Thursday, 8 December 2011

A final word on Speaker for the Dead

By the way, I'm not an atrociously slow reader. My method of best performing my daily acts of escapism involves rotating around over 50 forms of media, changing whenever one begins to bore me - and these days I bore very, very easily. Or at least, my tolerance for boredom is abysmally low. In any case I am basically with 100 or so pages to read, and despite how it may be interesting enough to people without a distractingly painful mind, I find anything past the middle of this novel boring, and I find the religious overtones really, really annoying. And consider this: I have on numerous occasions, for funsies, read the Bible and the Koran. In my lowly valued opinion this is not so much a science fiction book as an amateur theology/philosophy book, and a terrible one at that. Yes, the start is all exciting and you start to think Card has come up with another masterpiece. But past that, you may call me intolerant for this, but I could not look past how religion and forgiveness bla bla bla was maximised, while characterisation was basically minimised. Yes, the plot is really quite amazing when you get down to it. But TO get down to it you have to somehow make it through endless slaps in the face from the gigantic penis of theological bullshit. This is not the sequel to Ender's Game I had in mind. I may sound like a toddler having a temper tantrum here - but this is not what I wanted, this is not what anyone could have wanted, and this is not even in the same genre as Ender's Game. There is military science fiction, and there is defecating from your mouth science fiction, at least as far as Card is concerned. I am sorry I do not understand how 'deep' this book is, but in my ever-growing library of media to re-experience, this is not making the cut.

Hypothetical: would I change my mind about this book, had Card not set things up in a boring-ass Catholic colony, and had left his religious delusions behind closed doors? MAYBE, but the slow-release mechanism that is the plot essentially draws attention to the fact how, as I have mentioned several times, Card is not very good at characterisation. That is to say, it is extremely hard for me to distinguish one character from the next. In fact, Ender's Game had better characterisation that this - and that is one of the only aspects of it that I can actually fault. All in all this book was one I really enjoyed at the beginning, got frustrated with towards the middle, and towards the end simply accepted its inevitable inferiority to its prequel. Is it antinatalist? Card is a staunch Mormon, so you can count on it being as far away from antinatalism as possible. Would other people enjoy reading it? It has several awards to its name, great reviews, and is generally well-loved. And owing to how my opinion is representative of exactly one estnihil, and many people's opinions could easily be representative of the whole population of the world, this is one of those things I should like, but ultimately don't. Note how I used up a whole post for a novel most people probably have not read. Sorry about that.


  1. Pastwatch is pretty fucking awesome though.

  2. To be honest I'm not totally pissed at Card. He seems to have a knack for making pretty damn interesting plots. So I'll check out Pastwatch, and I might even finish the Ender series if I care enough. On reading a review of Pastwatch, it reminds me a bit of David Pearce's plans to eliminate suffering across the universe. Which does sound pretty cool.