Worthing Saga–Day One–Author Intro through Chapter 2

June 2, 2008 at 3:51 am | Posted in The Worthing Saga | 5 Comments

The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card
Author’s Introduction through Chapter 2
Day One:

Any thoughts on the cover? I wasn’t in love with it by any means. But it does get the job done. Even if you’ve never heard of Orson Scott Card before… (Meaning you don’t know what genre he writes in…) one look at the cover and you KNOW it’s science fiction. It screams science fiction, doesn’t it? That could be a good thing or a bad thing hypothetically speaking.There are people who *think* they don’t like science fiction. I suppose some of these people genuinely mean it. I guess if I can say I’m allergic to westerns, I should allow for the fact that some people just might be allergic to sci-fi. But I’m more prone to the belief that they just haven’t read the right science fiction yet. 🙂

Any thoughts on the Author’s Introduction?

I thought it was an interesting behind-the-scenes look at a writer’s process. It showed that good ideas can and do evolve over a period of time. I wonder if other author’s ever do this? Ever take a previously published work and revise it, change it, to make it better. I’ve always tended to think of work-in-progresses always excluding published works. But I suppose this proves several things–one that practice makes perfect, that revision isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing–a necessary thing. And two Orson Scott Card likes to have quality control over his works.

Any thoughts on chapter one?

I should mention from the get go that I respect your opinions and value your honesty. I may love something; I may like something. I might add in a couple of really reallys and very verys. But just because I feel a certain way about something, doesn’t mean that I expect you to echo me. So you can say whatever you want to a certain degree. (That is as long as you are courteous and respectful of others right of free speech!)

Now back to chapter one…

“In many places in the Peopled Worlds, the pain came suddenly in the midst of the day’s labor. It was as if an ancient and comfortable presence left them, one that they had never noticed until it was gone, and no one knew what to make of it at first, though all knew at once that something had changed deep at the heart of the world. No one saw the brief flare in the star named Argos; it would be years before astronomers would connect the Day of Pain with the End of Worthing. And by then the change was done, the worlds were broken, and the golden age was over.” (3)

What did YOU think? It’s hard for me to read this through new eyes. This is my third time to read the novel. I might think this is great opening because I know what’s coming. You, however, don’t. So your opinion is of interest to me. I don’t know if it was because it was Orson Scott Card, or if it was just the text itself, but I was drawn in from the beginning each time I read it. Maybe my expectations were such to expect magic.

I found the first chapter to be fascinating and wonderful. But definitely definitely strange. Not many novels start out this way do they? With a family waking up to great grief, great confusion. This society, this community, this village, this family is so unique, so very different from us. It’s an interesting premise, I think. The idea that one day perhaps millions or hundreds of hundred thousands years in the future there will be/could be/might be societies without pain, without fear, without the unpleasant things of life.

This reminds me of The Giver in a way. But OSC did come first.

What lines speak to you? stand out to you? Here are a few that stick out to me:

“No one had needed comfort in all their lives.” (5)
“Something was bitterly wrong with the world, they could see that; they had all felt anger in the past, but till now something had always come between the thought and the act, and calmed them. Now, tonight, that calm was gone. They could feel it in themselves, nothing soothing their fear, nothing telling them wordlessly, All is well.” (5)
“A hurt that lasted! Who had heard of such a thing!” (5)

What did you think of Justice and Jason? Not that their names were revealed right away, but what were your first impressions? Lared, our narrator, sees them walking on water. He’s in awe–it inspires some fear and some curiosity and some hope in him. He does take them back home with him to the Inn.

Chapter Two

Oh my. I can understand in a way why the adults would NOT be prone to trusting Justice and Jason. Two strangers, two foreigners, who could speak to their children in their minds. Who could use two children, influence two children, to be their voice to do their bidding. There’s no doubt about it. There is the potential to abuse power like that if you can read people minds and communicate telepathically with them.

The children. Lared and Sala. Aren’t they great? I really like them. Sala is so innocent, so inquisitive, so naively pure and trusting. These two children are much more likeable than their parents, aren’t they?

The two–Jason and Justice–want Lared to read to them from his newly acquired book, Of the Finding of the Stars. They are unable to read and write.

I like OSC’s little details that remind us that this society, this community, is different from our own. Humans are humans, but we are not coming from the same place. They read from top to bottom. There are 198 letters. There are 13 ties. Seven bindings. We, the reader, wouldn’t be able to “read” and “write” either if we were in Jason and Justice’s place. We are just as much an outsider to this culture as they are.

Abner Doon.

