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SFF Author: Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card(1951- )
Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction and fantasy, but he also writes thrillers and historical novels. Card is the first person to win the Hugo and Nebula awards for a novel and its sequel, two years in a row (Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, in 1986 and 1987). Card was born in Richland, Washington, and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He lived in Brazil for two years as a missionary for the Mormon Church. He received degrees from Brigham Young University (1975) and the University of Utah (1981). He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his wife and five children. See a catalog of all his works at Orson Scott Card‘s website.



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Ender’s Game: Intense psychological drama

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender Wiggin is a “Third.” His parents were allowed to have him only because their first two children, Peter and Valentine, showed so much promise. Earth is expecting another Bugger attack from outer space and humans are desperately trying to breed and train the children who they hope will be Earth’s saviors. Peter, Valentine, and Ender Wiggin are all geniuses, but Ender seems to have just the right balance of intelligence, resolve, independence, and sensitivity to make a great leader for Earth’s international forces.

When Ender is only six years old,


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Ender’s Game Alive: A new way to experience Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game Alive by Orson Scott Card

This review assumes you have read Ender’s Game, or are familiar with it, so it may contain some spoilers for Ender’s Game.

Before becoming one of the of most accomplished science fiction authors of his generation, Orson Scott Card worked as a writer of full-length plays for BYU, where he studied. He also wrote audioplays on LDS Church history. It follows from his experience then, that when Orson Scott Card set his sights on adapting his hit novel Ender’s Game into Ender’s Game Alive,


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Speaker for the Dead: Even better than Ender’s Game

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

It’s been 3000 years since Ender Wiggin, as a child, was tricked into committing xenocide. While he and his sister Valentine traveled the universe and benefited from the effects of space-time relativity, Ender’s name has been reviled on Earth and all the inhabited planets. He is infamous for his childhood deeds, but almost everyone thinks he’s been dead for centuries. They don’t realize that the man who holds the respected position of Speaker for the Dead is actually Ender Wiggin. And they don’t know that the Hive Queen of the Buggers still lives and that Ender has vowed to find her a new home.


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Xenocide: Intense, emotional, thought-provoking

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide is the third book in Orson Scott Card’s award-winning ENDER WIGGEN saga. In the first book, Ender’s Game, the child Ender Wiggen was trained to wipe out the alien “buggers” who were planning to destroy the earth. The second novel, Speaker for the Dead, takes place years later when Ender visits the planet Lusitania where Xenologists are studying two non-human species: the pequininos, who have an unusual life cycle, and the descolada virus,


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Ender’s Shadow: Ender’s Game from Bean’s perspective

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game was a SF book so successful and critically acclaimed that it launched Orson Scott Card’s career for decades to come. In fact, it’s fair to say that the story of Ender Wiggins is one of the most popular SF novels the genre has ever produced, to the point of getting the full-budget Hollywood treatment in 2013 (grossing $125 million on a budget of around $110-115 million) with A-listers such as Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley,


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Seventh Son: Original and emotional

Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card

When you’re surrounded by light, how do you know whether it’s the glory of God, or the flames of Hell?

Set in an alternate American frontier, Seventh Son is the first in Orson Scott Card’s THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. Alvin Miller is the seventh son of a seventh son which makes him special and potentially a very powerful healer, or “maker” — at least that’s what many who practice folk magic, believe. They know that many folk have “knacks” and they’ve seen the effects of curses and charms.


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Red Prophet: Entertaining alternate history

Red Prophet by Orson Scott Card

Red Prophet is the second book in Orson Scott Card’s THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER, an alternate history set in a frontier America in which folk magic is real. In the first book, Seventh Son, we were introduced to the main protagonist of the series, Alvin Miller who, because he’s the seventh son of a seventh son, is a gifted healer. We meet Alvin as a baby and follow him into boyhood. At the end of the story he has a vision of a shining man who gives him moral guidance.


