- Mass Market Paperback: 463 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reissue edition (31 December 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780812533316
- ISBN-13: 978-0812533316
- ASIN: 0812533313
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.3 x 17.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 227 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Worthing Saga Mass Market Paperback – 31 Dec 1994
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About the Author
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.
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The Saga in Worthing saga stands for the time-span that the story covers. The bigger story begins on the planet Capital (very similar to Asimov's Trantor) and with a man named Abner Doon who wants to destroy it so that to force human expansion and evolution (again - similar to Harri Seldon and Foundation). A boy named Jason Worthing has telepathic powers and is taken-in by Abner Doon.
The Worthing Chronicle (which is the novel within this book) tells a story of a distant planet where nobody knew any pain or suffering. Then came a Day of Pain when people experienced pain, sorrow and reality that we know today. Shortly after came a man and a woman (man is Jason Worthing) who ask a village boy to write down their story. And thus starts the Worthing Chronicle.
Saga spans several planets and thousands of years, introducing ideas such as human evolution, political stability, telepathy and other mental abilities. Card is a master storyteller and succeeds in telling a story within a story within a story.
Another cool concept here is somec, a drug that allows people to sleep for years (or centuries) only waking occasionally, thus allowing one to exists for centuries in real time (ex: one can sleep for a year and wake for a week, expanding their lifetime 50 times, but they are only living the same lifespan as a normal person). This allows author to have main characters skip centuries and generations.
Great read all around and the inclusion of short stories is a nice bonus. "Skipping Stones" in particular is a beautiful and sad story that is not to be missed.
My one complaint - He originally wrote this as many small stories and one largish story that wasn't published, then some were published, then he went back years later and re-edited, made changes to fix problems, and published this way. So, some of the short stories don't quite match up with what you are told about those characters in the long story. Not the end of the world, but one of those little things that annoys and picks at the back of the brain.
The "saga" weaves together two series of short stories that Card developed, in parallel and in tandem, over serveral years and in several incarnations. The core series concerns an interstellar human empire (loosely modeled, as Card freely acknowledges, after the First Galactic Empire in Asimov's "Foundation" series) that revolves around the drug "somec," which lets one live life a few years or a year or a day at a time, skipping over the intervening years. (The "somec" stories were originally published in earlier collections, "Capitol" and "Hot Sleep.") One's economic and social status depends on one's level of somec, which determines how quickly or slowly one moves through not only life, but history. The first "somec" story, "Skipping Stones," sets the scene: two boyhood friends take two paths, one becoming an artist who lives out his life in ordinary time, the other an entrepreneur who spaces out his life for as long as he can afford. The artist pictures himself immersed in life: "I like to swim. It gets me wet. It wears me out." But his wealthy friend dips into the world only from time to time, and the world moves on without him; when he dips back into the world, it is for him as if only a moment has passed since he last landed there, but his friend has been living a full life and the world has been living a whole history between his awakenings.
The other series concerns the "Forest of Waters," home of a community exiled from the stagnating somec-driven universe, guided at first by a godlike ancestor with paranormal psychic powers. While the somec stories are subtle parables, these other stories are much more direct inquiries into pain, suffering, and their role not only in human society but in a universe watched over by an aware deity.
Card describes this book as "the most structurally complex yet thematically unified of my works of fiction." The "thematic unity" that weaves together all the book's multifaceted stories is indeed masterful, easily surpassing Card's "The Folk of the Fringe," a masterpiece in its own right. "The Worthing Saga" is a compelling read, one that will grip your imagination and intellect long after you have finished it. I reread it every few years, and enjoy it just as much with each reacquaintance.