I have been rereading the "Shadow" series over the last month so that I could go into "Shadows in Flight" (that's been on my shelf since it's release) to remind myself of where I was in the story. After I finished the more official shadow series I went to EiE which should have followed about the same timeline.
I wasn't terribly disturbed by the minor contradictions of say was Peter a man of over 70 (SotG) or his "late fifties" (EiE)
or if during the "interviews" of Peter by Ender whether they were done with voice only (SotG) which eased Peter to not have to see how young his brother still was, or if there was an inference to Video being used which later haunted Ender since he associated his memory of the image of a young Peter and the Peter he interviewed as 2 seperate people (EiE)
However the contradiction that bothers me and makes me confused on which version to believe has to do with the MD Device weapon itself. In "Earth Unaware" we are introduced to a mining tool which very well could be turned into a weapon extremely similar to the weapon of the original Ender's Game. However in Exile while Admiral Wiggins is given a tour of his colony ship and shown the propulsion system of the ship it is practically said that the weapon was NOT human built and came from the Formics.
Some of this may have been clarified in the original comics which I did not read, or could have been resolved in the Shadows in Flight book which I will read this week or in the completion of the prequel series when we can see if the mining tool was turned into the weapon of decades later.
Posts: 14 | Registered: Jun 2005
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The books are notorious for many small contradictions like the ones you've found. OSC just doesn't do numbers, even adding them. Count Valentine's kids between Speaker and Xenocide. Two disappeared. The fact the Ender never grew up in the home that Bean visited. Ender's Game and a bunch of Ender in Exile, such as the way Ender's Jeesh saw him and what the colony Ender governed was to be like. And whether or not Peter was a sociopath.
I think it's a combination of OSC not really caring or noticing, editors not noticing, and also OSC saying "screw it, I have a better idea, I don't care if it's contradictory."
Sometimes the better ideas gets retconned, like when Mazer shows up in one of the Shadow books, the characters point out that he was supposed to have on the colony ship with Ender, and Mazer was like "Pfb, people lied. Didn't wanna. Shh. Har Har." And it works because Mazer was never on-screen during the colony scenes at the end of Ender's Game, because he wasn't needed then. Don't tell me OSC thought that up in '85, because he didn't. If OSC wanted Mazer on Earth in '85 then he simply would not have mentioned that Mazer was going to the colony. He decided he wanted Mazer back on Earth when plotting the Shadow books, found that Mazer wasn't supposed to have been there, but it could be fixed in one line so he did it.
As for Ender in Exile, OSC explains in the Afterword that he made massive continuity breaking changes to accommodate a thought that had come to him between the two books, was that any leftover pilots would also have been prepared to start colonies of their own, including the one Ender arrived at, even though it's made clear in Ender's Game, Ender is leading the first colony ever and did not arrive to an advance human set up. The perspective shift between the two books bothered me so much, I found the book unreadable and I never finished it, though I might have had a shot if those details were in a forward instead. Honestly, as a reader, Occam's razor explains why pilots were not equipped to make colonies: everyone involved in the planning for third Bugger War was a horrible person (Exhibit A: just read Ender's Game), and had no issues with making the trip one-way for every human being they sent, given that their objectives were to kill EVERY BUGGER SHIP.
But OSC needs to make every character in his books obsessed with breeding, like Peter and Petra, whose marriage feels really awful, not because of the babies, or the fact that they don't really interact all that much before it happens, but because Peter in EG is written as a sociopath. And while sociopaths grow out of skinning squirrels and onto bigger interests (like taking over the planet), I wouldn't recommend marrying one, and siccing him on the one female character is just wrong. With a large familiy, there isn't much of a need for the Hegemon biography (how many screwed up kids will write a tell-all?), or a future Ender-Peter to fulfill Peter's unmet romantic desires (though we should all just pretend anything after the last part of Xenocide never happened). It's just that it was forgotten that Peter was formerly a lot more edgy, then he became a protagonist, and his character got mellowed. He's not the only character in a series to start off as a screw-up bad guy and then gain morals, not for character development, but because we've gotten used to him.
As for the house thing, OSC has a mea culpa somewhere on the web-- the detail was changed for an earlier draft of the movie script, and he forgot that the books didn't work that way too (yes, the work on movie was started BEFORE Shadow of the Hegemon was released).
Sci-fi authors aren't oracles revealing new truths about characters, they're making it up as they go, and during that time they grow. And as the author's world view changes (Exhibit B: OSC Rhino Times columns), so does his ideas on what the writing meant or what was important. That's where the Jeesh thingy comes it. It's been a long time since I read the first part of EiE, but at one point, some member of Ender's Jeesh tells him to snap out of it, and exactly what's wrong with behavior/attitude/whatever. That would NEVER have happened based on Ender's Game, as one of Ender central problems was his social isolation from his peers. Ender's isolation was constructed by the Battle School teachers, so Ender would not be able to outsource any of his issues to a peer, only subordinates as commands. The isolating hinged, not on Ender thinking he's better than everyone else, but everyone else thinking Ender was so great that he was God, and not someone to shoot the breeze with. There's that scene at the end where everyone forgets about the God thing for like 30 seconds, and then they remember again, and Ender's in absolute emotional agony because he doesn't always want to be their commander. The kid has no friends and he knows it. So for someone to show up in EiE and blame him for being aloof just feels false for a direct sequel, because the others enforce the attitude more than he ever does. But 23 years later, you see the book differently, and are a completely different person.
A long while ago, OSC, who is vehemently against the concept of fanfiction, said he would never permit other authors in the Enderverse, but he changed his mind.
tl:dr, OSC flat out mentions that he doesn't re-read his novels when he writes new ones. When you do this, you forget things.
Posts: 1124 | Registered: Oct 2004
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I vaguely recall how in EG there were upwards of 30 people in the Jeesh, which made sense to have Ender in overall Command. Then this was revised downwards to less than 12 iirc.
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