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The Swarm: The Second Formic War (Volume 1)…
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The Swarm: The Second Formic War (Volume 1) (edition 2016)

by Orson Scott Card (Author)

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Member:mfagan
Title:The Swarm: The Second Formic War (Volume 1)
Authors:Orson Scott Card (Author)
Info:Tor Books (2016), Edition: 1st Edition, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
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The Swarm by Orson Scott Card

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In The Swarm: Volume One of the Second Formic War, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston pick up where they left off with the First Formic War Trilogy – Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, and Earth Awakens – with the International Fleet preparing for the next conflict as the Formics mass on the outskirts of the Solar System. The story alternates between characters from the previous trilogy.

Victor Delgado and Imala Bootstamp work on a mining ship and find themselves conscripted into the International Fleet when they discover Formics seizing an asteroid. Lem Jukes runs his father’s company, trying to balance his obligations to the company with his belief that all resources must be put toward winning the war. Meanwhile, his father Ukko, serves as the Hegemon of Earth. Captain Mazer Rackham must negotiate his promise to the Strategos to downplay his heroics in the first war so that China may save face and thereby contribute to the IF. At the same time, he sees how the bureaucracy of the IF and the careerist officers will weaken the fleet’s ability to achieve victory. Bingwen, now one of the Chinese military’s greatest assets, foreshadows the role of children in the war to come.

In this book, Card and Johnston begin to further link this with the world that exists at the time of Ender’s Game. Some chapter headings include excerpts from Demosthenes’ A History of the Formic Wars, written by Ender’s sister Valentine. At this time, the Hegemony develops the ansible, making repeated improvements as they go in order to synchronize the International Fleet’s forces (pg. 229). En-route to investigate a Formic-controlled asteroid, Mazer Rackham develops a zero-G environment in which to practice maneuvers and combat, dubbing it the Battle Room (pg. 393). He also trains the first group of child cadets. As something of a futurist, Lem predicts the form the war will take, saying, “We’ll never live in peace again…even if the Formics do leave. We would always wonder if they were returning. That fear would never fade. If we ever want real peace, we have to find their home world and wipe them out completely.” When told this would make humanity the monsters, he responds, “It would make us the survivors…which is always better than being the corpses.” (pg. 403) In a fun reference, Lem says, “I trust your guesses more than anyone’s facts,” possibly in reference to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. (pg. 399)

Fans of the Ender’s Game series will find plenty to enjoy in this work, particularly if they have previously read the First Formic War trilogy. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Aug 20, 2018 |
Overall I enjoyed the story. It picks up on characters introduced in the earlier prequels of Enders Game series. The First Formic War (Ender’s Game Prequel Trilogy). It acts as the first book of the Second Formic War Trilogy. What has been frustrating about these prequels is that we never hear from the Formic's. This book and the series seems to be entirely written from a human viewpoint. In this book The Formic Queen is given just one chapter to express her thoughts. The rest of the book centers on the stories of Mazer Rackham, Lem Jukes, Imalo Bootstrap, Victor, and Benguin. You are also given insight into the political, social developments on Earth in light of aftermath of the first war and impending doom of the second invasion.Overall the story was good. I was disappointed with its focus. I know the human characters all too well. This is the fourth book of this grand prequel. It is getting somewhat repetitive. While chapter one had the promise of originality the rest of the book seemed to settle on being variations on standard science fiction tropes. Benguin and Mazor being harassed by officers in charge of them. The implacable enemy making a small but strategic mistake etc. I wish Card would shock us by killing off a few characters so I could feel the main characters were in actual jeopardy. I felt frustrated by this novel's ending. It ends in a cliffhanger in such away that it could not stand on its own. I suggest that prospective readers delay reading this installment in the Second Formic War until the final 2 books in this trilogy are published. ( )
  Cataloger623 | Sep 22, 2017 |
2.5 stars. Card and Johnston pick up their narrative a year or so after the end of the First Formic War. After the destruction of the Formic Scout Ship through the agency of Mazer Rackham, Vico Delgado, Lem Jukes and Imala Bootstamp, the Formic fleet is reconstituting far outside the Kuiper Belt. Earth is on a war footing, all national governments subordinate to a triumvirate of war leaders - Hegemon, Strategos and Polemarch. The International Fleet is expanding rapidly, building ships and conscripting and training soldiers.

