The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card

The Worthing Saga by Orson Scott Card (unabridged audiobook read by Scott Brick and a full cast; 18.5 hrs on 15 discs): The first half or so of this book is a novella about the life of Jason Worthing, a telepath born thousands of years before. Jason’s world revolves around Somec, a drug that basically puts people into suspended animation and is distributed out based on merit, not money, to preserve the “most valuable” individuals for future generations. The greater the value of the person, the greater the ratio of time asleep to time awake, with the Empress at the highest Somec levels: awake one day for every five years asleep. Like a pebble skipping across a pond, these people skip across time, and ultimately the human race stagnates, as the most innovative minds are never awake long enough to accomplish anything. This is also the story of Jason’s colony started from scratch, the colonists adults with the minds of infants. This part got a little preachy – one of the examples of how degenerate life in the capital city had become was how the citizens found defecation more offensive than fornication – but most of the rest of it was pretty good. The latter half was a bunch of short stories, some retelling tales from earlier in the book, others new stories of Somec. Though some of them were kind of interesting, the addition felt unnecessary. All in all, well, this book passed the time. It wasn’t especially engaging. I find Card to be hit or miss; this wasn’t a complete miss, but it wasn’t a hit either.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. I enjoyed this audio production, but I favored the Worthing Farm parts of it, and I agree the short stories about the Capitol weren’t truly necessary. But the book actually started as a collection of short stories, so it makes a certain amount of sense to have all the original material.

    Pathfinder seems to be set in the same universe as the Worthing Saga, and I really enjoyed that one (sequel coming out this year).

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