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Fresh and Powerful
am 20. April 2009
Now, after having dried my eyes again, I will go for you back in history a little, just to remind you in a reading you almost had had surely some years ago; probably, like myself, twenty or more. Do you remember the first two volumes of that cycle now famous as the "Ender"-books, called ENDER'S GAME (1985) and SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD (1986)?
(If not, sit down and read it and then turn back to the first paragraph of this review.)
Between book one and two there is a gap of almost 3.000 years, filled till now with nothing than a few (but always strong to remember) words like "Ender goes to an other planet and find a hive queen" and "Ender and the hive queen arrived at Lusitania".
Orson Scott Card told us in the next six volumes the sometimes unbelievable ways Ender was going, returned us to Battle School and Earth, to see the things happen through the eyes of Bean (the "Shadow"), and follow this amazing "sidekick" till his end.
And now, more than thirty years after Ender's first steps into literary life (in the original "Ender's Game"-Story from 1977), Card brings us into Battle School again!
For some good reasons (i. e. the SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD book) Card had to shortcut the life and opinions of Andrew Wiggin after winning the war against the "bugs". But now he thought the time was right to fill in a new story - obviously it's an old one - in the Ender Saga. We all have to be thankful he did it by himself, so that not some other, less powerful storytellers would step in this universe. Surely this is one reason for the high quality of almost all of the Ender books.
And so ENDER IN EXILE is coming up fresh and powerful, not distracted by the twenty-some years and the knowledge of the readers about what will happen. Cards telling begins with the long year Ender has to stay on asteroid headquarter Eros because of the trial against Colonel Hyrum Graff, and the "We-want-him-not-on-Earth"-Movement started by Demosthenes. Almost a little bit overdoing the day-by-day telling of what happens in this time, with the arrival of Demosthenes/Valentine Wiggin on Eros and the decision of Andrew and Val to go onboard the first colony-ship the power of the story rises and the meaning for the reader deepens.
From now on we are on unknown ground and it is absolutely thrilling and astonishing what Card brings in: the travelling near light-speed for two years ship-time - what will be more than forty years on Earth - and the conflict (including the typical Ender-solution of it) between the captain of the ship and his thirteen year old passenger - the not only famous but also designated governor of Colony I (re-named a little bit later as Shakespeare); the first awakening of love to Andrew (and his first kiss, too); the arrival on Shakespeare and the two-year-government, in which Ender not only wins the love of his "folks", but also changed the way Earth is dealing with their colonies, inclusive the first "declaration of independence" from a new formed civilisation; - and how Ender finds the one thing he is grieving for all the time since the destroying of the formics motherworld.
For that Ender - and Val with him - is on a new quest: to find a world - and a time - who is ready for a new breed of formics/bugs!
Included in this strong, sometimes painful emotional and overwhelmingly psychological storyline the reader finds a lot of entertaining details and asides, some funny, some with interesting information about some questions, left unanswered after the other books, and sometimes he will be full of enthusiasm for the quality of style and language-using by the author.
Still, after reading the last paragraph of ENDER IN EXILE - "No promises," said Ender. "But I'll try not to get killed. I still have things to do." - we can be sure this is not the end of the cycle. And we are - again - deeply thankful for this.
Go on Mr Card, tell us more about this astonishing human being called Ender!