book-reviews

Xenocide

by Orson Scott Card

Rating: ★★★

I've taken so long to get around to writing this review that I can't remember which bits of the story came here rather than in Speaker for the Dead. It appears I thought less of this book than the one preceding it, so it would make sense that the increasing reliance on quantum-consciousness hand-waving came in this volume.

I do remember being interested by the interplay between the three species present: the alien remnant once carried by Ender, the tree-people, and the increasingly xenophobic humanity, with its more sympathetic outlying colony and the dangerous cosmic AI that secretly dominates it on Ender's behalf. I cannot properly recall if the inter-personal conflict also in the story was good or bad, but I suppose I must conclude it wasn't particularly memorable. I think there was something about religion in there.

The continuity from Speaker for the Dead may actually have worked against the series. It would have been better to wrap up the events of Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide as one episode, having Ender spiral onward again to a future impacted by his choices. The structure otherwise resembles a one-hit novel followed by an almost tangential series of novels. Probably being the point at which I bailed out of the series, I can't say that I'd encourage people to read Xenocide very much, but if you've read the preceding book and want more then nobody's going to stop you.