by Mike DiCerto
338 pages (Pre-release)
There is an Ultimate Being. An entity containing the knowledge of the
Universe. The past, present and future. All actions, thoughts,
creatures, events, places and potentials are contained in this Entity.
It is the Akoshic Records, the Philosopher's Stone, the Universal
Hologram, or whatever name you wish to apply to it. "I am the
music, but I did not write the song," it claims. It is everything
that has been or ever will be. It is "L'Orange." A
cube of orange colored gelatin the size of an average throw pillow.
The year is 3265. Caffrey Trinesmart Quark, II, is a
"procurer" of exotic foods found throughout the Universe. He
traverses the galaxies in his ship, The Moby Dick, in search of the most
profitable, and most times, not easily obtained food stuffs. But he
tires of the constant killing of the exotics for the satisfaction of the
wealthy glutinous beings, even though the pay is good enough to keep him and
his ship traveling through space, with stops in places like Desmitten, where
the food is wonderfully enticing.
As he ponders his future, he discovers an ancient jukebox floating in space
and retrieves it from the depths of the Universe. With trial and
error, and educated guesses, he effects repair of the machine and is able to
hear the sounds of 20th Century Earth. (Long ago destroyed by war,
greed, self-indulgence and general neglect.) Sounds of the '60's and
'70's blare out from the ancient speaker. Joplin, Hendrix, the Stones,
The Beatles, etc. His life suddenly has a new drive. A new
passion. He determines to end his traipsing through the Universe and
retire. To 20th Century Earth.
The android Poe 33, Portsmith (protector and companion) to the Great Wise
One, has become separated from his charge and must find the blood kin of his
own creator to receive instructions. That just happens to be Caffrey
Quark. The Universe is at risk, for there is an entity wishing to
capture L'Orange in order to make changes that would reflect its own desires
throughout Space. Poe 33 explains his plight to Caffrey and finds his
situation of no interest to the Earth-bound space traveler. Caffrey
Quark is content on 20th Century Earth, caring for his dog and playing music
with his band, "Marmalade Skies." Then his band members are
captured and sent to a space craft, their essence living in a small glass
bubble. Caffrey is attacked by his aloe-vera plant and the "game
Violet, a woman with purple eyes and a member of O.T.H.E.R. (Order To
Harmonize Eternal Reality) explains to Caffrey that Nefarious Wretch is out
to destroy all harmony in the Universe. They must battle O.D.O.R.
(Order Determined to Overthrow Reality), Spydersloth Blaust and Nefarious
Wretch to preserve the single thread holding the Universe together; music.
So Caffrey, Violet, Poe 33, Angie (Caffrey's on-board computer whose love
for Caffrey is more than programming), Greppledick Quark (Caffrey's uncle
and the creator of Poe 33), and Yin (Caffrey's dog, but not a dog), set out
aboard The Moby Dick to rescue the Universe and his band members.
They come to grips with evil-doers bent on using L'Orange to remold the
Universe into an existence devoid of music, rhythm, voices raised on high,
and generally anything containing a beat. Including accordions and pan
flutes. (Imagine that!) The most threatening adversary is the
Nefarious Wretch. But Spydersloth Blaust must be dealt with first.
Worlds are being sucked into black holes to show the power of the
non-musicals and to rid the sectors of melody.
"Milky Way Marmalade" is a time/space adventure, a Spiritual
journey, and a tongue-in-cheek satire bringing truth to the basics. And
bringing the basics to the surface, revealing the Truth of the Universe.
It's a chase of good versus evil with humor. It's impossible to
narrow down to one Genre. It's a must-read. Trust me on this
one. "Milky Way Marmalade" will have you laughing out loud.
And pondering the possibilities.
When comparing this work to the many examples of the written art we call
"novels," I find nothing like it. I find no reference by
which to judge it. So I will start the bidding at five Fender
Stratocasters. And a hardy "well done."
Flying Objects: Starcraft
By Der Voron
Publisher: PublishAmerica (http://www.publishamerica.com)
Review by Denise M. Clark, guest reviewer
The existence of extraterrestrials has long been a subject of heated
debate between scientists, scholars and stargazers whoíve spent many an
hour studying the night sky and the universe beckoning beyond.
Scientific proof of whether distant life forms and existence are
legitimate causes yet an additional bone of contention between UFOlogists
and skeptics alike, and while itís easy to make jokes about Area 51 or
Roswell, there is certainly a basis for those jokes and rumors.
Something had to have happened in these places and many others
throughout the globe to engender such speculation and argument.
In his book, Unidentified Flying Objects: Starcraft, Der
offered a well researched and detailed report of incidents
that have occurred all across the globe, from many different eras.
Ancient writings may have been the first indication that Ďwe are not
aloneí, and Der Voron cites several of these sources as an example. Such
statements originate from many different countries and in different
continents, from ancient times to contemporary, from Indian tales of
events that took place in the wilds of Kipling country to experiences
related by a German artillery gunner during World War Two. Reports of
Ďunidentified contact with objects of undetermined originsí have been
filed in government offices from the plains of South America to the
fjords of Norway and the steppes of Asia.
Highly annotated and illustrated with fascinating
examples of starship
models and their possible makeup, armaments and defensive mechanisms,
this ambitious work offers a wealth of documented information on not
only Starcraft, otherwise known as ĎFlying Saucersí, but the types of
extraterrestrials that have flown them. All aliens are not created
equal, as their many varied depictions and origins in historical
writings attest. The authorís use of a plethora of written documentation
ably enhances his description of personal civilian and military accounts
of those who have had some kind of interaction with these objects.
Also explored in great detail is the intelligence of our
mainly as that intelligence relates to dolphins and the octopi of our
deepest oceans, and how they, in turn, can be used in the search for
extended knowledge of the universe surrounding our planet. How and why
these creatures have gained such highly specialized communication skills
and how it is that an octopus can experience an event and not only
remember it, but learn from it, is explored, and commented upon as it
relates to manís search for a higher intelligence.
While replete with scientific data, terms and
information, this work by
Der Voron is nevertheless highly readable and extremely illuminating for
the common reader with no prior knowledge of extraterrestrial existence,
while at the same time it also provides hours of reading material and
documentation to keep the more knowledgeable busy.
Der Voronís conscientious effort to dig deep for his
sources shows in
his detailed reports, and his data gathering and willingness to share
that information is a challenging endeavor in which he has aptly
succeeded. The existence of extraterrestrials is an immensely
interesting topic, one that will be explored for years to come, and this
work can provide as an invaluable asset to any stargazerís bookshelf.
By Louise Marley
When the fossil fuels were used up, the world fell apart. Some
countries used nuclear weapons on their neighbors while other places used
biological weapons. The stock markets crashed and international trade
was severely crippled worse than what happened during the Great Depression
of 1929. The American and European polities along with Todakai (Japan
and the Koreas) joined together in the International Cooperative Alliance,
an isolationist organization that has quarantined all nations that don't
belong to their organization.
Commander General George Glass of Security Corps rules the alliance with an
iron fist and he is the person that Ebriel Serique blames for the death of
her husband and child. She is determined to kill him and joins the
international resistance movement to achieve that goal. When the time
comes to kill her enemy, she finds she cannot do it but she is determined,
with the help of some powerful and invisible allies, to see that his regime
is toppled from power.
This is the story of a woman who undergoes a metamorphosis from an elitist
into a revolutionary, a person who comes to symbolize to the world that
there is a change needed in the world order. Louise Marley has an
uncanny ability to make the reader feel that the events in THE MAQUISARDE
are really unfolding sort of like turning the pages of the Never-ending
Story. The heroine makes mistakes, learns from them, and gets a second
chance at happiness. Readers will admire her grit, determination, and
courage, but mostly appreciate Ms. Marley's ability to paint a picture of a
world turned much colder and nastier than Dickens' worst nightmare.
