Xenocide by Orson Scott Card (Ender Quintet #3)

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Summary: A near retirement age Ender has to deal with another attempt at Xenocide, this time against two alien species and all of Ender’s family may die in the process.

I always warn people when I talk about my love of Ender’s Game that the rest of the series is very different from the first book.

Ender’s Game is young adult book  But Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind are not.  They are fairly serious adult oriented science fiction book that are as much about the ideas as the story line.

Which is I think the point of the xkcd comic about Xenocide being a lesser book.

After re-reading Ender’s Game I wanted to read more of the series again.  I skipped Speaker for the Dead, because I have read it nearly as many times as Ender’s Game.

Xenocide picks up right after Speaker for the Dead, or at least a spaceship ride after Speaker for the Dead.  That one ride ends up being 30 years for Ender and the world he is on and only a few weeks for Milo (Ender’s step son).

The central government has sent ships to destroy the world that Ender is on. That world is home to the first new species discovered since the Formics.  And unknown to anyone else, it is the new home to the Formics as well.

Xenocide is brings up all kinds of philosophical issues, what it means to be sentient, ethics of protection, utilitarianism, research ethics, issues of class and privilege, religious motivations, and more.  And the real problem with the book is that it tries to do too much.

I am going to read Children of the Mind again, but my memory of the book is that it gets even more ridiculous.

That being said, it is still worth reading, especially if you like philosophical science fiction.  It is just not as good as it could be.

Xenocide Purchase Links: Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook


One Comment

J. Aaron Fredricks Edwards March 6, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Ah, I totally agree with this. I loved Enders Game because even with its science fictional setting it had a real purchase on this cold war kinda vibe (which makes sense based on when it was written). Hell, I even love Speaker For the Dead just based on some of the relationship concepts it introduced between characters. It’s the rest of the books I kinda hate (which is a shame since the share a direct story arc with SFtD). There’s just so much happening and while I complain that SFtD can be long winded and tedious at some points, xenocide trips up on all the characters. From Enders wife to Jane to Glorious Bright. Everone seems like a huge disappointment. It’s pro’s were the compelling mystery of the planet and creating a “starship” but instead of spending time focusing on that I was usually more fed up with how idiotic some characters were acting. I think xenocide kinda set up this great “game” if you will, but over all based on everything you have to look after and things that happen I ultimately just, well, “raged quite”. Don’t get me wrong, I finished xenocide but I’ve not even thought to pick up Enders Children from the place I hid it from sight due to my raging.

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