Pastwatch

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Overview

In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

From the bestselling author of Ender's Game comes a stunning new novel of time travel. In a not-too-distant future that is not quite ours, there has ...

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Pastwatch

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Overview

In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.

From the bestselling author of Ender's Game comes a stunning new novel of time travel. In a not-too-distant future that is not quite ours, there has been a major scientific breakthrough--a way to open windows into the past, permitting historical researchers to view, but not participate in, the events of the past. On-line publicitty.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Card makes a strong case for being the best writer science fiction has to offer." —The Houston Post

"A bold and compassionate alternative history filled with believable historical and fictional characters. The author of Ender's Game and the Alvin Maker series clearly demonstrates his brilliance as a weaver of possibilities." —Library Journal

"Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus is the best book Orson Scott Card has written since 1985, when his Ender's Game won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Readable and engaging, full of likable heroes and unmistakable villains....Pastwatch raises many significant and vital questions about humanity's social development, that mixture of flaws and promise." —Locus

Roland Green
Given the political squabbles over America's traditional "discoverer," the subtitle of this novel might be enough to scare off many readers. Except, of course, that it is written by Orson Scott Card, one of the finest current writers of science fiction who possesses a rare feeling for both history and religion, as he has displayed in his saga of Alvin Maker, recently resumed in "Alvin Journeyman". The plot of his new book is fairly straightforward: three time travelers from a ruined and doomed future Earth journey to the time of Columbus' landing, hoping to alter events so that the contact between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres will be less disastrous for the American Indians, indeed, for the whole world. At the heart of the book, however, is a marvelous, enormously powerful portrait of Columbus himself. Another superior addition to a superior body of work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812508642
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Series: Pastwatch Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 402
  • Sales rank: 231,597
  • Product dimensions: 4.26 (w) x 6.78 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead. Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the only author to win these two top prizes in consecutive years. There are seven other novels to date in The Ender Universe series. Card has also written fantasy: The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series of fantasy novels set in frontier America; his most recent novel, The Lost Gate, is a contemporary magical fantasy. Card has written many other stand-alone sf and fantasy novels, as well as movie tie-ins and games, and publishes an internet-based science fiction and fantasy magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.  Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, Card directs plays and teaches writing and literature at Southern Virginia University. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and youngest daughter, Zina Margaret.

Biography

Any discussion of Orson Scott Card's work must necessarily begin with religion. A devout Mormon, Card believes in imparting moral lessons through his fiction, a stance that sometimes creates controversy on both sides of the fence. Some Mormons have objected to the violence in his books as being antithetical to the Mormon message, while his conservative political activism has gotten him into hot water with liberal readers.

Whether you agree with his personal views or not, Card's fiction can be enjoyed on many different levels. And with the amount of work he's produced, there is something to fit the tastes of readers of all ages and stripes. Averaging two novels a year since 1979, Card has also managed to find the time to write hundreds of audio plays and short stories, several stage plays, a television series concept, and a screenplay of his classic novel Ender's Game. In addition to his science fiction and fantasy novels, he has also written contemporary fiction, religious, and nonfiction works.

Card's novel that has arguably had the biggest impact is 1985's Hugo and Nebula award-winner Ender's Game. Ender's Game introduced readers to Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young genius faced with the task of saving the Earth. Ender's Game is that rare work of fiction that strikes a chord with adults and young adult readers alike. The sequel, Speaker for the Dead, also won the Hugo and Nebula awards, making Card the only author in history to win both prestigious science-fiction awards two years in a row.

In 2000, Card returned to Ender's world with a "parallel" novel called Ender's Shadow. Ender's Shadow retells the events of Ender's Game from the perspective of Julian "Bean" Delphinki, Ender's second-in-command. As Sam to Ender's Frodo, Bean is doomed to be remembered as an also-ran next to the legendary protagonist of the earlier novel. In many ways, Bean is a more complex and intriguing character than the preternaturally brilliant Ender, and his alternate take on the events of Ender's Game provide an intriguing counterpoint to fans of the original series.

In addition to moral issues, a strong sense of family pervades Card's work. Card is a devoted family man and father to five (!) children. In the age of dysfunctional family literature, Card bristles at the suggestion that a positive home life is uninteresting. "How do you keep ‘good parents' from being boring?" he once said. "Well, in truth, the real problem is, how do you keep bad parents from being boring? I've seen the same bad parents in so many books and movies that I'm tired of them."

Critical appreciation for Card's work often points to the intriguing plotlines and deft characterizations that are on display in Card's most accomplished novels. Card developed the ability to write believable characters and page-turning plots as a college theater student. To this day, when he writes, Card always thinks of the audience first. "It's the best training in the world for a writer, to have a live audience," he says. "I'm constantly shaping the story so the audience will know why they should care about what's going on."

Card brought Bean back in 2005 for the fourth and final novel in the Shadow series: Shadow of the Giant. The novel presented some difficulty for the writer. Characters who were relatively unimportant when the series began had moved to the forefront, and as a result, Card knew that the ending he had originally envisioned would not be enough to satisfy the series' fans.

Although the Ender and Shadow series deal with politics, Card likes to keep his personal political opinions out of his fiction. He tries to present the governments of futuristic Earth as realistically as possible without drawing direct analogies to our current political climate. This distance that Card maintains between the real world and his fictional worlds helps give his novels a lasting and universal appeal.

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    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

PASTWATCH (Chapter 1:The Governor)

There was only one time when Columbus despaired of making his voyage. It was the night of August 23, in the port of Las Palmas on Grand Canary Island.

After so many years of struggle, his three caravels had finally set sail from Palos, only to run into trouble almost at once. After so many priests and gentlemen in the courts of Spain and Portugal had smiled at him and then tried to destroy him behind his back, Columbus found it hard to believe that it wasn't sabotage when the rudder of the Pinta came loose and nearly broke. After all, Quintero, the owner of the Pinta, was so nervous about having his little ship go out on such a voyage that he had signed on as a common seaman, just to keep an eye on his property. And Pinzón told him privately that he had seen a group of men gathered at the stern of the Pinta just as they were setting sail. Pinzón fixed the rudder himself, at sea, but the next day it broke again. Pinzón was furious, but he vowed to Columbus that the Pinta would meet him at Las Palmas within days.

So confident was Columbus of Pinzón's ability and commitment to the voyage that he gave no more thought to the Pinta. He sailed with the Santa Maria and the Niña to the island of Gomera, where Beatrice de Bobadilla was governor. It was a meeting he had long looked forward to, a chance to celebrate his triumph over the court of Spain with one who had made it plain she longed for his success. But Lady Beatrice was not at home. And as he waited, day after day, he had to endure two intolerable things.

The first consisted of having to listen politely to the petty gentlemen of Beatrice's little court, who kept telling him the most appalling lies about how on certain bright days, from the island of Ferro, westernmost of the Canaries, one could see a faint image of a blue island on the western horizon—as if plenty of ships had not already sailed that far west! But Columbus had grown skilled at smiling and nodding at the most outrageous stupidity. One did not survive at court without that particular skill, and Columbus had weathered not only the wandering courts of Ferdinand and Isabella, but also the more settled and deeply arrogant court of John of Portugal. And after waiting decades to win the ships and men and supplies and, above all, the permission to make this voyage, he could endure a few more days of conversation with stupid gentlemen. Though he sometimes had to grind his teeth not to point out how utterly useless they must be in the eyes of God and everyone else, if they could find nothing better to do with their lives than wait about in the court of the governor of Gomera when she was not even at home. No doubt they amused Beatrice—she had shown a keen appreciation of the worthlessness of most men of the knightly class when she conversed with Columbus at the royal court at Santa Fé. No doubt she skewered them constantly with ironic barbs which they did not realize were ironic.

More intolerable by far was the silence from Las Palmas. He had left men there with instructions to tell him as soon as Pinzón managed to bring the Pinta into port. But no word came, day after day, as the stupidity of the courtiers became more insufferable, until finally he refused to tolerate either of the intolerables a moment longer. Bidding a grateful adiós to the gentlemen of Gomera, he set sail for Las Palmas himself, only to find when he arrived on the twenty-third of August that the Pinta was still not there.

The worst possibilities immediately came to mind. The saboteurs were so grimly determined not to complete the voyage that there had been a mutiny, or they had somehow persuaded Pinzón to turn around and sail for Spain. Or they were adrift in the currents of the Atlantic, getting swept to some unnameable destination. Or pirates had taken them—or the Portuguese, who might have thought they were part of some foolish Spanish effort to poach on their private preserve along the coasts of Africa. Or Pinzón, who clearly thought himself better suited to lead the expedition than Columbus himself—though he would never have been able to win royal sponsorship for such an expedition, having neither the education, the manners, nor the patience that it had required—might have had the foolish notion of sailing on ahead, reaching the Indies before Columbus.

All of these were possible, and from one moment to the next each seemed likely. Columbus withdrew from human company that night and threw himself to his knees—not for the first time, but never before with such anger at the Almighty. "I have done all you set for me to do," he said, "I have pushed and pleaded, and never once have you given me the slightest encouragement, even in the darkest times. Yet my trust never failed, and at last I got the expedition on the exact terms that were required. We set sail. My plan was good. The season was right. The crew is skilled even if they think themselves better sailors than their commander. All I needed now, all that I needed, after everything I've endured till now, was for something to go right."

Was this too bold a thing for him to say to the Lord? Probably. But Columbus had spoken boldly to powerful men before, and so the words spilled easily from his heart to flow from his tongue. God could strike him down for it if he wanted—Columbus had put himself in God's hands years before, and he was weary.

"Was that too much for you, most gracious Lord? Did you have to take away my third ship? My best sailor? Did you even have to deprive me of the kindness of Lady Beatrice? It is obvious that I have not found favor in your eyes, O Lord, and therefore I urge you to find somebody else. Strike me dead if you want, it could hardly be worse than killing me by inches, which seems to be your plan at this moment. I'll tell you what. I will stay in your service for one more day. Send me the Pinta or show me what else you want me to do, but I swear by your most holy and terrible name, I will not sail on such a voyage with fewer than three ships, well equipped and fully crewed. I've become an old man in your service, and as of tomorrow night, I intend to resign and live on whatever pension you see fit to provide me with." Then he crossed himself. "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen."

Having finished this most impious and offensive prayer, Columbus could not sleep until at last, no less angry than before, he flung himself out of bed and knelt again.

"Nevertheless thy will not mine be done!" he said furiously. Then he climbed back into bed and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning the Pinta limped into port. Columbus took it as the final confirmation that God really was still interested in the success of this voyage. Very well, thought Columbus. You didn't strike me dead for my disrespect, Lord; instead you sent me the Pinta. Therefore I will prove to you that I am still your loyal servant.

He did it by working half the citizens of Las Palmas, or so it seemed, into a frenzy. The port had plenty of carpenters and caulkers, smiths and cordwainers and sailmakers, and it seemed that all of them were pressed into service on the Pinta. Pinzón was full of defiant apologies—they had been adrift for nearly two weeks before he was finally able, by brilliant seamanship, to bring the Pinta into exactly the port he had promised. Columbus was still suspicious, but didn't show it. Whatever the truth was, Pinzón was here now, and so was the Pinta, complete with a rather sullen Quintero. That was good enough for Columbus.

And as long as he had the attention of the shipworkers of Las Palmas, he finally bullied Juan Niño, the owner of the Niña, into changing from his triangular sails to the same square rigging as the other caravels, so they'd all be catching the same winds and, God willing, sailing together to the court of the great Khan of China.

It took only a week to have all three ships in better shape than they had been in upon leaving Palos, and this time there were no unfortunate failures of vital equipment. If there had been saboteurs before, they were no doubt sobered by the fact that both Columbus and Pinzón seemed determined to sail on at all costs—not to mention the fact that now if the expedition failed, they might end up stranded on the Canary Islands, with little prospect of returning anytime soon to Palos.

And so gracious was God in answering Columbus's impudent prayer that when at last he sailed into Gomera for the final resupply of his ships, the banner of the governor was flying above the battlements of the castle of San Sebastián.

Any fears he might have had that Beatrice de Bobadilla no longer held him in high esteem were removed at once. When he was announced, she immediately dismissed all the other gentlemen who had so condescended to Columbus the week before. "Cristóbal, my brother, my friend!" she cried. When he had kissed her hand she led him from the court to a garden, where they sat in the shade of a tree and he told her of all that had transpired since they last met at Santa Fé.

She listened, rapt, asking intelligent questions and laughing at his tales of the hideous interference the king had visited upon Columbus almost as soon as he had signed the capitulations. "Instead of paying for three caravels, he dredged up some ancient offense that the city of Palos had committed—smuggling, no doubt—"

"The primary industry of Palos for many years, I'm told," said Beatrice.

"And as their punishment, he required them to pay a fine of exactly two caravels."

