The Exile’s Return: Orson Scott Card’s Ender in Exile
By Beth Meacham, Executive Editor
I have had a very long relationship with Ender Wiggin. I met him first in 1977, in an amazing novelette in Analog. I was working in a bookstore in those days, the Science Fiction Shop in New York City. A few years later, I started working for the Ace sf list—and was delighted to discover that among the authors who had books in inventory was Orson Scott Card. We worked together on turning Hot Sleep into The Worthing Chronicle, and got along pretty well.
A few years later, Scott started talking about writing a sequel to Ender’s Game, about what happened to Ender after the war. I thought it was a great idea—Ender was a great character and the future that had been sketched in for the story was rich and deep. That book we were talking about became Speaker For The Dead. The novel Ender’s Game hadn’t been thought of yet. It took Tom Doherty, publisher of the competition, Tor Books, to spark that. He bought Speaker For The Dead out from under me and Ace, and then he suggested to Scott that it would be a great idea to flesh out “Ender’s Game” into a novel before writing the sequel.
I guess so.
At about the same time, Tom had been talking to me about coming to work for him at Tor. So a few months later, I got to phone Scott and tell him he couldn’t escape me so easily, and Ender and I made up. It’s been great. Ender got to spread out and be far more than just a character sketch at novel length. He grew up and left his identity behind in Speaker, though of course he was always what life had made him. In Xenocide and Children of the Mind (really meant to be one book, but it got out of hand), he finally made peace with his past, with the things he had done, with his conscience. Poor Ender, so hard to be lauded for doing something you know is wrong, and then reviled for doing something you had no choice but to do. But he found happiness at the end.
When I told the sales people, and Tom, that Ender was dead at the end of Children of the Mind, they were not happy. But the boy and man had lived over 3,000 years! How much more could he take?
Fortunately, there were more stories to tell. 3,000 years is a long time, and we haven’t seen all that much of it. First we went back to Battle School, and Bean’s story, in Ender’s Shadow. Earth got really interesting right after the War, even though Ender wasn’t there. And Peter…Scott always wanted to write The Hegemon, though sensibly he has never tried to write Ender’s version of that story.
But then, when the Shadow series was wrapping up (there’s still one more, Shadows In Flight, to come) it started becoming clear that there was a really interesting story to be told in the settlement of the first human colonies on the Formic worlds. And it sent chills up everyone’s backs when we realized that the person best suited to be the viewpoint for that book was Ender. Scott hadn’t expected to ever return to Ender’s voice. I had never expected to visit that frightening, humane, wise-beyond-his-years viewpoint again. I could feel the novel taking shape in Scott’s mind as we talked. It had to happen.
And so it did. Ender In Exile is being published this month. It’s not what you expect, but Ender never is.
Ender in Exile (0-7653-0496-1; $25.95) by Orson Scott Card will be released from Tor in November 2008. After twenty-three years, this is the first true, direct sequel to Ender’s Game featuring Ender as a teenager. Marvel Comics is also offering an exclusive look at the full Free Digital Comic: Enderís Game: Battle School #1—Check out details at Tor.com.
And Card fans: Don’t ignore Zanna’s Gift. We published this wonderful holiday tale two years ago under a pseudonym, but it’s really by Orson Scott Card. It is not a fantasy or science fiction story, but it is a warm and moving story about the power of art and tradition to hold a family together through generations.
Zanna’s Gift (0-7653-5835-2; $5.99) by Orson Scott Card will be released from Tor in November 2008. The author's website is hatrack.com.
From Building the Wall to Breaking the Wall—One Inspiration for Thirteen Orphans
By Jane Lindskold
Christmas Eve, 1997. That’s the day the idea for what would eventually become Thirteen Orphans and the “Breaking the Wall” series came to me.
At holiday party, I was invited to join a game of mah-jong. I was assured that despite the complicated pieces, the game was simple: gin-rummy with trump suits.
The first step in playing mah-jong is “building the wall.” This consists of turning the one hundred and forty-four tiles face down, then constructing a square two tiles high. As we were doing this, someone said cheerfully, “We’re building the Great Wall of China.”
And here’s where the book was born….
My brain said, “But we can’t be. The Great Wall isn’t square. It goes back and forth, zig-zagging. Anyhow, the Great Wall isn’t continuous.
“But,” my silent interior dialogue went on, “the character that is often translated as ‘China’ is a square with a slash through it. That character actually means ‘center’ because China is the Middle Kingdom, which is at the center of creation.”
I stared at the tile in my hand. “What sort of game begins by building the universe?”
Although I tucked these thoughts away, speculation about a game that begins with building the universe wouldn’t leave me alone.
Years went by. As I wrote about wolves and Egypt and kaleidoscopes, I continued researching Chinese myth and history. I also researched mah-jong. I learned the game wasn’t nearly as old as I had imagined. My original concept adapted to accept this new information.
One night I dreamed about an ebony stairway ornamented with silver nails. The dream segued to watching an elegant older woman—a woman I knew to have been a child actress—walking through an expensive shopping mall. She ended up in a chocolate store, speaking to the proprietor as if he was an old friend.
I didn’t know it then, but I’d just met Pearl Bright and Albert Yu.
As my research progressed, I became fascinated with mah-jong limit hands: those highly obscure collections of tiles that elevate the game beyond mere gin-rummy with honor suits.
