It has been a while since I reviewed an Orson Scott Card book, mainly because I have read them all and now have to anxiously wait for a new one to come out. I am on the author alert at the library and they sent me an email saying a new novel from him had been released: Earthborn (Homecoming). Now I thought that I had read the whole Homecoming series, but since I couldn’t remember for sure, I got it again. Sure enough I had read it (the library had bought a new addition), but I didn’t remember it fully so I sat down and read it again.
This series is wonderful, but I would recommend reading it from the beginning. The Memory of Earth is the first in this five-part series and by far the most interesting to read. In this future world, humans have left Earth to settle in Harmony and Earth is such a distant memory it is a myth. A powerful computer manipulates the settlers towards its goal: to return to the lost home planet. While as a Christian, I grapple a little bit with his idea of a computer as a semi-god; manipulating lives. However, I love the feminist society that he creates in the first book (unfortunately, this society decays in the next few books, but women remain complex and important characters) . The characters with their special powers are complex and interesting to imagine.
In Earthborn (Homecoming), the original characters are so far in the distant past they have become almost gods. The new cast has some of the same special abilities as the originals yet they deal with the abilities in different ways. However, their issues are not returning to a distant home planet, rather how to get along with the new creatures who have populated Earth, creatures far different from humans. The resulting conflicts resonate with the racism that we still deal with in our world, and with what it really means to be human.