Children of the Mind

Orson Scott Card, Author Tor Books $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-85395-2
The first two volumes of Card's Ender saga, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, each won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel. This adept fifth volume in the series (after Xenocide, 1991) continues the story of Ender Wiggin, hero, social conscience and unwitting mass murderer. Here, however, Ender, feeling the weight of his years, plays only a limited role in the desperate attempt to avert the destruction by the Starways Congress of the planet Lusitania and its three intelligent races. Foremost among those at center stage are Peter and Young Valentine, Ender's ""children of the mind,"" copies of his brother and sister whom he accidentally created on his trip Outside the universe in Xenocide. Also central is Jane, the prickly Artificial Intelligence whose unique ability to use the Outside to transcend the light-speed barrier is key to all attempts to save Ender's adopted world. Peter, Val, Jane and their companions must criss-cross the galaxy to find new planets for Lusitania's refugees while trying to influence the politicians and philosophers who have the power to stop the Congress's approaching war fleet. Readers unfamiliar with earlier Ender novels may have trouble picking up some plot threads. But Card's prose is powerful here, as is his consideration of mystical and quasi-religious themes, and his ability to write convincing, at times heartrending, scenes of intrafamily conflict is as strong as ever. Though billed as the final Ender novel, this story leaves enough mysteries unexplored to justify another sequel; and Card fans should find that possibility, like this novel, very welcome indeed. Major ad/promo; 200-copy limited leather-bound edition, $200, ISBN 0-312-86191-5. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1996
Release date: 08/01/1996
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