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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Shadows in Flight (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Shadows in Flight
Orson Scott Card
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So for the past several years, I've been talking about how Shadows in Flight was going to be the final book that wraps up both the Shadow series (Bean and his family) and the Speaker series (Ender, Valentine, Jane, and the folks on Lusitania, plus the Descolada planet).

We've just announced Shadows in Flight! Huzzah!

No. It's not that book.

Here's what happened. The Amazon people approached me about doing a Kindle-only project that was multi-media - it used the capabilities of the Kindle to change reading order, etc. But as we started talking about numbers, they said that the only way we could justify the amount of money we were asking for was if the project were a new story in the Ender series.

That got me thinking about holes in the series - places where there was something really cool to talk about. Stories that WEREN'T replays of anything I'd ever written before. (I can't see any point in writing the same book twice. I know - I wrote Ender's Shadow - but it's not the same book, in my opinion, even if a lot of the same events are depicted.)

I came up with one that I absolutely loved. The trouble was, it was a story about Bean and his children during their voyage, BEFORE the events in the planned Shadows in Flight. And there was no way I could give that to Amazon as a Kindle-only project. Tom Doherty at TOR is the publisher of the Ender series, and I'm not going to take those books to anybody else.

So I contacted Beth Meacham and proposed a combination of things. I told her the story (as I then envisioned it) and suggested that I wanted to do a multi-platform multimedia book (MMB). Not a movie, not a comic, not an audiobook, not a powerpoint filmstrip, not even an illustrated book. New territory.

She came back to me with the fact that Tom was looking to break a logjam in the publishing industry. The prices of hardcovers and paperbacks have risen to a point where (a) ebooks are siphoning away a lot of sales, especially since Amazon is trying to force prices down to where publishers literally cannot make a profit without sacrificing quality (i.e., eliminating editing and proofreading, as with books self-published on Kindle); and (b) a lot of people in these hard economic times are looking at hardcovers and saying, no, sorry, I can buy several days' groceries for that price.

A new price point suggests a new length. Novels average between 80,000 and 110,000 words. What if you had leaner novels around 50,000 words? Robert B. Parker did it all the time, and nobody said, "That's not a novel! I was cheated!"

The key was, it had to feel like a novel, but it was a shorter read, and it COST LESS so it wasn't such a shock in the bookstore.

This may seem to be going against the trend of the Mammoth Fantasy Series, where each book is about the length of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate. But the truth is, books sell at all lengths, depending on whether the story is strong.

Beth and I realized that my story was exactly right for both MMB and short-novel treatment. Tom Doherty agreed. So we made the contracts accordingly.

Nick Greenwood, one of the most popular artists for IGMS, also lives in my hometown and his style exactly suited what I was going to need. So Hatrack River contracted with him to create, not just finished art, but concept art, including floorplans for the two spaceships in the story, which I then used as I was writing the book. This was enormously helpful because I don't think visually, and he does, so the story was enriched because I could actually SEE the places where people were going. (I may start doing this on more projects - talk things over with a great illustrator and write with some illustrations already in place. I don't need them to draw me people - I need them to visualize places and creatures and objects. You should see the unbelievably cool alien spaceship he created for me! Oh, wait - you WILL!)

We called this project "Shadows Alive." But then, as I started writing it, I realized: This story takes place entirely on spaceships. The title "Shadows in Flight" fits it perfectly. While "Shadows Alive" is a much better title for that final wrap-it-all-up book I've been planning for years.

So I called Beth and suggested a title swap. Fortunately, I did this JUST before the deadline and so we were able to make the change without confusing any of the marketing and bookselling.

The only people who might be confused are ... well, YOU. Because I've been saying for years that Bean dies in chapter 1 of Shadows in Flight. But this isn't that book. Though now that I've written it, I don't know how I imagined I was ever going to write that final book without having written this one first!

Anyway, here comes Shadows in Flight. We're going to put chapter 1 in the August issue of IGMS and chapter 2 in the October issue, for subscribers only, I'm afraid - but since there are only ten chapters in the whole novel (long chapters - the novel is about 54,000 words), that amounts to about a fifth of the book. Sort of a bonus for IGMS subscribers, because we really do want that excellent story-centered, fully-illustrated magazine to become self-supporting someday. We'll also have some of Nick's concept art in those two issues.

And what can I say? This is one of the strongest, most emotional, most science-fictional novels I've ever written. Think of it as Rendezvous with Rama meets Childhood's End. No, don't think of it that way at all. It is itself, and I'm proud of it, and I think you'll enjoy it. And we still have "Shadows Alive" to look forward to - and after this book, you'll see what it means to say that Bean's descendants will perhaps be the ones to deal with the Descoladores - whoever they turn out to be. (No, they are NOT Bean's descendants themselves. They are definitely NOT human.)

I thought you might appreciate knowing the whole story behind having a book with this title show up under these circumstances.

The novel comes out right after Thanksgiving, though the official pub date is not till January. I'm not sure what "publication date" even means anymore, but there it is. The MMB will come out on its own schedule, but we're going to try to have Kindle and Nook versions out ASAP. HOWEVER: There will be Kindle and Nook ebooks of Shadows in Flight at the same time as the book - those are NOT the MMB. The MMB is a very different experience. Lots of the same text, but many elements (including illustrations) that are NOT in the print book or the ebook. We'll try to make the labeling clear, so that if you don't see clear notices on a Kindle or Nook item called Shadows in Flight that this is the MMB, then it's just an ebook, the same text you'd get in print, no extras.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Could another poster here help me understand...I am a bit confused...the "MMB" is different then the print book and the ebook? So the full goodness of the MMB is Kindle only? OSC mentions a Kindle only project...I'm unclear.
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stone_maiden
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I think what OSC meant was:

1. paper novel is coming out
2. multi-media e-book (MMB) with extras is coming out on kindle
3. regular ebook without extras on Kindle and Nook platforms

Hope that helps!

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stone_maiden
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On a separate note, YES! I am so excited about the book coming out. My kindle broke, though, so paper version for me!

The good thing about real books is that if you step on it, it won't crack.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Thanks maiden...*sigh* I don't have a kindle...no nifty extras for me.
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kacard
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The MMB will not be for Kindle only. We're hoping for many platforms. But the idea started with Kindle, that's all.
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Verloren
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There is a Kindle reader for the PC. I'm not sure of the differences, if any, from the actual Kindle, but that may be an option for those who don't have a Kindle.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Thanks for the clarification kacard...looking forward to it!
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BlackBlade
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Awesome news, I'm very excited.
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Blayne Bradley
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*Does a dance*

We need some SA smilies...

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Marek
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I am now slightly less excited than i was when i saw the release announcement on the home page, but I'm still gonna buy it.
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Jeff C.
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Yay!

And good times were had by all. [Smile]

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KirKis
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I'm really excited to hear about this! So we can be reading this around Thanksgiving?
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Steve_G
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So when you say Kindle only, does that also include the Kindle Reader for Windows, Android and IOS?
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
The novel comes out right after Thanksgiving, though the official pub date is not till January. I'm not sure what "publication date" even means anymore, but there it is. The MMB will come out on its own schedule...

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Jeff C.
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I'll probably just buy it hardcover. I like the fact that I have the entire series in good old-fashioned book format.

Still, the MMB would be nice...

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T:man
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Hoorah! Hoorah!
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Enthusiast
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After re-discovering a love of books about 7 years ago an English teacher friend of my wife's gave me a copy of Ender's Game. I read the entire series plus the Shadow series. I am very much looking forward to reading this latest installment. Thank you so much for your wonderful work.
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Zevlag
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This is wonderful. I am greatly looking forward to this.

I wonder if ARC's of a MMB would be considered beta's...

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Armoth
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Wow. Know what's weird? No amount of promotional materials make me as excited as reading the excitement of OSC for his own book.

Can't wait.

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rivka
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Not weird at all. Also, I agree. [Smile]
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chmcke01
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So, Shadows in Flight should be out around Thanksgiving, what about Shadows Alive? I am very much looking forward to them both, but I am much more interested in reading Shadows Alive.
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TurtleBoy
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Holy God. I am so pumped. Cannot wait. Now all we need is news on the Film adaptation of Enders Games/Shadow.

If that does in fact happen, it better be done right, I would hate to see one of the greatest SciFi series of all time get bad report because the movie doesent work.

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adenam
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[Party]
I'm very surprised I'm the first to post this.

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Farmgirl
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[The Wave]
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salcedocine
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I really think OSC should one day, when he's facing his own mortality (or has nothing better to do, the equivalent of Graff sitting around making tea) go back and re-write the entire saga so it intertwines together perfectly.

Not just the annoying little details (like Ferreira being a villain in SP and then a collaborator in SotG without any reference to how or why he regained everyone's trust back) but the big things, like when we're in Ender's "mind" and hear his "thoughts" in all the Speaker books and there's no reference to things that clearly affected his past deeply. For one thing, how the whole business of gene splicing comes up and Ender never once thinks of Bean and his dilemma.

I know the reasons for these inconsistencies in the real world. OSC never planned this enormous behemoth that has become the Enderverse. It's not like the Potter books, or even the Dark Tower series that, while long, had some structural idea from beginning to end. The Ender books tell many more stories, and in a way, have grown much more organically than those "planned" epics (although I'm certain neither Rowling nor King would say their epics were that planned out, at least they knew they were going to write sequels leading to an end. Mr. Card had no idea when writing Speaker that anything like Exile or Shadow would even exist!).

Epic is a big word, I know, but I would call the Ender books epic, in their own right. And I love them for what they are, and I know many King fans who hate him for going back and editing his original work to fit better with his final story.

Also, I love OSC's idea that we can think of them as different accounts of the same events, and that often historians contradict each other with nonfiction, so contradictions in the fiction only added to the believability, not took away from it.

There is one big problem though. What works in nonfiction does so because nobody (or most serious people) don't write nonfiction from the point of view of the inside of the mind of the character. They do not convey his thoughts, his memories, his wishes, the way Mr. Card does so well.

What an arrogant thing for me to say, what I think Mr. Card should do one day. Yet, I keep that first sentence because that's how it poured out of my heart after listening to Ender in Exile (OSC's blog gave me the idea to try audiobooks in the first place) completely in a 24 hour period. Somewhere deep I feel I'm owed something from Mr. Card because he shaped my childhood so thoroughly, yet I know in my rational mind that I'm the one who owes him. It was through a friend I made at hatrack that I met the woman I've been living with for the past two years, for example. But that's not what I mean, what I mean is how it's shaped how I think, how I analyze, and sometimes how I write. By no means the greatest influence in my life, but not a small one either.

So on the off chance that you're reading this Mr. Card (I started the message with OSC and then realized you're Wiggin to me), thank you. And I mean my suggestion, my own private wishing of what you could do, or would want to do, one day. Revisit the entire saga, make it a whole again from the organic (beautiful) mess it has become. Think of it like gardening, not re-writing. There I go again, telling you how you should think of it, what you should do.

All I meant to say was, thank you.

And while I've got your attention, I realized something very interesting while listening to Ender in Exile. I've been reading your blog (about movies, books, everyday life stuff, along with your Demosthenes essays) for a few years now. I began to realize how your own every day life affected what you wrote. You watch high school (and all kinds of) plays, you put a play on the ship in Exile. I remember from your foreword in Ender's Game how you spoke of incorporating things you'd been reading about the Civil War and how Lusitania was brazilian in descent because you'd spent time there as a young adult. I even think the mayans making a cameo in Exile might have something to do with all that research you did for Pastwatch getting a little recycled, and because you'd come to love those people too and wanted them as part of your story. It's different when you say that something influenced you in a foreword and then to actually "catch" it myself, from various other things I know about you through your writings. But I know I can easily fall prey to catching false things, connections that you never intended, thought of, or that you had already connected to something else entirely. What's interesting isn't what I found out about YOU, all that may be wrong and I'm likely never to meet you so, who cares? What's interesting is what I found in myself. That paralyzing fear that putting too much of myself in a story will weaken it, will make it too one sided. Yet…you pull it off. And I shouldn't fear it. I am who I am, I'll have the biases I have. I'll be as limited as I am, because I can't ask any more of myself. Maybe that can work. So, about eleven or twelve years after I picked up a novel by you, I'm still learning a bit about courage and kindness through your work. And a little here or there about writing.

Lastly, I apologize to the other readers on the forum. Yes, I am aware this is way too long. Yes, I am aware it has strayed off topic. Yes, I am aware Mr. Card will almost certainly not read it. And yes, admins are welcome to delete it as they see fit. I will not in any way question that decision, because this should've probably been its own thread and I mistakenly thought I could contain myself to writing something short and to the point and then found a wealth of emotion I hadn't expected. Can you tell I've spent 13 something hours listening to Ender in Exile from one day to the next? I don't post this on its own thread because I don't think it'd be interesting enough to other readers to merit it, and because I do secretly hope Mr. Card might eye this behemoth while looking for real advice or comments on his next, fairly awesome looking, project.

I'm sure any contributions will be more to the point of the thread at hand. Again, I apologize in advance if anybody finds this disrespectful.

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salcedocine
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Wow, that looked a lot longer in the tiny box I had to type it in. Not such a behemoth after all. Go figure.
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Jeff C.
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I'm not trying to nitpick, but Stephen King's Dark Tower series was almost entirely freewritten. He actually wrote each book without an overall ending in mind, which is kind of funny because the ending he came up with made a lot of his fans pretty upset. He even apologized for it.
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salcedocine
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Actually, I'm pretty sure the last three books were thought out as a whole (more or less) before he wrote them. I'm not saying any of those sagas, or any saga at all, can be completely structured and thought out detail to detail until the end. I'm merely saying King at least had seven books in mind when he started writing and knew sequels would follow. He only writes one book that takes place in a time before any of the other ones (Wizard and Glass) and he's just now exercising Card's idea of going back to previous stories and inserting a new one between them (with The Wind Through the Keyhole, though I'm aware Card didn't invent this practice, it is what's started this whole problem in the first place).

SPOILER ALERT!!!! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! STOP READING FOR SPOILERS TO THE DARK TOWER!!!

In fact, the only reason I mention outlines at all in reference to the Dark Tower books is because he himself says over and over again how he had outlines for those books in Song of Susannah and the Dark Tower (remember how he makes himself a character in the book). He makes it a big point to mention how he hardly ever uses outlines, how he used them for the dark Tower precisely because it was so enormous and how he often deviated greatly from them (but he still HAD them, as opposed to Card never even thinking the other books would exist).

If you read the Dark Tower again Jeff, you'll notice that towards the end, after Jake and Eddie die, that he mourns for them and can't explain their deaths because "they're in all his outlines, to be with Roland at the end". Not quoting verbatim, but that's the gist. I'm not saying King wrote the whole thing from a particular structure, I'm saying he HAD that structure to begin with, he was at least aware of the problem. Not like Card at all. And at least the last three books carry a story arc and elements that are clearly thought to go from book five to book seven. King himself says that any book is DOA if you don't give it room to grow on its own, that there's no way to write a whole book based solely on "rules" or previously thought out structures. But there's a difference between that kind of free writing (or Rowling's, where she more or less had thought of the end) and not even KNOWING you're going to write the sandwich books in between.

Besides, like I said above, I love the original Speaker series. It's a wonderful set of books on their own right, their own series. They do not, however, really tie in with the books from the Shadow series or Ender in Exile, not because of some minor contradiction here or there (Ferreira, *cough* Ferreira) but because the characters learn things and grow in certain ways that they do not carry into the Speaker series (Ender and Valentine I mean, everyone else is dead by then).

So, what I'm saying is one day, when Card literally has nothing else to do, that he revisit the entire series to make it internally coherent. Not CHANGE it, mind you, simply, make an alternate version. I think it can co-exist with all the previous versions that are already excellent stories (like the original chapter 15 of Ender's Game, the original short story that spawned the book, etc. co-exist with everything else). I don't think he'll do it though, because it would mean retouching perfectly good work for the sake of "details". And it would mean that he's not going to write anything more to the Enderverse, because you can only wrap everything up when it's all done. So I'll just think of the Speaker books as happening on an alternate timeline, because I can't conceive the events of Xenocide and Children of the Mind without Ender once thinking "super smart, genetically enhanced kids? Like Bean!" And because his vision of Bean in Ender's Game (inside his own head!) varies greatly from his vision of Bean in Ender in Exile, simply because Bean grew in importance in the story but we never actually saw him grow in importance in Ender's eyes. Not to mention the whole Chapter 15 thing, which Card has addressed. The only thing that kind grinds at me is how Card will write Shadows Alive and HAVE to bridge Ender in Exile (which is really a Shadow book sequel) with the existing Speaker stories. I trust Card to be a good enough storyteller to pull it off though, just by relying on story, if not believable characters that connect from one book to the next. In my head, it'll be another alternateverse boook, and I don't think it'll take away the pleasure from it one bit.

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Rodger Brown
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Wow, I checked off the interwebs for a while and this is what I get when I come back. Great news and Shadows Alive is still anticipated.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
I'm not trying to nitpick, but Stephen King's Dark Tower series was almost entirely freewritten. He actually wrote each book without an overall ending in mind, which is kind of funny because the ending he came up with made a lot of his fans pretty upset. He even apologized for it.

