Friday, May 14, 2010


Wyrms is a fantasy "quest", set in a futuristic time and planet. The teenage girl, Patience is the legitimate ruler of the world, but is currently a slave to the actual ruler. The ruler uses her for her skills at assassinations, but once her father dies, she flees so she is not killed.

The planet is home to "superDNA" that adapts and consumes all living organisms. Thus, wheat, once bred on the planet, will soon become a new "super-wheat", with enhanced traits. The wheat genome is "wrapped" in the genome of the super species. The original beings want to do that to Humans also (the heroine is the 7th 7th 7th daughter, who is predicted to be the "mate" of the ""unwyrm".)

In the end, the heroine mates with the unwyrm, but manages to kill him in the process. Her quick-to-be-born offspring dies shortly thereafter. She thus saves the human race, and then engages in a peaceful coup to take over her rightly throne and lives happily ever after. (Though she still questions why it was good to preserve humans instead of the "superior" race that she may have mothered.)

Card wrote this between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, and it clearly shows. There are a lot of the same themes from those, as well as the Alvin Maker and the Homecoming saga. He is considered with different biological interactions of non-earthly beings as well as "non-verbal" calling and impulse control of others. It's almost as if he took some of his other books, mixed them a twisted version of a Tolkein universe, and popped out with Wyrms.

It also explores some moral ambiguities. Many people in the novel are "slaves", but the relationship with the master is more akin to modified employment. Technological innovation and killing are two traits that humans had brought to the planet. Destroying metal allowed the wyrms to reduce the strength of technology. However, murder is still a source of power.

At times the book slows to a crawl with long bouts of philosophy. Some of this could have been better tied in to the actual story.

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