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Stories 14 and 15

Story 14:  The Visitor by Marisa Silver, from the 12/03/07 issue of The New Yorker.

This is a somewhat claustrophobic story, while at the same time feeling like a treatise for a longer novel.  Candy is a nurse's aide at a VA hospital who also has to deal with the deteriorating health of the grandmother who raised her.  Candy's world is very small: the hospital, the apartment she shares with her grandmother.  She finds similarities between the newest arrival at the hospital, a mute multiple-amputee, and her own sense of self.  It's an odd story because it's not about the War, nor is it really just about Candy.  Most of the story worked for me and I felt for Candy even at the end.


Story 15: Teacher's Pest by Orson Scott Card, from First Meetings in the Enderverse.

The second story in Card's small anthology of novellas that expand his Ender Wiggin universe takes place chronologically after the first story ("The Polish Boy") and while it picks up on some of the themes therein, it really is its own story.  John Paul Wiggin meets Theresa Brown, the woman we know from Ender's Game that he is destined to marry.  Fate seems to have brought them together -- or was it the machinations of The Hegemony and the International Fleet?  This might be the story in the set that has the most boldly political stance, with lots of talk of science vs. religion and the concept of "one world government" and how that might be sabotaged.  And yet, it is also the story in the set that is most boldly romantic.  A nice balance struck by Card.  Again, though, some of it might be lost on you if you haven't yet read Ender's Game.

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