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“Lack of truthfulness doesn’t weaken a story if you can get enough people to believe the lie.” —Visitors
by Orson Scott Card
Two Riggs mean twice the adventures—and twice the trouble. Now that Rigg has a copy, they have decided to diverge. One will attempt to get to Earth and stop the invasion. The other will explore the wallfolds of Garden and decide if the walls should stay up or come down.
The Rigg that goes to Earth is willing to destroy his parent planet if that is the only option for protecting Garden. He quickly discovers that the situation is not that simple. Earth may be in as much danger as Garden from an enemy that cannot be fought or reasoned with.
Meanwhile, the original Rigg explores his own world. He encounters slavery and murder, and is faced with the dilemma of how to use his powers. As a time traveler, he can change anything he wants, but should he? If he allows people to die, is he complicit in their murders? He cannot save everyone…or can he?
The final installment of the Pathfinder series has everything from Neanderthals to alien races. The brain-tickling problems that come with time travel continue, this time compounded with moral questions. Just because Rigg can save a life doesn’t mean he should, but how can he let people die horrific deaths when he has the power to change the outcome? At what point does free will become an illusion? Visitors again expands Rigg’s world from a few wallfolds to several populated worlds, and provides readers with an extremely satisfying ending.
- Umbo and Param kiss several times. Years later, when they are married, Param is irritated that her husband never asks for intimacy or “even wait[s] around as if hoping.”
- Leaky wonders if she is infertile or if her husband is.
- Leaky admits she had a botched C-section, and was so, “torn up inside the midwife said [she’d] never be able to bear.”
- Ram plays matchmaker with Noxon and Deborah, to which Deborah says, “We didn’t agree to mate and make babies.”
- When speaking of Neanderthals and Erectids (extinct species), a man describes their mating as “being kidnapped and sequestered” while his daughter insists it is “rape.”
- Square, one of the first people to grow up with a facemask, discusses the need for him to mate with Umbo. “And when you take a mate and we find the best way to get facemasks on your babies.”
- Noxon is copied, and both copies are in love with Deborah. The Noxon who was not exposed to radiation decides he will be Deborah’s husband because his gametes are likely superior to the Noxon who was exposed to radiation.
- Noxon kisses Deborah. “Whereupon Noxon sprang from his chair, took her into his arms, and kissed her . . . She responded with as much enthusiasm as was appropriate with her father present. Which was to say that, upon repetition, in private, the whole business seemed to work much better.”
- Umbo realizes Param will have to marry him or kill him, because he could become a political threat to her. “It should be clear that in order to keep you from being a divisive force in the kingdom, she either has to marry [me]…Or kill me.” Param decides to marry him.
- To explain Rigg’s face, Ram Odin lies and says Rigg’s face melted in a fire.
- Umbo’s father hits Umbo and breaks his son’s skull. “Father began striking him with the flat of the blade, hitting him on the shoulders and the side of his head, until young Umbo hung limp and unconscious . . .‘”I think the skull is broken here. Look how it’s swelling, but it looks dented anyways.’”
- Rigg visits a tiny town where a young girl was raped and murdered. “He tried to kiss her and she was still too young and small to put up much of a fight. When he was done with the rape, she was crying and her clothing was torn . . . he dragged her to her feet and strangled her. It was brutal. He held her up and she flailed and kicked, but her arms weren’t long enough to reach his eyes and her kicking him did no good.”
- When exposed, a murderer commits suicide.
- In one version of the future, Loaf’s throat is slit, his wife is run through with a sword, and their baby is thrown out of a second story window. Umbo is told that this is what happened as he does not witness any of it.
- A man kills Deborah. “He had a fist-sized stone in his hand and he was bringing back his arm and before Noxon could come out of sliced time to shout at Deborah the stone was already in the air . . . It struck Deborah on the side of the head . . . and dropped her instantly.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Shut up is said several times.
- Son-of-a-bitch is said once.
- Ram asks the expendable if he has an anus, and if it works.
- Rigg and Ram discuss the morality of going back in time and preventing a young girl from being raped and murdered. Ram says, “You can’t just go killing people because you know they’re going to do something terrible…because until he does the murder, he doesn’t deserve to die.”
- Rigg comes to the conclusion that while he has, “this godlike power to force other people not to do evil…choos[ing] not to use it doesn’t make [Rigg] evil.” He decides on a course of minimal change.
- Umbo wonders if the replication of genes is all there is to life, since “we evolved so that our greatest pleasure comes from sex.”
by Morgan Lynn