Sunday, March 16, 2014

Speaker for the Dead, chapter ten, part two, in which Ender is all of his own exceptions

(Content: religious prejudice, violation of privacy.  Fun content: language, reapers, and BONES.)

Speaker for the Dead: p. 158--171
Not since he was a child in the military had Ender felt so clearly that he was in enemy territory.
This is an interesting point to start with, because the whole purpose of the deceptive rigmarole that was "Ender's Game" was to prevent him from every knowing he was in enemy territory, while still trying to get him to act like he was in enemy territory.  It was all games, false enemies, which is a bit strange: 'not since he had played laser tag in which other children pretended to be his mortal enemies had Ender felt so much like he was surrounded by mortal enemies' doesn't quite have the same impact.  The actual enemies came in two camps: children who actually wanted to cause him harm, like Bonzo, who didn't actually have any of their own 'territory', and adults who intended to abuse Ender into sprouting superpowers, whose territory he never left for even a second between the ages of six and twelve.  I'm not sure which of these kinds of enemies Ender is supposed to be imagining the Lusitanians are.  That whole 'empathy' deal he supposedly specialises in might prod him to consider whether these villagers have more in common with Badger Army (they bear him no actual ill will, but have been commanded to act like it by their leader), Bonzo (they will murder him as soon as they think they can get away with it), Graff (they will find a use for him if they can, and won't care how much harm it causes), or the formics (they have no goddamn clue what he's doing there but they can't imagine how to negotiate peace with him and so will defend themselves as best they can).  That seems like an important distinction, in terms of types of enemies Ender is familiar with.

Ah, but it's not all the Lusitanians he has in mind, just the Church, as he's climbed the hill to their terraces and there are priests and deacons glaring at him as they pass on the paths.  I'm curious how many priests and deacons there can be--Milagre is a very small town, three or five thousand at best, supposedly scratching out a rather limited existence, all for the sake of a couple of xenologers and xenobiologists.  How many churches could they need?  How many churches can they support?
...Priests and deacons, their eyes malevolent with authority under threat. What do I steal from you be coming here? Ender asked them silently. But he knew that their hatred was not undeserved. He was a wild herb growing in the well-tended garden; wherever he stepped, disorder threatened,and many lovely flowers would die if he took root and sucked the life from their soil.
I was going to say that this book must have been some kind of huge pressure valve on Card's issues with the Catholic church, and then I remembered that this is science fiction, a genre beloved by people who consider themselves far too enlightened to bother with any of that religion nonsense, and I wondered if the unrelenting irrational church-bashing isn't actually one of the book's marketing points.

Jane is trolling Ender by trying to get him to talk out loud when no one else can hear her.  Oh, my sweet Jane, you understand:
"How many priests can this community support, Ender?"
He doesn't answer aloud, not least because Jane has all the data anyway, but he silently thinks on Valentine's history of Zanzibar, where she argued that a "rigid hierarchy always emerged as the conservative force in a community [....] if there were no powerful advocate of orthodoxy, the community would inevitably disintegrate".  Then there's a metaphor about how bones are dead and stony but allow flesh to take action, and I wonder if Valentine ever bothered to learn anything about bones, because between marrow, endosteum, periosteum, nerves, blood vessels and cartilage, bones are anything but dead.  Hell, even osseous tissue isn't 'dead', and that's the hard white part that 'bone' usually means.

Jane starts quoting Valentine's essay in Ender's ear, in Valentine's own voice, reminding Ender that he's so very, very alone--if only he had some kind of direct link-up to the instantaneous galactic communication network that would literally allow him to Skype with her at this exact second if he felt like it.  I know there are various reasons why he's not doing that, but Ender's solitude is self-imposed, let's not forget, eh?  Anyway, the lack of Valentine is why, apparently, he's so aware of the priests' hostility, so much worse than all the other religions he's faced:
He had bearded the Calvinist lion in its den, he had walked philosophically naked among the burning coals of Islam, and Shinto fanatics had sung death threats outside his window in Kyoto.