Incredibly, the fate of earth once more hangs on the struggles of a few isolate individuals, who happen to be in the right places and at the right (or maybe wrong) time. The depiction of the apparatus of the military as being almost totally bumbling and incompetent strains credibility to the utmost. Either these players are incompetent, and their nefarious schemes must surely fail, or (as is the case),should their plans succeed they surely could not be termed incompetent. So it is with the cardboard cutout schemer Colonel Vaganov, and the cowardly Polemarch Ketkar.

So of course, it falls to our heroes to save the day. Victor Delgado apparently engineers all of the zero G tech advances necessary for tunnel warfare with formics in his spare time, whilst Mazer Rackham is the only soldier in the IF who seems to realise that training in zero G combat might be required! This scenario allows him to be reunited with chinese orphan Bingwen (and the evil Colonel Li).

The interesting aspects of the story are the speculations as to the nature of the formics and their hive intelligence. The perspective of scientist Wila Saowaluk present her musings on the motivations of this different type of intelligence. Can it even see humans as intelligent? Does it know it is committing genocide. Of course, as readers, we know how the war against the Hive Queen will end, so there is a dual purpose to this philosophical element. Victor Delgado's exploration of an Kuiper Belt asteroid undergoing modification by formic forces provides insight into the construction methods used by the formics. Slugs which eat asteroids and excrete purified metals! Exactly how this system has evolved is in the realm of extreme handwavery, but it is rather fun.

This is the first of another trilogy, so ends with a cliffhanger. ( )
1 vote orkydd | Feb 2, 2017 |
This is the first in what is likely to be a trilogy, detailing the time period before Ender's Game. Mazer Rackham is a mere captain in the International Fleet, one of the few humans with experience that survived the first initial landing by the Formics. Unfortunately the International Fleet isn't united yet and the humans are way behind the Formics in technology. We know they are coming, can we stop them?
I thought this was well done. The characters are interesting and the action is plausible, with enough 'hard' science fiction in it to make it enjoyable, but not too much. Many of the characters obviously appeared in the previous series, but I was able to pick this up and jump in without reading that series. As is usual with Card this is heavy on family, but not enough to detract from the good qualities of the book. ( )
1 vote Karlstar | Nov 3, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0765375621, Hardcover)

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston return to their Ender's Game prequel series with this first volume of an all-new trilogy about the Second Formic War in The Swarm.

The first invasion of Earth was beaten back by a coalition of corporate and international military forces, and the Chinese army. China has been devastated by the Formic's initial efforts to eradicate Earth life forms and prepare the ground for their own settlement. The Scouring of China struck fear into the other nations of the planet; that fear blossomed into drastic action when scientists determined that the single ship that wreaked such damage was merely a scout ship.

There is a mothership out beyond the Solar System's Kuiper Belt, and it's heading into the system, unstoppable by any weapons that Earth can muster.

Earth has been reorganized for defense. There is now a Hegemon, a planetary official responsible for keeping all the formerly warring nations in line. There's a Polemarch, responsible for organizing all the military forces of the planet into the new International Fleet. But there is an enemy within, an enemy as old as human warfare: ambition and politics. Greed and self-interest. Will Bingwen, Mazer Rackam, Victor Delgado and Lem Juke be able to divert those very human enemies in time to create a weapon that can effectively defend humanity in the inexorable Second Formic War?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 09 May 2016 00:10:28 -0400)

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston return to their Ender's Game prequel series with this first volume of an all-new trilogy about the Second Formic War in The Swarm. The first invasion of Earth was beaten back by a coalition of corporate and international military forces, and the Chinese army. China has been devastated by the Formic's initial efforts to eradicate Earth life forms and prepare the ground for their own settlement. The Scouring of China struck fear into the other nations of the planet; that fear blossomed into drastic action when scientists determined that the single ship that wreaked such damage was merely a scout ship. There is a mothership out beyond the Solar System's Kuiper Belt, and it's heading into the system, unstoppable by any weapons that Earth can muster. Earth has been reorganized for defense. There is now a Hegemon, a planetary official responsible for keeping all the formerly warring nations in line. There's a Polemarch, responsible for organizing all the military forces of the planet into the new International Fleet. But there is an enemy within, an enemy as old as human warfare: ambition and politics. Greed and self-interest. Will Bingwen, Mazer Rackam, Victor Delgado and Lem Juke be able to divert those very human enemies in time to create a weapon that can effectively defend humanity in the inexorable Second Formic War?… (more)

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