Thursday, 28 May 1998

Orson Scott Card: Earthfall (1995)

Edition: Tor, 1995
Earthfall coverReview number: 55

This is the fourth and final volume of Card's Homecoming series. The story of the series is that of one of earth's colonies, which has a satellite put up by the original, pacifist, colonisers to monitor the community and ensure that no technology capable of mass destruction is developed. It has the ability to influence the minds of the people on the world below it to ensure this happens. After forty million years, the satellite is beginning to wear out, and it gathers together a party to return to Earth.

Earthfall describes the trip to earth, with continuing hostility between Nafai and his elder brother Elemak. This has already reached a murderous pitch in the earlier books, and now the main issue is whether or not the enmity between them is to be continued into the next generation.

When they arrive on Earth, they discover that humans have died out; the dominant races are evolved bats ("angels") and rats ("diggers"), who live in perpetual a state of perpetual war. The small human community attempts to bring peace to the world, but these attempts are undermined by the continuing tension between themselves.

You need to read the other books in this series to have any hope of understanding this one. I felt that, like Card's Alvin Maker series, it started off strongly and rather tailed off at the end. This is partly because Earth and its colony form wildly different environments, and the portrayal of the future Earth is less well thought out than that of Basilica.

No comments: