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ansible [an·si·ble] n. 1. a hypothetical communication device capable of delivering sound waves instantaneously 2. a fictional machine that allows faster than the speed of light communication (example: Commander Ender Wiggin used an ansible to communicate with his fleets instantaneously, although they were on the other side of the galaxy.)

‘The Hive’ Review

By Cassandra

‘The Hive’ by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston is the second novel in the Second Formic War Trilogy, a prequel series to ‘Ender’s Game’.

Following the hard-fought first invasion, the nations of Earth struggle to regroup and band together under effective leadership to stop a formic mothership on the edge of Earth’s solar system.

Mazer Rackham, Victor Delgado, Imala Bootstamp, Bingwen, and Ukko and Lem Jukes return to play a crucial role in the war.

The chapters which follow Lem Juke are easily my favorites. Each prequel novel brings him farther from his self-obsessed rich boy persona and into a young man driven to do right by others and prove himself worthy of his fame and fortune. No longer the playboy son of the Hegemon, Lem becomes the antihero of the second invasion. I never expected to delight in his character as much as I did, but I find it refreshing in a series that hypes geniuses like Ender, Bean and Bingwen.

At nearly 400 pages, ‘The Hive‘ is approximately 70 pages shorter than its direct sequel, ‘The Swarm’, but what it lacks in length in makes up in descriptive writing. I know readers are doing to enjoy the many scenes Mazer and Bingwen share together, the nods to the battle school’s development and the technology used in later novels. (I suspect there might also be a small nod to Card’s long-awaited novel, ‘Shadow’s Alive’, but that’s remains to be proven!)

“Your children are the monsters of our nightmares now.” (Ender to the Hive Queen in ‘Ender’s Game’, page 320)

At times ‘The Hive’ becomes more horror fiction than science fiction. At its best, ‘The Hive’ gives readers their first real, detailed description of the formics in all their terrifying and gruesome glory. It’s gross in a really fabulous way; fans won’t be disappointed. In previous Enderverse novels, readers are largely left to imagine the formics’ repulsion. Take Xenocide as an example.

“Instead she seemed majestic, royal, magnificent. The rainbows from her wing-covers no longer seemed like an oily scum on water; the light reflecting from her eyes was like a halo” (‘Xenocide’, page 189).

I find it very clever that these different descriptions of the formics create harmony in the Enderverse, rather than contradiction. The nightmare description of the formics helps to justify the third invasion in ‘Ender’s Game’ while also underlining Ender’s loving character.

My only complaint against ‘The Hive’ is that it’s a slower read than any of the other prequel novels. Thank goodness this book doesn’t waste pages trying to double as a standalone novel. Other novels in the prequel trilogies do that much better. Therefore, I recommend first-time readers start at ‘Earth Unaware’ or ‘The Swarm’.

With that said, even though I found it to be slower-paced than the other prequel novels, ‘The Hive’ is far from the slowest novel in the Enderverse. It’s simply that ‘The Hive’ spends a lot of pages setting up what will be the conclusion of this epic prequel trilogy.

Overall, ‘The Hive’ left me really excited for the final forthcoming prequel novel. I’m a little nervous with how the last novel will tie in ‘Mazer in Prison’, but I trust that Aaron Johnston has it all figured out. He hasn’t disappointed me yet.

‘The Hive’ will be published on June 11. Purchase it from your local bookstore or pre-order it on Amazon. If you’re anxious to start reading right away, you can read the first chapter for free online.

Disclaimer: A special thanks to Tor Books for providing ‘The Hive’ for review. All opinions are my own.

Rare ‘Ender’s Game’ manuscript up for auction

A rare 1985 ‘Ender’s Game’ manuscript will be put up for auction later this week on June 6 by Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Gallery in Falls Church, Virginia.

The listing includes a photocopy of the final draft printed as a review copy by the publishers with the first page signed by author Orson Scott Card. It also includes a letter from Tor Books to science fiction author Tom Disch requesting a review and a color printout of the dusk jacket art for the first edition of ‘Speaker for the Dead’. The listing mistakenly implies that this is the art for the first edition of ‘Ender’s Game’.

