Ender’s Shadow (price check, Amazon) (the author wanted it to be called Urchin) was a wonderful book to read. I’d read Ender’s Game a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, and this book seemed even better than it. It takes us thru the excitement of heated battle, while making us think about the deepest traits of our humanity.

The author, Orson Scott Card, has written a number of “sequels” to Ender’s Game, but the first such sequel takes place 3,000 years after Ender’s Game ends. It also takes a more serious and contemplative tone, which didn’t go over so well with the kids who loved the story of Ender’s Game so much.

This book brings back all the excitement and retells the same story (it’s a “parallel novel” or a parallax) but puts a different twist on things, telling the story of Bean, the scrawny youngster who works his way up from starving on the street to saving the planet.

While doing so it brings up questions about religion, hatred, life and death and makes us curious about whether human nature will ever change. All of this is played against the backdrop of “The Buggers”, the evil insectoid aliens controlled with a single hive mind who have set out to colonize Earth.

At the end, there’s obvious room for a sequel about how life ends up on Earth afterwards. While this book would not have the magic of space battles, it could go into further depth on the philosophical issues. Mike Cohen pointed me to Shadow of the Hegemon (price check, Amazon) which appears to be this book I imagined.

By the end of Ender’s Shadow, we realize that humanity’s greatest strength flows from its ability for independent thought. Yet almost as quickly we learn that this ability can also be our greatest weakeness. In the end we’re left with only questions, and each of us must answer them for ourselves.

posted February 09, 2002 10:49 PM (Books) #


Arrgh, pirates.
Moving to Movable Type
My First Usenet Post
Fancy Stats-Man
My First Drive
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card
The Decline and Fall of ArsDigita
My Flamboyant Grandson
EarthWeb by Marc Stiegler
Students, Teachers and Dragons

Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)