This is topic Was anyone else disappointed with Shadows in Flight? ....Spoilers.... in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by CardFan712 (Member # 12780) on :
As my username suggests, I am a Card fan. I have been since my seventh grade English teacher gave me Ender's Game to read after he saw me with my nose in Animorphs books all day. I haven't read everything Mr. Card has written, but quite a bit. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading and getting to know the characters in both Ender series over the past decade or so, as long as I've been reading them.

This is my first post on this forum, though I have been visiting this website regularly for years, to read Mr. Card's reviews. I enjoy them - even though I live nowhere near North Carolina.

I am posting because as the title suggests, I am disappointed. I was disappointed with Ender in Exile, and I am disappointed now, having recently finished Shadows in Flight.

I was disappointed with Ender in Exile because after paying the retail price of a new hardcover, which is not cheap, I realized that I had already paid, on IGMS, to read a significant portion of the content. I felt cheated, having paid twice to read the same material. I don't mind paying to read. I've had to replace my copy of Ender's game many a time, and even own it in a different language. Maybe it was stated somewhere on IGMS that the stories there would be chapters in an upcoming novel, but I must have missed it.

So even though I was disappointed then, I let it slide - I didn't let it bother me too much, mostly because I thoroughly enjoyed reading Ender in Exile. I'm only reflecting upon it now because I was much more disappointed with Shadows in Flight.

I just didn't enjoy it. In my opinion, the story was unoriginal. Bean's children basically did exactly what was done in the Gold Bug story, which also became a chapter of Ender in Exile. Bean's children stumbled upon a Formic environment, and used their wit and some science to determine how the current situation of that environment came to be over a long period with no queen to oversee it.

Sure, it was quite different, there were different circumstances and details, revisiting the Bean character was great, and getting to know his children was also enjoyable. However I feel as if I'd paid a third time, to read the same story, more or less.

Also, I live in Israel, so I pay quite a bit to ship these books out here when they come out. I know, my choice, but like most of you I don't like to wait when there's a new OSC book out there.

I also feel as if, in the 220 or so pages of Shadows in Flight, very, very little actually happens. I feel like we've waited years for the next installment in the series, and all we got was a preview.

I like to buy books. I like to support the authors. Rarely do I buy a book and feel that it's not worth the money. That is how I feel this time, and really, it is disappointing, because I've enjoyed Mr. Card's work for so long. I'll read the next one that comes out too, but maybe I'll probably borrow it from the library first, then decide if I want to buy it or not.

Did anyone feel anything similar?
Posted by Synesthesia (Member # 4774) on :
I was disappointed with Ender in Exile. I tried to read this book at the book store.

I am not sure if I will finish it....
Posted by Jeorge (Member # 11524) on :
Ender in Exile was the first book I read in a Card series that I felt was a sequel just for the sake of having a sequel.

I didn't feel that way about Shadows in Flight, simply because I suspect it's important groundwork for the next novel. So I sort of looked at this one as a novel-length prologue, and it was okay for that. But yeah, I'm going to be very disappointed if the next novel is on the same level as these.
Posted by Szymon (Member # 7103) on :
I loved Shadow series except for the first book. Reading every line seemed so naive, I had a feeling I could almost see the sweat droplets on the pages where OSC tried to find a way to make Bean important where he really really really was not.
It seems obvious to Bean that Ender must go to Command School asap, and then he is stunned about the news that he in fact was send there right away. In Ender's Game it was really a nice little thing- Bean standing up to Graff and Anderson after they ruined the game. In Ender's Shadow this scene makes absolutely no sense at all. I keep having this feeling that OSC couldnt write a single sentence without looking into Ender's Game and wishing he hadnt stared this suicidal task...
Posted by sylvrdragon (Member # 3332) on :
One of the problems I had with Shadows in Flight is that there's no room for the reader to be involved in the story. Everything was either spelled out completely by the characters, or it was based off of something that nobody could possibly intuit. Even when I end up being completely wrong, I like to be able to speculate on where a plot might be heading. There was simply no room for this in Shadows in Flight. The most thought I put into this book was trying to convert 4 and a half meters into Feet in my head (~14' 9", btw).

