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Earthborn (1996)

Earthborn (1996)
3.35 of 5 Votes: 1
0812532988 (ISBN13: 9780812532982)
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Earthborn (1996)
Earthborn (1996)

About book: tOf all of Orson Scott Card’s books, “Earthborn” is probably my least favorite. It is not that the novel is not well written – it is – or that it lacks a good story – it does not. But its role as the fifth and final book in a series makes it feel like an incomplete ending.tUnlike the rest of the novels in the Homecoming series, “Earthborn” lacks most of the characters we have come to identify with. Of the original cast, we have only Shedemai, the Oversoul, and the Keeper of the Earth. I never really understood why Shedemai had to sit around in a starship for generations, watching over the repopulated Earth, and this book doesn’t seem to explain it. Although her final dream from the Keeper fits well into this novel, it doesn’t work for the series; why didn’t Nafai or Luet (or Shedemai) just have the dream to send a probe back to Basilica and be done with it?tSimilarly, the true understanding of the Keeper is very weak. Of course, Card set us up for this when he made God a computer program in the first four novels. The god the humans on Basilica have prayed to for however many million years ago wound up being a computer program. But wait! We learned in those books that there was some other message-sending, human-prodding entity that was calling humans back to earth. Now, I agree with the “yes, there really is a God” argument – that’s one of the perks of being Christian – but after weakening his case, I just didn’t feel like Card made a strong case in the other direction for such a being. And again, I don’t understand why this profound statement didn’t come in Book Four – nothing earth shattering happened in “Earthborn” to provoke it.tOkay, okay, on to the story. We have a lovely rendition of Alma the Younger, science fiction style. With the first four novels, I appreciated the way Card brought people that I was familiar with to life and made me say, “Oh, so THAT’S how they could reason away all of the miracles!” The same is true here. “Oh,” I nodded, “THAT’S how four sons of a king and the son of a priest could run amuck.” Card provides realistic characters with excellent motivations for their actions.tOne review I read noted that it was ironic that the five “bad” guys brought about a separation of church and state, and asked if perhaps Card was arguing for a government sponsored religion. Given that fact that Card is LDS and probably reasons as I do in that aspect – that the church we have strong faith in could not have existed in a land that enforced religion, and that the Founding Fathers were inspired to set up America with freedoms that allowed our church to be instated – I doubt that is the case. I urge readers, then, to look at the circumstances that brought about this separation. It came when the king had to decide whether or not to enforce the death penalty on someone who did not accept the monarch’s doctrine. It came after the official priests were turned out so they could not perpetuate evil on others who did not believe the same way. Remember, thirteen years before Akma and his friends attacked the church, the king proclaimed, “From now on, priests will no longer be servants of the king, appointed by the king, and staying with the king to perform the great public rituals.” The final separation, then, was a natural result of this self-induced split. And so I think Card is not saying that the wicked were wrong to want a separation, but that, though they sought it to tear down the Keeper’s works, it wound up being part of the Keeper’s plan.tI think this novel would have worked best as a stand-alone book, separate from the Homecoming series. It doesn’t fit into the series as a whole, other than to satisfy the curiosity of people who wonder, “What ever happened to their kids?” It’s a great story, but as a conclusion, it just sort of drags off.

