Sunday, July 24, 2016


Empire (Empire, #1)Empire by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like the part where folks' ideological leanings determine the rating and shape the critique they leave here.

I'm pretty sure I don't agree with some of Card's politics. I'm also pretty sure I don't hold it against him when reading his novels. This one isn't as spellbinding as the Ender books, I suspect largely because it's a less personal story. We're not in the heads of the heroes as much. This one is more procedural. And that's fine. It's not in the Ender universe, so why hold it to the same template? It's still a good story, it still has the shocking twist along the way, and it's still reasonably plausible. The technology behind some of the weaponry seems farfetched for the decade in which it takes place, but if you can suspend disbelief when reading sci-fi, then you can convince yourself that you're seeing "2026" every time a date in the year 2006 is mentioned.

He's not writing a polemic against the Left, folks. Read the Afterword if you want to get his actual take on American politics. Don't take the bigoted, egocentric view and convince yourself that you understand his position solely on the basis of the prose. You don't. It's a story. Not real life. There are good guys on both sides, and bad guys on both sides, and Card is being far more objective about this than most other writers...some of whom you'd evidently prefer to have glorifying yours and vilifying the other.

I for one am intrigued by the parallels between Card's empire and Rome, circa the transition to empire. I'd like to see how the series plays out.

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