Orson Scott Card continues his literary success with the first of a prequel trilogy to Ender’s Game in Earth Unaware. Ender’s Game, so I’ve been told, is a timeless classic, and Card does not disappoint in this introduction of the alien Formic race that brings about the need for Ender Wiggin.
In Earth Unaware, the reader is introduced to Victor Delgado, Lem Jukes, and Witt O’Toole. Victor is a member of El Cavador, a free mining ship stationed in the outer reaches of space. His younger cousin presents him with data that suggests there is a starship traveling at near light speed even further out in the universe. “But that’s impossible,” everyone thinks, but what’s worse, is that the anomaly is heading for our solar system, Earth in particular. Victor knows that the information must reach others no matter what the cost. As more about the aliens becomes known, El Cavador realizes how right Victor has been.
Lem is the son of the richest man in the universe and is always trying to prove himself to his father. He’s out testing a prototype “glazer” that produces an antigravity field that blows asteroids apart and will revolutionize asteroid mining, if only Lem can return successfully. With time, money, and the approval of his father at stake, Lem is prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed and cover his methods, but the arrival of the Formics changes everything.
Witt, Captain O’Toole to his men, is the leader of an international strike force, MOPS, that defends the innocent without boundaries. Throughout this novel, he is always trying to improve his unit, unaware of the threat heading their way. And the question becomes apparent of whether he can prepare them for an enemy as advanced and unwavering as the Formic.
Card sets up the suspense to come and all the resources that it will take to repel the Formics in this entry. The characters driving this first book of the trilogy are empathetic and engaging. The listener is free to love and/or hate them, all the while sensing that there is something more to them. And indeed there is because the adventure will continue in the next book, and Earth Unaware leaves the listener wanting more. Stefan Rudnicki and the cast of readers add personality to the characters, and I have to say that I’m a fan of the multiple reader format. Cumulatively, Earth Unaware is a great start to Card’s new prequel trilogy. I ran, walk, rode, and slept listening to this audio book, trying to push through, enjoying Card and Johnston’s story and the break from life it allowed.