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Speaker for the Dead (1986)

by Orson Scott Card

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ender Saga (2), Le cycle d'Ender (2), Ender's Game (2), Enderverse (15)

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15,160202322 (3.97)257
Ender Wiggin, the young military genius, discovers that a second alien war is inevitable and that he must dismiss his fears to make peace with humanity's strange new brothers.
  1. 31
    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 257 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
It is ten years since I read Ender's Game and so I am a bit late in getting to the second book in the series: Speaker for the Dead; published in 1986. It is generally a well liked novel with over 200 reviews and won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. I was not disappointed as Orson Scott Card has come up with another scenario that fires the imagination. There was a moment in Enders Game when we learnt the secrets behind the alien invasion and it was genuinely surprising and had been skilfully fashioned in the lead up to the big reveal. Card does it again in Speaker for the Dead; the actions of the alien race can only be explained when more is known of their story, however until that moment their mysterious behaviour is intriguing.

Ender Wiggins is the Speaker for the dead still trying to atone for the xenocide (the destruction of an entire alien species) that he carried out in the first novel. This time he is summoned to a planet where another alien species is proving just as hard to understand as the Buggers were in the first book. Yes Buggers was the name given to the alien species in the first book and this time round the alien race are called Piggies (no high marks for nomenclature then). Lusitania is a planet where power is shared between a catholic priesthood and a civil administration and a group of scientists are studying an alien race under a strict policy of no intervention. The Piggies have killed two of the scientist in particularly gruesome rituals and Ender sees it as his task to solve the dilemma. He must first overcome the hostility of the priesthood and of the family who have summoned him to speak for one of their dead.

Enders straightforward psychological approach leads to immediate positive results within the family and the catholic priesthood are also soon won over. If these scenarios achieved within a four day period are a little beyond belief they are nevertheless good background to the uncovering of a startling alien life form. Orson Scott Card handles the dialogue and characterisation smoothly enough in order to fit together all the loose pieces in this puzzle. It is a story with a moral that does become a bit Spielberg like, but I can forgive this because of some intricate storytelling and huge dollops of the sense of wonder that makes for excellent science fiction 4.5 stars. ( )
  baswood | Apr 8, 2023 |
This book absolutely transcends Ender's Game. I found it thought provoking and insightful. It was refreshing to read because the concept of war and hatred is largely denounced and themes of peace and coexistence run front and center to the plot. There are definitely religious themes but those themes don't dominate or direct the narrative morally. They are a part of the reality of the narrative. Again, I loved reading this book even though the plot was a bit slow and there is not a lot of action. It was the conversations between characters and the philosophy regarding contact between different worlds that really enthralled me. ( )
  wolfe.myles | Feb 28, 2023 |
I almost enjoyed this more than the first in the series. Or maybe I enjoyed it just the same but it in a different way. I can't decide. Will reread the whole lot once I'm done with a first read through and decide then. ( )
  theBookDevourer211 | Jan 27, 2023 |
While the beginning was a slow burn, as soon as Ender entered the foray the book became immediately interesting.

I found that the first act was slow and boring, and if I came into this book immediately finishing enders game, probably would have put it down.

But given the completely different direction this book went, and the philosophical ramifications of meeting of a new species and how he thought we would deal with the situation really gave me and my girlfriend some food for thought.

I disliked the familial aspect of the book, but cannot deny that it was well written. ( )
  zenseiii | Dec 13, 2022 |
Yllätyin Ender's Gamen kohdalla siitä miten loistavaan kirjaan olin törmännyt ja kuinka myöhäisessä vaiheessa - Kuolleiden puolustajan kohdalla yllätyin siitä, että "jatko-osa" oli kerrankin ensimmäisen teoksen veroinen, ellei parempi. En voi ymmärtää miten tätä kutsutaan tylsäksi tai pinnalliseksi joissain arvioissa, tämä oli omalla kohdallani todellinen sivunkääntäjä joka oli vaikea laskea käsistä edes nukkumisen ajaksi, ja se antoi paljon ajateltavaa juonensa ulkopuoleltakin. ( )
  tuusannuuska | Dec 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Card, Orson Scottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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For Gregg Keizer who already knew how
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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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Ender Wiggin, the young military genius, discovers that a second alien war is inevitable and that he must dismiss his fears to make peace with humanity's strange new brothers.

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