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Earthborn (Homecoming) Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 1996

Book 5 of 5 in the Homecoming Series

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Product Details

  • Series: Homecoming (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (May 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0860518000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0860518006
  • ASIN: 0812532988
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This concluding volume of the Homecoming series (Earthfall, et al.) doesn't live up to the earlier books, which were notable for their subtlety in developing essentially religious themes through focused plotting and sensitive characterization. Here, the plot relies on familiar Judeo-Christian archetypes, tailored to examine discrimination, theocracy and the relationship to God-or, in this case, the powerful mystery of the Keeper. Three intelligent species now inhabit Earth: the sky people, who live in treetops; the earth people, who live in the soil and in tree trunks; and the middle people, humans descended from colonists who have returned to Earth after an absence of 40-million years. In addition to the stilted speech of some of the characters, the novel is slowed by Card's "naming conventions," which increase the mystical and cultural importance of names but also force readers to refer frequently to the separate chapter on the author's system of compounded names, titles and endearments in order to determine which characters are speaking or acting. The conclusion of the story, however, in which the firstborn son of a former priest and leader sees the evil he has caused and selects his future, is vintage Card and a joy to read. This mildly disappointing wrap-up to a rich series about humanity's journey from Earth to the stars and back might be satisfying enough to Card fans, but it's not the book through which to meet Card for the first time. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Card here concludes the "Homecoming" saga (e.g., Earthfall, LJ 11/15/94).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

That's how I felt when I started reading this book.
IHiJump
Book 5 of Orson Scott Card's Homecoming series was not quite as interesting to me as some of the previous books.
Steven Brandt @ Audiobook-Heaven
Overall the whole development of the 'plot' seems overly convoluted and boring.
J. Michael Shepherd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 1, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Earthborn" is the fifth and final volume in Orson Scott Card's Homecoming Saga, and readers who have followed the conflict between Nafai and Elemak to this point will be surprised to find that the story now jumps ahead hundreds of years to their descendants. As such the volume strikes most readers as more of an epilogue or postscript rather than as a conclusion to the tale. Then again, knowing Uncle Orson, there is always reason to believe that what we are reading is some sort of a morality play for our edification. I do not read too many authors who write allegories as often as Card, at least not without going back several centuries (and back across the Atlantic Ocean).

In "Earthborn" there is one member of the Children of Wetchik from the earlier novels who made it from Harmony to Earth and is still around, namely Shedemi, who now wears the cloak of the Starmaster. The descendants of Nafai and Elemak have built their own cities and towns, but the animosity between the brothers remains potent between the two peoples. The quest to find the Keeper of the Earth, the computer-like intelligence that can repair the Oversoul back on Harmony, still continues. Now there is evidence that the people on Earth have been influenced by the Keeper and Shedemei has decided to leave the starship Basilica and feel the earth under her feet once again.

In the other books there were more immediate and practical concerns, plus the Oversoul was helping move things along. But with the Starmaster and the Oversoul in the background, more philosophical (read religious) issues have come into play. With humans as the Middle People between the Angels (Sky People) and Diggers (Earth People), many of Card's fans will be reminded of the later volumes in the Ender series.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have no idea what Card is about. The first four volumes of the series had high and low points, but did pull you into the plot and the characters. What this volume is about is a puzzle to me. An almost entirely new set of characters is introduced, the societies presented are not related to the societies in the previous volumes, the motivations of the actors and actions seem like a sociological treatise, and, frankly, I was unable to stir up interest in either chaacters or plot. I am lost to understand what Card is trying to do, except to throw in an unrelated volume to stretch what is an otherwise decent series. Other reviewers have argued that Card's plot and focus is consistent in a broad sense. I understand that arguement, though I do not agree with it. But, even if there is a broader plot, Card simply doesn't deliver it in this volume. This last volume strikes me much like the Riverworld series ... it continues in terms of turning out pages and rolling down the river, but the pages don't lead to anywhere. This book, in my mind, is the epitome of the typical Card seies ... a slow paced, but engaging start. A well wrought world and society. Careful and lengthy character development. Threads that are well woven and all accounted for. Then, a seeming loss of steam or interest or skill with an anti-climatic resolution. This volume exceeds even the typical Card resolution. It would have been better for both audience and author if Card had stopped before writing this volume. It is, perhaps, the worst science fiction I have read by a major author.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jedidiah Carosaari VINE VOICE on December 5, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Throughout this series Card has been playing with Biblical themes and characters on another planet 40 million years in the future, and then on Earth in the same time period. He now follows the Biblical track of jumping from 400 years before Christ to the time of the New Testament. There was the creation of sacred texts by the patriarchs (Nafai) that are now followed, to certain extents by the people of Earth. But just as in 1st century Palestine, many have grown legalistic in their pursuit of their religion, and are in need of revival. On the way he successfully limits the validity of the Mormon Native American myth, by comparing those tribes to an Islamic violent failed evolutionary stream that is only peripherally related to the main storyline.

In the meantime, in the downside of the series, only Shedemai remains from the original cast of the first four books. I miss the characters that Card drew so well, and wanted to know what happened to them- it felt like conflicts were still unresolved. But then, that is the way of the Bible too, where the point isn't the characters, the people, but the shadowy character behind the people, God. Shedemai's presence provides some measure of continuity, and also provides a nice setup for a Christ-figure to show up, as people begin to preach the religion of Love.

So here, we have a man who baptizes, speaking of another coming after him, and of the need for people to renew themselves in love, and return to the true religion of the Keeper, ala John the Baptist. We have the growth of the movement, and the resulting persecution. And one, close to the religion, breathing murderous threats, and then he is met on the road to Damascus.

None of this of course fits with the stories we find in the Gospels and Acts.
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More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author best known for the classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow and other novels in the Ender universe. Most recently, he was awarded the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in Young Adult literature, from the American Library Association. Card has written sixty-one books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards-the only author to have done so in consecutive years. His titles have also landed on 'best of' lists and been adopted by cities, universities and libraries for reading programs. The Ender novels have inspired a Marvel Comics series, a forthcoming video game from Chair Entertainment, and pre-production on a film version. A highly anticipated The Authorized Ender Companion, written by Jake Black, is also forthcoming.Card offers writing workshops from time to time and occasionally teaches writing and literature at universities.Orson Scott Card currently lives with his family in Greensboro, NC.

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