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EARTH UNAWARE by Orson Scott Card


From the Formic Wars series

by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston

Pub Date: July 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2904-2
Publisher: Tor

The beginning of a prequel series to Card's iconic Ender's Game yarns (Shadows in Flight, 2012, etc.), this greatly expands on material from existing backstory and a suite of Marvel comics.

Far out in the Kuiper Belt floats the independent mining ship El Cavador, which is occupied by a single, loosely related family. Fresh from a personal disappointment, young mechanical genius Victor Delgado learns that a younger colleague has discovered an incoming object moving at half the speed of light—and decelerating. The solar system is about to receive an interstellar visitor, and though the vessel is far from El Cavador, Captain Concepción wonders who they should inform: Distances are vast and ships are few. Unknown to El Cavador, however, Lem Jukes, scion of a powerful space mining corporation, lurks nearby testing a machine capable of disassembling entire asteroids into their component molecules. Jukes needs a test site, and the nearest suitable one is the asteroid currently occupied by El Cavador. In a callous stealth attack, Jukes cripples El Cavador and sets it drifting away. Days pass before Victor and his father can bring their ship's main systems back on line, but they still lack laser communications, and the radio's being drowned out by clouds of radiation emitted by the alien vessel. So they can't warn a neighboring family that the aliens have dispatched a probe toward them. Meanwhile on Earth, in a second narrative that doesn't, here, link up with the main story, Capt. Wit O'Toole seeks recruits from the world's most elite military units for his U.N.-backed Mobile Operations Police. The story progresses nimbly, with plenty of tension and excitement and Card's usual well-developed characters, although regulars may note a tendency to belabor certain matters in a manner uncharacteristic of Card solo (he co-writes here with screenwriter Johnston).

Like the similarly endless Dune saga, it's impossible to pass up a new entry no matter how unpromising it may seem at first glance.