One of these limit hands was called “Thirteen Orphans.” I knew instantly that Pearl and Albert were two of the Thirteen Orphans. I set out to find the rest, to learn their story.
When I did, I’d answered my question. I knew what sort of game starts with building the universe.
Thirteen Orphans (A Tor hardcover; 0-07653-1700-1; $24.95) by Jane Lindskold is on sale November 11th. The author’s website is janelindskold.com.
By the Sword: MacguffinQuest
By F. Paul Wilson
I’m known for genre blending, bending, and hopping. I really outdid myself on the blend cycle back in the late 1980s when I wrote a strange hybrid novel called Black Wind. It was triggered by reading a few books about how neatly the Pearl Harbor attack played into Roosevelt’s desire to go to war against the Axis, hinting that Pearl had been set up. The novel grew into a combination of revisionist history (from 1926 to 1945), family-saga, romance, cultural fanaticism, and wrenchingly dark supernatural horror that took me almost two years to write and research. I’m very proud of Black Wind. Looking at it in terms of character development and sweeping plot, it’s probably my most accomplished work.
Of course, it flopped. It fit no niche. And I’ve never been able to let go of that book.
When it came to write the twelfth Repairman Jack novel, I found I needed a macguffin. I knew the general course of the story, could picture the frenetic, crazy, bloody finale, but needed something to set it all in motion. Then I remembered the katana that had been an ongoing presence in Black Wind. It should have melted in the Hiroshima blast, but I added some special properties that allowed it to survive, and gave it a cool history.
So here’s the set up: Jack hires on to find a stolen samurai sword—a katana. The victim can’t go to the authorities because in 1955 his father stole the sword from the Hiroshima Peace Museum. The blade had survived the atomic explosion there, but not without damage—it is pocked and pierced with numerous small holes. Yet even in such ruined condition, it holds its cutting edge. It was fashioned by the renowned ancient swordsmith, Masamune. An ideogram on the hasp identifies it as his fabled lost sword, the Gaijin Masamune.
Jack soon learns that he’s not the only one looking for it. Hank Thompson (from Bloodline) has had recurring dreams about the sword and sends his Kicker followers in search of it.
The fanatical Kakureta Kao cult (from Black Wind), displaced from its homeland to an abandoned building on toxic ground near the Staten Island landfill, will kill to possess it.
The chairman of a huge Japanese holding company (Kaze Group from Legacies) wants it for his collection. He sends Hideo Takita and three yakuza to retrieve it.
And then there’s the original thief, identity unknown, who has decided to keep it for himself.
The body count rises steadily as the sword changes hands time and again. Jack, following his customary let’s-you-and-him-fight MO, looks for a way to manipulate and maneuver the rival groups into a showdown that will allow him to spirit the blade away.
Of course, nothing goes as planned…for anyone.
By the Sword has the highest body count (such fun) of any Repairman Jack novel yet. Someone described it as Yojimbo crossed with Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Those happen to be two of my favorite movies, so I won’t argue. (And hey, Tor is reprinting Black Wind next year.)
By the Sword (0-7653-1707-9, $25.95 / $28.95 CAN) became in October 2008. Visit F. Paul Wilson’s website, http://www.repairmanjack.com/index.htm, for more Repairman Jack news.
Think You Know Little Red Riding Hood? Think Again.
By Jordan Summers
Like a lot of kids, I grew up reading fairy tales. I was fascinated with the worlds they created. Some were light and fluffy, but many were dark and dangerous. The latter were the ones I reread repeatedly. What can I say, I’ve always loved monsters. As I got older, I began to mentally rewrite some of my favorite fairytales to change the endings. Yes, I know the tales were trying to convey morals and warnings, but that never quite stopped me from wanting a different ending. This was especially true with Little Red Riding Hood. I always thought the wolf got the short end of the stick in that story. I suppose that’s why I’ve written various versions of it over the years. The Big Bad Wolf deserved his due.
Red came out of my need to show the wolf’s side of the story. It all began with a simple question: What if Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf turned out to be the same person?
The question churned in my mind until my character, Gina “Red” Santiago, appeared. She wasn’t the kind of woman to go traipsing into the woods unarmed. She didn’t wear a red cape, and she wasn’t on a mission to visit her grandmother. Gina got her nickname, Red, not from her clothes or hair color, but from all the blood she spilled while hunting dangerous criminals. In my novel, Red’s on the hunt for a killer who disappears without leaving DNA behind.
When I began to write Red, I intended to set it in the present day. It was an obvious choice, since most readers would be familiar with the fairy tale and I could work from there. But you know what they say about best laid plans. Red turned out to be a post-apocalyptic, near-future tale. The setting and the killer arrived simultaneously in my mind. The book starts out in the killer’s point of view. Through his eyes, you see pretty quickly that the world as we know it is dead. Trees are petrified. Grass is gone. Few scavengers exist. And the predators who hunt in the dead forests consider man as good a prey as any.
Through one simple question, I took a favorite fairy tale and spun it into a three book series. Was it easy? Not really, but it was definitely worth it. With any luck, you’ll never look at Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf the same way.
Red (0-7653-5914-6; $6.99) by Jordan Summers will be released from Tor in November 2008. The author’s website is jordansummers.com.