Really? I thought he was proud of the ending.
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Jeff C.
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He probably is, but I remember when the book came out, he said something along the lines of, I know a lot of people are going to be mad about this ending, but this is just the way the story unfolded and it made the most sense to me.

He also wrote in the last book that if you enjoyed the story up to this point, you should consider stopping right then, because you might not like the ending.

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richd
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I didn't like how the book was ending even before I read SK's disclaimer. The actual ending was an expected disappointment. (now there's an oxymoron)
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Kelly1101
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quote:
Originally posted by salcedocine:
I really think OSC should one day, when he's facing his own mortality (or has nothing better to do, the equivalent of Graff sitting around making tea) go back and re-write the entire saga so it intertwines together perfectly.

Not just the annoying little details (like Ferreira being a villain in SP and then a collaborator in SotG without any reference to how or why he regained everyone's trust back) but the big things, like when we're in Ender's "mind" and hear his "thoughts" in all the Speaker books and there's no reference to things that clearly affected his past deeply. For one thing, how the whole business of gene splicing comes up and Ender never once thinks of Bean and his dilemma.

I know the reasons for these inconsistencies in the real world. OSC never planned this enormous behemoth that has become the Enderverse. It's not like the Potter books, or even the Dark Tower series that, while long, had some structural idea from beginning to end. The Ender books tell many more stories, and in a way, have grown much more organically than those "planned" epics (although I'm certain neither Rowling nor King would say their epics were that planned out, at least they knew they were going to write sequels leading to an end. Mr. Card had no idea when writing Speaker that anything like Exile or Shadow would even exist!).

Epic is a big word, I know, but I would call the Ender books epic, in their own right. And I love them for what they are, and I know many King fans who hate him for going back and editing his original work to fit better with his final story.

Also, I love OSC's idea that we can think of them as different accounts of the same events, and that often historians contradict each other with nonfiction, so contradictions in the fiction only added to the believability, not took away from it.

There is one big problem though. What works in nonfiction does so because nobody (or most serious people) don't write nonfiction from the point of view of the inside of the mind of the character. They do not convey his thoughts, his memories, his wishes, the way Mr. Card does so well.

What an arrogant thing for me to say, what I think Mr. Card should do one day. Yet, I keep that first sentence because that's how it poured out of my heart after listening to Ender in Exile (OSC's blog gave me the idea to try audiobooks in the first place) completely in a 24 hour period. Somewhere deep I feel I'm owed something from Mr. Card because he shaped my childhood so thoroughly, yet I know in my rational mind that I'm the one who owes him. It was through a friend I made at hatrack that I met the woman I've been living with for the past two years, for example. But that's not what I mean, what I mean is how it's shaped how I think, how I analyze, and sometimes how I write. By no means the greatest influence in my life, but not a small one either.

So on the off chance that you're reading this Mr. Card (I started the message with OSC and then realized you're Wiggin to me), thank you. And I mean my suggestion, my own private wishing of what you could do, or would want to do, one day. Revisit the entire saga, make it a whole again from the organic (beautiful) mess it has become. Think of it like gardening, not re-writing. There I go again, telling you how you should think of it, what you should do.

All I meant to say was, thank you.

And while I've got your attention, I realized something very interesting while listening to Ender in Exile. I've been reading your blog (about movies, books, everyday life stuff, along with your Demosthenes essays) for a few years now. I began to realize how your own every day life affected what you wrote. You watch high school (and all kinds of) plays, you put a play on the ship in Exile. I remember from your foreword in Ender's Game how you spoke of incorporating things you'd been reading about the Civil War and how Lusitania was brazilian in descent because you'd spent time there as a young adult. I even think the mayans making a cameo in Exile might have something to do with all that research you did for Pastwatch getting a little recycled, and because you'd come to love those people too and wanted them as part of your story. It's different when you say that something influenced you in a foreword and then to actually "catch" it myself, from various other things I know about you through your writings. But I know I can easily fall prey to catching false things, connections that you never intended, thought of, or that you had already connected to something else entirely. What's interesting isn't what I found out about YOU, all that may be wrong and I'm likely never to meet you so, who cares? What's interesting is what I found in myself. That paralyzing fear that putting too much of myself in a story will weaken it, will make it too one sided. Yet…you pull it off. And I shouldn't fear it. I am who I am, I'll have the biases I have. I'll be as limited as I am, because I can't ask any more of myself. Maybe that can work. So, about eleven or twelve years after I picked up a novel by you, I'm still learning a bit about courage and kindness through your work. And a little here or there about writing.