Harriet Klausner, GWN Book Reviewer
Megan Sybil Baker
LTD, 2002, $21.99, 237 pp.
The Raheiran forces win the battle against the Fav'lhir that saves the
Kahlaran. However, during the fight, the explosion of an enemy ship
near her vessel apparently killed Raheiran Special Forces Captain Gillaine
Davre and her sentient ship SIMON.
Three hundred and forty-two years later, Gillaine surfaces but cannot
explain how or why. Because she was a hero in the great battle, over
time her role grew and changed into one who died divinely so that the
Kahlaran remade her into a Goddess with her own temple. Shocked beyond
belief, Gillaine wants to tell the truth that the enemy explosion propelled
her through a time warp, what really occurred at the decisive battle, and
how mortal she is, but quickly realizes how fragile the Kahlaran remains.
Admiral Rynan Makarian finds himself quite attracted to Gillaine and quickly
concludes she is his soulmate. Though she feels the same, she fears
the consequences to her worshippers of acting on her heart's desires.
However, history seems to be repeating itself as a threat from space is
nearing leading Gillaine to wonder if a higher purpose sent her through time
to complete the job.
AN ACCIDENTAL GODDESS is an exciting science fiction fantasy with a
delightful dab of romance that readers of all three genres will agree is a
clever action-packed conjoining of elements that satisfies the audience
regardless of classification preference. The lead protagonists are
intrepid and caring individuals who understand their duty yet find a love
that transcends the ages leading to the audience seeking other works by
Megan Sybil Baker (see the prequel, WINTERTIDE).
5 out of 5 stars
Blood and Mixed Emotions
By J. David Core
What would you do, if you found out that your whole world was fake?
That everyone around you was an android, part of an experiment?
That you were only one of six "reals," people of flesh and
blood among a civilization of androids?
Manny Adams goes to his favorite strip joint, where he encounters Jack
"Snake" DuPomme. Snake tells him that they are both reals...and
that even Manny's wife and kids are androids meant to observe his movements
and teach them how to act more human, in order to better enslave the world
they, as reals, actually come from. When Snake shows him a rat,
cutting into it and showing him the fiber optic spinal cord, Manny starts,
uneasily, to believe him. They hatch a plan to prove to Manny
that his wife, Corey, is also a synth, which works only too well when she
attempts to kill her husband. The two men are soon on the road,
looking for their fellow reals. The road trip takes them to Columbus,
where Manny is reintroduced to Lynn, a woman he met ages ago and truly
As a novel of alternative reality, it is incredibly creepy. The idea
that everyone and everything around us is false, the music that we love, the
movies, all the emotionally moving moments that the different kinds of media
have provided us with, was created by androids to manipulate us, is very
scary. It is impossible to know who is real, who the people who truly
love you are. (Which, in some ways, is the saddest thing of all.
To tell someone that you love them, and to have all of your
outpourings be nothing more than data.) You would never know unless
someone proved it to you. Would it be better not to know? If
there's only six of you against a planet of Androids, what good can you do,
telling everyone? These are some of the many questions that Core
addresses in his book. He makes some very interesting social
commentary about how we live our own lives, so insular, yet so dependent on
At first, I wasn't really thrilled with Manny. Being a woman, I
suppose makes one turn a gimlet eye to a man who goes to a strip joint
every week, leaving his wife alone. He grew on me, and after a while I
was really entranced, worrying that he, Jack or Lynn, another real they
track down, might soon find themselves in unfriendly hands. The
androids are incredibly vicious and uncaring. The second they discover that
Jack and Manny know the truth, their lives are over. They know this
for certain, for the androids make a temporary change to radio station
programming...running a track of people wailing in horrifying pain, while a
calm, cold voice murmurs that the duo's lives are through. Just
remembering this scene gives me the shivers.
Another fun thing for me is that I live near the area that Core writes
about. He did a really good job, capturing Weirton to Columbus to
Pittsburgh vividly and truly. I knew when he was in my neck of the
woods, in fact, I thought I recognized places along the way.
