Friday, January 2, 2009

Review: The Worthing Saga

This is an older book (published in 1990) but it is so good I wanted to write about it. The Worthing Saga goes beyond science fiction as we think of it—it’s a look at how humans interact with technology and with each other. I loved it

The format of this book is a little different. The first half is a stand-alone novel, The Worthing Chronicle. There are two sections of short stories, set in two different time periods covered by the novel. Many of the stories have been incorporated, as legends or remembrances, into the body of the main story as well. As Card explains in the introduction, the stories in the novel were originally published in other forms, including Tinker, which was one of Card’s first science fiction stories. Card has a history of re-working material, publishing the same thing several times until he gets it right (including Ender’s Game, which was first released as a novella).

The tone and style of the novel reminded me a lot of Speaker for the Dead, or the last chapter of Ender’s Game, when Card is describing how the Speaker for the Dead (the person, not the book) came about. It’s the measured look at a man’s life, thoughtful and serious, with sadness and hard choices. This is not a fun sci-fi book, with space cowboys and cool robots. (As a side note, the back cover description on my copy of this book is entirely wrong. Robots? Embryos? Those aren’t even in the book. What book did they take the description from?) But it’s an interesting book that will draw you in. It is also a great read, and I finished it quickly, drawn into the characters lives and eager to find out the end.

I highly recommend this book, not just to science fiction fans, but to anyone who likes to be challenged by what they read.

Buy The Worthing Saga on Amazon

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