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Prentice Alvin: Alvin Maker is slowing down

Prentice Alvin by Orson Scott Card

Prentice Alvin is the third book in Orson Scott Card’s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. After the excitement in the last book, Red Prophet, when Alvin and his family experienced the Battle of Tippecanoe, Alvin is finally off to Hatrack River, where he was born, to begin his apprenticeship to Makepeace Smith, the blacksmith. He’s also hoping that Peggy, the Torch who watches over him, can help him figure out what it means to be a Maker because he’s had a vision of the Crystal City he must build.


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Alvin Journeyman: Talks too much

Alvin Journeyman by Orson Scott Card

Alvin Miller is finally a journeyman blacksmith and a Maker. He’s back home in Vigor Church, trying to teach others his Making skills because he believes he needs Makers to create the Crystal City he’s dreamed of. But the Unmaker is hard at work, trying to unravel Alvin’s plans. With the help of a girl who has a crush on Alvin, the Unmaker manages to get Alvin to flee back to Hatrack River where Makepeace Smith is waiting to sue him for that golden plow. The prosecutor is none other than Daniel Webster.


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The Crystal City: I’m done with Alvin Maker

The Crystal City by Orson Scott Card

The Crystal City is the (maybe) final novel in Orson Scott Card’s TALES OF ALVIN MAKER. This series started off strongly with Seventh Son and Red Prophet, but it bogged down during books three and four (Prentice Alvin and Alvin Journeyman) and I was ready to give up. However, since I had already downloaded the audio version of the sixth book,


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How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy: A manual by Orson Scott Card

How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is an award-winning author of dozens of science fiction and fantasy books, including the Hugo and Nebula award winning Ender’s Game. So who else would you turn to for instruction on how to write a science fiction and fantasy novel? I’m working on a novel — isn’t everyone these days? — and picked up How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy for some instruction. I’m used to writing for an academic audience,


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Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card

Scenario: If you knew there was a bomb in a building, would you feel obliged to yell as loudly as possible to warn other people? The bomb explodes and the injuries are high and the death toll unimaginable. But let’s then suppose you have an opportunity to go back in time and prevent the bomb from ever being planted in the first place. Take things one step further… let’s say that you stop the bomber before he even places his bomb… what else might change?


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Pathfinder: A great way to steer YAs toward SFF

Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg is a 13-year-old boy who lives in seclusion with his father, surviving as a trapper and only occasionally going to the nearest town to sell animals’ pelts. He is successful as a trapper in part because he has a unique ability: he can see the “paths” people and animals have taken, in the form of a colored trail that stretches behind them, showing where they’ve been. This way, he can track almost anything — “almost” because the only person who doesn’t have a trail is his father…


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Hamlet’s Father: Transparent political and religious argument

Hamlet’s Father by Orson Scott Card

Those of us who majored in English in college have all read Shakespeare’s Hamlet at least once, and we’ve all seen at least one performance. Some of us go to as many performances as we possibly can, enjoying every new spin on the old tale. I’ve seen at least three movies made from the play and seen it staged at least five times. I’ve studied the text of the play in detail, and one thing never changes: Claudius murders King Hamlet in order to bed the king’s wife,


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The Lost Gate: Intriguing new fantasy universe

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card

In the fictional universe of Orson Scott Card’s latest novel The Lost Gate, what we think of as gods were actually people from another planet (called Westil), who arrived here through magical “Gates.” Passing back and forth through these Gates gave people with minor or latent magical powers huge boosts to their skills, resulting in god-like abilities — and as a result, they were often thought of as actual gods and entered Earth’s mythology. Some time in the 7th century,


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Stonefather: A pleasant coming-of-age story

Stonefather by Orson Scott Card

Runnel isn’t appreciated by his family or his little village. His father abuses him, his siblings taunt him, and even his mother doesn’t seem overly fond. So one day he walks to the edge of his village and just keeps going. He’s never been outside of his village before, so everything is new. Eventually he comes to a city whose walls and bridges are crumbling. He’s told that this is the city of the water mages, the magicians who cast out the stone mages that built the beautiful city.


