The Oversoul has done its job well. There is no war on Harmony. There are no weapons of mass destruction. There is no technology that could lead to weapons of war. By control of the data banks, and subtle interference in the very thoughts of the people, the artificial intelligence has fulfilled its mission.
But now there is a problem. In orbit, the Oversoul realizes that it has lost access to some of its memory banks, and some of its power systems are failing. And on the planet, men are beginning to think about power, wealth, and conquest.
©1992 Orson Scott Card; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"I'm hooked....A thoroughly enjoyable piece of storytelling. What the heck - bring on number two." (Chicago Tribune)
"Card is a master storyteller, and The Memory of Earth is eminently readable." (The Seattle Times)
I couldn't disagree more with the first review. The plot of the book does mirror the fall of man. I think that most people, when they look around the world at Africa, Afghanistan, the Middle East etc. etc. will not have much problem with the basic premise - that man left to himself turns to evil more often than not. The concept of handing over control to the women because they are less prone to warlike behaviour is an interesting one that is effectively explored. The characters are thoroughly believable. I love the way in which Card conveys the tensions of family life - the affection and the chafing. The audiobook is marred by a dull reading with little (and inconsistent) differentiation between the characters.
I have to be honest, I found this book entertaining enough to listen to until the end, so it hasn't been a waste of money entirely. But had I been reading a physical book it would probably have been too much effort.
There's such simplicity in the whole thing. I found the dialogue a little forced and the characters somewhat without significant depth. I feel I'd discovered the most important parts of the whole saga by about half way through and found the rest of the time I winced at the theme whilst skipping backward to hear the bits I'd missed whilst disagreeing.
It's fair to say that I found the highly religious sub-text a little difficult to swallow in it's one-sidedness. In fairness I suppose the story itself has merit - which is why I chose to listen, and it's credibly written. I'm not going to read any further.
The whole thing basically suggests that in order to stave off self-destruction humanity should cap it's ambitions and lead a religious life style. It basically dresses up what is effectively mind control as something appealing which we should embrace. From a man who believes homosexuality should be against the law I suppose it's not overly surprising that it might not fulfill my wildest expectations. Definitely a disappointment and I'd spend your credit elsewhere.
Not much else to say about a thoroughly unremarkable book other than it felt as though I was listening to soft-core science-fiction for the otherwise easily-offended.
I always have and always will enjoy books by orson Scott card but since listening to the entirety of the shadow saga on audible I've grown accustomed to hearing Stefan Redneki narrate card's books so much so in fact that I would be disappointed if he didn't.
"Better than I remember it"
I read this book (and indeed this entire series) about 7 years ago - its been a pleasure to revisit the world of harmony. The reader narrates the book very well, giving each of the characters both a fitting and distinguishable voice during dialogue. In narrative, the reader is clear and easy to understand allowing the listener to drift into the world.
I have read a lot of OSC -- all of the Ender series (both of tracks) as well as the first Alvin Maker. This volume is not as good as Ender (any of them), but few Sci-Fi books are in my estimation. Like Alvin Maker, it leaves you hanging at the end, needing to know what happens next. I will say it ends at a natural break, while Alvin Maker stops way too soon.
The Memory of Earth offers an interesting take on humanity's seemingly inevitable quest to destroy itself. OSC is a master of strategy and I think this book also shows that mind at work. I am looking forward to Vol. II to see if the Oversoul's plan works out.
"Where is The Coat of Many Colors?"
THE CONCEPT OF UNTHINKABLE CONCEPTS
I must hurry and type this before the Oversoul causes me to forget. The Oversoul controls the minds of people in order to keep the peace and stop war. These are not the drones you are looking for. I read this book 30 years ago. I remembered it as a book I loved. The Oversoul made me forget the boring wordy dialogue that started to infiltrate Card's writing in the 90's. The stretching out of a story in order to be able to write sequels.
WE DON'T GET TO CHOSE OUR BROTHERS.
Card takes the story of Moses and Joseph and combines them to make this story. We have brothers who hate each other, a common theme in Card books. Another ploy that Card started using around this time, the main character questions every move and decision everyone makes. The main character has no sense of humor again. If you have read more then three Card books written after 1990 then you have read this book, only the names have been changed.
YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER GIVEN MEN THE VOTE.
"Has the potential to get better"
Njafai is a 14 year old boy living with his father and brothers and sometimes with his mother on the planet Harmony. Like everyone else they are believers in the Over Soul. Yet what is this Over Soul? A god or a super computer? How does he/she influence the world in which Njafai lives? What happens when Njafai makes a sort of alliance with this being?
Orson Scott Card tells the story of a boy becoming a man, a machine outliving its days and the promise of a new world. The story seems to be build on the Exodus story in the Bible. Yet with less intrigue, but still with interesting twists. Stefan Rudnicki's reading is solid, clear and enjoyable. I just can't say where Scott Card will take us with this story. The first book of the Homecoming series seems to me to be a long introduction. It is clear that the next books in the series will answer if this is a worthwhile listen. Currently I can't say much, except that there is enough to want you to listen to the next book.
"Entertaining approach to SciFi"
I like the characters, brotherly rivalry. Some family interactions could be a little more realistic. The long view of the world of Harmony was interesting and I can't wait for more. I hope Card gets into the morality of the Over Soul more than he seemed to in this book.
The Narrator was fantastic. He is always great and gets out of the way so you can enjoy the story. I don't think I once thought about the narration. Was too involved.
"I keep hoping, but, alas, ..."
... disappointed again. I've read several early books by Card that I really, really liked - and, so, I keep trying. But I had to give up after just a few hours. The whole shtick with people in the future living primitively but having super powers, and dreams of old, and whatnot is just too overdone. I like good, hard SciFi, and this ain't it.
"An engaging story"
The story is an easy listen. The author does a good job in developing the characters and engaging the listener in the story. This book compares very favorably with other stories by Mr Card where he develops a believable society, and then spins a story with depth. Once the story is completely told, it may deserve five stars.
"sodom and gomorrah, sci-fi style"
This series is very entertaining, especially if you've studied the bible and like SCI-FI. And I love the narrator.
"Boring, boring, boring"
I think Orson Scott Card is a fantastic writer and has written some true sci-fi classics, obviously including the Ender series. I chose this book thinking it would be similar. While I will admit I still have not finished it after more than a month of listening, I did get far more than half way through it. I can't recommend it as it's just not interesting. It's slow to develop, slow to get to any point and doesn't strike me as particularly sci-fi. Another reviewer said it's a story that is setting up for future books and I could see that. I just couldn't get wrapped into the little lives of this family in some dusty city and their petty small town politics. Occasionally the "Oversoul" would be involved but it was rare and not exciting. The story itself is expertly written though. I can't find any faults with how the story was told but it's just boring. And the narrator who does as good a job as he can just doesn't have a voice that keeps you listening. He sounds very baritone and somewhat monotone.
I just can't recommend this book no matter how well crafted the story is.
Though an interesting story, The Memory of Earth didn't live up to my expectations. A good cautionary tale with an interesting viewpoint of future society.
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