13 August, 2012

Review: Earth Unaware

Earth Unaware Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I went into this thinking I'd be reading the story of the elusive Mazer Rackham. Without giving anything away, let me say that this is much more than that.

As the first in a planned trilogy, I am a little upset that I can't yet read the sequels which have yet to come out, but this is actually a very good sign when it comes to how good a novel is. I'm extremely pumped by the story, even though (since it's a prequel) I technically know what's going to happen.

Note that there are some marvel comics associated with this book, but they are completely unnecessary, even as a supplement. If you plan to read both, read the book first. (This is true even though the comics were published earlier than the book.)

However, despite the five star rating, I have (as usual) some gripes about Orson Scott Card's writing.

Please stop reading this review if you have yet to read the novel.

First, I get incest is bad when it comes to reproduction. But geez. He is so harsh in his world building here. Sure, it's justified somewhat by the fact that there would have to be some system in place to deal with space-faring communities that lived out their lives in the kuiper belt. But unfortunately, Card has lost the ability to make such justifications up with me. In other books of the Ender series, he has bashed homosexuality (giving aiuia bonding as an in-universe justification), islam (by making it so muslims in Ender's universe are basically evil in principle), and polyamory (in insisting upon monogamous heterosexual marriage EVEN when there literally is not enough men to go around on a colony) -- so when he bashes incest here, I just assume it is Card being his usual dick self again rather than accepting the justification given in the novel itself.

Still, it's better justified than his other crazy notions, so I'd almost forgiven him for it. But then he drops a bombshell.

Card makes a scientist character say that gravity is the strongest force there is.

This reeks of utter did-not-do-the-research. Gravity is the weakest force we know of, not the strongest. To have a scientist who specializes in gravity say this is the pinnacle of absurdity.

Look, I get that this is not hard science fiction. But the soft scifi label is what allows Card to come up with stuff like glasers, which I accept just as readily as I do tar trek's transporters. I've got no problem with glasers in my fiction. But please, for the love of science, do not make a scientist character say something so utterly nonscientific like this. It really takes me out of the story. /c:

Anyway, thankfully these drawbacks do not detract too much from the rest of the story. Any fan of the Ender universe will no doubt be enthralled by this new entrant in the series.

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