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I read widely and in most genres but romance and westerns. Here you'll find my reviews since 2007, with a few reviews of previously read books as well.


In 2012, I completed an "authors of the world" challenge, reading a book for every country (and a few other entities) by someone who'd lived there for at least two years. I expect to tag these books by challenge and country in the near future. I'm still refining my list by adding books that better meet my challenge criteria.

Shadows in Flight (Shadow, #5) - Orson Scott Card The most recent installment in Card's Shadow series, this reads more like an extended short story than a novella or short novel, despite its length. There aren't really enough plot points to warrant the length, so I infer that Card's purpose was not only to move Bean and his three genetically-modified children away from Earth, forward in time through near-light speed travel, and into an encounter with the Formics, but to take some time for character development. The set-up here is a bit like Ender Wiggins's family in that a bossy male child dominates a placating female and a somewhat preoccupied male sibling. Unlike in the original Ender's constellation, this younger brother (also named Ender) puts his domineering brother in his place. Unfortunately, the exchanges between Bean and these children are reminiscent of Lazarus Long's with his also-preternaturally intelligent, wise-cracking daughters (actually, clones), including discussions of intra-group reproduction and sage theory/advice from the old coot (though Bean is in his mid-20s, he's clearly become an old coot in the Heinlein tradition) as they speed in their ship through time and space. Unlike the creepy Long twins ("It’s time for you to impregnate us"; "Both of us"), child Carlotta is fairly disgusted by the notion of reproducing, even at an extracted ovum level, with her family members. Though almost incidentally the problem of Anton's Key is solved here, the big twist introduced in this installment is that at least some of the Formic subspecies do have independent thought, which contradicts what the Hive Queen told Ender in the first series. This raises a troubling ethical challenge that I presume Card will address as he wraps up this series. Meanwhile, Bean has enjoined his children to modify their intestinal biota so they can eat food on the planet they appear about to colonize with the Formics. This may mark the beginning of human/Formic co-civilization and genetics. There are two aspects of this volume I found poignant. The first is Bean the giant lying down to die on the grass in the Formic colony ship, an image which resonates across time and space to Ender's game and the giant he discovers later in the first series. The second is that, through Bean's eyes, Ender becomes more clearly the object of sympathy, and his embodiment of the Wandering Jew archetype is more pronounced.