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Kiln People
Beth Meacham, David Brin

Speaker for the Dead

Speaker for the Dead - Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is one of those rare sf classics that are placed in the top 5 of most "All-time best sf books", I have seen it occupy the pole position in a few such lists. Such accolade is not undeserved as Ender's Game is a great book, and one of the best military sf novels ever published, alas military sf has never been my favorite sf sub genre so Speaker for the Dead is much more to my taste. What makes this book very special are the existential and philosophical issues raised by this book. I also love the Pequeninos (piggies) alien species and their highly unusual stages of growth. Their culture is very alien and this leads to a terrible misunderstanding and a couple of tragic human deaths, that said, there are some recognizable human characteristic in their behavior. Characterization has always been a particular strength of Orson Scott Card and this is very much a character-centric book, though the sf element, the sense of wonder and immersion is very strong. The character of Andrew Wiggin (Ender) is very different from the previous novel he has grown up, grown old and attained a lot of wisdom. Some of the alien piggies characters such as Rooter and Human are as vivid as the human ones. For me this book has a lot more emotional resonance than its predecessor as I can identify with some of the problems the characters go through. This book epitomizes all that I look for in a perfect sf novel.

The two books in the Ender's Saga that follow this one, Xenocide and Children of The Mind are not shabby either.