I enjoyed this read. There are some minor weaknesses, but the pacing
is such that all you notice is the action, all you care about is turning the
page, and finding out the answers to the questions posed at the beginning of
3 out of 5 needles
Cindy Lynn Speer
Ace, Nov 2002, $23.95, 400 pp.
By the twenty-third century, the once proud land of the free no longer
exists. The United States of America has split apart into several nations
with the two coasts seceding into the new countries of Pacifica and New
England respectively. The hinterland has become the United Republic of
America, a fascist right wing country ruled with an iron fist by the Liberty
Party. Dissension is unacceptable with dissidents arrested and placed in
reeducation camps where their heretic ideas of freedom are cleansed away. To
control the future, the Liberty Party also strongly encourages the young to
join youth hostels where they are brainwashed to believe the ruling elite's
message as the only truth. The Liberty Party is everywhere and in charge of
every aspect of life, from central planning to the grassroots of everyday
To show its superiority to the world, especially its own masses and
allegedly as a testimony to the magnificence of the nation under their rule,
the Liberty Party funds the construction of a starship, the Alabama. The
party leadership believes this one hundred billion dollar propaganda gimmick
will pay tremendous dividends in terms of patriotism and a symbolic show of
strength. The space ship will traverse to another orb where one hundred
party faithful will set up a colony. However, instead of the glory expected
from this coup, dissidents do the unthinkable by accomplishing the
impossible. They skyjack the Alabama with plans to form a new union based on
the radical principle of individual rights and freedoms far from the
domineering thumb of the Liberty Party.
George Orwell's ominous 1984 looks like George Burns TV set when compared to
the control of every aspect of life in the United Republic of America as
described in depth in COYOTE. As such the story line paints a bleak future
for an America in which the Bill of Rights have been trashed by Nazi-like
leaders who use technology to eradicate any dissent and some of the
successful tools employed by Hitler's elite to garner support. Following
Alan Steel's portrait of a dim world so darkened by subjugation that
freedom's light seems invisible, champions arise willing to risk everything
for freedom. Thus COYOTE turns from dismal environs into a tale of hope as
revolutionaries seek a new beginning on a new planet several light years
away from the oppression they have lived under all their lives. The Liberty
Party's prime characters seem real in a Nazi sort of way. They include
fanatics and pragmatists working to keep freedom interred as a failure of
the past. However the feel of g! enuineness accorded to the party's key
players occur due to the incredible layers described by Mr. Steel of the
tertiary slugs of the party. Quite contrary are the revolutionaries, a
daring group whose successful hijacking actually seems believable in spite
of the awesome force of the totalitarian government that wants to crush
them. The bottom line is Mr. Steel has written an exciting, complex tale of
people desperate in their need to escape a police state willing to flee to
an unknown world in a thirst for freedom.
Harriet Klausner, GWN Book Reviewer
5 out of 5 stars
Novel Books, Nov 2002, 202 pp.
In the far distant future, mankind has colonized so many planets in so many
galaxies that humanity is beginning to mutate. On earth, many areas are
radioactive and the poor sell their children into slavery. Eduardo
Sabat was once a slave of the criminal Feullier Corporation but his
slaveband went inactive when the company's computers were destroyed.
He is now a registered mercenary who has been hired to do a search and
The son of the Hithian's Autarch has been arrested on the planet Quele, held
captive by the religious priest who will kill him for not worshipping their
pagan gods. Sabat, who has worked as a tomb raider in Godcountry, is
invaluable to the team for few know how to survive in that area.
