Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Just read Ender in Exile

   
Author Topic: Just read Ender in Exile
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
and I blame you people. Why didn't someone tell me what a god awful stupid book that was? It read like mediocre Ender fan fiction, and I feel I should have been informed.

I would have expected that it would be centered around Ender partially overcoming/dealing with the intense psychological trauma he went through during Ender's Game, but I'd asked about that back when the book came out and so wasn't surprised when he was pretty much okay - maybe a little emotionally distant and over-intellectual, but what OSC hero isn't?

But I didn't expect the central conflict to be something so banal and incredibly stupid. It was like watching a suspense movie that rests on everyone forgetting that they have cell phones and can instantly communicate with whoever they want. At least, when we get movies/stories like that, they present some excuse for why the phones won't work. E in E rubs our faces in the obvious solution. The ansible works perfectly. There's even a minor plot point where the Wiggins have high enough priority that some of the traffic to them can trump everything else.

Ender has instantaneous access to people who control the person he's feuding with. So, I'm reading it and the problem is presented "This guy wants to (illegally) take over the colony. He could order Ender into stasis towards this goal." And I'm thinking, "Ok, so he gets in touch with Graff and sets things up so that if the captain makes aggressive moves towards Ender, he gets shut out of the systems and the XO is promoted to captain." Which can happen almost instantaneously, because, you know, ansible or heck, put it into the stasis programming that Ender has to consent and if the captain tries to force him against this consent, he's under arrest.

The book goes even further and basically has this happen...but for some reason only after a tedious section of two years where Ender, the kid who was so traumatized during the last book, he was chewing on his own hand, has to plot in secret, put up with a clueless, nagging shrew of a sister, and kowtow to this petty guy.

I mean, I get that OSC was, like in nearly all the other post Speaker series Ender stories, telling a nerd revenge fantasy, but at least set it up so that it is doesn't insult the audience's intelligence.

Speaking of which, we get a quick look at the Shakespeare colony during this other stuff. Super-smart xenobiologist guy has a hot, religiously compatible assistant who wants his baby and they have a awkwardly unrealistic conversation about it. From what I can tell, the only point to this section is so OSC can insert his views on how monogamy is the only way to live. Because of the large gender disparity, the colony of military folk got together and voted that they should randomly be paired for life, with most of the guys lucking out. Oh, and because super-smart guy didn't win the lottery, he can never have kids.

At this point, I'm wondering if OSC has set up to really rub it in my face. I mean, history has taught us what happens when we have a mass of men who aren't going to have sex. Assuming that this bizarre random pairing for life scheme was actually respected and there wasn't rampant "cheating", the colony would have been torn apart by the mass of sexually starved of militarily trained men.

But okay, let's even leave that alone and concentrate on the really stupid part. Super smart guy lost the lottery and so can never have kids. I mean, yeah, when you're starting a colony, you are probably going to want to make sure the super smart genes get passed on, but fine.

The really stupid part is, why can't he ever have kids? I mean, during this conversation, he's relatively young. He was alive 50 years later when Ender's ship shows up and given the harsh conditions, we're probably talking about someone in his mid to late 20s. So, in 13 or so years, when the girls who were born right away reach sexual maturity, why wouldn't he get married to one of them? He'd be in his mid 30s.

It's just, you people should have told me about this. It was a quick read and I just stopped after the Shakespeare landing, but I want that time back.

Posts: 10131 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DustinDopps
Member
Member # 12640

 - posted      Profile for DustinDopps           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Y U mad, bro?
Posts: 237 | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Taalcon
Member
Member # 839

 - posted      Profile for Taalcon   Email Taalcon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
So you stopped before it ended, and you claim you don't understand the point of the story?

I quite enjoyed it, and find that it shows quite a significant portion of Ender developing the skills to be a Speaker, to see the stories in people's lives (Allesandra, Randall/Achilles), even before he had the experience with the Hive Queen. It shows him able to use this gift on the living before he turns it full time to speak of the Dead.

