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Enderw24
08-29-2001, 03:13 PM
As anybody who's anybody knows, Card is the man. I've read well over 25 books by him and he is far and away the best writer I've read. Ever. As one could guess, Ender's Game is, IMO, the best book of his, though I've really enjoyed Worthing Saga and Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus.
I wish I had time to write more, heck I could write a thesis on the guy, but I have class in...oh...13 minutes. So tell me what you think.
The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Moirai
08-29-2001, 03:35 PM
I think Card is a fairly good world builder, I did love the Ender saga. Being that his background as a Mormon missionary is unusual, he can take his stories in really interesting directions.

Always an entertaining read.

Netbrian
08-29-2001, 04:00 PM
Though I have yet to read much by him, I have read Ender's Game, which I throughly enjoyed. What I wondered is if the later books in the series kind of diluted the original like I'm afraid of, or if they truly measure up to it?

TheOtherOne
08-29-2001, 04:07 PM
A friend of mine is constantly telling me that I need to read Enders Game (and IIRC, a couple other books related to this one). If I ever finish reading everything ever written by Kurt Vonnegut, I'll give it a shot. Any recommendations as to which one to start with?

Ellen Cherry
08-29-2001, 04:11 PM
The only works by Card I've read are Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. Both were excellent.

I found Card's commentary on how he came to write Ender's Game, and the feedback he received from academically gifted young people who read it to be particularly fascinating. I always love to read/hear authors talking about their work.

lucie
08-29-2001, 04:27 PM
Card has been pretty solidly hit-and-miss with me. I either really like his stuff (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, the first Alvin the Maker book) or I find it utterly forgettable (all the other Alvin books, Lost Boys, some other ones I can't recall the names of). A matter of personal taste, I suppose.

Manda JO
08-29-2001, 04:39 PM
I think that Card has a real knack for starting good series, but that they tend to degrade over time. For example, the Alvin Maker boks started off wonderfuly, but as the books came closer and closer to the stated aim of hte series--Alvin's accension into a Messiah--they just sort of fall apart. I think I stopped at the next to last one, when I realized that the nothing at all had happened in the entire book. The Earth books were the same way--they started out fantastic, and sort of degenerated and started flailing about.

I think that Card has a fatal, fatal weakness as a writer. When he writes himself into a corner, he often takes the easy way out. Most noteably, he introduces new charecters or new elements late into a story. This is what happened with Xenocide and whatever the sequel to that was called. He had so many charecters running about, serving no real purpose in the story that the story became thin and streached--the damn book died from the same disease as the protaginist. I am seeing the same thing happen with the Shadow books--Now that Bean is on earth, Card just keeps on introducing us to new charecters and totally reinventing old charecters as he needs to make the next chapter happen.

I think that the reason Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow were so good is because the confines of the Battle School forced Card to play the story out within a limited cast of charecters, a limited number of settings. a limited number of years.

I do think that Ender's Game is one of the best books I've ever read. Furthermore, it may just be the most accessible book I have ever read (no, scratch that, Alexander's Westmark trilogy is a bit more accessible. But I digress.) My point is that Ender's Game is a great book for the non-reader, and a great introduction to thinking about reading. He deals simply with hard issues without over-simplyfying or condecending. That is a hell of a thing to have accomplished. While nothing said in Ender's Game is really that profound or original, it presents those messages in a way that anybody can understand them and go on to talk about them. (note: when I say "anybody" I am not using it as a code for "stupid people". I mean that stupid people, smart people, average people, old people, young people--everyone--can enjoy the book).

I hope to be able to use Ender' Game in the classroom over the course of my carreer. I've never met anyone who read it and didn't like it or had trouble understanding it.

Max Torque
08-29-2001, 04:52 PM
Everyone's always going on about Ender's Game....what about short stories, like Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory? Anyone read it? Sweet honey-glazed christ, is that story disturbing and nauseating....