The condition of this collection is listed as near fine. It is estimated to sell for $1,500 to $2,000. Interested collectors should visit Quinn’s for auction details.

Also up for auction include a listing for first editions of ‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘Speaker for the Dead’, both include dusk jackets and are signed by Card. There is also a listing for an Easton Press edition of ‘Ender’s Game’, again signed by Card.

‘The Hive’ cover art reveal

Check out the newly unveiled cover art for ‘The Hive’ by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston.

‘The Hive’ will be the second novel in the Second Formic War Trilogy, which is also a prequel to the original ‘Ender’s Game’ novel. It will be published on June 11, 2019. Pre-order is available now on Amazon.

Lastly, Ender’s Ansible is really honored to have a quote from our review of ‘The Swarm’ on the cover!

Thanks to Ibid for the tip.

OSC previews first chapters of ‘Shadows Alive’

On Monday, ‘Ender’s Game’ author Orson Scott Card published the first draft of a new Enderverse short story called, The Messenger on his subscription email service, Uncle Orson on the Fly.

He writes that this short story may serve as the first few chapters of ‘Shadows Alive’, which is the long-awaited sequel that will tie together Ender’s story line and Bean’s story line.

Card has previously published a few Enderverse short stories that have become full length novels, including the original Ender’s Game novella and Gloriously Bright which became the basis for ‘Xenocide’.

Card also notes that The Messenger will be published in an original anthology, which lends the notion that other Enderverse short stories may be published alongside The Messenger. This anthology may be the same as the one mentioned in 2015  and will possibly include the two short stories Card wrote last year.

To read the 11,000 words of The Messenger, click here to subscribe to Uncle Orson on the Fly.

Thanks to u/MavikVCT on Reddit for the tip.

‘The Hive’ to be published in June, pre-order available

An updated Amazon listing reveals that ‘The Hive’ by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston will be published on June 11, 2019.

‘The Hive’ will be the second novel in the Second Formic War Trilogy, which is also a prequel to the original ‘Ender’s Game’ novel.

The description reads:

Card and Johnston continue the fast-paced hard science fiction history of the Formic Wars—the alien invasions of Earth’s Solar System that ultimately led to Ender Wiggin’s total victory in Ender’s Game.

A coalition of Earth’s nations barely fought off the Formics’ first scout ship. Now it’s clear that there’s a mother-ship out on edge of the system, and the aliens are prepared to take Earth by force. Can Earth’s warring nations and corporations put aside their differences and mount an effective defense?

According to Amazon, ‘The Hive’ is 368 pages, is significantly shorter than the novel’s direct prequel, ‘The Swarm’, by 100 pages. ‘The Hive’ is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

The cover art for ‘The Hive’ has not yet been released.

Thanks to u/MavickVCT on Reddit for the tip.

Why ‘Stranger Things’ Needs an ‘Ender’s Game’ Reference in Season 3

campaignfinal_v1If you’re one of the last people on the planet who hasn’t seen Netflix’s original science fiction- horror series, ‘Stranger Things’, let me fill you in.

Set in the 1980s, the story follows a group of nerdy boys in Hawkins, Indiana. After 12-year-old Will Byers goes missing, his friends uncover a clandestine, government-operated experiment linked to Will’s disappearance. The experiment opens a portal to an alternate dimension called “The Upside Down” where a monster called the Demogorgon lives.

The series is noted for having several nods to 1980s nerd culture, including ‘Star Wars’, Dungeons and Dragons, and X-Men. So it’s not a stretch that ‘Ender’s Game’ could be a book Will’s friends love.

Coincidentally, the publication of the ‘Ender’s Game’ novel fits in perfectly with the ‘Stranger Things’ timeline.

Season 1 of ‘Stranger Things’ begins in November 1983 and season 2 will pick up in October 1984. If season 3 follows the same pattern, it will take place around fall 1985, about 10 months after the publication of ‘Ender’s Game’ in January 1985. Season 4 should theoretically take place in fall 1986, about 7 months after the publication of ‘Speaker for the Dead’ in March 1986.

‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘Speaker for the Dead’ were both awarded two of science fiction’s most prestigious awards, The Nebula Award and the Hugo Award. In fact, Orson Scott Card remains the first and only author to have received both awards in consecutive years. Card complete dominated science fiction in 1985 and 1986!

This gives ‘Stranger Things’ producers the perfect excuse to insert a clever ‘Ender’s Game’ or ‘Speaker for the Dead’ reference in season 3 or 4.

Will’s friends could easily make a reference to the classic line, ‘The enemy’s gate is down,” because the Demogorgon lives in The Upside Down. Or, I’d love to see a copy of ‘Ender’s Game’ casually sitting on a bookshelf or nightstand.

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If you agree that ‘Ender’s Game’ needs to be referenced in ‘Strangers Things’, why not share one of our images with the producers of ‘Stranger Things’ using #EG1985 and #Season3. I’d love to add ‘Stranger Things’ to our growing list of culture references to ‘Ender’s Game’.

Photos were edited from these originals: photo 1 and photo 2.

‘Children of the Fleet’ Review

children of the fleetBy Cassandra

Children of the Fleet’ by Orson Scott Card begins approximately eight years after the Battle School is retrofitted into a school for potential explorers and colonizers.

The novel centers on Dabeet Ochoa, a shrewd and socially inept 11-year-old boy, whose arrogance prevents him from befriending the easy going Fleet School students. Early in the novel, Dabeet finds himself involved in a dangerous plot that puts the life of the only he person he loves (and several others) at risk. Can he unravel the mysteries of Fleet School in time to save them?

Although the premise sounds thrilling, I had doubts about the uniqueness of Dabeet’s character. Do we really need another genius boy like Ender, Bean and Bingwen to revolutionize some aspect of the International Fleet? Although the novel touts that Dabeet is smarter than Ender, his glaring social problems (read: complete obliviousness) give him enough character flaws to differentiate him a true hero like Ender or Bean. Dabeet is the refreshing antihero I never knew the Enderverse needed.

Comparing ‘Children of the Fleet’ to the rest of the Enderverse, readers will find the novel less sophisticated than the Speaker Series and slower-paced than both Formic War trilogies and the Shadow Series.

This slow pace reflects the relatively peaceful state the IF relishes post-war. The end of the Third Invasion means that the IF is no longer in the business of developing child soldiers and commanders. Instead, Fleet School is the place were CEOs, IF soldiers and notable free miner families send their children to study how to become bureaucratic leaders and valuable members of future colonies.

The battle room and its pretty amazing upgrades remain a part of the school’s curriculum, but the game is not valued nearly as much to these students. Overall, Fleet School is too different from Battle School to satisfy the want for more intense battles like those in ‘Ender’s Game’ and ‘Ender’s Shadow’. However, the mystery of who’s behind the dangerous plot and who are Dabeet’s parents are will send readers racing to finish ‘Children of the Fleet’. I was pleasantly surprised to learn these answers.

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The biggest highlight of this novel is Hyrum Graff’s return as Minister of Colonization, or MinCol for short. Graff’s verbal sparring with Dabeet is every bit as great as his verbal sparring with Ender or Bean. It’s really lovely how Graff can cut a student with both harsh words and unexpected softness. I particularly loved this line:

“Are you saying I’m not nice?” asked Dabeet. “There’s now a niceness test for getting into Battle School?”

“There always was,” said Graff.

I also loved how strongly ‘Children of the Fleet’ ties together the rest of the Enderverse. The novel neatly nestles itself between the plots of ‘Ender in Exile’ and the Shadow Series with several nods to the Formic War trilogies. During this time, Ender is on his way to govern Shakespeare colony and Bean and the rest of the Battle School students are raging a war on Earth.

The only problem I can find here is that this further complicates the question, “Which book should I read after ‘Ender’s Game’?” A reader could choose either ‘Ender is Exile’, ‘Speaker for the Dead’, ‘Ender’s Shadow’, ‘War of Gifts’, ‘Earth Unaware’, and now ‘Children of the Fleet’.