My other problem with the novel is that we weren't allowed to get to know the characters. We were TOLD about the characters through the inner dialog of the OTHER characters, but the story was so short that we didn't get to dig any deeper.

It was like
"XXX is an Alpha"
*character acts alpha for a scene*
Ok, done with that character. Who's next?

The characters were so shallow that I wasn't sure I was actually reading a Card book.
Posted by BlueWizard (Member # 9389) on :
To some extent, these books filled gaps in the Ender saga history, and answer previously unanswered questions.

Like, how did Ender come across the Formic Egg he carries around. I found that story interesting.

Next, how does Ender cope with being famous, having high rank, yet being so young. In the Ender in Exile story, we see that Ender still has the analytical skills to out maneuver the ships captain.

As to his governing on the Planet, we see he also has the people skills necessary to take control. He has the ability to make people like him and submit to his authority even though he remains somewhat distant and detached from them. That shows he has a degree of natural leadership skill and charisma.

Though I found the flight time a bit dull, it does fill in the history and expand the character, and I was satisfied with that.

As to Shadows in Flight, again this books fill out some unresolved history in the books. In the Shadow series Bean is sent off into space never to be heard of again. More importantly, we know Bean's life is going to be very short. How long will he last? How will he cope with precocious kids while he is alive, and how will they cope once he is dead? And, the most important unresolved question, how, when, and where does Bean die. I REALLY needed that closure. I could not stand by with that issue unresolved knowing Bean, a character I had great affection for, was just left hanging.

Now I know the circumstances of his life and his death, and that closes, what for me was, a very huge circle.

Plus we know there is at least one more book to come; essentially "The Beanie Babies Meet New!Peter". If you look at Shadows in Flight, that is a great mystery. Not only are the Beanies distance in space, but also in time.

In the Beanie timeline, New!Peter doesn't even exist yet. The planet Lusitania hasn't even been founded yet. What could happen on the new Beanie planet that could send the Beanie kids off on a trek through space, and more importantly time, in search of Ender or in search of whatever it is that motivates them to leave the planet they are on? How soon will that occur? Will it be years in the future? Will their be many second generation Beanies in existance? Will they all go, or will some of the Beanie kids be left behind to carry on the colonization of their planet?

Mysteries that need answers.

Each of these additional books gave me answers that I needed, and regardless of the storyline itself, I am grateful for those answers. And will be equally grateful to see how "Beanies Meet New!Peter" works out.

I think New!Peter is an interesting character. And I think the resolution of the Ender series leaves several nice loose ends untied. The Driscolada? The threat to the power of Star Congress. Let's face it, New!Peter and Lusitania thoroughly spanked the bottom of Star Congress.

Peter has tremedous power in his alliance with Path, the Formics, and the Piggies. Jane has tremendous power in her control of Faster Than Light Travel.

Further Jane particular brand of Faster Than Light Travel, makes any military or govt fortress completely vulnerable. They could easily appear in the middle of Star Congress session. Star Congress is completely defenseless against Jane. Jane could move huge armies right to their front door and inside in the blink of an eye. She wouldn't, but she could. Those in power don't like to have their power threatened.

So, plenty of unresolved conflict existing at the end of the Ender series.

There is a lot more story to tell, though it really just fills in the missing pieces. As they exist, the core Shadow and Ender stories are resolved. But not resolved to my satisfaction. The new books tie up important loose ends for me, and I've very much looking forward to seeing how the Beanies and New!Peter finally come together, especially when you consider the vast expanse of time and space between them.

Posted by TomDavidson (Member # 124) on :
these books filled gaps in the Ender saga history, and answer previously unanswered questions.

Like, how did Ender come across the Formic Egg he carries around

*blink* This wasn't a gap at all, ever, was it? He finds the Queen at the end of Ender's Game.
Posted by BlueWizard (Member # 9389) on :
It is not about event, it is about details and circumstance.

