Speaker for the Dead, book review

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SPOILER ALERT

Speaker for the Dead starts three thousand years after the bugger wars, on a planet called Lusitania. On this planet, humans found the first alien species since the buggers. They call them the pequeninos (piggies for short). The xenologer Pipo and his son Libo study the piggies to learn how they live, while trying to conceal any technology the piggies don’t have to not disrupt their natural cycle. Novinha, the xenobilogist, studies the virus named descolada to find out how it works and make food that can keep the descolada from killing the humans.

Novinha, thinking she may have discovered something important about the descolada, shows her research to Pipo. Pipo learns something from what Novinha shows him and immediately runs to the piggies to ask them if it’s true, without telling Novinha what it is he saw. After a few hours of being gone, Novinha and Libo go out to search for Pipo, only to find him dead. Decapitated by the piggies, just like a piggie a few weeks back. In the hopes of keeping Libo safe, Novinha locks all her files and refuse to marry him. She calls for a Speaker for the Dead to come speak Pipo’s death.

Jane, a living entity inside the ansibles, talks to Ender about the piggies and what they did to Pipo. The next day, Ender, now going under the name Andrew, receives the call for a Speaker for the Dead to speak for Pipo’s death and immediately sets off for Lusitania. For him, the trip is only two weeks, but for others it’s 20 years. While on his way, the call for a Speaker for Pipo’s death is canceled, but two others rise from Lusitania. One for Libo, Pipo’s son, who died the same way is father did; and one for Marcus Ribeira, Novinha’s husband, who died from a genetic disorder.

To speak their deaths, Ender needs to uncover the Ribeira’s secrets. After finding out Libo got killed right after showing the piggies how to plant food, Ender goes to talk to the piggies to find out why they killed him. With that knowledge in mind, Jane makes sure Starways Congress (the leading group of the hundred worlds) finds out how the xenologers have broken the law by interfering in the piggies’ development. Seeing this, Starways declares Lusitania in rebellion.

After revealing the Ribeira family’s secrets, Ender convinces the people of Lusitania to let his friend, Jane, make it seem like they cut off their ansibles. Now that the people of Lusitania are in rebellion, Ender also convinces them they need all the allies they can get. With that in mind, Ender signs a peace treaty with the piggies, then runs off somewhere far from the village of humans and far from the piggies to find a place on the planet for the hive queen to be reborn.

 

Speaker for the Dead and Ender’s Game have very interesting back stories. Ender’s Game was first written as a novelet in 1977 and it’s only when Card started writing Speaker for the Dead that he wrote Ender’s Game as a full book. As he was thinking of the story for Speaker for the Dead, which wasn’t supposed to be a sequel to Ender’s Game, he decided Ender would be the Speaker; it just felt right. While writing his first chapters, Card soon discovered that, in order for Ender Wiggin to make any kind of sense, he needed to write a long boring chapter that brought Ender from the end of the bugger wars to the beginning of Speaker For The Dead three thousand years later! He simply couldn’t write that. At a convention, Card was speaking to Tom Doherty and told him that the only solution he could think of was to write Ender’s Game as a novel. Tom Doherty immediately bought the idea and sent a contract to Card once he got back to New York. Fascinating no?

At first, I was a bit lost because I thought it was a sequel to Ender’s Game and here we were on an unknown planet following people we had never met before. Before reading the second page, I decided to read the introduction and finally understood what was going on. I kept on reading and after a few pages I got attached to these characters living 3000 years after Ender. It’s a very interesting story and I loved every part of it. I’m slowly starting to enjoy this sci-fi stuff!

 

Until Next Time!

Young Mom ❤


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