Shadow of the Hegemon

Just as Ender had a life after the war against the Formics, so did Bean, and we learn what form it begins to take with the reading of Shadow of the Hegemon. As one might imagine from the book's title, as well as events in the originals and in the former book, this tale deals in no small part with the alliance of Bean and Peter Wiggin, Ender's brilliant but frequently unscrupulous brother.

More than that, however, this book is about the conflict between Bean and Achilles (whose name is pronounced "ah-SHEELS" in the French fashion,) a figure which has been haunting Bean since his life on the street.

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Ender's Shadow

Like many other teenagers, I was enthralled with Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, very much from the first paragraph. Having aged a bit since then, I still find myself captivated by Card's richly envisioned characters. While I have in one way the opposite of Bean's problem – I more closely resemble Goliath than David – I still found Bean to be one of the most interesting characters in the original books.

This is the fifth book in the Ender saga (previously Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind) and rather than being an additional sequel as the prior three books, it is what Card refers to as a "parallax" novel.

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There's no way to rule innocent men

"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone?
— Ayn Rand

Green Mars

I have always been a voracious consumer of science fiction. Kim Stanley Robinson's Martian Trilogy (arguably stretching out of that shape now) is one of the finest bodies of work ever created within the genre, and it has spawned endless tips of the hat; for instance, something like half of the excellent strategy game Alpha Centauri is Mars-inspired.

In a nutshell - and it's a big nut - the books basically have two major themes; the conversion of the planet of Mars into something more like Earth, and the conversion of the Earthlings who populate the place into something like Martians. A theme throughout the series which comes to a boil in this particular book is the idea that "you can never go back" - truer for the Martians than even is normal, as living in partial gravity makes permanent changes to the human form and being born into such an environment has its own problems.

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Your Engineered House

Your Engineered House is an excellent resource for the would-be homebuilder that comes to us from (get ready to set the way-back machine!) 1964. There have since been a couple of rereleases (one in 1980, and the other a tad more recently) and I would have loved to have linked them here, but Amazon doesn't have ASINs for them.

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