Xenocide is mind-changing science fiction. Review by Violet Kane

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In Print
This third novel of the original Ender series exists, along with its predecessor Speaker for the Dead, in the shadow of Orson Scott Card's multi-award-winning science fiction classic Ender's Game. These successor novels deserve more attention.

Xenocide picks up simultaneously where Speaker for the Dead leaves off and twenty some years later, as Ender and his family—both new members and old—deal with the fallout of preceding events on the Lusitania colony. Valentine, with her husband and children, are enroute to Lusitania to be reunited with Ender in effort to discover a way to stop the fleet sent to answer Lusitania's rebellion and, potentially, to destroy the planet to save humankind from the insidious Descolada virus—a move that might save humankind, but would destroy the only other two sentient races known to man, the Pechininos and the Hive Queen's brood, not to mention Ender and his entire family. Ender and various members of his stepfamily are working on the problem with the help of Jane, a sentient being who lives within the computer connections among the 100 worlds. Despite the joyful reunion between Ender and his sister, trouble looms. As congress prepares to send the order that would have their fleet destroy Lusitania, Ender's stepdaughters race to uncover a permanent cure for the Descolada as Jane debates whether to use her technological powers to keep the order from being relayed to the fleet—and risk being discovered by congress and being targeted for destruction like a common computer virus.

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On Audio
The best thing about Xenocide is that it's so predictably fascinating and engaging—by which I mean that readers can count on Card to deliver a story that's every bit as well-written and well-told as Speaker for the Dead. Card's talent for weaving speculative scientific concepts with character conflict in the forward advance of this story is unparalleled—and quite simply fun to read. His concepts are well-conceived and challenging. This is the sort of book that can very well change the way its readers look at the world. And all the while keeping the storyline character-driven, making this story an excellent study for SF&F writers, as well as a plain good read.

I would recommend reading this book after reading Speaker of the Dead. If you've read Speaker though, you would be well-served to move Xenocide to the top of your reading list.


Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.