Fenris
08-29-2001, 04:56 PM
Originally posted by lucie
Card has been pretty solidly hit-and-miss with me. I either really like his stuff (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, the first Alvin the Maker book) or I find it utterly forgettable (all the other Alvin books, Lost Boys, some other ones I can't recall the names of). A matter of personal taste, I suppose.

That and what Manda JO wrote both mirror my sentiments. Card has moments of pure genius (that's not an insult...I feel about Heinlein as EnderW24 feels about Card, and I'd describe Heinlein as having moments of pure genius too, albiet more of 'em :D), lots of good books, well drawn characters and the most readable damned prose this side of Heinlein, but as his series progress, they get weaker. I hated the self-absorbed character that Alvin Maker turned into in one of the later Alvin books, for example.

On the other hand, given the quality of Card's prose, even when I don't like the story, I'm enjoying the telling, so I don't have too much to complain about.

And I'd pay $$$$$Big Bucks$$$$ to read a 3-way collaboration between Orson Scott Card, Spider Robinson and
George R.R. Martin (if only to watch Card and Robinson's faces as Martin engages in his customary character abuse. ;) )

Fenris

Drastic
08-29-2001, 04:58 PM
I very much enjoyed "Ender's Game", but don't remember the series all that well beyond it. "Lost Boys" worked much better as a longish short story than it did as the novel he worked it up into later, and I also dug the first couple "Alvin Maker" books.

I'm also grateful to Card for something he said in an introduction to a collection of his short stories. He was commenting about being a Mormon, and the kind of views people will attribute because of that, and said essentially that he loves science fiction because it seems to him to be the only truly religious genre left. By that he meant not in "inspirational" stories, or witnessing, but in the true core of religion--the seeking for truth, for meaning. At the time I read it, I was still a teenager, firmly ensconced in my angriest atheist phase, and I had never seen that kind of definition of it before. It stuck, and I'm grateful for it.

That he wrote entertaining books beyond that was an even better bonus.

lucie
08-29-2001, 05:01 PM
Just slightly off topic...

Isn't there a movie of "Ender's Game" in the works? Or is that just wishful-fanboy thinking?

Drastic
08-29-2001, 05:03 PM
Everyone's always going on about Ender's Game....what about short stories, like Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory? Anyone read it? Sweet honey-glazed christ, is that story disturbing and nauseating....

Hmmm, refresh my memory? He's sure done some disturbing short work. I'm remembering a story of an isolated colony that a couple aliens took over--one human cut a deal with them, and every night would go out, carve off pieces of the colonists' bodies to cook up for the aliens' dinner. Just about everyone had missing hands, legs, eyes, whatever. It was that or total extermination. When the cavalry came, the colony took it out on him, essentially carving him into legless, armless, jawless if I remember correctly, blinded trunk that they then kept alive.

Very short story, and extremely disturbing.

Akatsukami
08-29-2001, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by Manda JO
I think that Card has a real knack for starting good series, but that they tend to degrade over time. [...]
I think that Card has a fatal, fatal weakness as a writer. When he writes himself into a corner, he often takes the easy way out. Most noteably, he introduces new charecters or new elements late into a story. This is what happened with Xenocide and whatever the sequel to that was called.
From "Ender's Game" (the short story, not the novel) to Children of the Mind (the fourth and last book of the original saga) was twenty years real time, IIRC. I haven't read enough Card to say if this is a general fault of his, but it seems that, in this case, he forgot what he was writing about, perhaps more than once (thus the vacillating about whether the buggers were really out to exterminate humanity, the sudden introduction of aiuas, and the sudden wrap-up that leaves us wondering just what the descoladors are about).

MrVisible
08-29-2001, 05:30 PM
I have to agree with Manda JO. If I had one piece of advice I could send to Mr. Card, it would be:

Stop writing series.

At least for a while. He hasn't got the long-term intricacies of the plot structure worked out with the elegance needed to support an epic. (See Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series for an example of tight epic plotting). I mean, I love his work, and his characters are great, but I miss the days of his short novels. I started reading Card around Songmaster and Hart's Hope, and was sincerely impressed with his ability to convey as much emotional impact as he did in a single novel, spanning one lifetime.