"I'm surprised he didn't make them pay for all three," said Beatrice. "He's a hard loaf, dear old Ferdinand. But he did pay for a war without going bankrupt. And he has just expelled the Jews, so it isn't as if he has anybody to borrow from."

"The irony is that seven years ago, the Duke of Sidonia would have bought me three caravels from Palos out of his own treasury, if the crown had not refused him permission."

"Dear old Enrique—he's always had far more money than the crown, and he just can't understand why that doesn't make him more powerful than they are."

"Anyway, you can imagine how glad they were to see me in Palos. And then, to make sure both cheeks were well slapped, he issued a proclamation that any man who agreed to join my expedition would win a suspension of any civil and criminal actions pending against him."

"Oh, no."

"Oh, yes. You can imagine what that did to the real sailors of Palos. They weren't going to sail with a bunch of criminals and debtors—or run the risk of people thinking that they had needed such a pardon."

"His Majesty no doubt imagined that it would take such an incentive to persuade anyone to sail with you on your mad adventure."

"Yes, well, his 'help' nearly killed the expedition from the start."

"So—how many felons and paupers are there in your crew?"

"None, or at least none that we know of. Thank God for Martin Pinzón."

"Oh, yes, a man of legend."

"You know of him?"

"All the sailors' lore comes to the Canaries. We live by the sea."

"He caught the vision of the thing. But once he noised it about that he was going, we started to get recruits. And it was his friends who ended up risking their caravels on the voyage."

"Not free of charge, of course."

"They hope to be rich, at least by their standards."

"As you hope to be rich by yours."

"No, my lady. I hope to be rich by your standards."

She laughed and touched his arm. "Cristóbal, how good it is to see you again. How glad I am that God chose you to be his champion in this war against the Ocean Sea and the court of Spain."

Her remark was light, but it touched on a matter quite tender: She was the only one who knew that he had undertaken his voyage at the command of God. The priests of Salamanca thought him a fool, but if he had ever breathed a word of his belief in God's having spoken to him, they would have branded him a heretic and that would have brought an end to more than Columbus's plan for an expedition to the Indies. He had not meant to tell her, either; he had not meant to tell anyone, had not even told his brother Bartholomew, nor his wife Felipa before she died, nor even Father Perez at La Rábida. Yet after only an hour in the company of Lady Beatrice, he had told her. Not all, of course. But that God had chosen him, had commanded him to make this voyage, he told her that much.

Why had he told her? Perhaps because he knew implicitly that he could trust her with his life. Or perhaps because she looked at him with such piercing intelligence that he knew that no other explanation than the truth would convince her. Even so, he had not told her the half of it, for even she would have thought him mad.

And she did not think him mad, or if she did, she must have some special love of madmen. A love that continued even now, to a degree beyond his hopes. "Stay the night with me, my Cristóbal," she said.

"My lady," he answered, unsure if he had heard aright.

"You lived with a common woman named Beatrice in Córdoba. She had your child. You can't pretend to be living a monkish life."

"I seem doomed to fall under the spell of ladies named Beatrice. And none of them has been, by any stretch of the imagination, a common woman."

Lady Beatrice laughed lightly. "You managed to compliment your old lover and one who would be your new one, both at once. No wonder you were able to win your way past the priests and scholars. I daresay Queen Isabella fell in love with your red hair and the fire in your eyes, just as I did."

"More grey in the hair than red, I fear."

"Hardly any," she answered.

"My lady," he said, "it was your friendship I prayed for when I came to Gomera. I did not dare to dream of more."

"Are you beginning a long and gracefully convoluted speech that will, in the end, decline my carnal invitation?"

"Ah, Lady Beatrice, no decline, but perhaps postpone?"

She reached out, leaned forward, touched his cheek. "You're not a very handsome man, you know, Cristóbal."

"That has always been my opinion as well," he answered.

"And yet one can't take one's eyes from you. Nor can one purge one's thoughts of you when you're gone. I'm a widow, and you're a widower. God saw fit to remove our spouses from the torments of this world. Must we also be tormented by unfulfilled desires?"

"My lady, the scandal. If I stayed the night."

"Oh, is that all? Then leave before midnight. I'll let you over the parapet by a silken rope.

"God has answered my prayers," he said to her.

"As well he should, since you were on his mission."

"I dare not sin and lose his favor now."

