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'Ender's Game', Orson Scott Card
'Speaker for the Dead', Orson Scott Card

While I like Ender's Game, I didn't quite see anything there to see why it was quite so critically acclaimed (it won both the Hugo and the Nebula, putting it in pretty elite company). Some clever backgroud stuff. I did like the Locke / Demosthenes stuff, but the bulk of the book - training kids (and one gifted kid in particular) to be Earth's military leader in an upcoming war against aliens - seemed pretty straightforward to me. Good but not great.

The sequel, 'Speaker for the Dead' is a much more complex, deeper work, exploring all sorts of philosophical themes that the first book barely touched. It's one of those science fiction novels that has much more to do with anthropology (or in fact xenology) and biology than physics. Very well written characters. An intriguing mystery. Interesting aliens. And nice to see a science fiction colony world where the colony isn't your basic Americans in space. (Here, the colonists are Portuguese catholics. It's the only novel I've ever read to include a note on how to pronounce Portuguese words and names.) Highly recommended, in fact I'd go so far as to say it's the best book I've read all year.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 22nd, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
I also preferred Speaker for the Dead and it is for certain more complex. I think that Ender's Game perhaps needs to be viewed in retrospect since at the time intelligent sci-fi was really hard to come by and Ender's Game is an intelligent story albeit simply told. The story in Ender's Game isn't really the story about guns and space ships but the story about the children and how they interact. I think they're both clever but in different ways.
Aug. 23rd, 2013 08:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, I can see what he was trying to do in the first book, but...but...somehow I felt that deeper meaning was obscured by the sort of stuff you get in American high school dramas about 'popular kids'.
Aug. 23rd, 2013 09:04 am (UTC)
Heh... well, I rather liked the "sort of stuff you get in American high school dramas" part -- indeed, for me that really was the meat of the story. If you excise the parts of the story not strictly confined to sci-fi tropes you are left with not much of interest.
Aug. 23rd, 2013 12:00 pm (UTC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_joint_winners_of_the_Hugo_and_Nebula_awards tells me that twenty-two novels have won both a Hugo and a Nebula. Card, Le Guin, Clarke, and Willis all appear on the list twice.

Connie Willis also appears on the lists of novella, novellette and short story dual winners.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )