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The Ships of Earth

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The Oversoul's chosen people flee the city of Basilica (destroyed in their wake by General Moozh) and travel across the desert wastes, eventually to settle in the hidden valley where long ago the exiles from Earth who founded the colony of Harmony left their starships--and the machines that can make them fly again. HC: Tor. The Oversoul's chosen people flee the city of Basilica (destroyed in their wake by General Moozh) and travel across the desert wastes, eventually to settle in the hidden valley where long ago the exiles from Earth who founded the colony of Harmony left their starships--and the machines that can make them fly again. HC: Tor.


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The Oversoul's chosen people flee the city of Basilica (destroyed in their wake by General Moozh) and travel across the desert wastes, eventually to settle in the hidden valley where long ago the exiles from Earth who founded the colony of Harmony left their starships--and the machines that can make them fly again. HC: Tor. The Oversoul's chosen people flee the city of Basilica (destroyed in their wake by General Moozh) and travel across the desert wastes, eventually to settle in the hidden valley where long ago the exiles from Earth who founded the colony of Harmony left their starships--and the machines that can make them fly again. HC: Tor.

30 review for The Ships of Earth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I described Book 1 of this series as a sci-fi fantasy blend with interesting worldbuilding and characters. Unfortunately from there it seems to have gone downhill for me. Book 2 was different, with a few additional interesting characters and a quick read, but book 3 from the start was slower paced, and had a smaller cast of characters. The same characters again and again grew draining, but I persisted, hoping the story might pick up. It didn't. Sure the characters got from location A to location B I described Book 1 of this series as a sci-fi fantasy blend with interesting worldbuilding and characters. Unfortunately from there it seems to have gone downhill for me. Book 2 was different, with a few additional interesting characters and a quick read, but book 3 from the start was slower paced, and had a smaller cast of characters. The same characters again and again grew draining, but I persisted, hoping the story might pick up. It didn't. Sure the characters got from location A to location B with some emotional journey in between (including birthing many children who really didn't have much impact on anything) but it all felt like a waste of time when it was known from the start that it's destination C (or perhaps D) that they're really after. And it was clear they were going to get nowhere close. Rather than giving up entirely, I still progressed slowly through this book and I intend to finish the series if it doesn't get even slower from here. I'll just have to wait (and then wait some more) and see.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Omly

    The Oversoul, a computer built by humans escaping the destruction of Earth's ability to support life, has been guiding human evolution over the last 40 billion years to better be able to communicate with it and calm their destructive tendencies. Now the Keeper of Earth is calling that it is time to recolonize Earth. A group of 16 colonists has been selected by the Oversoul for being the top of its selective evolutionary process, but that does not mean that they are inclined to work together or e The Oversoul, a computer built by humans escaping the destruction of Earth's ability to support life, has been guiding human evolution over the last 40 billion years to better be able to communicate with it and calm their destructive tendencies. Now the Keeper of Earth is calling that it is time to recolonize Earth. A group of 16 colonists has been selected by the Oversoul for being the top of its selective evolutionary process, but that does not mean that they are inclined to work together or even for the Oversoul's goals. There where a bunch of ideas here that you could really go on about in some length. One of them that could provide some particularly interesting conversation is the change from the characters living in a serial monogamous matriarchal culture to that of a permanent monogamous patriarchal one. Although the author does not present either matriarchal or patriarchal systems as superior, he does seem to have strong feelings about monogamy and homosexuality. I actually managed to read this book all the way to the last page without realizing that it was the 3rd book in the Homecoming Series. Card leaves no gaps though, and it is perfectly readable without feeling that you are missing anything.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    This has been my least favourite in this series so far. Not that it wasn't good. I liked who I was supposed to like, I fiercely hated who I was supposed to hate, and overall the plot was fun. For me, though, the first two books were fascinating because of Basillica and the politics surrounding that place. Now, in a book without any of that, I had to find something else to love about this book. Fortunately the next book will have some space in it and I know that's going to be interesting. I'm loo This has been my least favourite in this series so far. Not that it wasn't good. I liked who I was supposed to like, I fiercely hated who I was supposed to hate, and overall the plot was fun. For me, though, the first two books were fascinating because of Basillica and the politics surrounding that place. Now, in a book without any of that, I had to find something else to love about this book. Fortunately the next book will have some space in it and I know that's going to be interesting. I'm looking forward to diving in.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bob Miller