"I knew I should have seduced you back in Santa Fé."

"And there's this, my lady. When I return, successful, from this great enterprise, then I'll not be a commoner, whose only touch of gentility is by his marriage into a not-quite-noble family of Madeira. I'll be Viceroy. I'll be Admiral of the Ocean Sea." He grinned. "You see, I took your advice and got it all in writing in advance."

"Well, Viceroy indeed! I doubt you'll waste a glance on a mere governor of a far-off island."

"Ah, no, Lady. I'll be Admiral of the Ocean Sea, and as I contemplate my realm—"

"Like Poseidon, ruler over all the shores that are touched by the waves of the sea—"

"I will find no more treasured crown than this island of Gomera, and no more lovely jewel in that crown than the fair Beatrice."

"You've been at court too long. You make your compliments sound rehearsed."

"Of course I've rehearsed it, over and over, the whole week I waited here in torment for your return."

"For the Pinta's return, you mean."

"Both were late. Your rudder, however, was undamaged."

Her face reddened, and then she laughed.

"You complained that my compliments were too courtly. I thought you might appreciate a tavern compliment."

"Is that what that was? Do strumpets sleep with men for free if they say such pretty things?"

"Not strumpets, Lady. Such poetry is not for those who can be had for mere money."

"Poetry?"

"Thou art my caravel, with sails full-winded—"

"Watch your nautical references, my friend."

"Sails full-winded, and the bright red banners of thy lips dancing as thou speakest."

"You're very good at this. Or are you not making it up as you go along?"

"Making it all up. Ah, thy breath is the blessed wind that sailors pray for, and the sight of thy rudder leaves this poor sailor fullmasted—"

She slapped his face, but it wasn't meant to hurt.

"I take it my poetry is a failure."

"Kiss me, Cristóbal. I believe in your mission, but if you never return I want at least your kiss to remember you by."

So he kissed her, and again. But then he took his leave of her, and returned to the last preparations for his voyage. It was God's work now; when it was done, then it was time to collect the worldly rewards. Though who was to say that she was not, after all, a reward from heaven? It was God, after all, who had made a widow of her, and perhaps God also who made her, against all probability, love this son of a Genovese weaver.

He saw her, or thought he saw her—and who else could it have been?—waving a scarlet handkerchief as if it were a banner from the parapet of the castle as his caravels at last set forth. He raised his hand in a salute to her, and then turned his face westward. He would not look again to the east, to Europe, to home, not until he had achieved what God had sent him to do. The last of the obstacles was past now, surely. Ten days' sailing and he would step ashore in Cathay or India, the Spice Islands or in Cipangu. Nothing could stop him now, for God was with him, as he had been with him since that day on the beach when God appeared to him and told him to forget his dreams of a crusade. "I have a greater work for you," God said then, and now Columbus was near the culmination of that work. It filled him like wine, it filled him like light, it filled him like the wind in the sails over his head.

PASTWATCH Copyright © 1996 by Orson Scott Card

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 44 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 45 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2000

    Great Book! Again Orson Scott Card evokes emotion and thought like few authors can.

    I admit it. I have been a fan of Orson Scott Card for a while now but I wasn't prepared for how much I was enthralled in this book. I read it in three days, reading almost non-stop (much to the chagrin of my wife). Orson Scott Card complains to Sid Maeir in the jacket for distracting his time with the great PC game 'Civilization'. I add my complaint to Orson for making me useless for anything else while reading this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    Fascinating read.

    I have purchased this book more often than any other book of any kind. As with any younger male, I like the science fiction genre of time travel, really, who doesn't? Anyway, this is a book that has a bit of everything, history, character growth and just enough technicality to not overwhelm and yet satisfy the tech geeks. Not much more I can say without giving away any of details of the book but if you have ready any of Orson Scott Cards books, this is a good choice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Fantastic

    As a historian and a native american I appreciate how fun it was to read through this fantasy novel

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    AWESOME!

    A MUST READ FOR THOSE WHO ENJOY HISTORICAL FICTION. MICHENER-ESQUE!

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    Check this out!

    I'm not usually a reader of science fiction! My style goes more toward historical fiction. This book combined the two and made it a great read. The question it asked is what might happen if we could go back in history and make a few changes? What would the end result be and would it be worth it? It was the first time in a long time that I read something that was hard for me to put down, kept me guessing until the end, and still haunts me long after I've finished reading. What more could a reader ask for?