When spread out over a franchise, the same sort of material has almost no impact whatsoever.

WEW
08-29-2001, 05:31 PM
I love Card too. I liked the Alvin Series. I agree that the last book of EarthFall kinda sucked.

I loved Pastwatch, and Enchantment.

I've read some short stories, but I don't remember the one that Max Torque wrote about...pleas elaborate.

MilTan
08-29-2001, 05:45 PM
Max, is that the one about the creepy baby-looking thing? That story gave me nightmares.

My views on Card? Really, as much as I love most of his work, I am forced to agree that he has trouble with long series. Although I personally don't believe the Shadow series has reached that point yet, the Ender series most certainly did. And I despised the last book of the Earth series. It was such a tonal shift (IMO) from the other four books.

My current gripe? Finish the Mayflower Trilogy already! I want to know what happened to Lovelock, dammit!

Enderw24
08-29-2001, 06:37 PM
Wow, great replies so far. Let me address a few of them.

Netbrian What I wondered is if the later books in the series kind of diluted the original like I'm afraid of, or if they truly measure up to it?
The books in the sequel are different from the original, and that's the most important thing to remember. When you read Speaker for the Dead you aren't reading Ender's Game II. The next three books have a different feel and are written quite differently than EG. EG was designed as a prelude to the real series and just happened to stand alone quite well.

Manda JO I agree with your assessment of his work on series. Often times they just start to fall flat. I didn't particularly enjoy the last book (so far) in the Alvin series or the last book in the Ender series. When I read Xenocide, before Children of the Mind was written, I too thought Card painted himself into a corner. After reading CotM though, I think the ending to Xeno makes a bit more sense.
The Homecoming series is one of the few of his that I've enjoyed all the way through. Even though I didn't know this while reading it, Homecoming is loosely based off the Book of Mormon. This might be why it was easier for him to stay on track.

As far as the Ender's series goes, he's looking at creating a story based on Petra along the same lines as Ender's Shadow. After that, he's thinking of selling off the rights to the Ender Universe so others can create stories of Ender and Val during those 3000 years between books. This could be very interesting but I find it quite questionable for Card to do. He's strongly voiced his disapproval of other authors selling off their created universe and characters for profit.

More comments in a bit, I'll just send this one off.

Smeghead
08-29-2001, 06:43 PM
I think "hit and miss" is definitely the way to put it. When he manages to remember what he's doing and actually tell a story, it's usually quite good. All too often, though, it's hard to follow what he's thinking.

Anyway, I agree with the general feeling about the Ender series, and just want to add that the two recent additions, Ender's Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon fall in the "good" category. They're well worth reading. IIRC, he's planning two or three more in that series as well. If you haven't heard of them, Ender's Shadow tells the Ender's Game story from Bean's point of view, while Shadow of the Hegemon tells what happens to the Battle School kids back on Earth while Ender is traveling off to become a Speaker for the Dead.

Enderw24
08-29-2001, 07:09 PM
One of the things that I love about Card is not just that he loves to write. He loves to teach others to write. How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy is a great book for writers. I've read it twice.

Max Torque that was indeed a creepy story. I couldn't get the image of flipper baby crawling over street lights out of my head. How about the others from his book, like Fat Farm and Freeway Games? Both of those were more disturbing than I've seen Card most of the time.
WEW, it's quite a short story so I wouldn't want to ruin it. But basically, this guy comes home and sees this VERY deformed baby drowning in a toilet. He rescues it and suddenly he starts to see the baby everywhere.

