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Orson Scott Card
Tor Orb, 336 pages

Dennis Nolan
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: 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 Cindy Lynn Speer

Patience has been trained since she could talk in the arts of diplomacy, and can properly address a politically sensitive letter with one hand while looping a thin strand of plastic around someone's throat with the other. As one of the highest ranking slaves to the king, she has tried not to let the fact that her father, Lord Peace, is the true Heptarch, color her actions. She knows that she will do what is right for her people, without question, and right now King Oruc is what is right.

But the day will come when a prophecy will need fulfilling, a prophecy that states that the seventh seventh seventh daughter of the Heptarch will either save the world or destroy it by giving birth to a savior, Kristos. When her father dies, his head is preserved so that it may continue to serve as a truthful counselor. Knowing that the worms that preserve him won't allow him to avoid telling her the full truth any longer, she asks him questions. What he reveals is not exactly what she wants to hear. She decides that she will follow the paths of the Wise, whose knowledge and brilliance trigger an insatiable longing to leave, to go to Cranning. She will go to Cranning, herself, defeat what waits her and bring back the Wise to her lands.

Patience's schooling will serve her well. She's only fifteen, but she has the sense and will of a girl much older. She gathers friends to her -- Angel the Almost-Wise, who helped raise her; the Gebling kings Reck and Ruin and their slave Will; Sken, a slovenly boat owner; River, a disembodied head and boat pilot. Each of them have their own reasons for following her in her prophecy, but not all of them are innocent.

Wyrms is really a very exciting adventure. In some ways there are aspects of SF, in that the humans are part of a colonization project from Earth, their presence as they try to make room for themselves among the indigenous inhabitants of the planet creating new species as well as new ways of life. Orson Scott Card also uses Christianity in an interesting way, showing how the religion, in this case the Greek Orthodox branch, changes to fit this new world.

In some ways it is fantasy, for the "it" is a quest adventure to save the world, and sometimes the remnants of high science are more magic than anything else. There are also elements of horror, not just in the icky way the heads are preserved, but in the Unwyrm itself and its inexplicable call of longing. Don't let the heroine's age fool you. This is a story that will capture the imagination as you watch them in their struggles.

This reprint of the 1987 novel is Card in one of his best moments, bringing so many different genres together to create a story that forces you to keep reading.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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