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Earth Unaware (The First Formic War) Hardcover – July 17, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Reading Guide for Ender's Game.


Ender's Series: Ender Wiggin: The finest general the world could hope to find or breed.

The following Ender's Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Game, Ender In Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind.

Ender's Shadow Series: Parallel storylines to Ender’s Game from Bean: Ender’s right hand, his strategist, and his friend.

The following Ender's Shadow Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight.

The First Formic War Series: One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. These are the stories of the First Formic War.

Earth Unaware, Earth Afire.

Ender Novellas

A War of Gifts, First Meetings.

The Authorized Ender Companion: A complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things, and events in Orson Scott Card’s Ender Universe.


Orson Scott Card made a strong case for being the best writer science fiction has to offer. (The Houston Post on Xenocide)

Card has raised to a fine art the creation of suspense by means of ethical dilemmas. (Chicago Sun-Times on Xenocide)

See all Editorial Reviews
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Product Details

  • Series: The First Formic War (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (July 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780765329042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765329042
  • ASIN: 0765329042
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (455 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 218 people found the following review helpful By SesameStick on August 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Just sort of seems like OSC phoned this one in, here and there you get some good writing but mostly it struck me as cheap. Some of the sections mention network security were just stupid, "...they have the best firewalls, but we hacked them in seconds while in free fall during a parachute jump using a eye blinking interface." wtf? The depictions of scientists and engineers were so far off the mark as to make me put the book down and shake my head (I am an engineer). We are not two dimensional and can deal with more than black&white problems also many of us can interact with people professionally and even effectively manage them. In many places OSC tries to insert some Newtonian physics but this universally fails and reveals that he really does not have a clue, speed and acceleration are different things. I could go on but you get the point.

I know this review does not really matter and anyone who has read the other books will read this one too as you should, just keep your expectations low. Or maybe read this one in graphic novel form.
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204 of 237 people found the following review helpful By Paul M. Calkins on July 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am so very disappointed... I can't believe Card even read this book, let alone wrote it.

The story is moderately interesting, and the characters are enough to keep you going. However the book displays complete ignorance of the most basic points about physics, gravity, and space flight. (spoilers ahead)

What the heck does it mean to come to a "full stop" in space?
How does it matter how fast you're going when you dock, as long as you're matching velocity?
How can you travel from the Kuiper belt to the Moon in 8 months? At the stated velocity (100,000 mph) it's a 5 year trip. Don't you have Google?
So many many others..

By the way, if you're the mindless appendage of a multi-body organism, why do you snarl in hatred? Do our fingers have expressions? And oh yes, how does a human know that expression is hate?

I am a huge fan of Card's work, but come on, this time nobody even tried. It's OK to stretch the boundaries of science when you write science fiction, but you need to at least consider the actual facts too.

Lastly, Card's work is lyrical and a beautiful read, full of social commentary. This is just a rather poorly written space opera, not much different than the "Bug Eyed Monster" genre of the 1940's. I can't believe Card wrote this; I suspect Mr. Johnson spent most of the time at the keyboard. But Card should have exerted a little editorial control. His name's on the book, and that should be a promise to the reader. Promise not kept!
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Smoky Blue on August 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ender's Game is still one of my top 5 books of all time. While I didn't like the followup novels as much, I could still appreciate how well they were written, even if they didn't appeal as much to my reading tastes. Earth Unaware, however, is complete drivel. I have no idea what Card was thinking when he released this, but I should have recognized the warning sign when I saw that it was co-authored. It's not even really a novel, but rather a series of short stories that loosely tie together with a couple of utterly pointless cameo appearances by characters which will play a role later in the Formic wars.

Sadly, it all starts to make sense when you read the Afterward in the book -- this was never originally intended to be a novel. It was backstory that Card created for Ender's Game. Back in 2009 Marvel Comics made several successful runs of comics based on Ender's Game and the Ender universe. This travesty of a novel is the result of Marvel wanting to do a new series with new characters, but still set in the Ender universe. It was created specifically to flesh out the story so Marvel can create a comic book series.
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77 of 93 people found the following review helpful By silverquill on July 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Earth Unaware really reads like a stripped down action book which has more to do with its comic book roots than with its relation the larger Ender Universe, with its rich and complex layers of worlds and characters, of cultural and philosophical insight.

The book lacks the depth of the rest of the Ender's series and the parallel Shadow series. The world of the asteroid mining culture is fairly well developed, but could benefit by more depth. The culture of earth hardly makes an appearance at all. The story falls short of creating the backstory world the gave rise to Ender and his life. There is actually one character in this story who appears in the Ender's Game series, but he is given a very peripheral treatment. One key element of technology is also introduced. The formics are here, of course, but we learn nothing new.

The parenthetical subtitle, "First Formic War," creates an expectation that is never fulfilled. That's all I'll say about the ending. This was a squandered opportunity to provide us with a deep, rich view of the world where Andrew Wiggin grew up. Where are the insightful commentaries on human nature and society? None of the characters have the complexity of the Wiggins Family or Bean.

The overall structure of the book is difficult to follow. Each of the first three chapters is about a totally different set of characters in different worlds, and the book bounces among them with little natural transition. Of course this is a technique that Card uses in his longer books, but here in this shorter story I found it jarring. Two threads are connected about 2/3 of the way through the book, and the other thread finally comes into juxtaposition , but never fully connects.
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