It's cool not to like a book, it's not cool to come to that author's online home and start puking all over it.

Posts: 2689 | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
errr...are you responding to me?

I never said anything about not understanding the point.

I took issue with the central conflict of E in E because, from what I could see, not only would it have been incredibly easy to solve, it actually was (more or less) solved that way. The whole "don't you do this or we'll take away all your power" could have been done at any point in the voyage. It made absolutely no sense to wait two years. It was insulting to the intelligence of the reader.

I also expanded this to a side point that showed this same insulting of the audience's intelligence. Even if you granted all the other idiocy about the randomly assigned monogamous pairing for life scheme that left the vast majority of men without sexual out, it was painfully obvious that there was no reason that super smart xenobiologist guy couldn't have kids. And yet, this was emphasized multiple times in the digression.

I think you are saying that no one should criticize any of OSC's works on this site. I obviously disagree. If you disagree that my criticisms are valid or that even if they are valid, it doesn't make the book really bad, I'm certainly willing to talk about that though.

I'm also curious. I didn't really see Ender developing skills in the Allesandra sequences. Where did you see this?

Posts: 10131 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Taalcon
Member
Member # 839

 - posted      Profile for Taalcon   Email Taalcon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There's a difference between critiquing by raising issues, and calling his work "god awful stupid".

I see it in sharing and exploring with her how she got to where she is, why she does what she does, and her mother's role in guiding her to want to do what she did. He wasn't condemning Allesandra - or even fully blaming Dorabella. He was showing her his understanding of the fact of her life story - more than she even saw herself. He did this with someone he cared about, and had a personal connection with. The book is a series of Ender doing a form of speakings, even though they're not all formalized, not all for the dead, and in different stages of progression. Allesandra, the Hive Queen, Peter, Randall.

As for the Quincy issue, it couldn't have been done at any point - Ender would still, very practically, have been under Quincy's full control while on board. Upon arrival, Ender also did what he does with his enemies - destroyed Quincy's authority personally, and in every way that mattered in front of the colonists.

It's not a perfect book. But I enjoyed that it's different than the others in that it's mainly episodic and thematic rather than one single complete narrative. I liked what it set out to do.

But even if you didn't enjoy it, I think starting out with "what a god awful stupid book that was" isn't a great way to start a review on the author's personal site. Kind of tacky. Just my thoughts.

Posts: 2689 | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
As for the Quincy issue, it couldn't have been done at any point - Ender would still, very practically, have been under Quincy's full control while on board.
When they got to Shakespeare, plans were in place to lock Quincy out of the system and direct the XO to assume command and arrest him. I fail to see how, if this became necessary during the flight, Ender would have remained in his control.

And that was the part that made me say "Seriously?" out loud and stop reading. Because, it was the obvious solution from the initial presentation of the problem, but it was just barely okay. Maybe OSC was focused on the story he wanted to tell and it just didn't occur to him that this would be the first thing a reasonably smart person would think of when presented with this. I could deal with that, but when the very thing that they could have done at any point during the voyage is thrown in at the end, it was just too much, especially coupled with the extremely stupid randomly assigned life pairing and this means that no kids for anyone not in a pairing, despite a new generation of girls on their way.

quote:
I see it in sharing and exploring with her how she got to where she is, why she does what she does, and her mother's role in guiding her to want to do what she did.
I don't recall this happening. Their in camera interaction is pretty brief, really. Are you assuming that this happened off camera?

And honestly, I don't really see anything in this besides standard human emotional intelligence. It's not like you had to be particularly empathetic to see that the girl was dominated by her mother and followed the standard profile of yearning to be free along with fearing it.

Posts: 10131 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thought about this a little more, and now it strikes me that, based on what he was shown, Quincy wasn't wrong in thinking that Ender had no business running a colony at the end of the 2 year voyage. Ender is very clear that he explicitly crafted the image of himself as a subservient child who was in over his head and knew it.

