Speaker for the Dead

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Speaker for the Dead (1986) is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card and a sequel to the novel Ender's Game.


  • Sickness and healing are in every heart. Death and deliverance are in every hand.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and therefore should be treated with great caution.
  • This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones that we really believe in, and those we never think to question.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless. No one's life is nothing. Even the most evil of men and women, if you understand their hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at least a little, from their sins.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • Only one rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So, of course, we killed him.
  • The best parts of my intellectual life are tangential, in areas outside my expertise. I supposed because within my area of expertise, the regulations they have placed upon me make it impossible to know or understand anything.
  • I understood that she didn’t want to be liked. As if she were a visitor who expected to go back home any day.
  • You are the one human being who is capable of understanding the alien mind, because you are the alien mind; you know what it is to be unhuman because there’s never been any human group that gave you credentials as a bona fide homo sapien.
  • His eyes were seductive with understanding.
  • Marriage is not a covenant between a man and a woman; even the beasts cleave together and produce their young. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman on one side and their community on the other.
  • Don’t ever try to teach me about good and evil. I've been there; you’ve seen nothing but the map.
  • My, but I miss the days when we never talked to each other for weeks at a time.
  • Ignorance and deception can’t save anybody. Knowing saves them.
  • It wasn’t a matter of confession, penance, and absolution, like the priests offered. It was something else entirely. Telling the story of who she was, and then realizing that she was no longer the same person. That she had made a mistake, and the mistake had changed her, now she had become someone else, someone less afraid, someone more compassionate.
  • I speak to everyone in the language they understand. That isn’t being slick. It’s being clear.
  • There’s so much that we don’t understand. And so much more that you don’t understand. We should tell each other more.
  • If people only react to the way that others treat them, then nobody is responsible for anything. If your sins are not your own to choose, then how can you repent?
  • It’s the dream of every living creature. The desire that is the very root of life itself: to grow until all the space you can see is part of you, under your control. It’s the desire for greatness. There are two ways, though, to fulfill it. One way is to kill anything that is not yourself, to swallow it up or destroy it, until nothing is left to oppose you. But that way is evil. You say to all the universe, Only I will be great, and to make room for me the rest of you must give up even what you already have, and become nothing.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • I’m not one to despise other people for their sins. I haven’t found one yet, that I didn’t say to myself, I’ve done worse than this.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • Once you know what people really want, you can't hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can't hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • As long as you keep getting born, it’s okay to die sometimes.
    • Andrew Wiggin
  • "There are worse reasons to die, than to die because you cannot bear to kill." "What about someone who can’t kill, and can’t die, and can’t live, either?" "Don’t deceive yourself. You’ll do all three someday."
    • Andrew Wiggin & Miro Ribeira
  • A question isn't an argument, unless you think you know my answer.
  • He loved her, as you can only love someone who is an echo of yourself at your time of deepest sorrow.
  • "You don’t know how much pain it will cause if all the secrets come out." "Take a look at my family. How can the truth cause any more pain than the secrets have already caused?"
    • Andrew Wiggin & Ela Ribeira
  • He was telling the truth, the story you wouldn't think to doubt because it’s taken for granted.
  • I think you can’t possibly know the truth about somebody unless you love them.
  • I knew her so well that I loved her, or maybe I loved her so well that I knew her.
  • He is dangerous, the infidel, the anti-Christ, he walks brazenly into places in my heart that I had kept as holy ground, where no one else was ever permitted to stand.
  • These people came for entertainment, but they're your targets; you will pierce them to the hearts.
  • If you really believed that someone was perfect in heart... So righteous that to live another day could only cause them to be less perfect, then wouldn't it be a good thing for them if they were killed and taken directly into heaven?
  • "Are you ready to reveal yourself to the rest of humanity?"
    "I’ve always been ready. The question is, are they ready to know me?"
  • I carry the seeds of death with me and plant them wherever I linger long enough to love. My parents died so others could live; now I live, so others must die.
  • [They] knew each other so well that there was often nothing to say. But without her there, [he] grew impatient with his own thoughts; they never came to a point, because there was no one to tell them to.
  • "I want to understand everything," said Miro. "I want to know everything and put it all together to see what it means."
    "Excellent project," she said. "It will look very good on your resume."
  • We become one tribe because we say we're one tribe.
    • Spoken by Human to Ender.
  • "Twisted and perverse are the ways of the human mind," Jane intoned. "Pinocchio was such a dolt to try to become a real boy. He was much better off with a wooden head."
    • Spoken by Jane to Ender
  • But they knew from that day forward who the piggies were, just as the readers of the Hive Queen had understood the buggers, and the readers of the Hegemon had understood humankind in its endless quest for greatness in a wilderness of separation and suspicion.
  • You killed more people than anybody in history." said Olhado, "Be the best at whatever you do, that's what my mother always told me.” said Ender

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