Trivia: Speaker for the Dead

  • Defictionalization: The job description for a Speaker for the Dead is to do historical and narrative research into the dead person's life, and then get up at the funeral and tell the deceased's life story-as they would've told it. OSC reports that people have started to do this in Real Life, and that it is just as powerful as you might imagine. He writes in the introduction that he hopes someone will Speak at his funeral.
  • Executive Veto: OSC allowed Ender's Game to become a movie, but not Speaker of the Dead, which he finds unfilmable due to alternating between "talking heads and unbearable violence". Marvel Comics was still allowed to do a comic out of it.
  • Science Marches On: Xenology. In part thanks to books like this one, the xenologer's assumption that piggies have similar biology to humans (a pivotal part of the story) would scarcely be considered at all. In fact, even the study of the piggies would probably be avoided, given advances in remote probes.
  • Technology Marches On: 3000 years in future and the world hasn't changed much.
    • Right at the end of the book, Miro is very impressed by the AI's unique capability of... auto-completion.
    • The fact that the xenologists have no unobtrusive recording devices. We already have cameras attachable to eye-glasses, shouldn't be too hard to place a couple in their clothes or wherever.
    • Olhado's mechanical eyes aren't quite yet possible, but we can be sure that within five years of the first, very obviously mechanical version that we get, there will be ones that aren't easily distinguished as such from a distance. Also, even today, no one in their right mind would insert the plug in the other eye socket rather than at the side or back of the skull.
      • Olhado mentions that he could have opted for binocular vision instead of the socket, but decided on the latter. As it is, he sees everything as a flat image with people appearing as cardboard cut-outs.
    • The concept that a husband and wife can automatically gain complete read access to all the files of their mate, even the very important ones pertaining to their job, is rather ridiculous from today's information security standpoint. Of course, one must remember that they were living in a Catholic Mission colony in which marriage was still a high sacrament with lots of strings attached.
    • Likewise the concept of a team of a handful of people doing the work of dozens (Xenologists and Xenobiologist both) is completely ridiculous. As mentioned above in Science Marches On, it's unlikely that Xenologists would even be allowed to make contact, due to great advances in remote probes.
  • Write What You Know: OSC's Mormon mission trip was to Brazil. Lusitania is a colony made up of Brazilians.