First: Why do all of these people hate speakers so much?  Speakers don't preach any tenets that conflict with these religions!  Speakers don't preach tenets at all.  There is no conversion process, there are no vows, there are no congregations or tithes or excommunications!  Speaking is 100% compatible with all of these religions!  (My working theory at this point is that every other Speaker in the galaxy goes around having a perfectly pleasant time, whereas people constantly try to tell Ender what a colossal jackwagon he personally is and he's just "Pfft, religious oppressors!" and slouches away into the sunset.)

Second: "bearded the Calvinist lion"?  For starters, Card, that sounds way gayer than you think it does.  ("For the last time, mom, the lion is just my roommate!")  Second, that implies that Ender actually, you know, defeated Calvinism, and I'm reasonably certain the record will show that he had zero effect except in using his institionally-granted authority to berate a student into shutting up instead of responding to his arguments.

Third: Shinto, Islam, Calvinist protestant Christianity, and now the Catholic Church?  Has Ender been level-grinding this whole time?  Is Catholicism the final boss?!

Ender proceeds to the monastery (seriously how many priests does this colony town have) on a hill overlooking the Zenador's Station.  There's about a page of exposition on the titles the COTMOCs use: Dom Cristão just means "Sir Christian", and is an intentional humblebrag because San Angelo thought it would be hilarious to make people choose between calling his abbots 'lord commoner' or using their long Ye-Must-Love-Dogs prayer names, such that "a sermon comes from their own lips".  All the other COTMOCs have agriculturally-themed names in Portuguese, such that teachers are 'sowers', principals are 'plowmen', and the abbot, Sir Christian, Ye Must Love Dogs, is also called ceifeiro, 'reaper'.  REAPER.  You know that thing where people get on a roll and then take it one step too far?  We've just passed it.

(It's also a rule that, in the highest-ranking couple of COTMOCs on a planet, the husband runs the monastery and his wife runs the schools, thus the Dona Cristã we met a couple of chapters and thirty years ago.  Dunno if it's the same one now.  The dramatis personae Some People of Lusitania Colony informs me that her name is Detestai O Pecado E Fazei O Direito; draw your own conclusions about how much fun she is as a teacher.)

Ender and Ye Must Love Reapers banter insufferably about repentance; Reaper asks if it's true Ender knew San Angelo; Ender proves that he did by commenting on how Angelo, Patron Saint of Passive Aggression, would have loved the messy weeds that Reaper allows to grow over the wall where they'll irritate Bishop Peregrino.  (We also finally get confirmation that Ender lived on Trondheim for a year and a half.  Valentine did not meet, marry, and get pregnant in three weeks like it originally seemed.)

They tour the grounds for the rest of the afternoon, until they join his wife, who at least also gets a pretty badass name as the Aradora, 'Harrow'.  (I assume, since they're Catholic, that it's also meant to be a reference to that incident in Catholic fanon where Jesus burst into Hell like the Kool-Aid man to rescue the righteous heathens.  I like that bit.)  More discussion of language, since Reaper's name is shortened to Amai, while hers is Detestai, making them "Love and Loathing"; Ender says he could call her 'Beleza' (beautiful) but she jokes her husband would call her 'Beladona' for the poison subtext, et cetera et cetera.  Ender, who shares the conservative obsession with other people's bedroom arrangements, notices that they have separate beds despite San Angelo saying they should sleep together, and Amai insists that their self-control isn't that good and by the way he's totally into women what are you implying.  Ender says Angelo hoped that all the COTMOCs would eventually choose to have children, because, again, San Angelo was a huge troll.

