Speaker for the Dead

Jacket art by John Harris
Jacket design by Carol Russo

By Orson Scott Card

Release Date: March 1986 (First Edition)
August 1991 (First Revised Edition)
August 1994 (Revised Mass Market Edition)
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Description: Speaker for the Dead was the original sequel to Ender’s Game, but it now directly follows Ender in Exile. Chronologically, it is followed by Xenocide.

“Three thousand planet-bound years have fled since Ender Wiggin won humanity’s war with the Buggers by totally destroying them. Ender remains young-travelling the stars at relativistic speeds, a hundred years or more might pass while he experiences a month-long voyage. In three thousand years, his books The Hive Queen and The Hegemon have become holy writ, and the name of Ender anathema; he is the Xenocide, the one who killed an entire race of thinking, feeling beings, the only other sapient race humankind had found in all the galaxy. The only ones, that is, until the planet called Lusitania was discovered and colonized.

On Lusitania humans found another race of ramen … a young race, beings just beginning to lift their eyes to the stars and wonder what might be out there. The discovery was seen as a gift to humanity, a chance to redeem the destruction of the Buggers. And so the Pequininos, as they were named by the portuguese-speaking settlers, the “Piggies,” were placed off-limits to the colony. The only humans allowed to meet them and speak with them are trained xenobiologists, and then only two at a time. This time, there will be no tragic misunderstandings leading to war. This time…

This time, again, men die-bizarrely killed by the Piggies. Andrew Wiggin is called to Lusitania to Speak the deaths of the two xenobiologists, and walks into a maelstrom of fear and hatred. To Speak for these dead, he must first unravel the web of secrets surrounding the lives of the Piggies and those who study them. He must Speak not only for the dead, but for a living alien race.”

Book Length: 416 pages (Tor mass market edition)

Awards and Achievements: Reviews: Winner: 1986 Nebula Award
Winner: 1987 Hugo Award
*Card became the first and only author since to win both the Nebula and Hugo awards in two consecutive years
Winner: 1987 Locus Award
Nominee: 1987 John W. Campbell Memorial Award

Reviews: “Less brash than Ender’s Game, SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD may be a much better book. Don’t miss it!” -Analog

“Told with compassion and keen insight this powerful sequel to Ender’s Game is highly recommended.”
-Library Journal

“Card’s novel Ender’s Game introduced Ender Wiggin, a young genius who used his military prowess to all but exterminate the “buggers,” the first alien race mankind had ever encountered. Wiggin then transformed himself into the “Speaker for the Dead,” who claimed it had been a mistake to destroy the alien civilization. Many years later, when a new breed of intelligent life forms called the “piggies” is discovered, Wiggin takes the opportunity to atone for his earlier actions. This long, rich and ambitious novel views the interplay between the races from the differing perspectives of the colonists, ethnologists, biologists, clergy, politicians, a computer artificial intelligence, the lone surviving bugger and the piggies themselves. Card is very good at portraying his characters in these larger, social, religious and cultural contexts. It’s unfortunate, then, that many of the book’s mysteries and dilemmas seem created just to display Ender’s supposedly godlike understanding. A fine, if overlong, novel nonetheless.”
-Publishers Weekly

“There aren’t too many recent sf novels we can confidently call truly moral works, but Speaker for the Dead is one. It’s a completely gripping story.” -The Toronto Star

“A great read!” -UPI Reviews

“Card is a writer of compassion and his heart breaks for the individual men and women of good will who find themselves caught up and forced to participate in the race’s homicidal crossfire.”
-The Washington Post

“The most powerful work Card has produced. SPEAKER not only completes Ender’s Game, it transcends it. [...] Highly recommended for readers interested in the cultural complexities and ambiguity the best science fiction novels explore.” -Fantasy Review

“Deals with a more subtle, intricate relationship between mankind and a non-human race. A satisfying balance of intellect and moral concern. An exemplary work- an early contender for next year’s recommended list.” -Locus

“[Speaker for the Dead] benefits from increased dramatic unity, and well-developed background. A fine novel in its own right and will be in much demand among Card’s growing audience.” -Booklist

“Card’s talent is immense and each new book can only increase his now considerable reputation as one of SF’s finest writers’” -Voice of Youth Advocates