    A little trouble for the author on this one. At least it came to a reasonable point to conclude. A small part of a long story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brook

    This would not have been a good standalone book, and as a "closer" to a trilogy, it wouldnt work. I guess I will be picking up the fourth book to see where this goes. There wasnt much of a reason to break out books 2 and 3, in hindsight, other than length. 2 has a "conclusion" of sorts that could be seen as the end of the story (if the end of 2 was rewritten). Book 3 is like those movies where they have already started filming the next sequel, and dont actually resolve anything. By itself, 3 is This would not have been a good standalone book, and as a "closer" to a trilogy, it wouldnt work. I guess I will be picking up the fourth book to see where this goes. There wasnt much of a reason to break out books 2 and 3, in hindsight, other than length. 2 has a "conclusion" of sorts that could be seen as the end of the story (if the end of 2 was rewritten). Book 3 is like those movies where they have already started filming the next sequel, and dont actually resolve anything. By itself, 3 is a story of wanderers looking for a MacGuffin, and facing internal and external threats along the way (pretty standard). However, the payoff for 3 is so, so weak, that clearly (again to use the movie analogy), 4 was already in the works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    By far the worst book by Mr. Card I've ever read. In the previous books, Mr. Card did a great job weaving political schemes and plots and creating characters who would realistically react to the new and changing situations in which they found themselves. With a cast of only 16 (excluding children) I guess Mr. Card had a hard time figuring out things to talk about as they traveled through the wilderness. He resorted to an unnecessary and shameful (for an LDS author) sex scene. I skipped the track By far the worst book by Mr. Card I've ever read. In the previous books, Mr. Card did a great job weaving political schemes and plots and creating characters who would realistically react to the new and changing situations in which they found themselves. With a cast of only 16 (excluding children) I guess Mr. Card had a hard time figuring out things to talk about as they traveled through the wilderness. He resorted to an unnecessary and shameful (for an LDS author) sex scene. I skipped the track (I listened to the audiobook) and realized that it wasn't over after 3 minutes. I had to skip 4 three-minute tracks before I got beyond the sex. My next biggest complaint is his obsessive need to graphically describe every detail of breast feeding. He did this not only once, but reapeatedly. Then he went on to talk about how every married couple in the group proceeded to make love every night of their marriage. Come on. If you want us to believe your book, make it believable. Lastly, though after everything else it seems paltry, the way in which the Oversoul teaches Nafai to carve a bow is ridiculous. The logic set up on what the Oversoul can and can't do clearly excludes giving Nafai someone else's muscle memory. Bottom line, this book was a flop. It should have been shortened and combined with either the previous or next book. I'm not even sure I want to finish the series now.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Roger

    This series gets better as it moves along. In this volume, Volemak leads his family into the desert under the direction of the Oversoul, a satellite computer which was created to prevent mankind from recreating the destruction of earth society on their new home of Harmony. The Oversoul's systems continue to fail allowing the extremes of violence to return to Harmony and he/she has chosen to rescue a select family to return to Earth. The dichotomies between those who choose the right and those w This series gets better as it moves along. In this volume, Volemak leads his family into the desert under the direction of the Oversoul, a satellite computer which was created to prevent mankind from recreating the destruction of earth society on their new home of Harmony. The Oversoul's systems continue to fail allowing the extremes of violence to return to Harmony and he/she has chosen to rescue a select family to return to Earth. The dichotomies between those who choose the right and those who rebel become more pronounced in this volume and Card gives the reader a good deal of intrigue along the way as Elemak constantly plots the death of his younger brother, Nafai. Likewise, Nafai deals with the frustrations of trying to be the stronger person and reach out with the hand of forgiveness. Eventually, the conflict reaches a climax when the group reach the ancient spaceport and the Oversoul's long foretold journey to Earth begins. Card does a great job of creating strong and compelling characters and this book is a nice example of his skill in that area.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Parthena