Fenris I haven't read anything by Spider Robinson yet. But I'd love to see a story between the other two. I'm not sure it would work though:

Card: OK, in this chapter, I think we need to show Lila's character growing stronger through self discovery. She needs to understand the consequences of her actions when he meets Jezebel.
Martin: I say we kill her.
Card: What? You can't do that! She's the main character! Who will fight Jezebel?
Martin: Kill her off too.
Card: Well, considering you've written 589 other characters into this novel, it might not be a bad idea to thin the field a bit.
Martin: And throw in some sandkings to kill off even more characters.
Card: I don't do gore. This is about the exploration of the humans not a bloodfest.
Martin: Give me the keyboard, I'm taking over. Bye Bye Lila.
Card: Can you at least turn her into an omnipotent computer program?
Martin: No, this is a fantasy story. She may be able to be revived by sorcerers. But I haven't yet decided if there will be any magic in this world. I'll let you know in book 27.

lucie Just slightly off topic...

Isn't there a movie of "Ender's Game" in the works? Or is that just wishful-fanboy thinking?

It's not at all off topic. And the answer is yes. To both questions. sigh...
Basically he's been wanting to make a movie forever. He sold the movie rights in 1987 and nothing yet has come of it. I think that the script is done, but I'm not certain. I've read the first 30 pages or so and it looks pretty cool.
Here's the main problem: this movie is not about technology. This movie is not about special effects or blue screens. This is about children. He needs LOTS of good, solid child actors all the same age and that's hard to do. Even harder when any delay means the children aren't children anymore. again, sigh...

clairobscur
08-29-2001, 07:39 PM
Card is amongst my prefered SF writers. I discovered him reading a short story which I still consider the best I ever read. Unfortunately, I don't know its english title. It's about a society in which everybody is attributed very early in his life his future job (always the best for him). The hero happens to be best fitted to create music, and so he does, until unfortunately he listens a piece from Bach, which was forbidden for him since it would warp his creative talent...and the story goes on...

Anyway, after reading this short story, I didn't miss a chance to read another of his books/short story. I can't say I always found them amazing. For instance, I've been dissapointed by Alvin, which seemed to make less and less sense the further I read it. On the other hand, I found "Speaker for the dead" a great book.

I read "the Eumenides..." and wasn't impressed (it's about a really foul guys who is haunted by child-like monsters only him can see. He then understand all the wrongs he has done in his life, and try to correct them, but...)

Am I alone to think that the short story by the same name "Ender's games" originated from is better than the novel?

Also, I never heard about "Colombus". I suppose it hasn't been translated in french.

Duck Duck Goose
08-29-2001, 11:16 PM
[growling]

Oh, heck. I'm gonna say it in public.

[growling some more]

"Alvin books make Ducky growl."

[growling gets louder]
[slinks out of thread, still growling]








growl

Atreyu
08-29-2001, 11:27 PM
Originally posted by Enderw24
One of the things that I love about Card is not just that he loves to write. He loves to teach others to write. How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy is a great book for writers. I've read it twice.


That's a good recommendation. He also has written another book for writers called Characters and Viewpoint, which is part of a Writer's Digest series of books. Excellent read, and just filled with good advice. I highly recommend it for anyone who is into writing. You can see some of his methodology in this book, and it definitely gives a hint as to how he writes with his distinctive style.

As for the movie version of Ender's Game, believe or not, I would rather not see that book made into a movie. I just don't think it can be done successfully. As Enderw24 mentioned earlier, the movie would require a lot of very good child actors, and actors that age of excellent caliber are rare. Currently I can only think of one young actor that is capable of pulling off the role of Ender Wiggin, and that's Haley Joel Osment. And Osment is almost too old for the part of Ender, unless they set it in the later time of Battle School, and make the character of Ender a little older.

And who would you find for Bean? Peter? Crazy Tom? Bonzo? It's an impossible casting call, and I think that if a movie version of a book can't be done successfully, then it shouldn't be attempted at all.

Besides, the book has some nasty scenes in it, stuff that I can't imagine would survive into a movie that is primarily acted by children.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire Ender quartet, even the fourth one, which I've seen given some hard knocks by Card fans. I also liked the Alvin Maker series, although the last two books were definitely showing some lagging in story development. But Red Prophet is such a good story that I've read it more often than any other book in that series.

