Earth Unaware

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Earth Unaware
Book cover, first edition, Hardback
AuthorOrson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
Cover artistJohn Harris
CountryUnited States
SeriesEnder's Game series
GenreScience fiction
PublisherTor Books
Publication date
July 17, 2012
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages352 (Hardcover)
Followed byEarth Afire 

Earth Unaware is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston in the Ender's Game series. Published in 2012, it is the first book of a prequel trilogy to Ender's Game.[1][2] The novel is set before Ender Wiggin is born and tells the story of the first Formic War.[3] Earth Afire, the second book in the trilogy, was released on June 4, 2013,[4] and the conclusion, Earth Awakens, was released June 10, 2014.[5]


A family of "free miners" living on the spaceship El Cavador is working an asteroid far out in the Kuiper Belt when they detect what appears to be an alien ship decelerating from near light speed as it approaches the solar system. Meanwhile, Lem Jukes, son and heir of the hard-driving founder of the largest mining corporation, is also in the remote region, far from the prying eyes of competitors, secretly testing a "glaser" (gravity laser) that promises to revolutionize mining. Back on Earth, Captain Wit O'Toole goes recruiting among the elite New Zealand Special Air Service for the even more select, multinational Mobile Operations Police (MOPs).

Jukes orders his ship to "bump" El Cavador from the asteroid the family is mining, as it is the only suitable one nearby for his test. During the violent collision, an El Cavador crewman is killed. The miners hack into the corporate ship's network, planting a message for Lem Jukes and downloading confidential files pertaining to the glaser. Jukes, fearful of a scandal involving the death of a free miner and the danger of the miners selling the confidential files to his competitors, sets out for Weigh Station Four, where he intends to plant a hacker to strip El Cavador's files.

El Cavador's transmission equipment having been destroyed in the bump, the crew are unable to warn another mining clan about the intruder, and can only watch helplessly as the alien pod destroys them. El Cavador rescues a few survivors. In the meantime, Victor and a few others modify a "quickship," an automated vessel normally used to send processed metals to Luna, to carry one person to warn Earth. When the pod attacks El Cavador, the men on the quickship ram and disable the pod using mining equipment. During the attack, the aliens emerge to battle the humans. Their physiology is revealed to be Formic (ant-like).

El Cavador heads to Weigh Station Four to use their laserline transmitter. As a backup, Victor volunteers to take a datacube with the evidence of the aliens' hostile intentions to Luna aboard the quickship. The journey is perilous, but their duty is clear.

Meanwhile, the Juke ship makes its way to Weigh Station Four, only to come under attack from roughnecks who recognize the crew as despised corporates. Several of the attackers are killed by Chubs, a man seemingly junior to Lem Jukes, but revealed as having been assigned by Ukko Jukes to protect him. The corporates are still able to leave behind a hacker to strip El Cavador's files, but the scheme becomes moot when the Formic ship destroys the station.

El Cavador sends a short-range, broad radio call and is able to contact the Juke ship and a Chinese mining vessel. El Cavador sends its women and children aboard the Chinese vessel, which is too small to help in the attack. The plan is to plant mining explosives along the hull of the alien ship. Unfortunately, one of them detonates early, drawing the attention of the Formics, who at first engage the humans wearing space suits, but subsequently attack without any protection. Seeing the battle go against them, Chubs withdraws Lem Jukes and his men and moves the corporate ship away, as the Formic ship destroys El Cavador.

Victor arrives at Luna, only to be largely ignored and confined for his illegal arrival. Meanwhile, Wit O'Toole prepares his MOPs for any situation, including what he thinks is a hypothetical alien attack. Victor is eventually assigned a case worker who believes his story and helps him transmit the evidence onto the Nets.


  • Victor Delgado, a young mechanic of great talent who, along with his father and a young apprentice, keeps El Cavador running
  • Concepción Querales, captain of El Cavador
  • Lem Jukes, son of mining magnate Ukko Jukes and captain of the Makarhu, a corporate mining vessel
  • Captain DeWitt Clinton O'Toole, commander of the Mobile Operations Police (MOPs)
  • Lieutenant Mazer Rackham, a Maori soldier whom O'Toole is interested in recruiting
  • Alejandra, Victor's second cousin
  • Mono, Victor's assistant

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barnes & Noble. "Editorial Reviews: Publishers Weekly". Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  2. ^ Cassandra (28 March 2012). "Enders Ansible". Tor Books. Retrieved 9 August 2012.-Official Fan site
  3. ^ Johnston, Aaron (3 March 2010). "Aaron Johnston Books". Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  4. ^ Aaron Johnston [@AaronWJohnston] (October 30, 2012). "EARTH AFIRE, the sequel to EARTH UNAWARE by me and @orsonscottcard will be released on June 4, 2013" (Tweet). Retrieved April 12, 2013 – via Twitter.
  5. ^ Aaron Johnston [@AaronWJohnston] (October 23, 2013). "And hey look. The release date for Earth Awakens is June 10, 2014. Huzzah! Pre-order now." (Tweet). Retrieved November 11, 2013 – via Twitter.