Mini-Review: "Empire" by Orson Scott Card

empire.jpgThose of you familiar with Orson Scott Card's long-running Ender series know that he has an unusual interest in history and how it shapes political events. In his latest novel, Empire, the assassination of the US president and vice-president lead to a civil war between the extreme right wing and the extreme left wing. The scenario he presents challenges our tendency to assume that such an event could never occur.

The near-realism of the story is both chilling and thought-provoking. This is not a feel-good book, but while it is disturbing, it also provides a strong argument in favor of a return to a politics of moderation, in contrast to the increasing polarization of the current political landscape. In the tradition of great science fiction and great storytelling in general, Card uses his characters to communicate an important message.

No matter what your political beliefs you will find characters in the story that you can respect and root for. The book comes to a conclusion that is both satisfying and open-ended.

The narration by Stefan Rudniki is excellent though you might find yourself wishing for the print version so that you can re-read some of the more complicated arguments. If you want to get this as a free audio download from be sure to click on the ad on this page (sorry new members only).

I recommend this to all OSC fans and to anyone who enjoys speculative, political fiction.