Thursday, September 27, 2012
Earth Unaware - in which we meet the Formics
(The First Formic War - Vol 1 of 3)
Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston
Macmillan Audio Book from TOR
(unabridged 14 hours)
Read by Stefan Rudnicki & Cast
In Earth Unaware, a ship of free miners are attacked by a greedy clan, then spot their first alien vessel - and it's headed to Earth!
Victor Delgado must lose his best friend at the outset because his family suspects they have feelings for each other. In this closed community, marriages are made with other clans on other ships, presumably to prevent inbreeding. She is shipped off to marry into an Italian clan. Victor decides to jump ship and head for Earth as he realizes that the family was right and that his memories are too strong there.
Victor and his family suffer one loss after another in their fight with first the powerful family that bumps the asteroid they are mining away from them and then with the aliens they try to stop from reaching the Earth.I suppose there are a number of spoilers in this short paragraph, but this is all back story for the Ender Saga which most of us are already familiar with.
It's rather hard to tell who the protagonist is because several others get almost equal air time. Victor is the only sympathetic character, however.
I appreciated that life in the frontier of space is painted as tragic. Sacrifices are made, people are lost, life is hard. How could it be otherwise? I also appreciated the fact that this mining in the Keiper belt is happening while things on Earth remain much the same. Not because I think things are peachy and should stay the same, but because it suggests the possibility of routine space travel in a not-too-distant future.
I have a soft spot for first contact and this one met most of my expectations in that regard.
The voices of the readers held my attention and changed their tone and inflection with each character just enough to make it easy to follow and easy on the ears. I have to say that I recently tried to listen to an audio book for review and had to stop just a quarter of the way in. I couldn't take the whiny tone that the narrator used for the female characters a second longer.
A lot of the story threads thrown in to this volume don't go much of anywhere, which I found a little annoying. I'm sure the authors were establishing them for future adventures in the succeeding two volumes, but the fact that their paths didn't cross much or at all in this volume made it seem like quite a detour at times.
I loved that the TOR included an interview at the end of the book. However, I could have done a much better job. Perhaps it wasn't done in real time, but there are still ways to avoid this unfortunate situation. When you interview someone you have a list of questions handy. If they answer question number two while they are answering the first question, you don't proceed to ask it, unless you acknowledge their statement and ask them to elaborate instead. In addition, that first question was: "Who are your favorite authors?" I wish they could have come up with a more original question that Card hasn't already answered a million times before. By the way, there are only two questions.
I still recommend the book for readers who never tire of the Ender universe.