One has to wonder what the outcome would have been if Ender had not spent two years lying and manipulating him into thinking that Ender would be a disaster as a governor and instead demonstrated his competency. Ender is, after all, a master manipulator. It seems like it would have went better for everyone if he didn't immediately set out to trick and humiliate Quincy, who, especially compared to a super-genius like Ender, is kind of dim and easily led.

On further consideration, Quincy's plan at the end of the journey was to resign his commission and join the colony, while allowing Ender to take the governorship. Besides being pretty justifiable, considering he was fooled into thinking that Ender was incompetent, this seems to make the whole "gotcha" plan largely unnecessary. The one thing that they got out of it was Quincy and Tinkerbell (yeah, I know that's not her name) didn't attempt to stay on the colony, which was nice. But then again, I doubt they would have stuck around anyway after it became apparent that Ender has no intention of sharing power.

Come to think of it, that's another place where I think this fails. By the rules set up in the story, Quincy had a perfect legal right to resign his commission and join the colony. It was clumsy and illegal for Ender/Graff to forbid him from doing so.

I obviously have a very negative view of the book, so maybe these are coming from that, but they seem to me to be reasonable things to criticize. I'd be interested hear what people think about them.

Posts: 10131 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Willster3282
Member
Member # 12749

 - posted      Profile for Willster3282           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The one thing I can agree with is what you said in the first sentance of your post, "It seemed like mediocre Ender Fan Fiction."

Part of the problem I had with the book is just that it has no bearing whatsoever on the Enderverse. And it's good in that it explores Ender's characterization and progression as a leader/communicator, but it's bad in that it really is just forgettable in that it didn't reveal ANYTHING that would come up later in the series as important.

To me that's the biggest travesty, because there's only one planned Ender book left to write to tie up both Bean's story and Ender's story, and when looking at how much potential there still is in the series, to take the time to write Ender in Exile seems almost like a waste.

Mix in the fact that it felt like I was just reading a teenage drama story between Ender and that girl's mother (been a while) trying to set her daughter up with him, and so much of it just felt petty in comparison to the larger issues we've seen in the Enderverse.

Compared to the MD blowing up the Bugger world, a violent descolada virus, a mysterious reason why Piggies tortured humans to death, surviving on the streets of Rotterdam, fighting a full-fledged world war, raising a Hegemon to lead the planet, and having your children stolen due to some biological advances, just makes the issues in Ender in Exile seem irrelevant.

The other MAJOR flaw I had in the book was how he dealt with Bean's son, Achilles. Achilles was literally kicking the CRAP out of Ender, and his rationale for not fighting back was so convoluted and unrealistic it was very anticlimactic. This is a child who's brain is clearly psychologically unstabe, and I would've expected Ender to expose him to certain flaws and truths that would make him change. Instead he let him beat the crap out of him on the idea that, "I cant hurt Bean's child, and Bean's child would never have the instinct to kill me." Cmon really?

Posts: 8 | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Taalcon
Member
Member # 839

 - posted      Profile for Taalcon   Email Taalcon         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There was also some pretty clear "do to me what I did to Stilson/Bonzo" guilt/atonement mindset going on there. Ender wanted to fully feel what he had done to his enemies in order to be able to move on, so to say. To feel the pain, and defeat. A form of self-flagellation, using a Leguminote as his whip of choice. He went in with two possible outcomes - he'd live (because of who Randall/Achilles was), or he'd die, because he deserved it. Ender was quite accepting of both outcomes. He gave up.
Posts: 2689 | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BlueWizard
Member
Member # 9389

 - posted      Profile for BlueWizard   Email BlueWizard         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
First, expectations will always kill you when it comes to books and movies. If you get to heavily invested in what you think the book or movie will be, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

While it is fun to come here and discuss what might happen, when it comes time to sit down and read, you have to set all of that aside, and just take the story as it comes.

I admit that the time on the ship traveling drug a bit, but it is also a time when Ender is adapting to a new situation. He has rank and status, but no authority. Plus, he is very young, and it seems the ships Captain is put off by that.