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The Swarm: A longwinded build-up to an alien invasion

The Swarm by Orson Scott Card &  Aaron Johnston

Orson Scott Card‘s ENDERVERSE has grown to sixteen novels and counting, along with several novellas and short stories, since he published Ender’s Game in 1985 (or if you want to go back even further, since the original “Ender’s Game” short story was published in Analog magazine in 1977). Andrew Wiggin, or Ender, is the main character in only a few of these works; others focus on his brother Peter Wiggin,


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A Town Divided by Christmas: A humorous mix of science and romance

A Town Divided by Christmas by Orson Scott Card

The scientific method collides with southern small town culture and a local mystery in Orson Scott Card’s charming and insightful novella A Town Divided by Christmas (2018). Two post-doc academics ― Dr. Delilah (Spunky) Spunk, an economist, and Dr. Elyon Dewey, a geneticist ― are sent to Good Shepherd, North Carolina to do a genetic and sociological study. The hope is that by studying a relatively genetically isolated population, they can prove or disprove the theory that certain people carry a “homebody marker”: a genetic tendency to remain in their native community or return to it.


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Lost and Found: Looking out for those who are lost

Lost and Found by Orson Scott Card

Fourteen-year-old Ezekiel has a special power. Not a superpower; though, just a small power: he’s drawn to lost items — hair scrunchies, toys, and even bikes — combined with the innate knowledge of who the owners are and where to go to return the items, and a strong compulsion to return them. Unfortunately, this hasn’t worked out so well for Ezekiel: everyone thinks he stole the things and returned them for the attention or a reward. He’s got quite a file with the police by the time he’s a teenager,


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SHORTS: Brookside, Simmons, Card, Sheckley

The Last Days of Jericho by Thomas Brookside (2010)

The Last Days of Jericho is Thomas Brookside‘s follow up to his incredibly creative and well-executed novella De Bello Lemures, or The Roman War Against the Zombies of Armorica. Let’s make one thing clear: Thomas Brookside may be self-published, but his writing is as crisp and descriptive as that of any big house published author. Both stories take place in a very particular historical setting, and Brookside nails the narrator’s tone and delivers an extremely genuine-sounding account.


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Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse

Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse edited by John Joseph Adams

John Joseph Adams assembles a wide variety of apocalypse-related fiction in Wastelands. some of which are older than I am, while others are more recent. What you end up with is a diverse anthology covering topics such as religion, war, and exploration while containing horror, comedy, and a sense of wonder.

The majority of the stories are easy to get into. Some stories are more subtle than others. Overall, Wastelands is an enjoyable read and the selection seems balanced.


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Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories

Brave New Worlds: Dystopian Stories edited by John Joseph Adams

Even people who don’t usually read science fiction will often be familiar with a few classic titles in the “dystopian SF” sub-genre. After all, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and of course the famous Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World are some of the few SF titles that have entered the mainstream literary canon to such an extent that they’ve become assigned school reading for many students.


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Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R.


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Oz Reimagined: You might not even find yourself in Oz

Oz Reimagined edited by John Joseph Adams

Oz Reimagined is a collection of tales whose characters return as often, if not more often, to the “idea” of Oz as opposed to the actual Oz many of us read about as kids (or adults) and even more of us saw in the famed MGM version of the film. As its editors, John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, say in their introduction: “You might not even find yourself in Oz, though in spirit, all these stories take place in Oz,


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L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future: Volume 30

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future: Volume 30 edited by Dave Wolverton

The Writers of the Future contest is held in high regard within the SFF field, largely because of the many fine writers who have had a boost to their early careers through it and the prominence of the judges (and despite its association with L. Ron Hubbard, of which more later). This volume contains some excellently-written stories and some which weren’t to my taste but were well done anyway.


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Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

We’re always on the lookout for horrible SFF covers that need renaming.

When we tweeted our review for this book last week, author Myke Cole pointed out that this awful cover is really begging to be renamed:

Folks. This cover is crying out for alternate titles. Something more clever than “Behold! My glowing junk!” Please. https://t.co/UKieUzZ2ZO

— Myke Cole (@MykeCole) August 11, 2017

 

Yeah, he’s right, and there are lots of good suggestions in that thread (my favorite is “Gold Member”


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Next SFF Author: Henry Carew
Previous SFF Author: Ashley Capes

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