Ender thinks of Valentine, "as close and loving as a wife, and yet chaste as a sister".  He is overcome with sorrow and talks about losing her, and Loathing sympathetically acknowledges that he too is chaste "and now widowed as well", which Ender doesn't find weird, which is okay because I'm creeped out enough for eight people.  Jane taunts Ender a bit about how he's losing control in front of them; Ender says he feels like things have completely reversed from the Ribeira house and he's helpless in the care of these monks, as if he were Grego.  They've barely said a word to Ender except to acknowledge that loneliness sucks, which is hardly the most inscrutable insight, so I can only buy this scene by assuming that this is all Ender imploding and not meant to actually indicate super-empathy on the part of Reaper and Harrow.

Seeing him crack, Reaper and Harrow declare that they now trust that he will not voluntarily harm anyone in the colony, and Jane teases that she now understands how this was all part of Ender's scheme, prompting him to turn off the wifi in his ear-bling, thus cutting her off.  Reaper and Harrow recognise this as a Serious Action, even though Jane is completely unique and secret and so they can have no possible way of knowing what Ender did other than turn off his live news feed.  That just seems polite, to me.  They sit out on the hill under the stars and exposit for a while to him.
Novinha never knew of the discussions that took place concerning her. The sorrows of mmost children might not have warranted meetings in the Bishop's chambers, conversations in the monastery among her teachers, endless speculations in the Mayor's office. Most children, after all, were not the daughters of Os Venerados; most were not their planet's only xenobiologist.
And the net result of these conversations was that... nothing happened?  Like, they literally did nothing.  We don't even have any indication that she had a legal guardian after age five.  No one even told her that they cared whether she lived or died.  Talking in secret about how much you'd like to support someone is not the same thing as actually supporting them.  They say that Novinha acted cheerful, but was dead inside, and the only exception was Libo, who only got rage and banishment from her.  They lick some funky-tasting local plant life (that's not a euphemism) and Reaper makes an analogy:
"...I think Novinha tasted something not at all pleasant, but so strong it overcame her, and she could never let go of the flavour [....] The pride of universal guilt. It's a form of vanity and egomania. She holds herself responsible for things that could not possibly be her fault."
Again: I wonder if maybe anyone could have made some progress if they'd, for example, ever spoken to her about any of this.  Everyone in this colony is apparently a therapist except the actual therapists. But, more importantly to Our Heroes, Reaper actually puzzled out that Novinha's hiding something (for which she takes the blame for Pipo's death), because she wasn't able to lock away the recording of that very first argument in which Libo demanded to see what Pipo had been working on right before he got murdered.  (Apparently, yes, everything that happens inside the scientific stations really is just voice-recorded 100% of the time and the abbot has access to those recordings?  They are, in fact, shocked that Novinha has locked up most of her work so tightly that even the Mayor isn't allowed to waltz in and peruse the permanent automatic logs of everything Novinha does on the computers, like she can for anyone else.  HOW DOES PRIVACY WORK IN THE FUTURE.)
"It was an outrageous thing for her to do. Of course the Mayor could have used emergency override powers, but what was the emergency? We'd have to hold a public hearing, and we didn't have any legal justification. Just concern for her, and the law has no respect for people who pry for someone else's good."
I just can't with these people anymore.

They go on to theorise that she married Marcos specifically to punish herself, and Ender resists the urge to check his cellphone turn his ansible stud back on and put Jane on the case, but he spares some time to judge Novinha for having still apparently felt she deserved to sleep with Libo even if she didn't marry him.
"If you really intend to speak Marcos Ribeira's death, somehow you'll have to answer that question--why did she marry him? And to answer that, you have to figure out why Pipo died. And ten thousand of the finest minds in the Hundred Worlds have been working on that for more than twenty years." 
"But I have an advantage over all those finest minds," said Ender. [....] "I have the help of people who love Novinha."
Man, I was going to say it was that he didn't go to Clown College, but I guess that's a fair answer, if we interpret 'love' to mean 'patronisingly obsess over and attempt to violate the privacy of an individual while never actually engaging them in an honest discussion about their emotional state'.  Ender, being a super-genius, has already worked out that Novinha refused to marry Libo because he would have had access to her files, although Reaper and Harrow maintain that it was all about punishing herself.