I know the event, but I want to know the story. Now I do.
Posted by MrSquicky (Member # 1802) on :
The details and circumstance were in Ender's Game as well. We know that on an exploration of the planet with a young child, Ender comes across concrete recreations of the fantasy game, goes into the recreations and finds the cocoon behind the recreated mirror where his reflection turned into Peter in the fantasy game. We actually get more detail about Ender actually finding the Hive Queen (it's not an egg - it's a fully developed Queen in a cocoon) in EG.

[ March 08, 2012, 08:49 AM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]
Posted by sylvrdragon (Member # 3332) on :
My issue isn't whether Shadows in Flight had some useful content- it obviously did- but whether it had enough useful content to warrant it's own book. I am of the opinion that it did not. It feels like I was sold a single Act that was advertised as a Play (or perhaps a Scene sold as an Act if you want to consider the whole of the series as the Play).
Posted by fieryspirit (Member # 12821) on :
Only morons weren't disappointed with Shadows in Flight.
Posted by vineyarddawg (Member # 13007) on :
Well, trolling from fieryspirit aside, I see that this is an old thread, but since I just joined up, I'm going to add my perspective anyway. [Smile]

I didn't find the Enderverse until after I'd read all the Alvin Maker books about a year ago (which were wonderful!), and I've gone through all the books over the last year except Earth Afire, which I'm about to start.

---- SPOILER ALERT -----

I enjoyed Shadows in Flight, but IMO it was unquestionably the weakest of the Enderverse books to date. When I got to the end, I thought to myself, "I could summarize this book in one paragraph or less: The leguminotes are flying in space. They see an alien ship around an earth-like planet. They explore the ship at great length and find male formics that help them cure the growth problem associated with Anton's Key. Bean dies happy. FIN"

(Yes, I realize that's simplifying the relationship dynamics between the Beanie Babies and completely ignores the "OMG ARE THERE MORE FORMICS OUT THERE?" question that was raised. But the relationship angle itself was marginalized more than one by Bean himself in the book, since he pointed out that though they are super-smart, emotionally they still act like 6-year-olds many times. And I'm not crazy about this "more formics" angle... but that has the potential for a whole 'nother subthread...)

Seeing OSC's original post about SIF really helped me understand why this is the case, though. SIF is basically the final chapter of Bean's (firsthand) story, and is, essentially, an expanded "first chapter" of Shadows Alive.

Though I'm not crazy about OSC's seeming designs upon the novella/50,000 words-for-the-price-of-a-novel concept, I think SIF really lent itself to that format. I really hope Shadows Alive will be a longer and more-developed novel, however. If it's going to sew up the leguminotes and somehow tie them into the Descoladores/Lusitania story, there are going to be a lot of words needed to get them "from here to there," so to speak.

With all that said, the Enderverse saga is immensely well-written and fascinating to experience. OSC has done a marvelous job of creating this epic arc of characters that trace humanity throughout what would normally be an unthinkable time frame.
Posted by SteveRogers (Member # 7130) on :
Welcome to the forum. [Smile]
Posted by fiery-spirit (Member # 13008) on :
Trolling is being blind to the truth! OSC is done.

If Shadows in Flight didn't put the nail in the coffin it was the crappy novels, if you can call them that, his lazy ass gave Aaron no name Johnson to write, the Formic Wars my ass.

What piles of Garbage they were. Did M. Night S, ghost write these campy kids books? I'm surprised the buggers didn't die because of water.
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
fiery-spirit is mad about books and he wants everyone to know about it
Posted by fiery-spirit (Member # 13008) on :
What a laughable forum. Unless you worship at the alter of card you are censored. I love card like everyone else! Just not post 2005 card! He's lazy!
Posted by Samprimary (Member # 8561) on :
this forum is actually astoundingly unique — a stubborn outlier without any precedent or similar example I can think of — wherein open criticism of the artist who owns and runs it is actually in fact the overwhelmingly standard condition. It is, in fact, so unusual in how significantly it openly allows deep and divisive criticism of its owner that it grants your posts a sublime sort of comedy when you say 'unless you worship at the alter[sp] of card you are censored.' Like seriously I cannot think of a way to find a single personality-centric board where what you are saying is less true.