Lastly, I apologize to the other readers on the forum. Yes, I am aware this is way too long. Yes, I am aware it has strayed off topic. Yes, I am aware Mr. Card will almost certainly not read it. And yes, admins are welcome to delete it as they see fit. I will not in any way question that decision, because this should've probably been its own thread and I mistakenly thought I could contain myself to writing something short and to the point and then found a wealth of emotion I hadn't expected. Can you tell I've spent 13 something hours listening to Ender in Exile from one day to the next? I don't post this on its own thread because I don't think it'd be interesting enough to other readers to merit it, and because I do secretly hope Mr. Card might eye this behemoth while looking for real advice or comments on his next, fairly awesome looking, project.

I'm sure any contributions will be more to the point of the thread at hand. Again, I apologize in advance if anybody finds this disrespectful.

I have to disagree. I think if OSC gets that "spare time on his hands" he should keep working on new stories.

I think my main reason for feeling this way is, funny enough, one of your examples-- the Dark Tower. Which by coincidence, I'm in the middle of a re-read of right now (ka, [Razz] ).

King knew it was part of a longer story, and he may have had an idea of how it would end, but definitely the details weren't known to him when he started writing it. The books are so full of contradictions it's insane. King actually, when he finished the series, did what you're proposing OSC should do-- went back and edited the first book to make it "fit" more with the final three (which were written all at once). And you know-- I'm not crazy about him doing that. For one thing, it just makes the contradictions WORSE. Because he only did that one book-- so instead of the first four not quite agreeing with the final three, it's books 2-3-4 that don't agree with books 1-5-6-7. In very large ways, such as (pulling out an example) the direction that Roland is travelling when he starts out. I read the "original" book 1 when I started the series, and I don't like the "new" book 1. He cleaned it up too much. It may read easier now but it loses the authenticity, and some of the charm that comes from the roughness of it. Basically-- the story of the writer, and the story behind the books, are PART of the story contained within the books. And I dig that. Going back to "clean up" takes away that essential element, that ability to feel not only the story but the voice behind the story. But then again I'm one of those people who always reads forewards and afterwards and am always fascinated by the process behind the book. I can handle a few continuity errors. I expect them. I mean, within a single book it can be annoying, but when you're talking about a series that was written piecemeal over decades, it's not that big a deal. The books don't spring out of thin air, after all, and they don't need to be polished and shiny and perfect to be great books. There are no bugs, only features.


And anyway, the new stuff that OSC is putting out is frickin awesome. And the Ender series is frickin awesome as it is. It doesn't NEED the time put in to do the type of thing you're talking about. I mean, I understand your desire to have it tightened up, I have my own OCD tendencies. But I really think OSC's time is better spent putting out new books BECAUSE WE ALL WANT NEW BOOKS [ROFL] And I'm just about dyin waiting for the sequels to the Mithermages and Pathfinder series. And I think that he has a lot more storytelling up his sleeve without going back and rehashing old books he's already written.

So... I guess that's my novel of a post to respond to your novel of a post.

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salcedocine
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The thing is though, I don't advocate for destroying the originals or pretending they don't exist. The process is still there. There's v1 and v2 of the original books, like the much cited Chapter 15 in Ender's Game. On a much smaller scale, Mr. Card has already done what I'm suggesting.

I think the rejection to the "non-revised" books is simply an emotional attachment. As a reader (and likely as a writer) one feels closer to the original and any change to that work you already love feels like a "betrayal." I'm thinking more than anything of completely new readers, who would start reading the new books from scratch.

Your point about only revising one book is true. That would make for even WORSE contradictions, which is why I make it a point to state that this can only be done when the entire series is finished. So, when the entire series is finished, you can go back and tighten up ALL the books and re-release them together. That's a gargantuan task in itself though, and another reason why I don't think Card would do it.

There is something I have to disagree with you on, though. You say "WE ALL WANT NEW BOOKS", and you're right. We do. I do, at least. But the kind of revision I'm asking for isn't "nit-picking". It isn't about the direction they're walking or traveling in (although it would be awesome if the timelines actually made sense in a revised edition). It's about what the characters think, feel and how they react to things. In essence, it would be a slightly different Speaker, Xenocide and CotM. They would be different books, and the classic originals would remain incredible (but different) books in their own right.

