Thursday, June 14, 2007

Book: Orson Scott Card's "Shadow Of The Giant"

My latest read was Orson Scott Card's "Shadow Of The Giant".  This is the eighth book in the Ender's Game series. I like what Card has done with this series. The first four books ("Ender's Game", "Speaker For The Dead", "Xenocide", and "Children Of The Mind") follow Andrew 'Ender' Wiggins, a young boy being taught in a military school (Battle School) to fight the alien enemy called the Buggers. After the defeat of the Buggers in the first book, the other three books follow Ender as he leaves the Earth in a self imposed exile and comes to terms with having destroyed an entire race of sentient beings.

For the fifth book Card switches things up and begins telling the story of Julian 'Bean' Delphiki, a friend and ally of Ender at Battle School. The last four books ("Ender's Shadow", "Shadow Of The Hegemon","Shadow Puppets", and "Shadow Of The Giant") tell the story of the Earth after the defeat of the Buggers. The world collapses into chaos and war as nations use their Battle School students to dominate their neighbors. Bean helps Peter Wiggin, Ender's older brother, to end the war and unite the people of Earth. "Shadow OF The Giant" ends the Bean series with the Battle School students leaving the Earth to lead colonies and peace finally being achieved by Peter Wiggins.

I like this series. The only thing I am wary about is that Card uses a united Muslim superpower as a bad guy. It smacked a little of anti-Muslim xenophobia. The Muslim world today is the new villain de jour, supplanting the Soviet Union of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This story was placed so far in the future that Card could have created a new villain without the baggage. Then again, maybe I'm being a little too politically correct.

The first book ("Ender's Game") and the Bean books are the best. The other three books of the series are interesting but were a little anticlimactic. With the Bean series, Card has brought new life to Ender's universe. A science fiction series worth the read.

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