By Orson Scott Card
Tor Forge, $21.99, 237 pages

This is the story of Julian “Bean” Delphiki, as he and three of his children escape the planet that considers them failed experiments. They exploit relativity to seek a cure for life-shortening giantism, but their research cannot limit physical growth without turning off “Anton’s Key” to intellectual brilliance.  This story continues the Shadow storyline, introducing Bean’s children as new characters. It will appeal to Card’s fans, and to those who enjoyed sci-fi legend Robert Heinlein’s generation-spanning novels. Fans of the Formic Wars and those committed to peaceful encounter will both find food for thought in this story.

Bean’s children; “Sergeant,” Carlotta, and Ender (named for Julian’s friend, Ender Wiggins), experience the angst and developmental crises of precocious children while growing up with only their siblings and father in a spacecraft. Surprising twists on the themes of alien encounters and terraforming of new planets leads to both great potential for continuation of the Shadow storyline and also contemplation of the human (and not so human) experience.

Reviewed by Brenda Searle