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    Another home run!

    Card once again proves why he's the king of sci-fi. Huzzah!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2007

    ¿What if Columbus Didn¿t Go Back to Spain?¿

    If you love science fiction, then Pastwatch is for you. Tagiri works at the Pastwatch Station in Juba. Pastwatch is an international organization who looks at the past. While there, her husband Hassan, their daughter Diko, and Kemal are working to study Christopher Columbus. They are seeing if they can create an entirely different future than theirs where the world is not on the edge of war and famine by stopping this one man. Not even knowing if they can time travel yet to stop him, they continue their research. When Hunahpu joins the project, scientists have finished the time machine, and then Hunahpu, Diko, and Kemal decide to go back to stop Columbus and create a unified Mexican empire. They are leaving everything they love behind to make a better world for everyone else. This book was very excellent. It had a strong theme of what could have happened. Orson Scott Card blends words together like magic to create flowing settings and dynamic characters. He pulls you into the book and doesn¿t let go. There are still some parts that were confusing, though. Pastwatch has some advanced concepts that can be challenging. In a few parts, it is difficult to follow the plot too. If I could, I would read it over and over. It was spellbinding and excellent. Here are some other ¿must knows¿ about Pastwatch. It is, unfortunately, not part of a series, even though a sequel may be coming out soon. This novel is like no other book or television show I have seen or read. It is one of a kind. Science fiction fanatics and history lovers alike will be mesmerized by this book. If you have read and liked any alternative history books, Orson Scott Card books, or science fiction books, you will also like Pastwatch. Card¿s masterpiece is so good you won¿t be able to set it down until you are finished.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2006

    Ender and Alvin fans will like this book

    If you have read the Ender series or the Alvin Maker series this story will seem very familiar. Card combines the futuristic hi-tech, like Ender, with the alternate history of real events, like Alvin, to invent a story about Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World. Pastwatch is a good read and an interesting story that brings up some interesting things to ponder. If you are a fan of either Ender or Alvin this story will not be disappointing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2004

    This is for Ender's Game fans

    Full of suspence and magic, this book is is original, breath-taking and fully satifyable to those sci-fi and history lovers out there. I highly recommend this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2004

    Entertaining and Thought-Provoking

    Rarely can an author successfully combine a sad but factual history, current societal and global dilemmas, and a bleak, distant future world into a beautiful science fiction novel. Orson Scott Card accomplishes such a task, and this was one of the most entertaining and intellectually stimulating science fiction novels I have come across. `Pastwatch¿ is a great book for history buffs, Sci-Fi readers, and anyone who enjoys pushing the envelope of their imagination. A worthy contender to Card's most famous Sci-Fi novel, 'Ender's Game'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2002

    Unbelievable!!!

    In the beggining, where Card told of Columbus' expierences as a child it can be a bit boring, almost made me stop reading the book. But by the end, you can't help but wonder, what would have happened. The most thought provoking book, and not to mention, great read, I have ever read in my life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2002

    Thrilling!

    This was a different side of Card from Ender. A different kind of SF, but a very interesting one. Makes you think about things you didn't think about before. Very intriging. Can't put it down intill you're finished.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2001

    Details are Everything

    The premise is excellent, but the historical details sell the concept. NOT light reading. Made me stop frequently to ponder the consequences of many actions. Only negative point... the ending. Below par in comparison to the rest of the novel. Still, I frequently recommend this title to friends.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2001

    Who were the REAL Christians?

    I'm an Ender fan, but this is different from his Ender Wiggins series. It's a 'what if' and, more importantly, a 'why?' book. It reminds us all that our Euro-centric world was built at the tip of a gun. What if things had happened differently? If Columbus was truly a fulcrum in history, how different would our world be today if we could alter him or his journey? Card does a good job of weaving history and speculation in this book. He makes us look twice at our benevolent ancestors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2001

    Superb

    The best SF I read in a long time. Compelling and engaging as (almost) all of OSC works, but with a strong historical background and a striking premise that makes one's assumptions tremble. One of the rare SF books which deals witl alternate socio-political systems in a consistent way. Highly recommendable for those who like to argue on the effects of the Spahish colonization of America.

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    Posted August 29, 2009

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    Posted May 3, 2011

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    Posted December 29, 2009

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    Posted April 20, 2009

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    Posted December 28, 2011

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