Xenocide is the third book in the Ender Series, written by Orson Scott Card. The series has the oft lauded Ender's Game as a prequel, with Speaker for the Dead and Children of the Mind as the first two books proper in the series.

The name Xenocide is a somewhat incorrect reference to the protagonist of this story, Andrew Wiggin. In Ender's Game, Wiggin supposedly destroys an entire alien species called "Buggers" by the human worlds. As outlined in other write-ups, one female survives, and Wiggin carries her from world to world to find a suitable environment for her to restart her species.

The world finally found is Lusitania, a colony of Brazilian immigrants. The first two books of this series introduce the world and its key figures, including a third sentient species, the pequeninos, a primitive race of forest dwellers studied by the humans. Children of the Mind deals with the exploration of this species, and the eventual revelation that their world was crafted by an intelligent virus. Anywho, suffice it to say that suddenly the human race is threatened by this virus, and in Xenocide decides that it's time again to get rid of unwanted species.

The story presented in this third book definitely depends on familiarity with the story that's come before. There's a lot of nuance, including a living, nearly omniscient program named Jane, the fact that Ender has divided his spirit to clone copies of his brother and sister and that the Scooby Gang regularly takes trips across the universe.

One of the strengths of this story is the description of possible future cultures based on South Pacific and Japanese traditions. Another is Card's consistently strong characterization and dialogue.

Weaknesses of this story mostly relate to its ending. The whole story has become a little convoluted by this point, and Card has often admitted in interviews that he doesn't really know how to end a story. For him, stories should reflect life, and life doesn't have neat endings. He only knows a story is dead when the protagonist dies, and the problem in this book is that the focus has shifted so much to other characters that his death doesn't really bring resolution.

The total destruction of an entire alien species.

I Ya, The Great Cook

His master said one day, 'I have the greatest cook in all the world. Because of him, I have tasted every flavor known to man except human flesh.' Hearing this, I Ya went home and butchered his own son, cooked his flesh, and served it to his master, so that his master would lack nothing that I Ya could give him.

The moral of the story? "A true servant has children only to better serve his master."

Twisted isn't it? This story is taken from one culture explored in Xenocide. As Card explores alien races, he also explores how alien humans can be at time, and what some people will do in the name of their beliefs.

A good read.

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