The Homecoming series was enjoyable. I'm not Mormon, so I completely missed any parallels between Mormon history and the storylines in that series, but I've heard that there were many such parallels.

Treason, one of his early and lesser known novels, is worth reading.

So is Songmaster. When I read it for the first time, I was in the middle of writing a short story that dealt with a character that had the ability to manipulate the emotions of others through song. When I read the novel, I thought, "Crap! Card beat me to it!", but I finished the story anyway as an exercise, even though I knew it could never be published.

The Worthing Saga definitely has some strong points, although I see some parallels between this and the Homecoming series.

Wyrms bored me. I've only read it once.

I've also only read Hart's Hope once. It was a long time ago, and I remember being quite puzzled by it.

Pastwatch was great, but it wasn't as captivating as some of his other works. It read almost like wish fulfillment, as if the actual history was too painful to let stand, and "here's my authorial proposal to heal it."

Homebody was interesting, but it didn't grab me in the way a lot of his other books did. Same thing for Enchantment and Lost Boys.

His short story collections are varied in quality. The paperback collected titled Monkey Sonatas has some of his strangest stuff, and the book titled The Changed Man is my favorite short story collection among the bunch.

Oh, since no one has mentioned it, here's a link to Orson Scott Card's official website (http://www.hatrack.com).

Can you tell I've read a lot of this guy's stuff?

CalMeacham
08-30-2001, 06:35 AM
The first thing of his I read was The Saintspeak Dictionary. It's a funny and slightly cynical book about Mormon culture, written in the style of Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. It's wonderful, and along with Pat Baglety's and Calvin Grondahl's books of cartoons, the best real introduction to Mormon culture. I'd never heard of Orson Scott Card before this.

I hate to admit this, but, although I own several of his books, I've never been able to get into his fiction (he wrote a historical novel called Saints! about Mormon pioneers).

They used to run a science fiction film festival at Hansen Planetarium in downtown Salt Lake. Card and the movie critic from the Salt Lake Trib (whose name my treacherous memory refuses to divulge) gave the introductions and commentary. Those were worth going to.

At one of these, I was upstairs in the planetarium library reading aloud the stories our writing group had written, when Card came up, interested. He took my story and critiqued it in red pen.

LateComer
08-30-2001, 11:21 AM
I've read the first 4 Ender books, First 2 Alvin Maker books, and Lost Boys.

Ender's Game is a masterpiece of the genre IMO.

The other 3 were very good, I thought. They really wandered around relative to each other, but they were each very interesting on their own.

Alvin Maker is a masterpiece of Fantastic Literature. The second one was good, I thought, but was odd.

I remember reading Lost Boys on a plane to Florida 2 years ago and wondering when it would end. It seemed to be an endless parade of crazy characters introduced for the sake of showing their craziness. I kept wondering "what is this book about?" The resolution, I thought, was excellent, but could have been achieved without so much in-between.

When I saw "The Sixth Sense" I thought: "This Guy must have read Lost Boys."

Oh, and by the way, I own "Pastwatch" but haven't read it yet. I am looking forward to it.

pldennison
08-30-2001, 11:37 AM
After having it recommended to me for many years, I finally read "Ender's Game" two years ago, and I must admit I felt thoroughly let down. Maybe it was just oversold to me and I was expecting more, but I didn't feel it met the hype at all. I enjoyed Ender's interaction with the other students at the Battle School, and with his superiors there, but the rest of the book just didn't grab me. The whole deal with Peter and Valentine seemed especially contrived to me, and having Ender's drills be the actual battle just really sucked. I understand that it continued the theme of Ender's manipulation at the hands of adults, but I really felt at the time like it was a case of, "I have no idea how to end this book."

Maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Olentzero
08-30-2001, 11:44 AM
I've only read a couple of Card books but I definitely like him. The theme of searching for meaning in life is easily detectable, that is for certain.

