Xenocide – Orson Scott Card

I like to finish things. I am stupid that way. If I start a series, I will eventually want to get it done.

No matter what the cost.

My tenacity has paid off in the past, and so I will likely keep the habit it up. Plus it reminds me of how I read as a child; voraciously and systematically.
But what become strange is the wild fluctuation I experience with this. When I was a kid I read nothing but Heinlein, nothing but Asimov, nothing but Dick, nothing but Adams. While I was reading those authors, I liked everything they did. Perhaps I was too uncritical.

Nowadays, I seem to like or not a book seemingly at random. I can’t say that this is actually an honest assessment, as I now have real problems in life that might keep me from truly engaging with the material in front of me.
The short is that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I enjoyed Speaker of the Dead. This isn’t too surprising, as I really liked Speaker of the Dead, despite my (unfounded) expectations. But I didn’t altogether hate Xenocide either. There seemed to be two distinct stories operating to do two distinct things, and while I enjoyed one immensely, the other did not really do all that much for me. A part of the story continues to follow Lusitania, and its inhabitants that we encountered back in Speaker for the Dead. This is the part of the story that I liked, even though I do think some of the disagreements regarding the nature and thus the treatment of the descolada seemed a little strange to me. But there was a whole other part of the book, involving a different planet entirely (named ‘Path’), where genetically modified humans engage in a form of problem solving cum sooth-saying for the Starways Congress. Something about this section just wasn’t for me. It may have been the amount of pomp and circumstance surrounding the ritual that this sooth saying necessitated.
Despite that, I did find myself oddly moved by the conclusion of the main character from Path. So I guess at some point, when I wasn’t paying attention, I did get invested in it.

I wonder about the nature of a long standing fiction series. I am skeptical that authors actually ever start off with the intent of making series’s as long as they are. It feels more like a marketing choice. That’s very much how I felt here. Speaker for the Dead felt complete. I don’t think it needed much else. But if there is more, I might as well engage and try to enjoy. I don’t think I was too curious as to what else was in store for Ender when I finished Speaker for the Dead. But now? Well, I may keep peaking in on the series.

Frankly, I have no idea. And I am happy this way.

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