    I felt that this was a marked improvement from the last book in this series ("the Call of Earth"). Things finally began picking up, there was a fair amount of character development, and there was a good sense that the real action was finally beginning. (the first 2 books almost felt like Prologues or some sorts of Prequels..) I found some of the character dynamics somewhat predictable, but overall this novel seems to have set the stage for the next book, which I have yet to read. I felt that this was a marked improvement from the last book in this series ("the Call of Earth"). Things finally began picking up, there was a fair amount of character development, and there was a good sense that the real action was finally beginning. (the first 2 books almost felt like Prologues or some sorts of Prequels..) I found some of the character dynamics somewhat predictable, but overall this novel seems to have set the stage for the next book, which I have yet to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dacia

    This has to be one of my favorite books in the whole world. It's the mid book in a truly wonderful series. While this series is closely tied to the book of Mormon, I didn't know that the first several times I read it. The characters in the story are intense and real. The love and ties that bind the family together are so true. It's wonderful! This has to be one of my favorite books in the whole world. It's the mid book in a truly wonderful series. While this series is closely tied to the book of Mormon, I didn't know that the first several times I read it. The characters in the story are intense and real. The love and ties that bind the family together are so true. It's wonderful!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nolan

    In this third book of Card’s Homecoming saga, Nafai, his brothers, and their recently acquired wives leave behind their possessions in the city of Basilica and travel for years in the desert in search of a space port wherein lie ancient ships that brought colonists to Harmony from Earth 40 million years earlier. The computer known as Oversoul, which has regulated life on Harmony for millions of years, is breaking. It needs to return to the Keeper of Earth for repair, and it has chosen Nafai and In this third book of Card’s Homecoming saga, Nafai, his brothers, and their recently acquired wives leave behind their possessions in the city of Basilica and travel for years in the desert in search of a space port wherein lie ancient ships that brought colonists to Harmony from Earth 40 million years earlier. The computer known as Oversoul, which has regulated life on Harmony for millions of years, is breaking. It needs to return to the Keeper of Earth for repair, and it has chosen Nafai and his siblings to return it to Earth. This is magnificent drama in this third book. Read it and delve into the dynamics of a dysfunctional pioneering family who cannot afford to let its dysfunctionality interfere with its mission. The characters fascinate me. Nafai’s aging parents are powerful people who lead the family despite their advancing years and occasional lapses in faith. Card’s description of the Oversoul as a kind of digital index tablet fascinated me. It can transfer its memories to humans who are in possession of the device. Card handles homosexuality here with a kind of sensitivity that impressed me. It’s the kind of writing that ought to make Card’s critics and detractors enshroud themselves in silence. This is clearly not the work of a shallow writer and thinker who thoughtlessly dismisses people whose lifestyle differs from his. Card’s development of a gay character felt somehow right to me. You’ll read tense scenes here wherein Nafai’s brothers seek to kill him, and the Oversoul must save him. The family drama in this series is vivid and delicious. This is a science-fiction extremely loose retelling of the first book in The Book of Mormon. If you have any familiarity with that book, you will hear in your head bits and pieces of chapters that will make you smile. Card retells the broken bow incident wonderfully. His descriptions of how Nafai breaks through a barrier to find the treasures of the ancient space port are memorable and worthy of rereads, since all of us face barriers whose impenetrability at first can be more than a little daunting. But we often breach those same barriers with some thought and effort. It’s a wonderful message to send, and Card does it well here. I’ve enjoyed this series immensely, but rather than binge and read it one after another until it is gone, I’ll put a few days between now and the opening of the next book. Ah, the anticipation runs high indeed! I did

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    The story continues a family on the quest to return from the planet Harmony to the planet Earth. This is a science fiction story, but only a little bit of scify is involved until the very end. The main part of this story covers the evolving relationships of a new colony, that starts out as 16 people. They original members all marry and begin to have children. One of the couples has a gay partner, but that is an interesting twist on the interpersonal relationships. The fascinating part is the str The story continues a family on the quest to return from the planet Harmony to the planet Earth. This is a science fiction story, but only a little bit of scify is involved until the very end. The main part of this story covers the evolving relationships of a new colony, that starts out as 16 people. They original members all marry and begin to have children. One of the couples has a gay partner, but that is an interesting twist on the interpersonal relationships. The fascinating part is the struggle between brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives. There was one scene that goes into details about a sexual encounter. The justification is that one of the partners is crippled, so Card tries to describe how that would work, with the physical movements. It was not really necessary. I will continue on to the next book of the series.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Craig