Still we see Ender adapting quickly, he is playing a close game, and to some extent is being somewhat manipulative. He see the machinations of the girl and her mother, he sees the machinations of the Captain. So, he plays them.

Let's consider one thing about Ansible communications, it happens in real time, but in flight, the time dilation is huge, to the point where it makes conversations difficult. With a Time Ratio of 83 to 1, if a person on earth talks to you for one minute, it takes you 83 minutes to hear it. That makes for very slow conversation.

Plus, since the Captain is suspicious of Ender, he is likely monitoring all of Ender's communications, or at least, if I recall correctly, Ender proceeded as if that were true.

Despite being a little slow in the 'travel' section, I found Ender's time on the planet very interesting, and it expanded the underlying story nicely, and explains how Ender got to be where he was when Speaker for the Dead starts. It fills in a lot of backstory.

The book is really in four parts. The start when they are on the asteroid, the time they travel, the time planet side, the time when they meet Achilles. Then of course, the brief part where they move on from that planet.

Ender is not caught up in the trauma of what happened to him, at least not in an overt way. But we see he is withdrawn. He still hasn't learned to trust his sister, nor has he learned to confide in her. But that time is coming.

Also, time is moving fast, it is easy for him to leave it all behind, because everything he left behind is dying quickly. His brother Peter, in the time it takes to fly to the planet, has become an old man at the end of his life. In a sense, but space travel, Ender has separated himself from the world, something he carries on with for the next 3,000 years.

But all that said, not everybody likes everything. You are free to not like the book, just realize that your opinion is only one opinion, and that THAT is exactly what it is, an opinion, not a fact.

In your opinion, you didn't like the book, but in our opinion, we did.

You are free to invent your own world, inhabit it with character, the run those characters though exciting adventure, sell the story, and make lots of money. In the mean time, you and we are stuck reading books by other authors.

Was this book perfect, no, but I found it interesting and satisfying, and I don't ask much more.

Steve/bluewizard

Posts: 803 | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MrSquicky
Member
Member # 1802

 - posted      Profile for MrSquicky   Email MrSquicky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Let's consider one thing about Ansible communications, it happens in real time, but in flight, the time dilation is huge, to the point where it makes conversations difficult. With a Time Ratio of 83 to 1, if a person on earth talks to you for one minute, it takes you 83 minutes to hear it. That makes for very slow conversation.
Real time ansible communication with a ship traveling at relativistic speeds is near impossible, but obviously that's not what I'm talking about. Transmission is instantaneous. So the only time gaps are in reading and writing. When you're dealing with short messages, you're talking about a turn around of hours.

quote:
Plus, since the Captain is suspicious of Ender, he is likely monitoring all of Ender's communications, or at least, if I recall correctly, Ender proceeded as if that were true.
Even if this were true (and it is clearly not, as I'll show below), so what? If Ender sends out a message "I'm afraid the the captain is plotting to usurp my governorship and will use his power to put me in stasis in to achieve this goal." what could the captain do to him that wouldn't be undone within the day?

But leaving that aside, the story itself shows that this is not the case. There's a reason why I've made such a big deal of Graff's use of official power to neuter Quincy as being the clincher for this being an extremely stupid conflict. The things that you said couldn't happen actually happen in the story. Ender communicates with Graff and they set this whole thing up. As such, any explanation of how this couldn't happen automatically fails.

To show how what was described is actually reasonable, you'd need to show how it could only have happened when it did, at the end of the flight, instead of at any point during the flight, as I've suggested.

---

quote:
But all that said, not everybody likes everything. You are free to not like the book, just realize that your opinion is only one opinion, and that THAT is exactly what it is, an opinion, not a fact.
So far as I can tell, facts and opinion are both part of this discussion and I get the feeling that the people arguing against me are mixing them up.

