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The Memory of Earth (Homecoming) Mass Market Paperback – January 15, 1993

148 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Homecoming Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

First of a five-book series from the author of Xenocide, the Alvin Maker tales, etc. Planet Harmony, settled 40 million years ago following the destruction of Earth, is overseen by the Oversoul, an intelligent computer able to communicate telepathically with certain of the inhabitants. Set up to prevent war and ensure the colony's survival, the Oversoul is now breaking down, and for repairs must journey to Earth (where, the Oversoul theorizes, a new civilization surely will have arisen by now). Needing help from Harmony, the Oversoul first contacts young student Nafai of the matriarchal city Basilica, hoping to persuade him and others of his family to secure the Index--an ancient machine that will enable the Oversoul to talk directly with everyone. A major complication is that as the Oversoul decays, the mental blocks it implanted in Harmony's people eons ago to prevent war are also breaking down; and soon the women of Basilica find themselves trapped in a power struggle between two hostile male armies. Where Card focuses on children--as he often does here--he writes fluently and persuasively. Elsewhere, his adult characters and motivations are much less appealing. Neither is the ancient- computer backdrop, with its far-fetched Earth connection, particularly convincing. All in all, an uneven and irritatingly inconclusive starter. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“The man's versatility of style, subject and approach makes him unique in the SF field.” ―Anne McCaffrey

“One of the genre's most convincing storytellers.” ―Library Journal

“Card is a master storyteller, and The Memory of Earth is eminently readable.” ―The Seattle Times

“As always, Mr. Card writes with energy and conviction.” ―The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Homecoming (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; 1st edition (January 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812532597
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812532593
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (148 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 19, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The accusation that the Orson Scott Card "Homecoming: Harmony" series is a thinly disguised retelling of the book of Mormon came as a surprise to me, mainly because I am not that familiar with the book of Mormon. However, "The Memory of Earth," the first in the five volume series, certainly has the tenor of an Old Testament story. The planet Harmony was settled 40 million years after the destruction of Earth, and the mother planet is now more legend than dim memory. The human population is cared for by the Oversoul, a computer able to communicate telepathically with some of the inhabitants. However, now the Oversoul is breaking down and needs to be returned to Earth for repairs. The problem is a combination of believability (no one remembers earth) and technology (this is a planet where caravans coexist with a floating chair for Nafai's crippled brother, Issib).
The Oversoul contacts a young student, Nafai, and tells him of the Index: an ancient machine through which the computer can talk directly to everyone. However, Nafai's father and brothers are unwilling to believe the boy has been touched by the Oversoul. A further complication is that as the Oversoul's powers decay so do the mental blocks it has implanted in humans to keep them from killing each other. This is especially problematic for Nafai, since his eldest brother is not particularly accepting of the idea that his rightful place has been usurped in this unbelievable manner.

I have to say that I find it hard to believe a book can be accused of proselytizing when its transforms God into a super computer. Granted, the Oversoul is a more benevolent computer than we usually find in science fiction (cf.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book, and the series is very good. If you read the first you will most likely go on to read the rest of the series. So be warned, this series ends up being very religious. So people who do not like to be preached at may want to stay away. Also, i found myself making parrallels with religous history that i found rather offensive. This applies only to the last book, but since this is the first you might as well know what you are getting into.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Card gives us the first of four very good volumes in a five book science fiction series. Basilica is a wonderful world and the characters that we meet will gain depth and develop over the series. Card is sometimes slow and tedious in his plot advancement. I liken his writing to a journey in which each step is mundane, but when taken one after another, cover long distances and present vista after vista.
Buy it, read it, and then get the next three volumes. Then read the reviews before purchasing volume five.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Ceff on October 31, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my first Orson Scott Card book to read. Absolutely unputdownable! I just loved the way he used First Nephi as a basis for this story. I started reading it not knowing anything about it, so it was most entertaining waiting to see how much Book of Mormon storyline he could incorporate.

I went on to read the rest of the series and have now read almost all of the Alvin Maker series. I have had to stop reading Cards though - I find them so engrossing they take over my life and I don't get much else done. Great to read on holidays though!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By on December 31, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In works of Sci Fi, I think one has to deploy ones power of imagination to create the authors universe in the mind. As a science fiction fan, not a science fantasy fan I found this universe a bit difficult to believe. While I can accept the genetic changing of the human race so the brain can respond to sattelite signals as a good idea, I found that the degree of control the Oversoul needed to achieve what it does just too extreme. Of course this is the essence of the plot, since this very control begins to deteriorate accordingly with a gradual breakdown of the Oversoul's machinery. I found it hard to accept that the Oversoul might be able to balance a society which is prevented from inventing the wheel and yet has the techology to create and use a floating vehicle (Issib's Chair) that can give an invalid mobility that can outrun a man, or to imagine that a society with advanced solid state electronics technology is not capable (or allowed) to conceptualize communication facilties such as a telephone. I'm reading the second book now, and find that an army general is reading a map under candlelight, while dictating instructions to his second in command who is typing them into a computer. So the Oversoul allows the development of advanced computers but it can prevent the concept of the lightbulb at the same time ?!
After reading the complete works of the Ender and Shadow series to date I probably did expect to use my imagination to some degree in this series, but probably a bit too much more than I would have liked.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Marty Reeder on June 8, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Even though Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite authors, I always find myself avoiding his books. Most likely this is because I know I'll get drawn into his stories and I will neglect the duties of real life for a couple of days. I also think that I hesitate picking up his books because I'll expect to see the same types of things going on in one story as his others, just with different characters. And while I enjoy his stories and characters, I have no time to waste reading something I've read before. After reading Orson Scott Card's Memory of Earth, I think I can say that my fears were justified. Yet, as usual, and despite my preconceived biases, I always put the book down in amazement, without the slightest hint of regret. I think it would be hard to explain how Card manages to impress me every time I read. If I were to venture some guesses, I might mention that his characters are all as smart as I wish I would be. They seem to say or think the same things that I have thought of before, but they convey those ideas I have difficulty expressing in a way that makes sense and rings true. Another thing that impresses me is that, going into Memory of Earth, I had a general idea what the storyline would be, which of course limits the surprises. That might normally seem like a handicap, but even still, Card fascinates and finds ways to come up with ideas that are truly unique and yet universal at the same time. There was not a chapter where I didn't know the result before reading it, and yet his methods were so fresh and way of presenting so clever, that I might as well have gone into the reading cold. Memory of Earth on the surface might seem like like a heavy reading; thoughtful, theme loaded, character-driven storylines are not what often make for quick and easy reads.Read more ›
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