Three thousand years after the Xenocide of the Buggers, humanity has found another sentient species, the Little Ones (or more affectionately called the piggies). Colonists on their home planet Lusitania study the piggies with minimal intervention, determined not to repeat the mistake with the Buggers. But when the piggies commit gruesome murders of two Lusitanian xenologists, a Speaker for the Dead is called to Speak the meaning of the horrible crime.
The Speaker is Andrew Wiggen, who hides his identity as Ender, for that name is detested throughout the Hundred Worlds. On Lusitania, Andrew discovers the truth, helping the colonists understand the meaning of the murders and healing emotional wounds.
Where Ender's Game succeeds in the portrayal manipulation and struggle, Speaker for the Dead succeeds with empathy. We come to understand the piggies and why they committed the premeditated murders, which for them is the highest form of honor, intimately tied with their mode of reproduction. The novel is mature, focusing on how two civilizations can co-exist.
Like its prequel, Speaker for the Dead won the Hugo (1987) and the Nebula (1986).
Review written by Paul Urayama 07/98