Getting into Godcountry proves almost impossible because enemies both
known and those hidden in shadows try to stop him. That seems as easy
as 1 2 3 when compared to escaping from the ruling theocracy that wants
GODCOUNTRY is an action-packed science fiction thriller that would make a
dynamite movie in the tradition of Star Trek and Star Wars. The
protagonist of this novel has done and seen a lot of horrible things as a
slave but he learns that being free comes with its own set of
responsibilities because he has to please an even harder task masker:
4 out of 5 stars
Harriet Klausner, GWN Book Reviewer
Wings Express, Oct 2002
Melanie Ross is in shock, unable to accept that that someone murdered her
husband, an undercover law enforcement official. Not long afterward,
the flu is killing Irena, a planetary visitor from Amaryllis on the other
side of the universe. Irena knows she must be left behind to die, as
the clock is running out on her people. Irena's sensory powers bring
her to a cemetery in Sydney, Australia where she telepathically observes a
lonely figure mourn even as her husband's killer threatens her life.
Irena offers a deal that if Melanie delivers her craft to her planet,
she will insure Reve returns to punish her husband's murderers.
Melanie agrees so Irena prepares her for the trek before she herself
However Commander Reve of Starship Victus is unhappy that this inferior
being has replaced his mate Irena. He reads her mind and finds her
passionate nature quite thrilling, which bewilders him. Melanie is
also confused as Reve could have been Chris' identical twin and the
Amaryllisans look like doppelgangers of famous earthlings. As Reve and
Melanie become better acquainted, they fall in love, but neither trusts the
other. Reve has no ethical qualms in digging into her thoughts.
Melanie wonders what the Amaryllisans are hiding behind their masks.
AMARYLLIS is a strong outer space romance starring two delightful
star-crossed lovers (literal and figurative). The story line is loaded
with earthly and solar action. The support cast enables the audience
to understand decisions made especially those by Melanie. Tricia
McGill provides readers with a cogent romantic science fiction that is sure
to gain her fans from both genres.
to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy
Orson Scott Card
Writer's Digest Books
140 pages with Index
Reviewed by Cindy Speer
As a would-be writer of fantasy, I thought it would be useful to read Orson
Scott Card's well known writing book. As it says on the cover, it won a
Hugo...and I can understand why. His method is simple. He goes through the
things that relate only to fantasy and science fiction writing, pouring in
his own considerable years of experience. He begins with his own beginning,
trying to publish a short story in Analog to lead up to a discussion of the
boundary between SF and Fantasy. It is a boundary that we run into every
day...and the definition is as varied as the people who try to create it.
Card's definition is not pat, rather he discusses the various aspects
through the eyes of the publisher, writer and reader, adding a great deal
about the history of both genres. I like how he describes the genres as
ghettoes, and he makes some very interesting points about how and why genres
The next chapter is world creation. He discusses his own processes, how odd
ideas came to him and percolated, how a map that he created inspired his
thinking. One of the things that he says here rang very true for me,
"Except that I believe, when it comes to story telling - and making up
maps of imaginary lands is a kind of story telling - that mistakes are often
the beginning of the best ideas. After all, a mistake wasn't planned."
By listening to him describe how his own life came together to help him
build on his ideas and create a new and interesting world, the reader is
given an understanding how their own lives build and affect their writing.
In this chapter we get one of the most intimate looks of how a story is
built and where ideas come from. One of the most useful sections is where he
describes rules, rules for space travel, rules for magic, and other areas.
He then focuses on the most popularly used ideas, and how,! when you use
them, they affect the story. For example, what does the use of a generation
ship versus Hyperspace do to your characters and your plot? You can't just
say, "My people came here via hyperspace," and leave it...there
are effects caused by each of these types of travel. While discussing the
rules that every writer must create to make their world convincing he says
many things that make a great deal of sense. For example, when creating a
language, you ought to make sure the human mouth can pronounce it.
I found the story construction chapter very useful, because it discusses how
the world relates to the character and the story, how we choose whose story
we are telling. His points out that when you select your main character that
you need to consider who is hurt the most (and therefore the most willing to
take action) in the story, and who has the power to act. He made a point
about how in Star Trek, Kirk has the most prestigious position, which, in
real life, means the least freedom. Anyone who pulled the things he did
would be court-martialed and done away with. So the writers made up for this
by never letting him really act quite like a captain. (I would say captain
as in rank, not in leader here....my own classic Trek loving heart refuses
to believe that Kirk wasn't a good leader.) In TV, he says, one can get away
with this, but not in books. Your reader will expect a captain to behave
exactly like a captain. ! At first I thought that maybe I didn't agree with
his point...I thought of David Drake's "Lord of the Isles," or
Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series, and realized that these characters
work because, although they are leaders, they are learning to be leaders,
and that they come from a background where they were common people, like
most of their readers.
