Novak (novak) wrote,

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Random: Card drawing on L'Engle?

I just noticed a startling parallel between two books, making me wonder to what extent Orson Scott Card in his 1986 Hugo and and Nebula Award-winning Speaker For The Dead might have borrowed from Madeleine L'Engle's 1973 A Wind In The Door.

In Card's book, the key plot – again, I'm totally spoiling the surprise if you read further – comes from discovering that the alien species being observed is in fact a juvenile form of the species, which has to die in order to transform from a mammal to the adult form of a telepathic tree. It's a killer surprise in the story, incredibly alien to our perspectives, and a persistent mystery throughout the text, where the humans think that the species displays strange violence, murdering their own and planting a tree in the remains, and then acting as though nothing odd had happened. So I was surprised upon just re-reading L'Engle's A Wind In The Door, a "companion book" more than a "sequel" to her Newberry Medal-winning classic A Wrinkle In Time, and discovering essentially the same device, which I had long ago forgotten, and took to be utterly original when I read Card a few years ago. I've been looking online to see if anyone else has drawn out this parallel, but no luck as yet. Has anyone else here ever noticed this?
Tags: books, l'engle, literary, random

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