The Swarm by Orson Scott Card

The Swarm

I was late to “Ender’s Game“. I didn’t get around to reading it until 1997, so I knew about the twist. When the book was released in 1985 I’m sure the ending was a surprise and the idea of using video games for military training seemed new and exciting. By 1997 these ideas were cliche and by 2017 we can’t imagine not using computers for training. I found “Ender’s Game” and series it spawned very exciting; so, I read four of the sequels. Each book seemed less interesting than the previous one. I was reminded of “Dune” when Frank Herbert seemingly repudiated his theme from the first book in the sequels. Reading through the Enderverse, Card drop calling the Formics ‘Buggers’ and we come to learn it was all a misunderstanding. Card changes the theme of  “Ender’s Game” from winning a war to respecting life. At the time, I responded to the politically correct messaging, but it started to get on my nerves, so I gave up on the series. (I did read “Ender’s Shadow” in 2000).

I like these prequels because Card (and co-writer: Aaron Johnston ) have to match up the story in the prequels to “Ender’s Game”, so there is plenty of action and violence in these books. Card and Johnston try to put across the message the Formics aren’t evil, but the characters don’t see it that way, so neither do we. The stories are engaging, with likable heroes and questionable power brokers who don’t always work in Earth’s best interest nor their own.

In the first prequel trilogy (“Earth Unaware”, “Earth Afire”, and “Earth Awakens”) The First Formic War is fought. Mazer Rackham, who appears in most of the Enderverse books, has pulled off the impossible. They stopped the alien invasion. China is in ruins but the Earth is finally safe. In The Swarm: The Second Formic War (book 1) we find out it was only a scout ship and the Formic fleet is heading toward Earth. Stronger and larger than what we faced before. The countries on Earth have formed an International Fleet, equipped to prevent our annihilation. But will bureaucracy, bad commander, and endless other problems cripple this fleet? Will the Formics exact their swift revenge? Do they even know we’re here? I have to wait for the next two books in the Second Formic War trilogy to find out.

464 pages

Amazon Book Preview of “The Swarm

Ender’s Game (Movie)

Set in the last desperate days of Earth’s war against the insectoid aliens know at the Formic (Buggers). Children attend Battle School were they are programed (trained) to fight in the Third Formic War. The adults are looking for a child to lead them all. Is Ender Wiggens that child?
Ender’s quote, “In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. ” the more I think on this, the less I find it believable. Especially children soldiers. Maybe latter as they become adults.
Ender’s military strategy, “Knocking him down was the first fight, I wanted to win all the others (at once), so they’d leave me alone.” Who’s to say this wasn’t the correct strategy.

Knowing what we know about the holes in Formic technology, if Earth has a weapon that can vaporize a planet (Molecular Disruption Device), wouldn’t all this crap about children soldiers and strategy be pointless. I’d make more of those MDD weapons, and come in stealthy.. problem solved. The movie makes it clear that the Formics were no longer interested in Earth. It wasn’t that we beat them in a war, but they finally figured out we were a sentient species. One that was missing the organ they used exclusively to communicate. Odd that they have other senses but only communicate with the one.

The First Formic War

The The First Formic War is a trilogy of: “Earth Unaware”, “Earth Afire”, and “Earth Awakens”.

The books describe a First Contact situation that goes wrong. In “Ender’s Game” we’re told the colony at Eros (the Asteroid) suddenly blacks out. An investigation team is sent and destroyed by the Formic (Buggers). In “Earth Unaware” Card and Johnston have the first contact takes place in the Kuiper Belt with families of human space miners. The operation of the Formic ship blocks radio transmission so no one knows what’s going on until it’s too late. Mazer Rackham along with his family of asteroid miners and special ops soldiers pick up the fight before the nations of Earth can mobilize. Even then the nations spend much of their time arguing with each other as the Formic land in China and start to terraform the land with deadly results.

Excerpt from “Earth Unaware”

“The war is far from over. But in the meantime, there are the charges against you. Illegally crossing our borders, stealing government property, conducting a nuclear strike on Chinese soil. All serious offenses. I am to escort you to a holding facility.”
“This is how you show your thanks?” said Mazer.
“Don’t worry, gentlemen. Most heroes in China are arrested first. We’re used to it.”
page 395

Stop The Formics website


About craigmaas

I do a little web design work and support a couple web sites and blogs. My primary focus is lighting and energy consulting where I use a number of computer tools to help my customer find ways of saving money and improving their work environment. See my web site for more information:
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4 Responses to The Swarm by Orson Scott Card

  1. Pingback: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card | Cold Read

  2. Pingback: Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card | Cold Read

  3. Pingback: Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card | Cold Read

  4. Pingback: There Will Be War edited by Jerry Pournelle | Cold Read

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