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Inexplicable, Tedious, and Just Plain Bad
am 23. Januar 2000
I have no idea what Card is about. The first four volumes of the series had high and low points, but did pull you into the plot and the characters. What this volume is about is a puzzle to me. An almost entirely new set of characters is introduced, the societies presented are not related to the societies in the previous volumes, the motivations of the actors and actions seem like a sociological treatise, and, frankly, I was unable to stir up interest in either chaacters or plot. I am lost to understand what Card is trying to do, except to throw in an unrelated volume to stretch what is an otherwise decent series. Other reviewers have argued that Card's plot and focus is consistent in a broad sense. I understand that arguement, though I do not agree with it. But, even if there is a broader plot, Card simply doesn't deliver it in this volume. This last volume strikes me much like the Riverworld series ... it continues in terms of turning out pages and rolling down the river, but the pages don't lead to anywhere. This book, in my mind, is the epitome of the typical Card seies ... a slow paced, but engaging start. A well wrought world and society. Careful and lengthy character development. Threads that are well woven and all accounted for. Then, a seeming loss of steam or interest or skill with an anti-climatic resolution. This volume exceeds even the typical Card resolution. It would have been better for both audience and author if Card had stopped before writing this volume. It is, perhaps, the worst science fiction I have read by a major author.