Ender returns 'home' and tries to apologise to Jane for cutting her off, but she doesn't respond when he speaks to her or types into the terminal: "Forgive me [...] I miss you."  It belatedly occurs to Ender that forcibly separating Jane from the only mind in the universe that knows she exists might have been a harsher action than he realised.  The hive queen doesn't respond to him either, except to ask, wordlessly, if it's time to hatch yet.  He beams another message out into the galactic internet ether:
"Come back to me, Jane [...] I love you." [....] Someone in the Mayor's office would read it, as all open ansible messages were read; no doubt by the Mayor, the Bishop, and Dom Cristão would all know about it by morning.
Ender, who just made two new friends roughly his own age who immediately got him to open up about his inner weaknesses and feelings and then provided him with vital information that will directly lead to cracking open this mystery, declares that "for the first time in twenty years he was utterly alone".  He says this despite having literally compared himself to Grego and Quara, whom he also declared were now his family whether they liked it or not after undergoing a substantially less helpful and more aggressive bonding experience.  Have I repeated myself too much if I just shout THERAPY FOR EVERYONE again?  Because... that.

Next week: Jane's backstory!  For the first time ever, I am legitimately excited about what's next.  Let's see if that joy betrays me.

29 comments:

  1. I don't get why everyone hates Enderism. Seems dippy to me. It's just someone telling stories about the dead person. It's not like they are using the dead as a pinata or something like that.

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  2. It's just because everyone is jealous of Ender and that's how we know he's THE BESTEST EVER COOLEST NICEST MOST AWESOME GUY IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE FOREVER.

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  3. That really is how the Speaker not-religion comes across. It's the bestest, most true religion ever and that threatens all the other religions! It got good grades in school so it's a total super-genius, and the other religions are mean ol' bullies who pick on it in school and try to steal its lunch money, but because it's so awesome it can beat them all up!
    So it's basically the same nerd revenge fantasy as Ender's Game, but with religions playing out the parts of the kids.

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  4. Ah, yes, "reapers". We have dismissed that claim.

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  5. Maybe Speakers were a more violent lot in their past - following Ender the Xenocide's example and choosing to purify humanity - Ender would never have known because time-dilation, and it could have always been timed with those trips. Perhaps Speaking for the Dead used to be acts of terror against communities and churches and anything that would produce child soldiers and the justification for them. Three thousand years have mellowed things a bit, but long memoriee still make for resentment and hostility.

    Also, is this supposed to be the beginning of a religious conversion experience for Ender, in the Saul-to-Paul tradition - persecute, see the true way, repent and follow?

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  6. That could only have been achieved if Ender never bothered learning anything about what happened in the galaxy during each century or two he spent at warp speed. Basically I'm saying that's definitely what happened.


    I don't think Ender is going to convert, although he mentions that when he met San Angelo he promised that if he ever converted, it would be to Catholicism. (It occurs to me that in the Shadow books Bean's personality also gets thrown askew when he starts absorbing Catholicism in a sort of subconscious-conversion way. I guess points to Card for not having them swap to his own sect?)

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  7. Regarding the number of clergypersons on Lusitania, according to Corpus[1], in 2001 the number of priests per capita in South America was 7,176. In Central America, it was 6,854. In the USA, the number was 1,325.

    If Lusitania's population is 5,000, then even at USA levels, it should have 5 priests (or 4 and THE BISHOP!!!!!!!). Lusitania's demographics don't make much sense.

    Regarding the 'bearding the lion', etc. Card was using it in its 1580s sense ('Singeing the King of Spain's Beard'), rather than the use that came into effect in the 1920s-60s. It is funny to misconstrue his meaning, though.


    [1] Corpus was the first non-Wikipedia link that Google gave to the question 'clergy per capita in Brazil'.

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  8. I am familiar with Card's intended meaning; you may note that the phrase in the post is a link to a detailed explanation of its etymology and context.

