Jul 24, 2011

Covering Covers: Shadows in Flight - Orson Scott Card

Cover Artist: John Harris

You can say what you want about the quality of OSC's most recent Enderverse work but there's no denying that John Harris's covers are still as good as it gets for Science Fiction. Whether it's Orson Scott Card, Ben Bova, John Scalzi, Jack McDevitt, or some random no-name - seeing Harris's iconic style on a cover will guarantee a second look from this reader. I've actually looked at purchasing some original Harris art. It may or may not be prohibitively expensive at the moment but I'm always accepting gifts and/or bribes. Hint, hint.

Now, I won't suggest that Shadows in Flight is a must read book. That honor is reserved for the brilliant first two Enderverse titles, Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, both of which won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. But don't let that fool you, they're not just great SF novels, they're great novels. Period

But this many books into any series, it's up for each individual to decide if they want to keep reading. I personally enjoy both the Ender saga and its sister "Shadows" series but I'm also cognizant that the books aren't as good as they once were. We haven't reached Defcon Dune yet but it would be impossible to maintain the level of quality established in Card's first two books.  

Here's what Bean is up to in the latest "Shadow" novel.

At the end of Shadow of the Giant, Bean flees to the stars with three of his children—the three who share the engineered genes that gave him both, hyper-intelligence and a short, cruel physical life. The time dilation granted by the speed of their travel gives Earth’s scientists generations to seek a cure, to no avail. In time, they are forgotten—a fading ansible signal speaking of events lost to Earth’s history. But the Delphikis are about to make a discovery that will let them save themselves, and perhaps all of humanity in days to come.

For there in space lies a derelict Formic colony ship. Aboard it, they will find both death and wonders— the life support that is failing on their own ship, room to grow, and labs in which to explore their own genetic anomaly and the mysterious disease that killed the ship’s colony.

Orson Scott Card's return to the Enderverse will hit shelves on January 17th, 2012. Will you be reading it?


  1. Cool! I haven't read Ender in Exile yet (though I own it) but maybe I should before this comes out. OSC's seen a significant (and almost continuous) drop in quality since the 80s/90s, but I'm still a sucker for the Enderverse.

  2. I haven't read "Shadows in Flight" yet, but I will, although I'm not very enthusiastic about it. It seems to me as if OSC is planning to milk the Ender/Bean cow for a long time and his stories are getting longer and more elaborate, while he is being careful not to spend all the thrills on one novel.. Well, letting that out felt good. Now on to the recommendations - I think you'll find "Children of the mind" very good. Many important plots are resolved there in a satisfactory if not even romantic "happily ever after" way.


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