Friday, September 19, 2014


The final novel in Orson Scott Card's Homecoming saga is entitled Earthborn and takes up several hundreds of years after the end of Earthfall. There we had traveled with Volemak and his clan as they return humanity back to Earth after 40 million years. Their journey brought about by contact with the Oversoul, an eye in the sky system set up above the planet Harmony to protect humanity from destroying itself as had happened on Earth. The Oversoul system, knowing that it had survived well beyond its design lifetime, recognized that it was being called back to Earth for repairs and reprogramming. However, Volemak's clan split into a side that followed the Oversoul's plan (the Nafari) and a side that rebelled against the Oversoul at every turn (the Elemaki).

In Earthborn we are brought back to Earth several hundred years later as generations of descendants had evolved and reformed civilization. The peoples of the land were divided along the lines of the original Nafari/Elemaki split. However, even within the Nafari, the cracks of rebellion were showing. Grabs for power, skirmishes for position, all sown within a tapestry of pride, bigotry, and selfishness. We also begin to learn a bit about what it was that brought the Oversoul back to Earth and what the plans are for humanity throughout the galaxy.

Card uses this culmination of his sprawling saga to develop a beautiful allegory that shows how even in our worst seasons of rebellion against God, He is still there loving us and patiently waiting for us to work out our salvation, mourning when we die separated from Him or jubilantly rejoicing when we see past ourselves and find Him. From a literary standpoint, the conclusion of this work leaves several important plot points not fully addressed and perhaps a bit at odds with what he had introduced back in the previous volumes. I almost got the sense that he didn't have a fully developed plan as he started this series and kind of let his muse take him where it would for each work. Even though this series wasn't crisply woven together from start to finish, at times kind of falling flat and losing its way, I still found it enjoyable and worthwile.