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Shadow of the Giant
Orson Scott Card
Tor, 367 pages

Shadow of the Giant
Orson Scott Card
Born in Richland, Washington, Orson Scott Card grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as an unpaid Mormon Church missionary, and received degrees from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine, and five children.

In an unprecedented fashion, Card won the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel two years in a row for Ender's Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, in 1986 and 1987.

Orson Scott Card Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Crystal City
SF Site Review: Wyrms
SF Site Review: Songmaster
SF Site Review: Ender's Shadow
SF Site Review: Ender's Shadow
SF Site Review: Enchantment
SF Site Review: Heartfire
SF Site Review: Homebody
Orson Scott Card Tribute Site
Orson Scott Card Tribute Site
Orson Scott Card Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Orson Scott Card published his first short story, "Ender's Game," in 1977. He later expanded the story into a Hugo and Nebula Award winning novel and turned his attention to sequels. Now, twenty-eight years after "Ender's Game" first appeared, Card has published the eighth novel about Ender and his companions, Shadow of the Giant.

After writing four novels following Ender's story, Card branched out to write a series which followed Bean, Ender's aide in the first book, and the other children who were at the Battle School with Ender. As their lives progressed through three novels, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, and Shadow Puppets, Card expanded his story, moving it further away from Ender's own tale even as he remained within the framework of history he established in the novel Speaker for the Dead (and subsequent books). Although he killed off his antagonist, Achilles Flanders, in Shadow Puppets, Flanders's handiwork continues to pay dividends which Bean and his associates must deal with. In addition, Ender's school mates are now fully coming into their own as the leaders, or puppets, of the world and find themselves in increasing conflict with each other and the forces which support the Hegemony of Peter Wiggins, Ender's brother.

Clearly, Card has laid a lot of groundwork for this novel and he could have chosen to use the book merely to tie up the loose ends from the previous books. However, his goal is more ambitious than that. Even as he deals with the various situations he has set up, Card introduces new issues, or twists on old issues, not all of which are concluded by the end of the novel. At least one of Bean and Petra's children remains missing when the book ends and Card's solution to the problem of all the Battle School Children on Earth poses several potential new issues which could be addressed in future books.

Card's writing style is most reminiscent of Isaac Asimov's in that it is exceptional for its transparency. Card the author never gets between the story and the reader. The narrative is allowed to tell the story without flash or fanfare, which is even more difficult than authors who attempt to amaze the reader with their writing ability. Even as Card's writing style doesn't get in the way of the story, his representation of the political situation seems to be a little simplistic, although not black and white. He portrays an Islamic world still in conflict with itself over the issue of conservatism and secularism. His portrayal of China seems to owe more towards traditional Chinese culture than to the Maoist/Communist China out of which it has grown. Peter's machinations as Hegemon behind this political set-up further seem straight-forward rather than Byzantine.

For its faults, however, Shadow of the Giant is a fitting and satisfying continuation to the Ender series, although it is not a conclusion. Card has left significant room for further exploration of this universe, and he seems to indicate that he will at some point return to follow Bean's family and the other Battle School Children as they expand throughout the galaxy.

Copyright © 2005 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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