    Orson Scott Card confuses the hell out of me. He makes pretty much the best, most self-sacrificing, highly intelligent character gay and openly says it's because of that character's biology....and yet Orson Scott Card is a homophobic bigot in real life. And then OSC's whole approach to gender dynamics is that men naturally rule in times of hardship... but in many passages that's recognized as an unethical hierarchy and the women in the novel get pissed about it (rightfully so). AND THEN. Practic Orson Scott Card confuses the hell out of me. He makes pretty much the best, most self-sacrificing, highly intelligent character gay and openly says it's because of that character's biology....and yet Orson Scott Card is a homophobic bigot in real life. And then OSC's whole approach to gender dynamics is that men naturally rule in times of hardship... but in many passages that's recognized as an unethical hierarchy and the women in the novel get pissed about it (rightfully so). AND THEN. Practically every man (except for the gay guy and the guy who has a disability) is murderous or at least capable of murder. Like what even is your worldview, OSC? I'm going to have to finish the series though. I'm in too deep at this point.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Steve R

    The third novel in Card's excellent 'Homecoming' Sage involves the story of the inhabitants of Harmony who have left their home planet and are travelling on the conveyances of the title (named Basilica) to a new home. Social changes (patriarchy replacing matriarchy, lifelong monogamy replacing yearlong contracts) create tensions, a large part of which are presented in the struggles between Nafai and Elemak, who disagree about the importance of the Oversoul and the destiny of their people. Suppos The third novel in Card's excellent 'Homecoming' Sage involves the story of the inhabitants of Harmony who have left their home planet and are travelling on the conveyances of the title (named Basilica) to a new home. Social changes (patriarchy replacing matriarchy, lifelong monogamy replacing yearlong contracts) create tensions, a large part of which are presented in the struggles between Nafai and Elemak, who disagree about the importance of the Oversoul and the destiny of their people. Supposedly mirroring the early history of the Mormons in America, the book also involves an understanding of the social development of the Hebrews in biblical times. Not really remembered other than a generally positive impression.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Izabela

    It was a bit like Zdorab's stews: tasty but with a lot of camel cheese in it. I would have given it more stars as I really enjoyed the story, but for all the Russian swear words. It was a cheap trick, I hate when people start learning a language with swear words. I hate it even more when they use them without any regard to those who get the full impact of those impletives. In general I don't understand the use of Russian in names etc. Did Card mean it as a compliment to the Russians to say it wa It was a bit like Zdorab's stews: tasty but with a lot of camel cheese in it. I would have given it more stars as I really enjoyed the story, but for all the Russian swear words. It was a cheap trick, I hate when people start learning a language with swear words. I hate it even more when they use them without any regard to those who get the full impact of those impletives. In general I don't understand the use of Russian in names etc. Did Card mean it as a compliment to the Russians to say it was they who built those ships and the Oversoul and colonised Harmony? Why did he write the rest in English then? Plus all the made up pseudo Slavic and other words. Just a big linguistic mish-mash, but doubtfully supported by any historical linguistics. Ужас!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    I had forgotten I read the first book... I don't own the second or fourth. I got a third of the way through this and decided I didn't like it, because women are trivialized and the writing kind of dull. Then I got 2/3 of the way through and liked how they'd changed it around. Ultimately this is a transition book that does best when reading the whole series. But it does a good job giving a discrete problem and goal to the journey between the other books. I'm on the fence about keeping this series, I had forgotten I read the first book... I don't own the second or fourth. I got a third of the way through this and decided I didn't like it, because women are trivialized and the writing kind of dull. Then I got 2/3 of the way through and liked how they'd changed it around. Ultimately this is a transition book that does best when reading the whole series. But it does a good job giving a discrete problem and goal to the journey between the other books. I'm on the fence about keeping this series, but I think I'll pass it along. The final book feels very much like morals are being thrown at you every page.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dorian

    This was an extremely disappointing continuation of the Homecoming series. After the political and interpersonal intrigue driving the first two books, the third opens by showcasing some of Card's worst writing habits. Moralizing and over-explanation abound, sprinkled with passages that read like middle school social studies essays. If you're going to expound upon your pet theories on psychology or sociology at least make the writing interesting! Thankfully the book gets better after the first thir This was an extremely disappointing continuation of the Homecoming series. After the political and interpersonal intrigue driving the first two books, the third opens by showcasing some of Card's worst writing habits. Moralizing and over-explanation abound, sprinkled with passages that read like middle school social studies essays. If you're going to expound upon your pet theories on psychology or sociology at least make the writing interesting! Thankfully the book gets better after the first third, and comes to an acceptable conclusion. But it could have been so much better.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura Mada