“After the worlds were slain by Abner Doon, ten thousand years of darkness passed before the fires again burned their threads between the stars.” (16)
“The Unmaker of the Universe? The Breaker of Man? The Waker from the Sleep of Life?” (17)

They are able to communicate telepathically. Jason and Justice communicate with him by placing images and words into his mind. And they will soon communicate with him through dreams and visions.

Things that come to light. Jason Worthing = god. Abner Doon = devil. The name “Worthing” is sacred. It doesn’t necessarily mean they hold it in reverence or esteem. (We just don’t know much of anything yet.) But it is NOT a word to be said carelessly and thrown about. It is a name that should rarely if ever be used.

Jason and Justice are not liked by the parents. They see no use for them, but they like the wealth they bring to the Inn. So they let greed make up their minds for them. They still see them as more than a little dangerous. They still don’t trust them.

But Jason and Lared have become inseparable. They’re together working and together reading.

Do you like Jason? Like Justice? What do you think of Jason’s words, his voice? What does it speak to you? Isn’t there something so stylistically grand about it? What do you think of Lared and Sala? What do you think of the parents? A bit harsh, a bit abrasive aren’t they? I sense fear and anger and bitterness. I think we’re just seeing the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to them, to what makes them tick.

They want Lared to write for them, to tell their story, their stories. They want him to be their voice for the world.

What do you think of it so far? The premise? The characters?

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5 Comments »

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  1. Love it! The cover is so-so…definitely a little bit too sci-fi-y in my opinion and may turn some people away from reading a good book if they don’t think they’d like that genre as you mentioned. But it works. The author’s introduction was great and I enjoyed hearing the whole process of how this book came to be. Especially since I actually own a copy of Hot Sleep with the “horrible cover” that he’s talking about! I’ll have to post it. It’s certainly not an OSC cover, but it’s such a classic pulp sci-fi cover with the naked girl getting carried away by aliens or what have you.

    I was hooked right away with the paragraph…how can you not be??? It was just perfect. Very intriguing and I wanted to read more right away. I love Justice and Jason. Such mysterious characters but such incredible characters and if I wasn’t so tired I would’ve gone right into chapter 3 to read Jason’s story. Lared and Sala are great too. Really looking forward to the rest of this one!

  2. LOL @ Chris with “a little bit too sci-fi-y” and I will second that. It’s only because I am not a SciFi reader. I will watch all the shows, but have avoided reading. I didn’t think it was interesting. That said, I wanted to read a book by Orson Scott Card. I love the intro and the process he went through. I didn’t like the parents at first…well, I still don’t like the mother. But even though the father is too harsh, I think he loves his son…but he has too much false pride.

  3. I’m late getting started with this month’s book after having an ARC I had to read and a final book for a reading challenge that’s about to end. I just started the book last night, but I think I can catch up, so I figured I’d join in. The cover – I’m not sure if I like it. It’s kind of intimidating, definitely sci-fi though. The cover alone would not have made me pick up the book. I really enjoyed the intro, very interesting. This book hooked me right from the start. How could it not with talk of days of pain, the end of Worthing and golden ages being over. The idea of them living in world with no pain was interesting to me. Then the pain came and they couldn’t understand what had happened and thought God had gone away and abandoned them, or that God had died. I wasn’t sure about the time thing with the Grandmother’s death. I think it was Lared saying he remembered one of the travelers speaking to her last night, and her answering him long ago. Does this come up again or did something go over my head? I like Jason and Justice so far, but I can understand the parents being suspicious. I wouldn’t like it if someone could communicate with my kids in a way I couldn’t understand. Lared’s mother seems very harsh and unkind toward him. His father is also very strict, but seems to care more. I guess we’ll see. I’m excited to read on.

  4. I agree that the cover isn’t the best choice for drawing readers in 🙂 It doesn’t look very friendly to newbie sci-fi readers. If I hadn’t already fallen in love with Card through Ender’s Game…I don’t know that I ever would have picked this one up.

    The book opens with an unusual family scene. Because they were living in a pain-free world, when a person would die, the people left behind, the loved ones would be “numbed” to it. The death, the funeral, the immediate sense of loss and shock (that punch in the gut) would be taken away. It would seem as if it happened long ago. So the false memories “oh it happened a long time ago. No need to feel sad today” was part of their pain-free existence. With the Day of Pain came the realization that grandma didn’t die a year ago. She’s right there in our house–not even buried yet. The grief is being felt especially by Lared’s father for the very first time.

    Those passages have an almost dream-like quality to them. Or maybe I’m the only *weird* one out there that has dreams like that.

  5. Thanks Becky. That makes sense. I figured I wasn’t making a connection somewhere.


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