo the same themes of perspective and otherness. At times the drama can feel excessive, but the thick web of subplots helps to obscure a predictable outcome. In the end the story manages to invoke a moment of awe, as both audience and character are asked to widen their gaze.

+Strong Characters
+Strong Ideas
*Very little description
*Relationship driven subplots
-Predictable Outcome


Next Time…
Xenocide-ES 03

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10 thoughts on “Speaker for the Dead-EG 02-4/5

    • I was very impressed by the contrast between the two. Where Ender’s Game focused on the protagonist in isolation, Speaker for the Dead explored a complex web of relationships.

  1. I haven’t read this one. The description wouldn’t have me running to Amazon, but I love character-driven books and the way you describe the richness and complexity of characters and relationships has me intrigued. A moment of “awe” sounds worth the read. 🙂

    • At the end of the day, despite the grand consequences, this is a very character and relationship focused story. Sometimes the multiple perspectives lead to audiences figuring out the answers before the audience, but those same perspectives really drive the meaning home.

      When in doubt I look for critical reviews and take note of why they didn’t like it. Sometimes what others see as shortcomings don’t really bother me.

  2. This book really blew me away. Even more than Ender’s Game. I found it more rooted in compassion for the characters with a moral and philosophical dilemma that kept me reading to find out how it’d be resolved. I agree that it is a character-driven story, but not that the ending is predictable. I thought it could have gone in at least 3 different directions. You’ve reminded me that I need to pick up the third in this series!

  3. Pingback: Ender’s Game-Ender’s Game 01-5/5 | Write Thoughts

    • The story takes place on a world colonized by a group of Catholic Brazilians. The natives are only a few feet tall, so that’s what the human colonists dub them.

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