Think of how it would change Ender's actions in Xenocide if he knew about genetic alterations going into the story. Jane would certainly remember it, or at least the possibility of it. Think of characters drawing parallels between the lives they lead in the Shadow books while in the Speaker books (Ender remembering things from Shakespeare, drawing parallels, etc.) More than anything, think of just how drastically such a re-write would change CotM. Remember that "evil" Peter sprang from Ender's mind, and knows many things Ender knows. Ender wrote the Hegemon, so Ender in CotM SHOULD know the details of the Shadow wars - but he doesn't in CotM BECAUSE Card hadn't thought of it yet. So the "evil Peter from Ender's mind" in a revised CotM would have many different attributes to the one we actually read about originally. Of course it's still a figment of Ender's imagination, but there's so much IN Ender's imagination that, continuity wise, he should know but doesn't - because Card hadn't thought of it yet. The WORST part is that Card hints at things (like Peter knowing Korean) in CotM, but those are just things he was making up as he was going. You don't think imagination Peter would've had a dozen things to draw from the original Shadow wars during their fight to take over Starways Congress? Not from Peter's point of view (figment, I know), but from Ender's himself?

All I'm saying is, when they finally come out with Shadows Alive, it's going to be a very difficult book for continuity. And I think Card will sidestep that difficulty by simply ignoring the continuity problems, the changes between the characters and sort of "force" them together. He's a wonderful writer, so I think he'll pull it off, but the story could be much, much richer.

Last thing: between Speaker and Xenocide Ender lives in Lusitania for thirty years. When the characters from Lusitania finally meet Bean and his children (in some way or another) in Shadows Alive how will it be conceivable that Ender hasn't spoken of Bean, his children, Arkanian, etc. to Grego, Olhado, Jane, etc. in 30 years? And if he had spoken of them, why had no character acknowledged any of it IN Xenocide or CotM, especially when the situations they were faced with drew so many parallels (genetic brilliance, political intrigue, etc.)

The fact of the matter is, Ender grew in Ender in Exile. The Ender at the end of Exile is not the same man as Speaker, and it's not something that can be fixed with another book between them because that could only be the case if the Exile Ender knew LESS than the Speaker Ender but the opposite is true. The Enderverse situation is actually really unique, and I hope that at least it be recognized as problem (if not actually addressed because it's too complex to do so).

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salcedocine
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Oh, and as an afterthought (sorry for double posting), I loved the ending to the Dark Tower. And I've read both versions of the first book and like the second better. The language was distracting, the story was more important.
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BlueWizard
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I'm really eager to read the NEW "Shadows in Flight" and think it is a great concept for a book, though I confess myself disappointed at only 50,000 words. Surely the story is more complex than that?

Just the thought of this story thrills me, I mean really thrills me. I picture giant Bean, trapped in a space ship with a bunch of incredibly precocious kids that are not only his equal, but very possibly his superior in intelligence. It is a parent's nightmare. Just that one aspect alone has near unlimited potential for humor and pathos.

Then we get to the many dilemmas they will face in space travel. I imagine, there will come a point where it will be difficult for Bean to get around, and as such, he will be forced to send his kids down to various planet surfaces for food, fuel, to update the computer libraries, to negotiate for equipment updates, and similar. That opens the door to many adventures.

Will Jame be helping Bean in his travels? In the forefront, or behind the scenes? So many questions, so many possibilities!

Though, I'm not trying to write the book for you, I'm simply expressing that I can envision all kinds of potential for various story lines that I'm eager to read.


The now "Shadows Alive" is also a story I'm very eager to hear. I simply can't not believe the Ender series ended so neat and tidily as many assume.

I simply can't see Star Congress taking their humiliating defeat oh so very kindly. They, Star Congress, must see the inhabitants of Lusitania as the greatest danger to their power in the known universe.

Then you combine the power of Lusitania with the power of the now all genius planet of 'Path'. Combined they represent a force so overwhelming that Star Congress simply can not allow them to stand and not be under their control.

Now compound all that with Lusitania's alliance with the Formics, and Star Congress must feel immensely threatened.

