Title: Speaker for the Dead [amazon]
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (August 15, 1994)
Book Number: 13
What’s this 52 Books in 52 Weeks thing about?
This entry contains spoilers about the ending of this book, so if you’ve not read the book yet, I suggest you stop here.
I started Speaker for the Dead immediately after finishing Ender’s Game (my post about Ender’s Game is here). My feelings about Speaker for the Dead are quite similar to my feelings about Ender’s Game: I loved it. I actually enjoyed Speaker for the Dead more than Ender’s Game, however, because Speaker for the Dead fixed most of the things about Ender’s Game that I didn’t care for. There were children in Speaker for the Dead, but they didn’t act so childish as the kids in Ender’s Game (i.e., there weren’t any taunts of “farteater” flying around). Another complaint that I had about Ender’s Game was the term “buggers”, used for the alien race the humans were dealing with. The name just sounded stupid to me. Despite Cas’s excellent reasoning as to why they were called that, I still wasn’t crazy about the term, and I found the term “piggies” in Speaker for the Dead to be even worse.
The only other gripe I had with the book were the many Portugese names, and even with that complaint, it’s more a problem with me than with the book. Being a bit obsessive compulsive about the pronunciation of words, including foreign ones, I kept wanting to check to see if I was sounding out the names correctly. However, as I’ve never studied Portugese, I kept having to dip back to the front of the book to read the pronunciation guide again. By about the 100 or 150 page mark, I was fairly confident that I had things down, but up until that point, it was fairly frustrating. But again, that’s just a quirk of mine, nothing wrong with the book.
Having said those few things, I really enjoyed the plot. It was fun to learn about the pequininos (piggies) through the eyes of what was, essentially, a group of piggy anthropologists (xenologers). I liked how the book displayed wonderfully the fact that different cultures can see things completely differently. The bits about how life in general worked on Lusitania seemed a bit stretched to me, particularly in regards to how the piggies themselves grow up, but it didn’t really detract from the story.
I think it’s safe to say that I have caught the Ender virus. I love this series. I was going to wait until I had finished reading Sharpe’s Tiger before I started the third book in the Ender Wiggins series, Xenocide, but while at the library today, I couldn’t resist. So, I am now reading Sharpe’s Tiger and Xenocide at the same time.