i Xenocide - Orson Scott Card - review - narfna
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Xenocide - Orson Scott Card "So let me tell you what I think about gods. I think a real god is not going to be so scared or angry that he tries to keep other people down . . . A real god doesn’t care about control. A real god already has control of everything that needs controlling. Real gods would want to teach you how to be just like them."The third part of the Ender Quartet, the sequel to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, which takes place on the Brazilian colony of Lusitania -- the habitat of all three known species in the universe: humans, pequeninos, and the Hive Queen's buggers -- and a planet called Path, a descendant colony of China whose inhabitants believe themselves to be "godspoken." The plot is concerned with three main issues: the development of a cure and an understanding of the descolada virus, which is threatening to wipe out all life it comes into contact with, but which is necessary for pequenino survival, and the existence of which has led Starways Congress to condemn the planet to destruction; the growing conflicts between species on all planets and the ethical, spiritual, and philosophical dilemmas that result; and finally, the quest of three individuals on Path to find out what happened to the Lusitania fleet which was sent by Starways Congress to destroy Lusitania -- a "godspoken," his daughter, and her servant -- all who will be instrumental in the shape of things to come.I enjoyed this book. As always, Card manages to make you care about his characters at the same time as making you think in ways you never have before about religion, philosophy, and the nature of life. Reading one of his books is like a religious experience; I always walk away after finishing one feeling as if I've really accomplished something, like I'm a better person for having done it. For this reason alone all of his stories are 'A' quality, but this one misses the mark (as does it's sequel, Children of the Mind) in terms of narrative structure and control. More on this below. Overall, though, this book is well worth your time, if only for the education of your soul (and the tying up of a few plotlines from Speaker for the Dead).I love Jane -- so much. I also really enjoy all the ethical dilemmas that Card so brilliantly orchestrates. His creation of a planet full of people who believe themselves to have the ability to speak with the gods, but who have really been genetically manipulated into having a specific form of obsessive compulsive disorder, is frankly genius. But I think my favorite part about this book (and the rest of the Ender Quartet) is the way that they force you to examine the way that you see the world through the use of the pequeninos and the buggers. Everything looks different and a hell of a lot scarier when you don't understand it.The thing that makes Speaker for the Dead such an A+(++++++) book, a masterpiece really, is the way that Card interweaves character, plotting, pacing, and action. Speaker for the Dead is the perfect length, with things being revealed at just the right pace, and tension perfectly distributed. The result of this is a feeling of perfect completion upon finishing. The narrative is also almost all self-contained. With the exception of several unresolved problems (how they're going to stop the Lusitania fleet, what will happen to Miro, etc.) the conflict of the story is perfectly resolved. This is where Xenocide suffers. Xenocide and Children of the Mind were originally supposed to have been one book, but the narrative became too long and Card was forced to separate the two. Unfortunately this hurts both stories. Xenocide feels incomplete in terms of theme, and Children of the Mind feels almost trite in comparison to its behemoth of a brother. Ultimately, it would have been a much more successful story with a good paring down, and combining the two into one, as Card originally intended. And, to end on a whine, Ender's fate was pretty upsetting and I'm not sure what exactly about it bothers me, other than I felt cheated. Intellectually, the decision to give his soul to the Peter-body was a good one. He can now live out his life without the immense burden of guilt of having committed xenocide, which has haunted him since Ender's Game. While I know this is good, I still can't help but feel cheated in some way. But I digress. Oh, and also, I really hate Qing-Jao.