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The Memory of Earth

a book review

product linkThe Memory of Earth
authorOrson Scott Card
date reviewed1998.08.27
genreSci-Fi
isbn0812532597

In short, this is a novel by the author of Ender's Game and Speaker For the Dead which has as much of a science-based premise as those earlier works, but it becomes more of a soap opera than story.

This is a work of Sci-Fi set in a distant colony of humanity. Its citizenry live lives sheltered from the devastations of advanced technology (e.g. the pollution, inter-ballistic missiles, tel-evangelists) by a nearly omniscient computer intelligence. This benign overseer has successfully maintained a stable system for countless millennia, in which agrarian empires, kingdoms, and city-states come and go within a structure of religion based on the teachings of the overseer's builders.

This story takes place just when the computer system at the heart of it all begins to pack it in after a million years, as if due to a Y1M problem. The story focuses on one family of individuals with the right mix of talents and skills that the overseer uses to see to it that the unstructured future of Humanity begins with the right baby steps.

Unfortunately, the excellent setting and very worth-while proposition don't pan out in the execution. I found myself flipping through the last half of the book to see how things worked out, rather than really reading it, just because it wasn't worth wading through the interminable Luke-I-am-your-father stuff.

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rand()m quote

It has always seemed strange to me...The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.

—John Steinbeck, Cannery Row