    This time, the title gives away the ultimate goal that is set for the group we are following. But it's not until the very last chapter that the ships are actually discovered. In the meantime, we see groups and individuals interact, a new society being built, as well as a new generation beginning to step up and take its place alongside the old generation. This instalment is still not as good as the first part, but the author continues to build characters and succeeds in keeping his readers interes This time, the title gives away the ultimate goal that is set for the group we are following. But it's not until the very last chapter that the ships are actually discovered. In the meantime, we see groups and individuals interact, a new society being built, as well as a new generation beginning to step up and take its place alongside the old generation. This instalment is still not as good as the first part, but the author continues to build characters and succeeds in keeping his readers interested in seeing what the next plot twist will bring.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Levi Hobbs

    Too annoying. Lots of dreams that the reader can't possibly know the interpretation of, lots more traveling in the desert, lots more bickering between petty people. Pace of this series was way off what I would have enjoyed. I thought they would be at least traveling to Earth in book 2 but no, by the end of book 3 they have only gotten to the spaceship. Too annoying. Lots of dreams that the reader can't possibly know the interpretation of, lots more traveling in the desert, lots more bickering between petty people. Pace of this series was way off what I would have enjoyed. I thought they would be at least traveling to Earth in book 2 but no, by the end of book 3 they have only gotten to the spaceship.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amos Lamb

    When it’s good The Ships of Earth> has some of the best sequences in the Homecoming saga so far, the entire climax of the novel, along with a handful of other scenes are all great but unfortunately these scenes are bogged down by lots of lethargic and unnecessary moments and chapters that are a slog to get through.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina

    not as good as I was hoping based on his other books. I'm losing interest in the characters. also found too many characters that had been more important in the story before just background characters in this book. not as good as I was hoping based on his other books. I'm losing interest in the characters. also found too many characters that had been more important in the story before just background characters in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dave Osmond

    I'm really enjoying this series. This is classic Card; big sweeping saga style writing, with very human subplots and characters you just relate to and love (or fear, or hate). Still no match for the Ender's game series, but I'm looking forward to knocking out books 4&5. I'm really enjoying this series. This is classic Card; big sweeping saga style writing, with very human subplots and characters you just relate to and love (or fear, or hate). Still no match for the Ender's game series, but I'm looking forward to knocking out books 4&5.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    Another old sci-fi book I hadn't read yet. Listened to most of this one. It reminded me how vivid Orson Scott Card is with his characters, revealing them through life situations and conversations. I think I may have enjoyed this one a little more than the first two. Another old sci-fi book I hadn't read yet. Listened to most of this one. It reminded me how vivid Orson Scott Card is with his characters, revealing them through life situations and conversations. I think I may have enjoyed this one a little more than the first two.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Saugat

    Still a little preachy. I guess the times didn't call for it but after millions of years to evolve you would expect the humans on harmony to be more evolved, but the story makes it seem like we never evolve. But the story is still interesting, so I will most probably finish the series. Still a little preachy. I guess the times didn't call for it but after millions of years to evolve you would expect the humans on harmony to be more evolved, but the story makes it seem like we never evolve. But the story is still interesting, so I will most probably finish the series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Florin Constantinescu

    The rate of reading has slowed down. I'm starting to get suspicious by this book #3. Will something cool EVER happen? Coz it's not happened yet. Oh well, maybe in the next book. The rate of reading has slowed down. I'm starting to get suspicious by this book #3. Will something cool EVER happen? Coz it's not happened yet. Oh well, maybe in the next book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Even though the plot seems to be moving (FINALLY), somehow, everything is so boring! :(

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ang

    Interesting series to listen to during the commute, not exciting but interesting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ian McGaffey

    This story was engaging, but also moved fairly slowly. I still enjoyed the read and look forward to the conclusion.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kevin John

    I enjoy each book in the series better than the last.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brian Gaston

    Another entry into a decent series by Card

  30. 4 out of 5

    Clayne

    I knew how the story would go because it is from the book of Mormon, but I still couldn’t put it down. I loved the exploration of marriage and even sexual relationships. Fascinating!

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