Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Earth Unaware - By Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

EARTH UNAWARE is the latest novel in the Ender's Game universe from Orson Scott Card. 

A refresher: OSC wrote Ender's Game around 20 or so years ago.  In it, aliens have attacked the Earth, and the planet's leaders have begun to train little children as battle commanders in an orbiting space station to defeat "The Buggers", since the aliens look like insects.  The main character is Ender Wiggin, a very intelligent but awfully young child who shows the most promise of becoming the supreme commander of Earth's space military forces.

I won't write any spoilers here.  Though OSC did write TWO separate sequel-storylines for Ender's Game.  (Speaker For The Dead and Xenophobia were the direct sequels...they were terrible.  So OSC revisited the series and wrote Bean's Shadow, which is Ender's Game from another point of view.)  EARTH UNAWARE is the Prequel to Ender's Game.  

In EARTH UNAWARE, we have a family mining space ship that first detects the alien craft that first attacks the Earth.  In addition, a corporate mining ship is going for the same asteroid as the family owned mining ship, and the corporates blow them off the asteroid...not killing them, but destroying their communications, so they can't report the alien ship back to earth.

It becomes a race against time, as the mining ships join forces to do what they can to stop the aliens.

The book was not what I was hoping for.  Ender's Game, and Ender's Shadow, are amazing books that can stand on their own.  This book seemed written by almost a different person entirely.  (OSC does have a co-author on this book, so that is probably why.)  There were pages upon pages and chapters upon chapters about the interplay between family members on this mining ship - and almost NOTHING about the aliens.

Finally, when it began getting good...the book ended.  Will there be a sequel to THIS ONE?  I honestly hope not.  Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow were stand alone books - sequels followed, but were NOT necessary.  This one - the story barely even begins before it is over, leaving MUCH to be pondered about by the reader. 

FULL DISCLOSURE - I was so excited to read this book, that I did not even notice that it was co-authored.  So when I finished the book, and then finally saw it was not written solely by OSC, I understood why it was under par.

OSC has gone back and forth about whether or not to open up the Ender universe to other writers, like Star Wars, Star Trek, etc. I think he should have left it proprietary.