| home | the library | fanlistings | vertical file | webmistresss |
| affiliates | credits | links |



Speaker for the Dead
By Orson Scott Card


p.x James Blish - A Case of Conscience, Michael Bishop: “Deathe and Designataion among the Asadi”

p. xvi I had observed before that one thing wrong with science fiction as whole was that almost all the heroes seemed to spring fully-grown from the head of Zeus—no one had families. If there was a mention of parents at all, it was to tell us that they were dead, or such miserable specimens of humanity that the hero could hardly wait to get out of town.
    Not only did they have no parents, few science fiction heroes seemed to marry and have kids. In short, the heroes of most science fiction novels were perpetual adolescents; lone rangers wandered the universe avoiding commitments. This shouldn’t be surprising. The romantic hero is invariably one who is going through the adolescent phase of human life. The child phase—the one I dealt with most often in my fiction—is the time of complete dependence on others to create our identity and worldview. Little children gladly accept even the strangest stories that others tell them, because they lack either the context or the confidence to doubt. They go along because they don’t know how to be alone either physically or intellectually.

p.xviii Most novels get by with showing the relationships between two, or, at the most, three characters. This is because if the difficulty of creating a character increases with each new major character that is added to the tale. Characters, as most writers understand, are truly developed through their relationships with others. If there are only two significant characters, then there is only one relationship to be explored. If there are three characters, however, there are four relationships: Between A and B, between B and C, between C and A, and finally the relationship when all three are together.

p.xvii-xix Yet during this whole times I lived with my parents, coming down the mountain at insane speeds late at night, only to end up in a home where certain words were simply never said. And I never said them. Not once did I slip and speak in front of my family the way I spoke constantly in front of other performers at Sundance. This was not by any herculean effort, either: I didn’t think about changing my behavior; it simply happened. When I was with my parents I wasn’t the same person
    I have seen this time and time again with my friends, with other family members. Our whole demeanor changes, our mannerisms, our figures of speech, when we move from one context to another. Listen to someone you know when they pick up the telephone. We have special voices for different people; our attitudes, our moods change depending on whom we are with.

p.xix Once you get the beginning right, the ending almost writes itself.

p.4That is how languages change, thought Pipo. If it weren’t for the ansible, providing instantaneous communication among the Hundred Worlds, we could not possibly maintain a common language. Interstellar travel is far too rare and slow. Stark would splinter into ten thousand dialects within a century. It might be interesting to have the computers run projection of linguistic changes on Lusitania, if Stark were allowed to decay and absorb Portuguese—or vise-versa.

P.72Olha bem, gente, aqui esta: A ciencia, o bicho que se devora a si memsa! (Watch closely, folks, here it is: Science, the ugly little beast that devours itself!)

p.86The starship performed the Park Shift; in an immeasurable moment its velocity changed relative to the rest of the universe. Or, rather, the theory had it that in fact the velocity of the rest of the universe had changed, while the starship remained truly motionless. No one could be sure because there was nowhere to stand to observe the phenomenon. It was anybody’s guess, since nobody understood why philotic effects worked anyway; the ansible had been developed half by accident, and along with it the Park Instantaneity Principle. It may not be comprehandanle, but it worked.

p.103 Filho de Puta! Fode-bode!”
    Ender was pretty sure what the epithets meant, but the boy with metal eyes took it calmly.
    “Da,” said the girl. “Da-me.” Give it here.
    The boy furiously took off his ring and threw it on the ground at her feet. “Viada!” he said in a hoarse whisper. The he took off running.
    “Poltrao!” shouted the girl after him. Coward!

p.141 Twisted and perverse are the ways of the human mind,” Jane intoned. “Pinocchio was suck a dolt to try to become a real boy. He was much better off with a wooden head.”

p.203 Jamais – Never

p.220 LEAF – EATER: Human says that when your brothers die, you bury them in the dirt, and then make your houses out of that dirt. (Laughs.)
    MIRO: No. We never dig where people are buried.
    LEAF-EATER (becomes rigid with agitation): Then your dead don’t do you any good at all!

p.226 ”In your judgment.”
    “I have no one else’s judgment to use.”

p.232 “Oh, the human race kicked me out a long time ago. That’s how I got to be a speaker for the dead.”

p.289 “Will he always come between us?”
    “Yes,” said Ela. “Like a bridge he’ll come between us, not a will.”

p.328 Novinha could not help herself; despite her encouraging words, this was the most terrible that that had happened to any of her children. She had thought when Laure lost his eyes and became Olhado—she hated the nickname, but now used it herself--- that nothing worse could happen. But Miro, paralyzed, helpless, so he couldn’t even feel the touch of her had, that could not be borne. She had felt one kind of grief when Pipo died, and another kind when Libo died, and a terrible regret at Marcao’s death. Se even remembered the aching emptiness she felt as she watched them lower her mother and father into the ground. But there was no pain worse than to watch her child suffer and be unable to help.

p.335Until you humans came, other piggies were—always to be killed, and their third life was to be slaves to us in forests that we kept. This forest was once a battlefield, and the most ancient trees are the warriors who died in battle. Our oldest fathers are the heroes of that war, and our houses are made of the cowards. All our lives we prepare to win battles with our enemies, so that our wives can make a mothertree in a new battle forest, and make us mighty and great. These last ten years we have learned to use arrows to kill from far off. Pots and cabra skins to carry water across drylands. Amaranth and merdona rool so we can be many and strong and carry food with us far from the macios of our home forest. We rejoiced in this because it meant that we would always be victorious in war. We would carry our wives, our little mothers, our heroes to every corner of the great world, and finally one day out into the stars. This is our dream, Speaker, and you tell me now that you want us to lose it like wand in the sky.”

p.338 The tribe is whatever we believe it is. If we say the tribe is all the Little Ones in the forest, and all the trees, then that is what the tribe is. Even though some of the oldest trees here came from warriors of two different tribes, fallen in battle. We become one tribe because we say we’re one tribe.”
    Ender marveled at his mind, this small raman. How few humans were able to grasp this idea, or let it extend beyond the narrow confines of their tribe, their family, their nation.

p.372”I don’t want Miro to go away for thirty years.”
    “You will be forty-tow.”
    “And he’ll come back the age he is now. Twenty. Half my age. If there’s ever a girl who wants to marry a guy with reflecting eyes, I might even be married and have kids by then. He wont’ even know me. I won’t be his little brother anymore.” Olhado swallowed. “It’d be like him dying.”
    “No,” said Ender. “It’d be like him passing from his second life to his third.”
    “That’s like dying, too,” said Olhado.
    “It’s also like being born,” said Ender. “As long as you keep getting born, it’s alright to die sometimes.”

Names: Pipo, Joao, Figueira, Alvarez, Libo, Liberdode, Gracas, Miro, Vladimis, Ribiera, Ouanda, Quenhatl-a, Mucumbi, Gusto, Tiago, Gussman, Cida, Ekaterina, Aparecida, Novinha, Ivanova, Elanora, Ela, Bosquinha, Faria, do Bosque, Peregrino, Armao, Cristao, Amai, Tudomundo, Detestai, Pecado, Fazei, Direito, Mandachuva, Plikt, Styrka, Jakt, Syfte, Gobawa, Ekumbo