Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ender in Exile

Ender in ExileEnder in Exile by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was deeply disappointed in this book. The cover of this book proudly proclaims that it is "the all-new direct sequel to Ender's Game", which it is not. A more accurate description would be that this is a retcon of Ender's Game to make it fit into the Ender's Shadow story.

What I found astounding is that almost 30 year's since the publication of Ender's Game that Orson Scott Card could lose touch with the characters in his inaugural tale. Ender, Valentine, Graff... all of them were not the same characters from the original story. Whoever Card was when he wrote Ender's Game, he is not the same author now.

I found it amusing and disturbing that in the afterward tacked on at the end of the book, Card takes the time to dismiss the contradictions in his earlier tale. His answer to the problem is that his previous epilogue was wrong and he shouldn't be tied to the decisions made by that author back in the 80's. His plan will be to release a revised version of the first novel to solve this quibble. I find that upsetting considering it's painfully obvious that Card's earlier self is the better writer.

There are other things wrong in this book. Funnily enough in the afterward Card notes that he didn't reread his previous works before writing this one... and it shows. He relied on his fans to help him. I'm sure they did their best and with zealous enthusiasm. I don't fault their efforts, but I think for this book in particular it would've been better to have the author spend a little more time rereading the old material.

Let me sum up my troubles and let them go. The early Ender books were written by a young man with life ahead of him and a questioning spirit. The Ender's Shadow series, which I consider Ender in Exile to be a part, is written by a matured man with a spirit that no longer questions but preaches. Card has filled his most recent books not with ideas of how things might be, but with beliefs of how things are. And to quote an excellent film called Dogma, "You can change an idea, changing a belief is trickier."

So I am saddened by how things have turned out in the Enderverse. But there's money to be made, so can the author be blamed for cashing in? If there is blame to be thrown it's that I spent my money, thoughts, and time on a book that didn't make my life better.

Time to go read a book by Terry Pratchett to make up for it. Going Postal, anyone?

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