How did this happen?
The other day I finished up "Terrorist" by Updike and then started up the new Orson Scott Card book called "Empire." I am shocked and saddened that I can honestly say this may be the worse book by him I have ever opened. Are you familiar with the old rule of writing known as "Show, don't tell?" I don't remember a time outside of a writing workshop where I have seen this rule violated so consistently. The dialog is clunky and little more than telling inside of quotes and the two action scenes I was able to get through were as unexciting as action scenes can be.
I read a review on another blog about this book and the reviewer claimed that Card had a right wing agenda to push with this book but I was unable to get far enough to tell for sure. The hero of the book did view left wing professors as evil so maybe the reviewer has a point. You read that right: evil left wing professors are polluting the minds of our nation's youth in the world Card created here. But, that is a opinion of a character. It would be wrong to base an opinion of an author on the thoughts of a character. That has been done with Heinlein too much so I don't want to do it here.
Maybe the problem is that Card is venturing into the real world with this book. He's created some great fantasy and science fiction universes in his time and the real world may have been too much for him. They say that creating a science fiction world is an involved process but the advantage there is that everything that takes place you get to completely make up. Maybe he was handcuffed by that. I don't know. What I do know is that if he does have a right wing agenda and it s trying to push it with this book then, thankfully, it's too badly written for most people to read so his message will die on the vine.
I just read an interview with Card and it appears the novel is tied in with a video game. I did not know that. I guess that can explain why the novel is not very good. The story idea is not his and he was given the basic premise of the game and then allowed to create a story around it. Doesn't make the book any better but it does explain why it is so poor.