The First Formic War
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Victor didn’t go to the airlock to see Alejandra leave the family forever, to marry into the Italian clan. He didn’t trust himself to say good-bye to his best friend, not without revealing how close he had come to disgracing the family by falling in love with someone in his own asteroid-mining ship.
The Italians were a four-ship operation, and their lead ship, a behemoth of a digger named Vesuvio, had been attached to El Cavador for a week, as the families traded goods and information. Victor liked the Italians. The men sang; the women laughed often; and the food was like nothing he had ever eaten, with colorful spices and creamy sauces and oddly shaped pasta noodles. Victor’s own invention, an HVAC booster that could increase the central heating temperature on the Italians’ ships by as much as eleven degrees, had been an immediate hit with the Italians. “Now we will all wear one sweater instead of three!” one of the Italian miners had said, to huge laughter and thunderous applause. The Italians had been so smitten with Victor’s booster, in fact, that it had brought in more trade goods and prestige than anything else the family had offered. So when Concepción called Victor in to talk to him just before the Italians decoupled, he assumed she was going to commend him.
“Close the door, Victor,” said Concepción.
Victor did so.
The captain’s office was a small space adjacent to the helm. Concepción rarely closed herself in here, preferring instead to be out with the crew, matching or surpassing them in the amount of labor they put in each day. She was in her early seventies, but she had the energy and command of someone half her age.
“Alejandra is going with the Italians, Victor.”
Victor blinked, sure that he had misheard.
“She’s leaving from the airlock in ten minutes. We debated whether it was wise to even tell you beforehand and allow you two to say good-bye to each other, thinking perhaps that it might be easier for you to find out afterward. But I don’t think I could ever forgive myself for that, and I doubt you’d forgive me either.”
Victor’s first thought was that Concepción was telling him this because Alejandra, whom he called Janda for short, was his dearest friend. They were close. He would obviously be devastated by her departure. But a half second later he understood what was really happening. Janda was sixteen, two years too young to marry. The Italians couldn’t be zogging her. The family was sending her away. And the captain of the ship was telling Victor in private mere minutes before it happened. They were accusing him. They were sending her off because of him.
“But we haven’t done anything wrong,” said Victor.
“You two are second cousins, Victor. We would never be able to trade with the other families if we suddenly developed a reputation for dogging.”
Dogging, from “endogamy”: marrying inside the clan, inbreeding. The word was like a slap. “Dogging? But I would never in a million years marry Alejandra. How could you even suggest that we would do such a thing?” It was vile to even think it; to the belter families, it was on the wrong side of the incest taboo.
Copyright © 2012 by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
In his classic novels Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, author Orson Scott Card asked hard questions, served up thrilling action and suspense and redefined the genre. Now he’s taking us back to where it all began in Earth Unaware, the stunning prequel to the Ender and Shadow sagas!
Beyond Pluto, in the solar system’s dead end, floats the dying mining ship El Cavador. There are no other ships—no other people—in sight. Their systems are breaking down. Their family is getting too big for the cramped quarters to hold. They’ve heard rumors that big corporate ships are coming in from the Asteroid Belt, ready to seize their claim.
So they barely give a second thought to the object their telescope picks up. A massive object. Moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Toward the solar system. Even if it is an alien ship, compared to what they’re going through every day, it doesn’t seem important.
But they’re wrong. Dead wrong. What they’ve witnessed is the single most important thing to happen to the human race in a million years. The First Formic War is about to begin. And the Buggers are coming....
You may think you know where it’s all headed—but you are unaware.
Hardcover Book : 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Books ( July 17, 2012 )
Item #: 13-579505
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.25 inches
Product Weight: 16.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
I was looking forward to reading this and now wish I hadn't. A rip off, this book spends far too much time meandering about in long winded sub plots with uninteresting characters. I didn't think card could write a worse book than Empire, but this comes close. It makes promises it doesn't keep, then ends with a flat, resounding thud. If there is a sequel, I may pass on it. Very disappointing.
Wait. Are there really people out there who think this book was written by Orson Scott Card? You're joking, right?! This book has Card's name on it because he invented the Ender series and because Aaron Johnston, et al will sell more books if people think it's actually part of Card's Ender saga. Are people really that gullible?
It is always nice to see how things begin instead of "50 years later".
What would happen if an alien species had designs on Earth? H.G. Wells posed that question a century ago. Card has forged his own plot on one possibility. This first book covers the interactions between space miners gathering the riches of our asteroid belt and the first interactions between an alien race and humans. At the end of this first book, Aliens-1, Humans-0. It leaves us hanging with the unbelievably gigantic alien vessel heading full speed towards Earth. I can't wait until the next book. Hurry up, Orson!
Reviewer: Mark D
Reviewer: Wes D