ISBN is

978-0-8125-3298-2 / 9780812532982

Earthborn: Homecoming Volume 5

by

Publisher:Tor Books

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

SF takes old myths and genetically modified them for today's world, from George Lucas doing knight-saves-fair-lady in space to Star Trek's Wagon Train to the Stars. Orson Scott Card's five-volume Homecoming series goes one step further, reshaping some of the most potent myths of all. In effect, he rewrites the Bible as SF, telling an Old Testament story of interstellar Exodus. The planet Harmony was colonised by humans 40 million years ago. Now the orbiting computer, Oversoul, that has governed the planet for all that time, is starting to fail. It selects some humans to make the long trip back to Earth, to contact the even more powerful Keeper and find out how to proceed. By the time humans return to the world, they find that two indigenous races that evolved to intelligence over the 40 million years they were away, the mole-like Earth People, or diggers, and the airborn Sky People, or angels. Earthborn does work, just about, as a standalone story; but it works best as the conclusion to Card's five-book epic of a people freed from bondage like the Israelites from Egypt and the vicissitudes they suffer.

Card's Mormon beliefs are more strongly represented in this book than in some of his others. Earthborn is essentially a story about Free Will, the reasons why God (Card's "Keeper") grants it and the fact that some people will use it to do evil things. This sounds dry, and Card's pious conclusion is a little overplayed, but Card has a reputation in SF for a good reason. He builds all his novels around directly engaging characters and clear-cut moral dilemmas. In this novel it is the most basic dilemma of all: will the attractive but flawed central character Akma choose truth or falsehood, good or evil? If you've read the preceding four Homecoming books then this one is must-buy; and even if this is your first Card novel you'll see why he is one of the world's most highly regarded SF authors. This book may not be at the level of Ender's Game or Xenocide--Card's masterpieces--but it does build a powerful and very human momentum. --Adam Roberts, author of Salt

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