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Speaker for the Dead Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,853 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I went through various stages of opinion while reading this book... First was, "Hey- why is this nothing like Ender's Game? Drats!" Then, "What is with all this Portuguese stuff, and religious garbage?" and "Why is Ender some kind of space-detective?" And so I began trudging through this book with a lack of enthusiasm. Then slowly but steadily, this story pulls you in. You don't mind the lack of Game's glorious action. This is a very mature piece.
I doubt that anyone will be able to read Ender's Game and stop there. You want more. Speaker for the Dead is where you have to go. I find it extremely hard to consider this a sequel, because never have I seen an author switch his style this drastically within one series. Card forces you to accept all of his changes, but those who adapt to this book are highly rewarded! I found myself involved with Card's characters quite alarmingly, and touched by his themes on so many levels.
One thing that really impressed me- Card takes our first intelligent contact with aliens and compares it with 16th century European explorers encountering the natives of South America. It shows the barriers of language, technology, religion, and misunderstandings -as well as mankind's need to control or dominate any new race it meets. This book is like a history lesson that teaches us not to make the same mistakes when we reach this point of our future. Very interesting.
There is no doubt I will be continuing this series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a habit, I avoid best sellers. When I heard there was a sequel to Ender's Game, I shuddered. That book had affected me so deeply, I could not imagine a sequel to it.
This book is in all ways, barring one, superior.
This book reminds me of Ursula LeGuin at her best, and I do not invoke her name lightly. She is one of the few sci-fi authors who understands something of anthropology and, more importantly, the human condition. Card in this one books has levelled with her.
Ender is a far richer and deeper character in this book than he was in Ender's Game. Here he is having to live with his own guilt and the positive and negative aspects of his own legend. He has inspired a cult of sorts, the Speakers of the Dead, people who speak not well of the dead, but realistically. How does one live with such a legacy?
The Piggies are intrinsicly fascinating. They are not small humans. They are not just randomly acting individuals. They act in a consistent, rational manner -- once you know all the peices of the puzzle. Most of these peices are not revealed except with time. Jane is also fascinating. "She" acts in a logical manner as well, but again it is not a HUMAN manner. The Hive Queen is very real and, again, not human. There is a delicate balance inherent in this book.
This book is far superior to Ender's Game, a book which is one of those rare sci-fi novels that I have read twice. It speaks to the core of humanity within us all, it speaks to our fears, our dreams, our hatreds, our prejudices, our nobility, our failings, and our longings. It is not a shoot-em-up. This book is literature, not science fiction. It may be read again with profit. It is not a book about plot and action (thank all the powers!).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As he tells us in the introduction (which is, by the way, the best introduction I've ever read), this is the book Card intended to write when he began the ever-popular Ender series. Ender's Game was simply a prologue -- originally a short story.
There are so many good things about this book. Card has a talent for writing deep, real characters that I've never seen in sci-fi and seldom in any modern literature. He is a master storyteller, and this book is wonderfully paced -- you will continually be twisting your brain trying to uncover what is up with the pequeninos before the scientists do.
But most of all, this book is a eloquent manifesto of humanism. As Speaker for the Dead, it is our hero Ender's lifelong task to understand people and tell the truth about them -- a truth that will reveal their good, bad, and ugly, but most importantly, their inherent worth and um, goodness. This truth-seeking carries from the individual to the entire races, as Card (and Ender) examine how we relate to those we don't understand, even those we can't understand.
So what is it? It's a page-turner, crazy idea-filled(as all sci-fi should be) thrilling, thoughtful, powerful, funny, poignant novel. It is an excellent piece of writing that I would love to see taught in high school classrooms.
My only problems with it are that terrible cover(who designed these covers? They have nothing to do with the story -- not even the tone of the story) and the sometimes indecipherable use of portuguese. But those are both minor.
An excerpt:
"We know you now. That makes all the difference, doesn't it? Even Quim doesn't hate you now. When you really know somebody, you can't hate them.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
As a teacher, I have insisted that my high school freshmen all read Ender's Game. The fast pace and excellent character development engage the students and lead them toward discussion of serious issues, like how we treat those who are "different" and the ultimate goals and purposes of education. Speaker for the Dead has a different focus, and perhaps a different audience. Although many of my students have read it because they so loved Ender's Game, not many were ready for its sophistication.
Speaker for the Dead works for me in its treatment of two major issues. The first of these, expressed through the interaction (and its disastrous results) between the piggies and the humans, has to do with cultural relationships and the arrogant assumptions often made by the dominant culture. The humans function at a level of cultural blindness hard to understand through most of the novel, and that blindness has tragic consequences.
The second issue I love in this book is the concept of the Speaker for the Dead, the role that Ender Wiggin has taken on in his adulthood. A Speaker's job consists of traveling to places he is called to "speak" the life of someone who has died. These itinerant Speakers come to the person's life completely objectively, and thus they are able to speak the truth about that person--good and bad. The speaker helps the community deal with the person's death by allowing them to see that person completely; all the person's facets, foibles, and fortes are displayed. I found myself thinking that if mopre people read this book, we might have a whole new funereal ritual to deal with.
In short, while of a completely different tone than Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead brings up some important issues, and it is well worth the time spent in reading it. Invest several days in this book; it deserves them.
--Prudence Plunkett (Prudence_Plunkett@breadnet.middlebury.edu)
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