04 August, 2012

Review: Xenocide

Xenocide Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Xenocide, like most other novels in the Ender's Series, receives five stars from me. I know there are parts of it I strongly disagree with, and there are even a few portions that make me pause as a reader when it comes to my suspension of disbelief -- but if you can manage to read Xenocide as a description of an alternate universe where the philosophy and physics that Card posits really is real, then the story is amazing.

Nevertheless, I cannot stress how much I disagree with the concept of categories like ramen and varelse which play such a strong part of the story. These concepts are NOT valid in real life. But as this is fiction, I will try not to harp on this point too much. (c:

Without giving the storyline away, I also must comment on the physics of this book. There's a great tradition in soft science fiction to make it where the outrageous physical phenomena are true in-universe, even though they'd be horribly implausible theories in reality. This book does much of the same. But Card does it in a way that reminds me of Dan Brown; I can almost see him winking as he writes this stuff, which is more than a little disconcerting. If you do not know what I'm talking about, then GOOD. read the series and enjoy it for the fiction that it is. It is a wonderful novel. But, if you want to know what I'm talking about after you finish the entire Ender Series, I suggest you look into reading some of what Orson Scott Card has said in interviews about this stuff. It's more than a little disturbing when authors like Dan Brown or Orson Scott Card start to confuse their own works of fiction with reality.

In the end, the book nevertheless gets the full five stars just because it's so damn good. I enjoyed the commentary Card gave on sexuality, love, disability, OCD, politics, and the utter weirdness of varelse. Of course, I disagree with some of the conclusions reached (Miro's storyline especially pissed me off), but that's only to be expected.

Oh, and while I was doing my reread of this book, I had my iphone on shuffle for background music, and Ravel's Bolero happened to start playing while I was reading about Qing-jao. The effect was awesome. (c:

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