just, you know, letting you know. before, like, you get banned or post-edited (not for criticism of card per se, but relentless and boring violations of the terms of service this place is generally governed on the principles of) and you crumple weeping into your pocket constitution over this egregious violation of your first amendment rights, pledging that this torrid censorship will feed your hungering confirmation bias no matter what
Posted by DustinDopps (Member # 12640) on :
I don't often agree with Samprimary, but what he is saying is true. I'm amazed at some of the harsh criticisms of Card on this board, and think it's pretty cool that he allows them to exist.
Posted by Phillyn (Member # 12597) on :
I have to agree too. I'm constantly astounded by posters who say they love the books but are so hateful and self-righteous in their criticism of OSC. It's become a forum of haters, to a large degree.
Posted by Max Wilson (Member # 13106) on :
Originally posted by sylvrdragon:
One of the problems I had with Shadows in Flight is that there's no room for the reader to be involved in the story. Everything was either spelled out completely by the characters, or it was based off of something that nobody could possibly intuit.*snip* My other problem with the novel is that we weren't allowed to get to know the characters. We were TOLD about the characters through the inner dialog of the OTHER characters, but the story was so short that we didn't get to dig any deeper.

About the characters: really? I didn't feel that way at all. I thought I learned a lot about Cincinnatus from his POV especially. It was fun to see how different his self-image was from Ender's and Carlotta's perceptions of him, and then to wonder how accurately he perceived himself. I thought the unreliable-narrators part (due to being six-year-olds) was one of the cleverest parts of the book.

As for a story that "nobody could possibly intuit," that's simply not true. It's been true since book 1 that it didn't make any sense for the Hive Queens to have died out just because someone blew up the homeworld; the only surprise is that Card is now picking up this thread and starting to run with it instead of just leaving it as Fridge Logic. The other major plot thread is the resolution of Anton's Key, which I honestly didn't expect to be as insoluble as Bean and his kids found it. (I thought Bean was on the cusp of solving it already back in /Shadow of the Giant/ and just barely ran out of time.) Anton's Key is simply a form of uncontrolled gene expression, and I was expecting all along that they'd simply find a way to turn off expression of that gene below the neck--if nothing else, by creating nanobots to vacuum up the undesired proteins, and/or eliminate the DNA in question from the somatic cells that arne't neural tissue. I didn't really grasp why shunting compensator genes into an organelle resolved the technical issues EnderBean and Bean found so worrisome, and I'm certainly glad that they won't have to rely on an artificial crutch like nanobots going forward, but the fact that the mere *reminder* of the existence of organelles was enough for EnderBean to intuit a solution immediately is an indication that the answer wasn't far out of reach for Bean in the first place. From the reader's perspective it wasn't possible to know the solution in advance, but that is because of narrative constraints and not because the science is arcane.

[ December 20, 2013, 06:26 PM: Message edited by: Max Wilson ]
Posted by Max Wilson (Member # 13106) on :
Originally posted by BlueWizard:
And, the most important unresolved question, how, when, and where does Bean die. I REALLY needed that closure.

Yep, closure was one of the best parts of this book. I didn't get any closure when Ender Wiggin died, but this death was different and more satisfying.

BTW I am more than a little surprised that the Beanie Babies are still planning on inbreeding now that they aren't planning on dying at age 20. Bean obviously had a happy marriage to a normal human, so it's not as if there's an emotional barrier there--and there is also no longer any pressure to reproduce NOW NOW NOW. They will be physically indistinguishable from normal human adults, and they even still have a working starship! There's nothing at all that stops them from simply passing on their Anton's Key dominants through normal, exogamous mating. This is an obvious consequence of having a cure and yet they haven't tumbled to it or have chosen to ignore it. ["Technically," Carlotta said, "I'll pass it on." "No argument there," said Ender.]

Precocious, yes, but Pak Protectors these guys are not.

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