Maps in a Mirror

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Orson Scott Card is writing fiction that is as good as any produced by mainstream authors. The best stories in this volume compare well with those of such contemporaries as Louise Erdrich and Garrison Keillor. Card is producing an extraordinary body of novels in two series and has earned a string of Hugo and Nebula awards. In the Tales of Alvin Maker series, three volumes have appeared so far: SEVENTH SON, RED PROPHET, and PRENTICE ALVIN. In the Ender Wiggins series are also three novels: ENDER’S GAME, SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, and XENOCIDE.

This volume contains profound and exciting stories: chilling tales such as “Fat Farm” in Book 1; wondrous extrapolations such as “The Originist” in Book 2; moving fables such as “A Cross-Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon” in Book 3; and thought-provoking metaphysical fiction such as “Holy” in Book 4.

Another value of MAPS IN A MIRROR is the background information it provides. In the last of the book’s five sections, Card includes the original works from which his series grew. “Ender’s Game” first appeared as a short story in ANALOG (1977), and the prize-winning “Prentice Alvin and the No-Good Plow,” written in emulation of Edmund Spenser’s THE FAERIE QUEENE, became the seed for the Tales of Alvin Maker. In addition, in introductions and afterwords for each section, Card reveals much fascinating detail about the composition and publishing history of these and other tales, as well as about his artistic tastes, ambitions, and ideals.

Card’s fans will value this book for both the stories and the autobiography. New readers will discover an author well worth their time.