I stared at the words. My face crinkled, my eyes squinted—I started to cry. My whole soul seemed to cry out: “It’s not your fault! I’m so sorry!” I recovered soon enough, but I fixed the page number in my mind: 216. When I have gone back to that page and read the excerpt, the same thing always happens.
Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card, continues the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Ender is now a Speaker for the Dead. Speakers tell the true story of deceased individuals, revealing what the siblings and friends of the dead one did not ever realize. When Ender gets a call from a colony called Lusitania, he travels there for other reasons than to Speak. Lusitania is home to the pequeninos, Little Ones, a species of ramen (any species able to talk and live in harmony with humans.) When a murder is committed by the pequeninos’ hands, Ender finds himself digging up the truth.
This novel was very powerful because of its portrayal of reality. When Ender spoke of the death of Marcão, I could see the astonished faces of the auditors: Quim’s outraged composure, the Bishop’s half-disgusted grimace. I felt like I could even feel the thoughts running through their heads! It was astonishing.
Speaker for the Dead was able to create not just sympathy but also compassion. At Marcão’s Speaking, I felt increasing compassion for the beast of a man. But some pages afterwards, I would’ve given anything to tell Ender it wasn’t his fault that he unwittingly used the Molecular Disruption Device on the hive queen’s colony. I wanted him to be happy and free. Although neither Ender nor Marcão are real people, I felt their stories deeply because of the compassion weaved into this book.
Speaker for the Dead is proof that Orson Scott Card is a master of emotions as well as a master of science fiction. Even more amazing to me is the fact that Ender Wiggin has the body of a thirty-six-year old when he is really 3,000 years old. But I shouldn’t be surprised: if one page of Orson Scott Card’s writing can make me cry, what wonders can a whole book do?
You can buy this book here.