Best of Orson Scott Card

  • PastWatch (all-time best!)
  • Ender's Game (close second)
  • Zenocide
  • Seventh Son
  • Alvin series (Red Prophet, Alvin Prentice, Alvin Journeyman, etc.)
  • Homecoming series (the final one is a bit of a let-down, though)
  • Enchantment (if you've read Russian fairy tales, you'll really enjoy this unusual and absorbing modern fantasy)
Author Comments: 

Skip Speaker for the Dead and go directly to the last in the Ender's Game trilogy (and you needn't bother with the "fourth and final" book in the series, either). Alvin in the "Seventh Son" series is another good character who recurs in his entire interesting series. The Homecoming series perks along with good character development till the final book, when it seems to sputter out. Oh, well. Enjoy!

For me, the Ender series went downhill in a fairly linear progression. I have to admit that I didn't read the fourth because the end of Xenocide was a big letdown for me (I'm still indignant that Card solved the unresolvable dilemmas he had created by having our heros, in effect, wish their troubles away!). But I'm psyched to try PastWatch since you've put it ahead of the classic Ender's Game.

Hi Jim,

PastWatch was a surprisingly moving book--about an Earth scientist (in the future) who helps create the technology to correct what she sees as a monstrous "wrong" that happened centuries before--and what the consequences are for her personally and the entire world. Can't recommend this one highly enough. And you were right not to bother with the post-Xenocide novel. What else of Card's would you recommend?

Marian (alias Auntie M)

I'm just finishing the last book of the Homecoming series. Somewhat uneven but full of fantasy, sci-fi, drama and social issues.

Ender's Game is definately up on top of the list for Card's best.

However, I think #1 has to go to the short stories that comprise The Worthing Saga. Sure, there's a lot of Asimov rip offs (okay, and others too) but I really think that Card is much better as a short story writer.

For example, The Homecoming started out great in the first book, but rapidly dropped off after the second book. I think I got about as far as book 4 before I gave it quits.

Have you read Ender's Shadow yet? I really enjoyed it, but then again, I made it through all 4 of the original Ender's novels and while, yes, they did go downhill by the end, it wasn't enough to make me dislike them.

Yes, read Ender's Shadow and found it good -- although knowing how it would end blunted the effect a bit. Still, it was interesting to see Ender's situation from another perspective.

Um, I disagree. I don't know where you're coming from, but here's my five in order:

1. The Worthing Chronicle

2. Ender's Game

3. Speaker for the Dead

4. Seventh Son

5. Wyrms

Skip Speaker for the Dead? Are you kidding? It's every bit as good as Ender's Game, if not better. It's quite possibly the most notable exception to the rule that a sequel is not as good as the book it follows.

In general, the later books in Card's series are not half as good as the first. Seventh Son is great, but by Heartfire, the series is meandering and boring. The first book of Homecoming is intriguing, but the rest of the series doesn't live up to it.

Pastwatch was okay, but Card has certainly written five better books. I don't want to give any spoilers here, but I found the last third of Pastwatch somewhat lacking in dramatic tension. The rest of it was certainly good, but I have a hard time finding science fiction by any author that compares to Worthing Chronicle and Ender's Game.

Has anyone read "Ender's Shadow" and the new "Shadow of the Hegemon" by Card? The "Shadow" series parallels the Ender series, showing the same events from a different character's perspective. It's an unusual technique but fairly effective. I've just started "Shadow of the Hegemon" and so far it's not as gripping as its predecessor, but 25 pages may not be enough to judge.

Still, I think Card is going the right route to write books that fill in the fictional time period between "Ender's Game" and "Speaker of the Dead," the way Asimov wrote books later to fill in the time gap between books in his Foundation and Empire series. Comments???!

Speaking of Famous Sci-Fi Series (and completely off topic BTW) has anyone read all 4 books of Dan Simmons' Hyperion tetrology?

but of course :)

Any opinions!? There were many parts of that series that conjured up incredible visuals for me.

I especially like the first two, but enjoyed all 4. It's been a few years since I read them. I remember being totally sucked in and staying up way too late reading though.

The Hyperion series was too intensely visual (read: vividly bloody) for my taste, although I was also sucked in by the premise and the pursuit...Any newer sci fi you want to recommend?

Do you mean newer sci-fi by Orson Scott Card? Or just newer sci-fi in general?

Newer sci-fi in general...or perhaps reissues of very old but still exciting sci-fi. I just reread Arthur C. Clarke's "Sands of Mars," the first sci-fi book I ever read (when it was fairly new), in a new trade edition that also contains "The City and the Stars," a classic I'd missed. Both were great fun and show how Clarke has influenced 20th century sci-fi thinking. Any recommendations you have for similarly thought-provoking works would be greatly appreciated!

I thought Cards Empire was spectacular.... who new a second civil war would be so entertaining.