Where his approach works the best is in the final chapter, where he talks
about the life and business of writing. Awhile back, one of my friends
mentioned this book and what Card said about not needing an agent until
you've actually sold the book. At the time, waist deep in places that didn't
want to hear from me unless I did have an agent, I totally disagreed with
her. I can name perhaps three of the major houses that still accept fantasy
and sf without an agent...but despite this, I still think he makes some
rather valid points. I think he's right, that the agent you're likely to get
is not the agent you want representing you. (Still I send out those queries,
and hope!) Yet, I am not sure if he's not influenced by his own
successes...he got into this field when it was relatively new. I think that
the market, and the sheer amount of people vying for magazine and book shelf
space, has probably made things a little harder.
Even so, I take his
words to heart. When he talks about agents, workshops, or life at home,
there is a great weight of experience and common sense behind his words.
Which is why this book works extremely well. It is not Card standing up and
teaching you how to write, it is Card saying, here is what I know, here are
the things you need to consider. This becomes very inspiring, since it makes
it easy for the reader to slip into his place and see how their own ideas,
their own characters are formed. They can bring their stories and apply them
to what he says. By doing this, he makes an incredibly useful and readable
By Kelly Eskridge
genre Science Fiction
Setting: Earth in the Future
One of my friends has a saying that I've taken to
heart: Never make your escape your prison. Unfortunately Jackal
(Ren) Segura doesn't have a choice. When she begins the book, she's a
Hope, one of a select few born on a chosen day, picked to be the leaders and
peacekeepers of a millennia that the world hopes will be a peaceful and
successful one. When she learns the secret of herself, a series of
events takes place that eventually sends her to prison. Imprisoned in
her own head thanks to a new technology, Jackal must begin all over again,
relearning herself as she deals with what seems to be ages and ages of
completely isolated containment.
Eskridge creates some interesting social commentary
in this book. The first thing is that in our own times, we seem more
inclined to escapism, to going into the computer world, to going into our
own heads to escape the more unpleasant sides of day to day life. For
Jackal, she strips that outlet away, and it forces her to forget
fantasy, to discard the expectations that she was raised with and the
molding process that was her childhood, and forces her to rub it all away in
order to become her true self. I have always felt that to truly be
able to consider things, you have to step aside, you have to go to a place
of peace and silence. Jackal has nothing but. Then, after her
release, the society that is built around these people who have done the
same virtual incarceration in their minds, a society where these people
become dangerous celebrities to be watched and discussed on websites is also
worth mulling over. &! nbsp;Even today we near-idolize the tragic and
the criminal, discussing suicides and mass murders with a glee that should
be considered shameful.
Jackal is a great character, balanced between selfishness and selflessness,
she's well meaning enough that I really wanted to keep reading to see what
would happen to her, what she would do next. Snow, her lover,
contrasts well with Jackal, and her loyalty through all the things Jackal
has to go through is never in doubt.
The world the story is set in is an apt-feeling projection of what the earth
will be like many years hence. The surrounding technology (aside from
the technology that changes Jackal so much) isn't leaned on much, because I
think the important things here are the interactions between people, not the
nifty devices floating around. This is a world where people are
expected to keep a certain accepted standard, and other people will help by
watching over them, reporting their actions, and trying to "help"
everyone live up to the norm. Jackal spends much of the first part of
the book in managerial classes, where she is taught how to manage people,
how to take control of situations. It's part psychology, part
mediation and a slight dose of manipulation, but it's how Ko, the
corporation that everyone who lives there takes part in, works. Her
own relationship with her mother Donatella is strongly influenced by it, in
fact poisoned by it because h! er mother is jealous and wants to always be
ahead of her daughter, to dominate her and be considered the better.
