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 Last Shadow’ by Orson Scott Card is the sixth novel in the Ender Saga
This novel ties together the original Ender Saga with the Shadow Series. For readers who need a refresher, ‘The Last Shadow’ directly follows the events of ‘Children of the Mind’ (1996) and ‘Shadows in Flight’ (2012).
As the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe―the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient species living peacefully together. And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions. Is the only answer another great Xenocide?
Firstly, I cannot recommend this novel as an introduction point for readers starting the Enderverse. The novel does not work well as a stand alone novel and I highly advise readers to reacquaint themselves with Bean’s children in ‘Shadows in Flight’ and the descolada virus in Lusitania before taking this on.
I was surprised to discover that much of ‘The Last Shadow’ revolves around new Enderverse characters: Bean’s grandchildren. These Delphiki children are every bit as brilliant and sarcastic (and absurdly named) as their parents in ‘Shadows in Flight’, so much so, that I question why Card chose to invent new main characters at all for his final book in the Ender Saga. Other returning characters include Peter (Ender’s auia reincarnate), Si Wang-Mu, Jane, and a few others that I will let fans uncover for their enjoyment.I enjoyed reading how Lusitania and the rest of the settled worlds developed after the events of ‘Children of the Mind’ and I was happy to learn what some of my favorite Ribeira family members have been up to. However, I was a little disappointed that some characters were name-dropped, but were left out of the plot. Valentine was notably missing from the pages of ‘The Last Shadow’.
The story picks up several years after the events of ‘Children of the Mind’. With the time passed, the characters in ‘The Last Shadow’ seem much less motivated to solve the descolada mystery quickly. Coupled with the fact that a real virus (Covid-19) has negatively impacted the world in the last couple years, the fictional descolada virus loses some of its perceived danger.
Considering how many decades fans have waited to uncover the mystery of the descolada origins, I fear that some fans will be disappointed with the concluding story Card has given them. Without providing spoilers, Card has both given fans a half answer and reinforced the mystery. Card addresses the possibility for reader disappoint in his acknowledgments, but shares this solace:
“Novels must resemble reality as well as fulfill our dreams and wishes, and in reality some historical and scientific questions remain mysteries” (‘The Last Shadow’, page 313).
I personally enjoyed the story Card presents in ‘The Last Shadow’. I found the story to be colorful, intriguing, and full of surprises. Although the conclusion may not have been what I was expecting as a fan, I am truly satisfied. I think if you can accept that Card has a wonderful and wild story to tell about generational healing, you will enjoy this final novel in the Ender Saga.
‘The Last Shadow’ strongly hints that it will be the last novel in the Ender Saga. Addressing the idea of future generations of Enderverse characters, Card writes, “I am not the novelist who will recount that adventure” (313).
Will not give any further review of ‘The Last Shadow’ lest I accidentally spoil this final Ender Saga novel for fans.
‘The Last Shadow’ is available for purchase today. Purchase it on Amazon or your local bookstore.
Disclaimer: A special thanks to Tor Books for providing ‘The Last Shadow’ for review. All opinions are my own.
‘Ender’s Way’ includes 13 short stories: The Polish Boy, Teacher’s Pest, Mazer in Prison, Cheater, Pretty Boy, Ender’s Stocking, Ender’s Homecoming, A Young Man with Prospects, Ender in Flight, The Gold Bug, Governor Wiggin, Investment Counselor, and Gloriously Bright.
Governor Wiggin was written by Orson Scott Card especially for Centipede Press, although some subscribers to Uncle Orson on the Fly may have previewed an early draft.
The 416 page collection was illustrated by Cristina Bencina, with the frontpiece and duskjacket by Rob Rey. ‘Ender’s Way’ is a limited print of 300 copies signed by Card, Cencina and Rey for $250. Unsigned copies are $225.
In an email this morning, Centipede Press shared that the illustrated edition of ‘Speaker for the Dead’ has been delayed a few weeks longer.
Lastly, I would like to thank Jerad at Centipede Press for listening to Enderverse fans who practically begged him to make this collection 5 years ago. We can’t wait to receive our copies!
Formerly titled ‘Shadows Alive’, the decades-long wait for the final Enderverse tie-in novel will be published in October 2021.
‘The Last Shadow’ by Orson Scott Card will tie together the original Ender quartet and with the Shadow series. In chronological order, this novel will follow the events of ‘Children of the Mind’ (1996) and ‘Shadows in Flight’ (2012).
The 288 page novel will be published on October 19, 2021. Pre-order on Amazon is now available.
Read a short description from Amazon below:
As the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe―the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania.
One planet. Three sapient species living peacefully together. And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions. Is the only answer another great Xenocide?
Thank you to the 15 people who emailed me about this, I’ve been very behind on news in the last year.
On Sunday, Centipede Press gave a long awaited update on their Enderverse projects.
In a July newsletter, Centipede Press shared that ‘Speaker for the Dead’ and ‘Ender’s Way’ are both headed to the printers soon. The two volumes will be released sometime between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.
In 2014, Centipede Press published a beautiful illustrated edition of ‘Ender’s Game’. In 2015, the publishing company announced that they were working on an illustrated edition of ‘Speaker for the Dead’ and an untitled Enderverse short story collection. I have confirmed that ‘Ender’s Way’ is now the title of this short story collection, but I’m awaiting a table of contents before definitively labeling this volume as a complete Enderverse short story collection.
For more information about these volumes please consider joining the Centipede Press mailing list.
‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.