Then what happens to Faster than Light Travel? Do the people of Lusitania continue to control it and exclusively use it, or does Star Congress want a piece of the action? Do commercial interest want a piece of the action, and who controls who gets to do what and when?

Do the now many planets of "Piggies" and Father Trees combined with the many Formic planets, give Jane the power to expand Faster that Light Travel beyond their small needs? Are they able to extend that resource to other people? And what other people, and who controls it, who profits from it?

Now that sounds like a force the established government simply can't ignore.

Then of course, the 'Descoladores', that in itself is huge subplot just waiting to happen.

Plus I've grown to like Peter and Wang-Mu, and am eager to read their part in the continuing story. Plus, how does the 'Piggy' world progress now that new technology is opened up to them?

Do the Formics become war like? Do they maintain their alliance after Ender dies? Do they feel the same affinity with Peter, and are they as easily able to communicate with him?

So many many unanswered questions.

I suspect that Mr Card is stunned, though pleased, to find that a seemingly insignificant short story written in the '70s, has expanded into such a complex universe with so many compelling characters ... and such eager fans waiting for the next expansion of that universe.

I'm so very very eager to meet Bean's kids, and believe there has to be some humor to Bean being trapped in a space ship with such precocious kids.

Like I said, I'm thrilled to the core.

Steve/bluewizard

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salcedocine
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I was reading CotM and it came to me: if Bean's children meet Jane and the people in Lusitania - they won't have to die! They can be taken Outside by Jane and have their genetic conditioned fixed. If not by themselves, then by a version of the recolada Ela might make. Too bad Mr. Card has repeatedly stated that Bean will positively, absolutely, no take-backsies die. In fact, I think in Shadows Alive they should contemplate the moral problems going Outside poses, as it is basically a potion for immortality. Sick? Go Outside, come back whole. Old? Keep a young, vital image of yourself, come back young. Etc, etc.

More than the science fiction itself (which, is still fascinating) I think the moral and ethic problems facing everyone in this new book are larger than anything Mr. Card has written so far in the Ender series. Anyone agree?

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BlueWizard
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I have to agree, when the original "Shadows in Flight" which is now "Shadows Alive" was proposed, I was very disappointed. I felt like I knew Bean so very well, and couldn't stand the thought of him simply not existing any more. At best, I hoped his children would give us an account of his life and death.

But now, we have two books, the first, in which I hope Bean is alive, and the second after he has died.

For some reason, I need to experience Bean's death, maybe that is the only proper way I can morn for him. Maybe that is the only proper way I can actually say goodbye. Regardless, the absents of his death leaves HUGE hole in both me and the story.

Perhaps now that we have two books, the before and after story, the HUGE hole will be filled. Time will tell.

Also, I'm not fond of doing serious reading on-line, and from the discussion here, I'm still very unclear when the Hard Copy version of the next book will be available.

Any clarification on that???

Steve/bluewizard

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Jeff C.
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I think this universe is complex enough that OSC could seriously write a dozen more books, or more. He probably won't, though. These are likely the last two books we'll see in this saga, unless he decides he really wants to keep it going, which is totally fine with me.
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Jeff C.
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Well chapter 1 is up on IGMS. Has anyone read it yet?
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Houk
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Yep. Just finished the first chapter. I have to admit I wasn't impressed with the way it started. But i's only the first chapter so there's a lot of room for the story to go somewhere.
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endersbooch
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excited for shadow in flight! i hope it'll be as good as all the other books!! big fan.
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jongo05
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January 17, 2012? What happened to November?
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kacard
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January is the official "publication date" but often books are released earlier. I think it will be released sometime in late November.
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peeer
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(Post Removed by Janitor Blade. Residual spam.)

[ September 06, 2011, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: JanitorBlade ]

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Jake
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Whistled.
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DDDaysh
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Wow - so this is what I miss when I severely cut back on my Hatrack time!

Out of curiosity, does this have anything to do with the notification I got from Amazon today about a book called "Enders Game: Formic Wars: Burning Earth" or are they totally different? Are we seriously getting two different new Ender books in one season?

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richd
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The book you mention is a comic book, about Mazer and the first Formic War, and I think it's already been released.
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Craig Childs
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I'm still confused about the MMB (on Kindle and other e-devices) and the ebook (also available on said Kindle and other said e-devices). Which one should I purchase? Or do I need to purchase them both to get the full story?

maybe I'm not imaginative enough, but it sounds like the MMB is just an illustrated version of the e-book?

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