Speaker for the Dead. Only one of the Ender series I've read, and the first Card I ever read. It made an impression on me, but only as a good story, really Ender trying to redeem himself through redeeming others but then ultimately redeeming himself through undoing his own actions.

Pastwatch. I just finished this one off a couple of days ago. Another good story, especially since he picked up on a couple theories of social development (cultural advance based on a foundation of slavery, partially explaining the rise and fall of civilizations by the adaptation and improvement of other civilizations' technologies) that are actually fairly Marxist. I think the way he wound the story up was a little weak because it totally ignored the fact that both societies were still class-based, but that's just my own lefty opinion.

Folk of the Fringe. Read this one after Pastwatch. OK overall, a collection of loosely-connected short stories about a Mormon country setting itself up in Utah after a vague disaster leads to the collapse of the United States. What about the rest of the world, though? Do they just keep on truckin'? He made it sound like the US got shit on without doing much of anything else in return. Very strange, and a tad preachy for my tastes.

Enderw24
08-30-2001, 12:45 PM
pldennison...whimper...I...I...I don't know what to say to this. I feel so...impotent.

Am I still your cup of tea?

Yumanite
08-30-2001, 01:40 PM
Clairobscur, I think that story was called "Unaccompanied Sonata". I read it in an Omni magazine from 1981 or so.

I have always thaought of Card as a short story writer -- rather greusome stories, too. All of the short stories discussed so far have been excellent examples, but I also recall in particar one about a parapalegic girl -- I think it was called "Clap Hands and Sing" or something like that. It was a disturbing love story.

In the preface to "The Complete Short Stories of Orson Scott Card" is an essay he wrote about the concept of "horror" stories. He divided fear into three categories: dread, terror, and horror. Dread is the the fear that comes before something happens, terror the fear during, and horror is the fear (and disgust) that comes out of a lingering situation. He opined that horror was the weakest of the three emotions on which to base a story, and stated that when he set out to write a story that might fall into the 'horror/sf' genre, he set out to make it a story about dread. That being the strongest fear, since it is full of suspense and expectation of the worst. That essay has colored my critical reading of horror stories ever since.

clairobscur
08-30-2001, 03:15 PM
[I understand that it continued the theme of Ender's manipulation at the hands of adults, but I really felt at the time like it was a case of, "I have no idea how to end this book."
[/B]

It couldn't be so, since it was at first a short story (in which the end is obviously the point)

pldennison
08-30-2001, 03:19 PM
Originally posted by clairobscur
[I understand that it continued the theme of Ender's manipulation at the hands of adults, but I really felt at the time like it was a case of, "I have no idea how to end this book."


It couldn't be so, since it was at first a short story (in which the end is obviously the point) [/B]

I didn't say it was, I said it felt like. Almost like a shaggy dog story.

Enderw, we can still be friends. :D

rjung
08-30-2001, 03:31 PM
More hits than misses for me. While not every Card book is a winner, the thing I really like about the favorites is that there's a "strong emotional note" in each book, a moment of spiritual uplifting that arises from the characters and their situation and the plot. It's like an epithamy, that just smacks me between the eyes and leaves me breathless.

Still, as others have noted, he's bad with longer series. And while the repeated focus on Portuguese and Esperanto is cute, after a while it tends to be a bit overused.

wevets
08-30-2001, 09:29 PM
Like a lot of others here, I liked Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Ender's Shadow, and that first Alvin book (never had the chance to read the others).

On the other hand, I really didn't like Xenocide, or the Earthfall (?does memory fail me on this name?) series.

What's the deal with the Christopher Columbus book? Is that fiction or non-fiction? Anyone recommend it/not recommend it? I really hate Columbus, if that will affect whether I should read the book.

Enderw24
08-31-2001, 12:54 AM
It's fiction. Basically, it's a great deal about the life of Christopher Columbus, but with an alternate reality twist. What if time "viewers" interfered with the way history was to try to improve it? That's what the book is about. It is, IMHO, much better than things Turtledove does, if you're familiar with his work. Probably one of the best books he's written and I would definitely recommend it.

Kallessa
08-31-2001, 01:51 AM
Although I am finally reading the Ender series, and enjoying it (I'm reading other authors between each book so I don't burn out on Card), I agree that Card seems to have a weakness when it comes to series. I didn't like either the Alvin or the Homecoming series.

I discovered Card in Omni, with his short story Unaccompanied Sonata, a truly great piece of writing. The books Songmaster and Treason (sometimes called A Planet Named Treason), are my favorites by him, and his collected short stories are always good to read.

I often bridle at authors that are too obvious with a religious conviction, but I do like the sense of spirituality that imbues much of Card's work. If his purpose is to find converts to Mormanism, (perhaps by inciting some curiosity about the faith via the hints in his writing), he is gentle enough, even in the book set in contemporary America where the family is Morman (Lost Boys?), that he does not lose this reader who reacts negatively to that stuff. I don't think he is trying to convert, it feels more like these beliefs are so rooted in his day to day life, that they must be reflected in his writing.

Agrippina
08-31-2001, 06:43 AM
[SPOILERS AHEAD]

The only thing of Card I've read is the Ender Series and the beginings of the Bean Series. One of the things that disapointed me was that we never really see things in the viewpoints of Ender's parents. What is it like to have three genius children? One of them destroying an entire race, and another taking over the world? We get some of the mother's thoughts in Shadow of the Hegemon, which I felt was my favorite parts. I also liked when Peter told his parents that he was Locke and they said, "We know. And we're as proud of you as we ever have been with Ender," and Peter cries.

I would have also liked to see Bean with his new family, the Delephikis, more. Maybe we will in the next book in the Bean series.

PublicBlast
08-31-2001, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by Kallessa

I discovered Card in Omni, with his short story Unaccompanied Sonata, a truly great piece of writing. The books Songmaster and Treason (sometimes called A Planet Named Treason), are my favorites by him, and his collected short stories are always good to read.

Treason and A Planet Named Treason are not identical. Treason is a slightly edited and shorter version of the latter which was released first--later, the first version was published. Both are quality reads--it's been years since I read either,but I remember them being mostly the same story, the main difference being more details in the unedited version.

Treason and Ender's Game are my favorite Card stories... BTW, we actually read Ender's Game in my 8th grade English class years ago...

WPL
08-31-2001, 02:57 PM
The Card story mentioned by Drastic is "Kingsmeat" (I think.)
I think that Card's short stories are more effective than his novels. "A Thousand Deaths" is a personal favourite.
By the way, wasn't Card involved in James Cameron's movie "The Abyss"? Or did I just dream this?

Enderw24
08-31-2001, 03:20 PM
Yes, he wrote the novelization of the Abyss. I haven't read it yet. It's the only novelization that he's done and was done almost as a favor to Cameron, I believe. He was allowed free reign of it and added about three introductory chapters which set up the characters' history. The actors read those chapters to better understand their parts and the history behind them before filming the movie.

I'm thinking that I haven't read anything by Card in a long time. January was the last one, with Shadow of the Hegemon, and before that it has been quite awhile. Probably because the series he's working on now, women of the bible, doesn't interest me as much. The story still seems quite interesting, I've read the first few chapters, but I don't think I'm going to go out and buy them just now. Perhaps I'll pick them up at a later point.

Helena
09-01-2001, 11:05 PM
I also have to agree with Manda JO. I've been following the Alvin Maker series (we even named our bread maker Alvin, just to be weird). I seriously don't think it's going where he intended it to go--if he ever had a clear idea of how it was going to turn out. I'm not sure if he can salvage this one.

The Homecoming series was essentially a re-telling of the first part of the Book of Mormon. I did read the first half of the first book, but wasn't very interested. I don't know if I'll ever read the rest of the series. (I think my brother liked it, though).