Earthborn (1995) 420 pages by Orson Scott Card.This is the fifth (and concluding) volume of the Homecoming series. I was really happy that no Nafai/Elemak battle. There was a recurring theme in the first four books that Elemak would get mad, insanely mad, and try to kill Nafai. Nafai would survive, but he couldn't use the same tactics or he would lose control of his supporters. They would follow Elemak instead of him. Four books and Elemak never changed.Earthborn was a start contrast. Here we have the "good" children Akma and Mon, being brave and heroic as little children, then as adults they are the ones who are causing strife.I'll back up. 40 million years ago (from their vantage, our future) the Earth was depopulated and colony ships were sent to hundreds of worlds. On Harmony a computer "oversoul" was left orbiting the planet, keeping the people from destroying themselves on a massive scale. This was done by making people avoid thinking of ways to speed transportation, make weapons, etc. The oversoul was getting old, not quite as sharp, things were beginning to get built on Harmony that might eventually lead to massive war. So it got together a band of 16 people and got them to go to the original starships that brought the colonists so that they could go back to Earth and get advice from the Keeper of Earth. By the time Earthborn begins, 500 years have passed on Earth since Nafai, Elemak, etc. returned, and found two new sentient species had risen. Shedemi is still alive wearing the starmaster's cloak and putting herself into frozen sleep for years at a time. She is with the oversoul in orbit. On Earth the Nafari are struggling to become better people. The Keeper of Earth is trying to guide them in the direction of all three species living together as equals.--- John, how about telling about some of the other characters, e.g. Edhedeya, Luet, Akmaro? That's the meat of the book, I don't have to tell them, they can read and enjoy, or pick something else to read. Besides I need to pick my next book to read. ---The story is refreshing because it's not a rehash of the first four books with a variation of scenery, it's a new set of characters based on the foundation that was laid. The whole series was really good, interesting and entertaining. If you've never read any Orson Scott Card, you have to choose Ender's Game, but the homecoming series is definitely worth reading.
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I absolutely loved this book, far more than I was expecting to. In some ways, this book may be disappointing. Almost everyone from the series is already long dead at the start of the book. The book is set hundreds of years after Nafai's family. However, I knew this when I started the book, and though I was disappointed that those characters weren't in it, I still ended up loving the book for itself and loving all of the new characters in it. The book is definitely about religion, but I personally don't even believe in God and still found the book to be beautiful.
This is the only book I've ever bothered to review on Amazon because it pissed me off so much. Text follows.So you've read books one through four. You were impressed by Card's fascinating premise in book one, started to get really turned on to his idea of "god as a machine" in book two, loved the fantastic revelations and conflict in book three, and were intrigued by the first-hand narratives of diggers and angels in book four. I guess I should see how it ends, you say to yourself.Don't be a fool. This book is utter dreck.In retrospect, I can see how the series suffered a gradual, inexorable decline as Card kept writing, how the wonderful premises with which he began (far-future human evolution, god as a machine) were slowly subsumed by his frankly simplistic mysticism and allegorical Mormon proselytizing. But I only recognized this trend about halfway through book five, the one you're thinking about buying. Like you, after reading book four, although I wasn't that impressed with the strength of that volume I wanted to see how it all turned out.Let me save you the trouble: angels and humans and diggers get along after all, and God loves you.All the careful characterization of books one through four is thrown away, and we start fresh with all new characters and a "fun" new naming scheme we have to stumble around. Not only that, but the oversoul is practically a no-show, being completely replaced by the keeper of earth. I won't insert a "spoiler" by telling you about the keeper's true nature, but believe me you'll be disappointed with the explanation when it's revealed around 50 pages from the end. Oh, and he never explains the faster-than-light dream-sending mechanism. He never even mentions it.Leading up to that tiny piece of plot resolution three volumes in the making, we're treated to a protracted morality / religion play where our protagonists learn to put their lives in God's hands and respect the literal truth of a set of golden plates written by their ancestors. For 400 christ-thumping pages. It's not all that well written, it's not very interesting, and most importantly, it's not what you signed on for after the first four books.I can't for the life of me understand why Card didn't end the series with book four. This is a boring, barely-related addendum to an otherwise decent series. I was literally gnashing my teeth and straining to get through the last 80 pages.Don't make my mistake. Pretend book four was a reasonable resolution and pretend this one was never written.
Chris Anderson
I enjoyed this book, mainly because I like the first 4 so much. This one is different. I've read a lot of reviews on this book...I am not religious nor do I dislike religion, so the Keeper of the Earth religious undertones did not bother me except in the fact there was so much of it that the book got a little boring at times. I know nothing of Mormon except what you could read on a Wikipedia page, so I really do not see the similarity. If there really is so much Mormon influence in his books.... let me add that if Orson Card were a member of either of the other big two religions he would be one blasphemous fellow.
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