Personal politics aside, I actually enjoyed this novel. It was fantasy enough that the science-fiction didn’t beat me over the head, similar to some of the Irene Radford I’ve read in the past (The Stargods) but less of a struggle. It must come naturally to Card to blend these similar yet distinct genres
I decided to check out Orson Scott Card because he’s a legend in the science-fiction world. Everyone always talks about Ender’s Game and how it’s one of the best novels they’ve ever read. Well I couldn’t afford to buy any new books and I found three of the Homecoming series on sale at the used book sale at the Denver Public Library so I bought them.
The book jumps right in to things. Card tries to give a bit of background about who is related and what their relations are, but honestly it’s a bit much to take in especially as you don’t know anything about the characters. As the story progresses we learn more about the planet Harmony and how it came to be. We primarily follow the youngest son of an influential family, Nafai and his internal struggles of growing up and coming to terms with the world and the people around him.
We learn that the Oversoul is steadily loosing power as it has been in existence for over 80 million years and was only designed to last for 40 million years, at most. It has reached out through those most receptive to try to protect its interests and to further its mission of eventually returning to the Earth, hundreds of light-years away.
I was incredibly standoffish with this novel when I began it as at first read it seemed incredibly sexist and misogynist, but it wasn’t too bad. It slowly comes to light that the it’s almost a reverse and the women have the majority of the ruling power and rights within the city’s boundaries and have the majority of the say when it comes to mating and coupling.
I did find particularly interesting the utopia/dystopia binary in this novel. The world Harmony was settled, not necessarily as a utopia, but as a ‘let’s start over and make sure we don’t destroy our world and nearly destroy ourselves again’ and is hovering somewhere in the gray area between a utopia and a dystopia and I find it fascinating. I wrote a paper during my MA on the necessary duality and the inherent need between the two and this book clearly doesn’t fit into either. Hopefully the next book in the series, The Call of Earth isn’t too science-fictiony, I sort of liked the balance in this one.