Alvin is based on Joseph Smith. There are a lot of scenes(like the leg operation in the first book) that are taken from things that happened to Joseph Smith (but of course there are a lot of things that aren't based on him, too! There are couple of little points that make more sense if you know the Mormon theology behind it (not necessary to understand or enjoy the story, but just kind of an added bonus). For example, the Unmaker keeps using water to try to hurt Alvin--Joseph Smith was told in a revelation that Satan has control over the waters (one reason why missionaries aren't supposed to go swimming while on their missions--though I served in Korea and our elders did plenty of splashing around in the public bath houses). There's also the scene in the third book (or the first one?) where Revered Thrower goes to touch the hand of the angel that's been appearing to him, and there's nothing there. He thinks, "Ah, he's showing me that he's pure spirit" (or something to that effect--it's been a while since I read that one). But if you're LDS, the bells go off in your head--"Warning! Warning! Evil spirit!" (Look here (http://scriptures.lds.org/dc/129) for the section in the Doctrine and Conventants about shaking hands with angels).

It seems like there was something in the later Ender books that struck me as particularly Mormonish, but I forget what it was...

Anyway! I liked Pastwatch a lot--though I wanted to know if the alternate history really did turn out better, in the end. (I suppose that would have been a much longer story, though!)

Venkman
09-02-2001, 04:34 PM
Like most others in this thread, for me he's very much hit and miss. However the hits were so good that I'll invariably read just about anything he writes, because you never know if it's going to be one of the good ones.

The original Ender's Game is still one of my all-time favorites, and Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide rank right up there. Children of the Mind was OK, but frankly a disappointment after the other books in the series. I'm tempted to say Speaker was my favorite of the bunch, but there's so much difference between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead that I don't know that it's a fair comparison.

The "Shadow" books have been good if not yet great. I liked seeing things from Bean's viewpoint, and learning more about Petra (who was one of my favorite characters from Ender's Game). I don't think the series has done justice to Peter yet, who aside from Ender himself is the most intriguing character in the whole thing (IMHO).

Pastwatch was great. The Alvin Maker books have been mostly good, although the last one (can't recall the title) was definitely weaker than the others. I enjoyed Worthing Saga and Folk of the Fringe too.

On the other hand I really didn't care for Wyrms or Songmaster. In particular I read Wyrms after reading Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide, and it really felt like he was just fleshing out some ideas rather than telling a story that could stand on its own.

GilaB
09-02-2001, 10:50 PM
Ah, Card. I was going to go to bed early tonight, too. I own pretty much everything he's written, including some of the really lousy ones written recently, and can't pass this up.)
I read Ender's Game and Speaker in one gulp, (on a Friday night in March when I was in seventh grade, which is decently long enough ago that my remembering that impresses me). They resonated with me very strongly and remain one of my most powerful reading experiences.
I didn't like the first of the "Shadow" books because I found that Card and I disagreed on what had happened - his new version wasn't the same as the one I'd created in my head while reading Ender's Game.
Xenocide was pretty good, but got silly in the end, what with wishing making things so, and all of that. Children of the Mind.... well, it wasn't terrible, but it wasn't very good, either.
Why do you folks like Pastwatch so much? I enjoyed the last third (once they go back), but found that the rest of that dragged on and on.
I thought that the Homecoming books started out OK, but by the second half of the third book had gotten quite repetetive. (You mean Nafai's brother's don't like him? And they're out to get him? Again?) Same goes for the Alvin books.
Some of the short stories are really sick. Some are just really weird. And some, I think, are great. Other people have already talked about Unaccompanied Sonata, and I also love Porcelain Salamander, which nobody ever mentions.
But yeah, I'd love to know what's going on with Lovelock already.

Yookeroo
09-03-2001, 10:57 PM
I loved the first two Ender books...a lot, but the last two lost me completely. Ender's Shadow was good though.

The first two Alvin books are among my favorites, but then the series started to nosedive.

Lost Boys was much better as a short story than a novel (the Mormon stuff got in the way of the story for me).

I love most of his stuff, but he really needs to get a better handle on those series.