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  9. Yes, sorry-- that's clear from your text.

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  10. and Shinto fanatics had sung death threats outside his window in Kyoto.

    Just because I have ALWAYS WANTED to point this out:

    Shinto is not the kind of religion that has fanatics.

    I mean that quite literally. I'm sure there are fanatics who practice Shintoism, good, bad, and just plain nasty people are everywhere, but Shinto is a faith without a creed, without sacred texts, without a holy founder. Most people who practice Shinto also practice other religions - it seems to have acquired a name merely because when the trio of Chinese religions, Buddhism / Taoism / Confucianism, arrived in Japan about the 6th century, suddenly the "faith in the gods" needed a name as opposed to just "the rites you perform when you go to this shrine or that".

    A "Shinto fanatic"... would be someone who does a lot of Shinto ritual? A fan who wants to visit every single Shinto shrine in the world?

    It is entirely possible that people who were Shintoists sang death threats outside Ender's window when he visited Kyoto (planet or city? Planet, I assume, since if it were the city, it would mean Ender had Spoken someone's death on Earth) but it wouldn't have been because they were Shintoists, let alone "Shinto fanatics": it would have been because Ender was just that annoying.

    If 3000-years-in-the-future Shinto is anything like modern Shinto - by which I mean Shinto any time in the past thousand years or so - they were probably all Buddhists, too. But since Shinto is, if it's anything, "honouring the spirits of Japan", it's hard to believe it could be translated offworld, or why it ever would have been? Overseas Shinto tends - from a discussion board I just looked up, out of interest to see if there was such a thing - to translate to people of European descent who feel a connection with Japan either honouring the spirits of Japan in their own way without shrines, or translating the principle of kami into their own surroundings, honouring the spirits of the place where they live.

    “Whatever seemed strikingly impressive, possessed the quality of excellence and virtue, and inspired a feeling of awe was called kami .” -Norinaga Motoori

    "On a collective level Shinto is a term which denotes all faiths, however, on a personal level, Shinto implies faith in the deity (kami), incorporating the spiritual mind of the kami through worship and communion." http://www.jinjahoncho.or.jp/en/shinto/index.html

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  11. Shinto is not the kind of religion that has fanatics.

    This was my impression as well, but I lacked the knowledge to feel comfortable trying to expound too much on it. Thank you.

    Kyoto (planet or city?

    I'm guessing it's another city called Kyoto on a Japanese-only planet, because that sounds like Card's deal and we already know there's a Planet Japan out there with a terrible name (Divine Wind/Kamikaze).

    it wouldn't have been because they were Shintoists, let alone "Shinto fanatics": it would have been because Ender was just that annoying.



    The evidence mounts.

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  12. I don't know very much about Shinto, but I suspect Card knew very little and expected his readers to know even less. (Also, sorry, as you were approving it - because of the weblink, I assume - I edited it to clarify my point about Buddhists, and it now needs to be un-modded again...)

    I'm guessing it's another city called Kyoto on a Japanese-only planet

    Actually, Kyoto just means capital city - it used to be the Imperial capital of Japan. I'm probably giving Card way too much credit, but it would be quite clever for a Japanese-only world with a One-World-Government to name their capital city Kyoto. (Do all of Card's colony worlds have OWG?)

    The evidence mounts.



    Yeah. "I am so pure and good that EVERYWHERE I GO bad people hate me. How can I tell they're bad? Because they hate me!"

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  13. Thanks for the information. Shinto is very oit of place yhere, from what I knew, but yeah, neither Shinto nor Buddhism really leans itself to fanatics singing death threats outside someone's window.

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  14. Negative points with a multiplicative factor for getting it all wrong, though, and I can't say that Ender's personality lends itself well to Catholic theology or practice, especially having founded his own religion...

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  15. Someone should write the filk song of the death threats against Ender. Leslie Fish would do it so well.