What I've laid out are potential flaws in the reasonableness of the narrative that can be looked at objectively. Either the Graff and Ender's smackdown of Captain Quincy could, according to the internal logic of the narrative, have happened at any point or it could only have happened at the end of the voyage. Either super smart guy on Shakespeare could have had kids with one of the people who were born on Shakespeare from the initial pairs or he could never have kids after losing the initial lottery.

Those aren't really matters of opinions. What is a matter of opinion is whether these flaws in the logic detract significantly from the quality of the story. I obviously think they do (and to be clear, there's a whole mess of other things about this book that I dislike, but I find these to be the clearest indicators of how poorly constructed the whole thing is).

What I've been getting (and this may be incorrect) from the people who have disputed with me on this is not that these logical flaws didn't exist, but that you don't care that they exist, that they don't affect your opinion of the story in a significant way.

For me, having what was - in my opinion - an already weak and petty central conflict (in which Ender showed little growth and was presented with dim antagonists and issues that were pretty clear to any person with a reasonable degree of emotional intelligence) hang on a solution that could have been implemented within days of the ship launching insulted my intelligence and made it impossible to care about how people would act in the unrealistic world OSC created.

So I wrote this, in part because I was disappointed that no one here talked about how poorly this book would be received by people who care about things like that and also so that now this perspective and recommendation is represented here. There was also the possibility that I'd overlooked or misconstrued things and my reading of the facts was mistaken and I always try to be open to that.

Posts: 10131 | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm sorry, but that book is painfully, excruciatingly bad. I think OSC needed an editor to cut out every instance that someone talks about having babies, about monogamy being the best way to raise those babies, anytime anyone talks about how smart they are too. It was just. Bad. There was no need for this book. It ruined all of the other books in the series for me. If they had more men than women, wouldn't polyandry make a bit more sense?
No, because the point of this book is constant nagging about heterosexual monogamy!

Posts: 9883 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jeff C.
Member
Member # 12496

 - posted      Profile for Jeff C.           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
None of these things stopped me from reading the book (in just three days), but I didn't think it was as well-written or immersive as the other books in the series. To me, it was just too slow.

I didn't see the point in detailing the trip, except that maybe OSC thought it would be a good idea to include his short stories (several chapters were already made and posted on this website long before the book was ever written). The fact that much of it was a rehash from the shorts made some parts feel out of place and just plain boring. However, I thought the end was great. I really enjoyed the book once the ship actually landed and the action picked up.

I hope if OSC writes another Ender book, he picks up the pace a bit. I can totally understand where some people are coming from with this book, but I didn't find it any less appealing than any of the Bean sequels, and it is still better than a lot of other books out there. I'd give it a 3/5, the weakest in the main series, but still enjoyable.

Posts: 1322 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I... kind of would like him to stop writing this series. But, if he must write more, could it be... longer? Less of an appetizer? And NO MORE STUFF ABOUT MONOGAMOUS MARRIAGE AND BABIES for the love of milk and lost puppies!
Posts: 9883 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DustinDopps
Member
Member # 12640

 - posted      Profile for DustinDopps           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I, for one, enjoy the bits about heterosexual monogamy. Keep it up, Mr. Card!
Posts: 237 | Registered: Sep 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
It's not as if I have anything against monogamy, but it gets monotonous to constantly have to have it preached to you by characters on every single last page. It kind of gets in the way of plot, character development, the stuff I actually read books for.
Posts: 9883 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
millernumber1
Member
Member # 9894

 - posted      Profile for millernumber1   Email millernumber1         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I found the book a bit meandery, but profoundly moving in the exploration of Alessandra's family. I most certainly didn't think it felt like fanfic - rather a logical extension and linking novel. Would I rather have had Shadows in Flight four years ago, and Shadows Alive this year? Sure. But that's just because I love Bean and Jane. I'm very happy to have had Ender, Val, Arkanian, and the rest.

Also: I don't see how the bits about heterosexual monogamy are any different than Hot Sleep or The Gold Bug or even the Speaker for the Dead trilogy. Not that I expect people to be less upset about that, but it does seem pretty consistent to me.

Posts: 378 | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2