For anyone wondering what the answer is, Card says that the reading order doesn’t matter so long as ‘Xenocide’ is read just before ‘Children of the Mind’. I always recommend reading the novels in publication order to avoid spoiling certain plots. For example, ‘Children of the Fleet’ provides a few spoilers to the Formic War trilogies. However, in this case I think that the spoilers are so minor that most readers would overlook them. It would be harmless to read the Formic War trilogies before or after ‘Children of the Fleet’.

Truthfully, ‘Fleet School’ isn’t one of my favorite books in the Enderverse, but I did enjoy it much more than Card’s last solo adventure in the Enderverse (‘Shadows in Flight’). I think this novel and the other novels to be published in the Fleet School series are much more suited to a younger audience, which was Card’s intention from the start. I still plan on reading the rest of the Fleet School series because I’m hooked on knowing who Dabeet’s other parent is.

‘Children of the Fleet’ is available for purchase on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Lastly, I’d like to remind readers that a sequel to ‘Children of the Fleet’, called Renegat, will be published in a short story anthology on October 17.

Two New Enderverse Short Stories to be Published

51WIDaMxQBLOrson Scott Card has written two new Enderverse short stories called Renegat and Governor Wiggin.

Both short stories were first previewed in Uncle Orson on the Fly, an online subscription service of Card’s writings. Renegat appeared in February 2017 and Governor Wiggin appeared in June 2017. Currently, the only way to read these short stories is to purchase a $24 yearly subscription to Uncle Orson on the Fly.

However, Renegat will be published later this month in a space opera anthology by David Weber, called ‘Infinite Stars’. ‘Infinite Stars’ will be published on October 17; pre-order it here.

Renegat is a novella-length short story following the events of Card’s upcoming novel, ‘Children of the Fleet’. ‘Children of the Fleet’ will be published on October 10.

At approximately 9,000 words, Governor Wiggin is a short story following the later years of Ender’s term as governor of Shakespeare colony. This short story is set during the events of ‘Ender in Exile’. It is unconfirmed if or when Governor Wiggin will be published outside of Uncle Orson.

Thank you so much to my readers who helped me research these short stories, especially reader ibid11962. I updated this information on the new and improved Enderverse page, but beware that many of the individual pages still need updating.

 

Special Offer: Free Fleet School Patch with Pre-Order (Updated)

Fleet School PatchTor Books is offering fans who pre-order ‘Children of the Fleet’ by Orson Scott Card a chance to receive a limited edition Fleet School patch.

Fans who submit their pre-order receipt for a print or digital copy of ‘Children of the Fleet’ will receive the patch pictured to the left and a backer card while supplies last. This promotion ends of October 17 and is only available to residents of the United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

The patch was designed by graphic designer and ‘Ender’s Game’ fan Darian Robbins.

‘Children of the Fleet’ ‘ is the first novel in a new Enderverse spin-off series. The series will tell the tale of what happens to the battle school after the Third Formic War.

‘Children of the Fleet’ will be published on October 10. Pre-order the book on Amazon.

Edited to add that the patch was designed by Darian.

 

Read a Preview of ‘Children of the Fleet’

children of the fleetToday Tor Books published the first chapter of the ‘Children of the Fleet’ by Orson Scott Card on their blog.

‘Children of the Fleet’ is the first novel in a new ‘Ender’s Game’ spin-off series featuring Colonel Graff and a Fleet School student named Dabeet Ochoa.

Read the novel’s description below or skip to the good stuff and read the first chapter, here.

Ender Wiggin won the Third Formic war, ending the alien threat to Earth. Afterwards, all the terraformed Formic worlds were open to settlement by humans, and the International Fleet became the arm of the Ministry of Colonization, run by Hirum Graff. MinCol now runs Fleet School on the old Battle School station, and still recruits very smart kids to train as leaders of colony ships, and colonies.

Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid. Top of his class in every school. But he doesn’t think he has a chance at Fleet School, because he has no connections to the Fleet. That he knows of. At least until the day that Colonel Graff arrives at his school for an interview.

‘Children of the Fleet’ will be published on October 10.Purchase it at your local bookstore or pre-order it on Amazon.