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Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Speaker for the Dead (1986)

by Orson Scott Card

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ender's Game (2), Ender's Game: Extended (6)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,629162292 (3.98)228
  1. 21
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (sturlington)
    sturlington: Also about first contact with an alien civilization that humans cannot understand.
  2. 10
    City of Pearl by Karen Traviss (saltmanz)
    saltmanz: These two books have quite a lot in common: first contact, a Christian human colony, a group of scientists, moral dilemmas, sharply drawn characters, and even more that I won't get into for fear of spoilers. Both fantastic books.

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» See also 228 mentions

English (154)  Hungarian (2)  French (2)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (161)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
The author says he always felt this was the more important book and that Ender's Game was just a way to start the story although Ender's Game has become more popular. This was a good book with Ender now regarded as a monster for killing an entire race of creatures. He has spent the last 3000 years traveling under the name Andrew as a speaker for the dead with a great secret. He saved a hive queen and has promised to find a place for her. He is called to a world where another race of creatures have been discovered. They are called Piggies and people on the planet can only have limited contact and can't share any type of technology. However, the piggies have mysteriously killed one of their contacts and years later, killed his son. No one understands why. Since Ender has been called to speak for a dead man, he asks lots of questions and finally discovers the truth. I liked this book after listening to it on CD.
  taurus27 | Feb 17, 2018 |
More complex and moving than Ender's Game, but still with its flaws. Some heavy-handed bits, and Miro seems inexplicably dense to the end. ( )
  bobholt | Dec 3, 2017 |
Me ha gustado más que El Juego de Ender. Tiene menos acción, sí, pero profundiza más en los personajes, en sus relaciones, y sobre todo en las religiones y la relación con las nuevas especies.
Me ha animado a seguir con la saga de Ender, y no siempre los libros que forman parte de sagas mayores consiguen eso. ( )
  ikzer | Sep 18, 2017 |
The review will be out soonish... I hope!! ( )
  HeidiAngell | Jul 29, 2017 |
I have read many science fiction books whose narrative includes aliens as major characters. Often the plot hinges on differences between humans and aliens -- for those who enjoy science fiction this is one of the reasons. The aliens may be good or evil, but often they are misunderstood and this leads to plot complications and results in an interesting story. With Speaker for the Dead the reader is presented with humans studying "pequeninos", strange aliens known as "piggies". In this case these aren't evil aliens who want to eat you or enslave you so you have to shoot them with large guns like in Ender's Game (the novel for which this is a sequel), nor are these friendly helpful aliens who work with humans to fight the bad guys like some in Star Trek or Star Wars. Instead, these aliens are just different, very different in a way that appears to be similar to the difference between human cultures.

This is presented in a realistic way in that there is fear and even hatred among the humans that is attributable to the unknown nature of the aliens. Through their study they slowly begin to realize "you can't really know them until you stop hating them." The drama in the narrative arises from the humans' attempts to figure out how to live with aliens who aren't like you. With the buggers in Ender's Game alien contact resulted in xenocide. In this story there is an artificial intelligence element, "Jane", a spontaneously generated artificial intelligence that results in alien contact with Ender becoming something that approximates love. Thus in this narrative contact ends up becoming a wary exchange and negotiation which begins with a scientific anthropological cataloging and ends with a treaty. As Ender says of the piggies, "We didn't come here to attack them at the root of their lives… We came here to find a way to share a world with them." The journey to reach that understanding is strewn with difficulties and tragedy that provides for suspense as the reader begins to learn the reasons for certain events.

The title of the book is the name for what Ender has become, for after having wiped out the "buggers" in Ender's Game he has traveled the universe for thousands of years participating when requested in memorials for the dead. A Speaker for the Dead's job is to professionally care. They tell the story of a person's life, and in order to tell that story, the Speaker has to understand a person completely, even more fully than the person might understand oneself. Speakers are geniuses of empathy, and Ender—as the first speaker—is the king genius. "Will [Ender] always come between us?" Novinha asks her daughter, and Ela responds, "Yes… like a bridge he'll come between us, not a wall" (16.129-130). Ender is a living embodiment of empathy.

This novel embodies aliens that are stranger than most I've ever read about, it has suspense resulting from human contact with these aliens, and it explores the nature of death and the way two exceedingly different cultures deal with the experience of death. The novel also explores Ender's relations with other humans and the difficulty he has in maintaining long term relationships due to the itinerant nature of his vocation. It is the focus on the nature of death and Ender's role as Speaker for the Dead that makes this novel exceptional among the many works of science fiction I have read. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Orson Scott Cardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birney, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DiFate, VincentCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemoine, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stuyter, M.K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Since we are not yet fully comfortable with the idea that people from the next village are as human as ourselves, it is presumptuous in the extreme to suppose we could ever look at sociable, tool-making creatures who arose from other evolutionary paths and see not beasts but brothers, not rivals but fellow pilgrims journeying to the shrine of intelligence.
Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him.
No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless. No one’s life is nothing. Even the most evil of men and women, if you understand their hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at least a little, from their sins.
Order and disorder, they each have their beauty.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812532570, Mass Market Paperback)

Ender Wiggin, the hero and scapegoat of mass alien destruction in Ender's Game, receives a chance at redemption in this novel. Ender, who proclaimed as a mistake his success in wiping out an alien race, wins the opportunity to cope better with a second race, discovered by Portuguese colonists on the planet Lusitania. Orson Scott Card infuses this long, ambitious tale with intellect by casting his characters in social, religious and cultural contexts. Like its predecessor, this book won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In the aftermath of his terrible war, Ender Wiggin disappeared, and a powerful voice arose: the Speaker of the Dead, who told the true story of the Bugger War. Now, long years later, a second alien race has been discovered, but again the aliens' ways are strange and frightening, again, humans die. And it is only the speaker for the Dead, who is also Ender Wiggin the Xenocide, who has the courage to confront the mystery, and the truth. -Back cover.… (more)

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