Wow! What a book so far. Much more mature and thought provoking than "Ender's Game". We should consider this for a future reading. I do not have any notes or the book in hand as I write the following...so forgive me if it tends to ramble and not flow well....
Taking place 3000 years after the events of "EG", humanity has found another intelligent species. Unlike our last mistake of Xenocide, this time we are treating this new species with kid gloves, going to the opposite extreme to ensure we do not make the same mistake.
Ender is not involved overly much in the first 70 pages. He is effectively 36 years old, due to his travel from place to place at near light speed. He is a teacher on the planet Trondheim. He is a well known Speaker, but no one knows he is "Ender the Xenocide"...Ender is not looked upon as a hero in the 100 worlds, rather he is a bane to sentient life.
The story so far revolves around a Xenologist named Pipo and his apprentice son Libo. There is a third main character to date and that is Novinha, a Xenobiologist who came into the office way ahead of the normal age, passing the test for certification with scores well above the average score. (Sound familiar). Both her parents were killed by an indigenous disease to the planet Lusitania, where a human colony was set up to observe the sentient race, the "Piggies" as they are called by the humans.
The "Piggies" are very intelligent, but live in an environmental niche that could be filled 'by an opposum', as Pipo observes. Why did they evolve intelligence? Or the other adaptive traits they have? There is no answer yet. The Piggies are tree worshipers. The society of the Piggies seems to be female dominated, as the males do not let the humans see their females...who are referred to as 'wives' and seem to kill the males when they decide it is time. (I am not sure on this as it has been referrred to in passing conversation with Rooter, the only Piggy we really hear from).
So upon her parents death, Novinha became introverted and was sort of shunned by society. The society of Lusitania is under a "Catholic License" which means that the Catholic religion rules the society of the world. Novinha's parents were the previous Xenobiologists and before thier death, they found a cure for the disease and saved the human settlement from totally being killed off. This is also what lead to their deaths. The society has made them saints because of this, and Novinha resents this. Interesting religious/humanist overtones in dealing with this situation and others.
Pipo eventually takes Novinha in and she becomes part of the family, but better still, the two trades they represent merge and they start to understand the Piggies better because of this. So the research goes on until one day, due to some conversation that Rooter gets involved with with the humans, he ends up being ritually vivisected, which consists of all his organs and arteries and veins being cut from his body, yet still attached, then he is laid out on the ground and a tree is planted in the area of his heart. The humans cannot understand why the Piggies did this, nor are they allowed to ask due to the restrictions of contact placed by the governing council.
One day Pipo and Novinha are looking at DNA sequences of different plants and notice that the disease organism is present in all the dna on the planet. Pipo discovers something in this fact and rushes off to ask the Piggies about this. Novinha asks him what he saw and he says to ask Libo when he gets back...he should be able to see it too...
Turns out that Pipo gets vivisected by the Piggies...Novinha blames herself and hides the evidence so that Libo will not see what Pipo saw and get killed as well.
Ok...so my summary is erratic and I have probably missed much...but the book is darned good! It is even less noticeable as Sci-Fi and has so much more to say about society and morality than Enders Game.
The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.Edited by: misterpessimistic at: 5/19/06 1:24 pm
Once you perceive the irrevocable truth, you can no longer justify the irrational denial. - Mr. P.
The pain in hell has two sides. The kind you can touch with your hand; the kind you can feel in your heart...Scorsese's "Mean Streets"
I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper