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Earth Unaware (The First Formic War) Mass Market Paperback – April 30, 2013
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The setting for the series is developed beautifully, especially surrounding the culture and economy of asteroid belt mining, a major focus of this first book. Free Miner clans spend generations in deep space mining metals from asteroids and sending material back to a lunar base and then Earth. They compete with mining corporations, who treat the Free Miners as pests while trying to assuage their insatiable hunger for territory and profit.
The primary story in EARTH UNAWARE centers around Victor Delgado, an engineer with a free miner family way out in the Kuiper Belt. His unlucky family is among the first to encounter the invading aliens and Victor realizes that a warning must be sent to Earth no matter the cost. However, fights and distrust between the various human groups in deep space make coordinating a response to alien invasion much more difficult than you might think. Much of the book focuses on absurd and very-human conflicts, even in the face of imminent doom. These sections of the book are excellent.
However, a substantial portion of the book was also devoted to a Special Forces group known as MOPs (I can’t remember what that is an acronym for, but something like world police) and their leader Wit. This storyline was seriously confusing in the context of this book, apparently only included because of the involvement of MOPs in the rest of the series. These sections definitely felt tacked on here and not necessary at all, and worse, it takes the reader away from the central storyline of Victor and the first encounters with the Formics.
Overall though, I enjoyed this one and look forward to continuing the series. Simple and easy reading, but tells a story worth hearing. Highly recommended.
After seeing the recent ENDER movie, I wanted to get into the Ender story universe that Card created, but rather than reading the first book, I decided to start with the prequels, so that I could follow the story in proper chronological order. So, having said that, I haven't read any of the other books (besides Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens), so I'm not really privy to the whole Ender universe-story yet
I first started reading the sample of this book before buying it, and after my purchase, it was difficult to set down the book (actually my kindle) and I read thru this book in a span under two weeks. The story seems to move quite fast, and you're introduced to various characters that you love (or grudgingly tolerate) and see things from their unique perspectives. There are unexpected things too, such as sadness from an unexpected loss, the thought processes of how one makes a decision, and revealing perspectives of systems and people.
If you read this book, you'll find that it's "unfinished". It has an ending, but you really need to read books 2 (Earth Afire) and 3 (Earth Awakens) to get the full story. Even still, apparently 3 more books are on the way to complete "the rest of the story", but they haven't been released yet. I can't wait!!
I'm a huge fan of Card and read all of the original Ender's books as they came out. In hindsight, there really wasn't much science in the series (other than near lightspeed ships, the ansible, and other new tech which you can't argue with as perhaps it's possible). In any case, the technology did not distract from the story.
The opposite is true of "Earth Unaware" and the rest of this series. There are so many massive science and logic errors that you're constantly jarred out of the story and start wondering about how there could be so many mistakes. For example (and this isn't really a spoiler as obviously the Formics have a ship and we know it's fast): early in the book the Formic ship is detected in the Kuiper Belt and it has slowed down to "50% of lightspeed." At this rate it would reach Earth in less than 12 hours, yet months go by as Johnston and Card try to create a story.
This is just one example of many. Anyone who expects actual "science" in their science fiction will be disappointed by this entire series.