This book is keenly written and quite enjoyable. It could fit as
easily on the literature shelf as on the SF one, and should win a wide range
5 out of 5 Space Ships
--Cindy Lynn Speer, GWN Book Reviewer
A Story of Pre-dawn Earth
Tom Johnson and James Robinson
Novel, Aug 2002, 169 pp.
Trying to prove her theory that an ancient civilization employed technology
matching modern times (1930s), archeologist Odette-Aimee St. Claire explores
ruins in Nigeria. She enters a gloomy room with a black obsidian wall when a
cobra attacks her. Odette falls through the wall.
Accused of stealing money that he did not take, Aaron Jamison decides to
flee into the jungle in search of the missing Odette. He enters the same
chamber and is attacked by the cobra before falling through the obsidian
Lost, Odette and Aaron separately head towards a river when he finally
catches up to her. They continue their journey together hoping to find the
civilization that created the time portal and apparently transferred animals
and humanoids from various periods into this era. As they seek to learn how
the anachronisms of time are in this strange land so they can go home, they
fall in love. However, every step is dangerous as the duet seeks the truth
of the portal but learn the peril of the new world they now live in.
This is an exciting science fiction romance tale that is at its best when
the lead couple bravely explores this strange new world. Odette is a
wonderful heroine, but it is Aaron who steals the show as he whimsically
dreams of a dog with a beer at Gehrigís Yankee Stadium. Though the final
twist is well conceived it weakens a powerful tale of urban dwellers
residing in a prehistoric world that is worth reading by the Jurassic Crowd.
of the Mind
Orson Scott Card
Ender Wiggin continues to redeem his life following the genocide he once
caused. Ender resides on the planet Lusitania, home to the indigenous
Pequeninos, a human settlement, and the Hive Queen he saved.
Ender soon finds life is a circle as the weapon that he used thousands of
years ago has come to destroy his adopted home. The Starways Congress has
sent a fleet to destroy the planet out of fear of a virus traced back to
Lusitania. They also want to kill Ender's friend, Jane, the computer for
they are afraid of her ability to control communications. Jane tries to save
the sentient races of Lusitania before the Congress shuts down her
intergalactic Net. Meanwhile Ender makes a last stand by creating replicas
of his brother Peter and his sister Valentine.
The conclusion of the Enderís series is a strong entry that readers will
appreciate if they have read the previous novels. The tale provides the
Orson Scott Cardís powerful philosophy of involvement inside a strong
redemption story line. However, many threads tied up in this novel will mean
nothing to new readers, as this book is not a stand-alone. Still CHILDREN OF
THE MIND is a fine finale (with new dangling threads) to a wonderful series.
Orson Scott Card
Tor, Aug 2002, $25.95, 344 pp.
Ender Wiggins led the victory over the Formics, but his brother Peter is
named the Hegemon, leader of the waning worldwide government, a victim of
its own success. Peter learns that the Chinese are afraid and weary of his
rival Achilles, who has helped them expand their boundaries. They
incarcerate the dangerous Achilles, but Peter rescues his enemy only to
realize rather quickly that his foe is crazier, deadlier, and more devious
than he imagined. Achilles takes power from Peter.
Peterís strongest ally Bean leaves to start a family with Petra before he
dies, which is sooner than later. Bean and Petra agree that their children
will not carry Anton's Key in their genes, as that is what is causing Beanís
premature death. However, Achilles has his own plans for these unborn
offsprings that include speeding up the deaths of the parents.
SHADOW PUPPETS is an interesting side installment in the Enderís Earth
series though the title character is not the prime player as this novel
focuses on Peter, Bean, and Petra. The story line is loaded with action and
philosophy with Orson Scott Card contemplating the relationships between
parents and children, among siblings, friends, and lovers, and amidst major
religions. Though at times pontificating over the need of servicing oneís
community, the latest entry in this popular series proves the author still
holds four aces when it comes to engaging the reader.