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  16. (My working theory at this point is that every other Speaker in the galaxy goes around having a perfectly pleasant time, whereas people constantly try to tell Ender what a colossal jackwagon he personally is and he's just "Pfft, religious oppressors!" and slouches away into the sunset.)

    It's just occurred to me: Shintoism has a long, elaborate series of death rituals, which include commemorating anniversaries of the person's death up to 33 years afterwards. There are specific things that have to be done with the corpse and the ashes from the cremation and even the bones that remain in the ashes. There is a period of 24 hours of intense mourning which begins and ends with rites performed by a Shinto priest.

    What if Ender was called to Speak the death of someone whose family had decided he would want the full Shinto rituals - they're pretty expensive, which is why the saying that in Japan you are "Born Shinto, marry Christian, die Buddhist" - a Buddhist funeral is a lot cheaper. (Seriously a lot cheaper.) What if one lone family member had decided he wanted a Speaker for the Dead, and any other Speaker would have waited til all the Shinto rituals were safely over before doing the Speaking - but Ender being Ender just had to interrupt? Ruined a very expensive series of rituals? And he probably doesn't speak Japanese and interpreted "death rituals" as "death threats" when actually, they were really just annoyed at him for not waiting to begin his Speaking til their ancestor had been properly cremated and enshrined?

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  17. And - moving on from Card's thing about Poor Persecuted Ender:

    The actual enemies came in two camps: children who actually wanted to cause him harm, like Bonzo, who didn't actually have any of their own 'territory', and adults who intended to abuse Ender into sprouting superpowers, whose territory he never left for even a second between the ages of six and twelve. I'm not sure which of these kinds of enemies Ender is supposed to be imagining the Lusitanians are. That whole 'empathy' deal he supposedly specialises in might prod him to consider whether these villagers have more in common with Badger Army (they bear him no actual ill will, but have been commanded to act like it by their leader), Bonzo (they will murder him as soon as they think they can get away with it), Graff (they will find a use for him if they can, and won't care how much harm it causes), or the formics (they have no goddamn clue what he's doing there but they can't imagine how to negotiate peace with him and so will defend themselves as best they can). That seems like an important distinction, in terms of types of enemies Ender is familiar with.



    This is really clever.


    If only Card had thought along these lines, we could even have had Ender thinking about how Grego is like Stilson - how Ender-the-pre-Battle-School child had been so scared of a six-year-old bully that he had actually killed him, and have Ender's empathy and compassion for Grego be informed by something more than magic. And remembering Ender's other childhood murder of a human being, Bonzo, who would have killed Ender except Ender tricked him into fighting "with honour". From an adult perspective, Ender should be able to see what was wrong with his brutal/childish decisions to defend himself by killing. He could wonder if the Little Ones had killed Pipo and Libo with the same confusion - out of fear of a perceived threat or out of anger misplaced from the real enemy.


    As an adult with unfettered access to computer records, Ender could have looked back at what the Battle School adults - who were his enemies, even if he didn't understand this at the time very well - and understood what they did to him, and realised that walking through this enclosed village is like being in Battle School with powerful forces making use of unwitting victims. Or he might have remembered the months he spent in formic tunnels on their satellite when he was slaughtering them by ansible, when he was surrounded by alien architecture and by adults who meant him no good, with friends he wasn't allowed to meet or touch but only talk to when they were playing war games?


    There are all sorts of interesting ways this metaphor could have played out in all sorts of directions, but because this is Orson Scott Card it just gets thrown away.

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  18. That makes a lot of sense and sounds exactly like something Ender would do.

    (Shinto funerals being really expensive also explains the custom of people bringing money as gifts to the funeral; something we covered in my culture lessons, but which wasn't given any context. I think it's done even now that many people have Buddhist funerals, but it would make sense for the custom to have arisen when more people needed to pay for expensive rituals.)

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  19. In--ugh--fairness, I think it's perfectly possible to be a "fanatic" of a faith without a creed or sacred texts. Most religions involve some sort of norms or precepts, and if you prioritize those norms over all other practical and ethical considerations, then ok, you're a fanatic. Maybe not a fundamentalist, but a fanatic.

    In the case of Shinto, I'm guessing that Card is thinking of something like the "state Shinto" of pre-1945 Japan: the emperor is literally divine and infallible and must be absolutely obeyed in all things, Japan is destined to conquer the entire planet, etc. Plenty of Japanese aristocrats and military personnel were fanatics in that sense. (He didn't say he was referring to that particular variant of Shinto, but what do you expect from him, details?)

    Of course, if you disrespected the emperor or disobeyed orders, they didn't try to cast death curses on you; they just shot you. And it's hard to see how anyone in this futureverse could follow such a faith, at least on a Starways-affiliated planet--they're supposed to be bitterly opposed to expansionist, militaristic nationalism, no?

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  20. Buh? Why would Ender, Avatar of Truth, make an offer like that? Shouldn't he plan to convert to whatever faith he may encounter in the future and actually find compelling? Catholicism almost certainly won't be it; he has no interest in Catholic theology and no sympathy towards Catholic tenets. (Besides, he'd have to share the cross with that Jesus guy.)

    You'd only make that sort of empty promise if you enjoyed being patronizingly insulting toward people...oh, okay, that makes sense after all.

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  21. As a Buddhist I feel the need to point out that we do have a history of violence against non-Buddhists, which I believe is occurring today mainly in Southeast Asia against Muslims.

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  22. “THIS PERSON IS A POTENTIAL HOMICIDE SUSPECT PLEASE INVESTIGATE RIGHT NOW.”


    Now there's a twist: Novinha killed Pipo and Libo.

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  23. Is that a "every sect has its fanatics" sort of declaration, or a "it's baked into the religious system that violence is okay against those who don't believe" type?

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  24. "Every system has its fanatics" with a dash of "the fact that an ideology espouses nonviolence as a key principle doesn't mean much when economics, nationalism, etc get involved"

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  25. they're supposed to be bitterly opposed to expansionist, militaristic nationalism, no?
    Maybe. It's hard to tell with these books. But assuming it's true... well, that'd be a pretty decent reason for him to be there, would it? At least in his own mind.


    But yeah, generally, 'Shinto Fanatics' tends to translate to 'extreme Japanese nationalists of a religious/traditional bent'

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  26. I feel the need to point out that Novinha never, in fact, has been a xenologer--she is a xenobiologist, whose job is to study all the non-talking life on the planet, and was only ever under Pipo's supervision because she was a teenager, and there were no official xenobiologists to supervise. That, at least, gives a little reason why most people would assume "weird baseless survivor's guilt about a guy she was close to" instead of "actively involved with the specific research that led to Pipo's death." though you're perfectly right about everything else.

    What does Jane do all day, with her superintelligent FTL multi-leveled consciousness, when she’s not being Ender’s plot monkey?
    We will actually see a little of this shortly, though I don't know that it will make you any happier.

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  27. I feel the need to point out that Novinha never, in fact, has been a xenologer--she is a xenobiologist, whose job is to study all the non-talking life on the planet


    Yeah, that's true (I actually forgot there was a difference between the two!) OTOH, Novinha herself believed--and announced, loudly and often--that xenobiology was another and perhaps superior angle for studying the Little Ones. And she read all Pipo and Libo's files on them, and regularly contributed hypotheses on their behavior. If the lab's voice records are public, it should be pretty obvious to anyone investigating her that she thought she was actively involved in Pipo's research.



    We will actually see a little of this shortly, though I don't know that it will make you any happier.

    I don't want to spoil Will, but...it didn't.

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  28. If the people of the colony have two choices (marry and make babies, or enter the clergy) which seems to be what Card thinks is the way of things, and if the colony has a population cap after which their children are abducted by the government, I can see that leading to a rather huge number of clergypeople. It's a ridiculous thing, but it makes sense within the way that Card has set up the world, though I don't think he did it on purpose.

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