304: Nighttime Stories
Title text: Cue angry letters from all seven fans of Xenocide.
Cueball observes Megan walking around at midnight, reading a book that he can't see. Curious, he leaves his apartment to ask her what she is reading. It is revealed as Orson Scott Card's Xenocide, the third book in the Ender's Game series following Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead (and since followed by several other books). Ender's Game has been covered in other xkcd comics like 241: Battle Room and 635: Locke and Demosthenes, which cover events in the first book.
Xenocide is regarded by fans as one of the weakest books in the series, while Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead received extreme positive praise. When he discovers that she likes Xenocide more than the other two books, he instantly withdraws to his apartment, his opinion of her shattered. So far as Cueball is concerned, Xenocide is so clearly inferior that he could not be with anyone who 'wrongly' considers it to be the best of the series. This pokes fun at people like Cueball who have such strong opinions on books like Ender's Game that they could never get along with anyone who disagreed.
The title text pokes further fun at Xenocide by saying that there are only seven people in the world who would defend it, a laughably small number.
- [Cueball sitting in an armchair in a darkened room, with a bookshelf and an open window. Megan is seen outside reading a book by a glow.]
- For a few weeks now, sometime past midnight, a girl has wandered past my apartment reading by flashlight.
- [Outside, Megan walking down the street passing under a street lamp.]
- I wonder why she's up so late.
- Maybe she's restless
- Like me.
- I wonder what story she's wrapped up in.
- I wonder if she lets anyone into that island of light.
- [Cueball sitting in a dark room.]
- [Cueball has left the room.]
- [Cueball standing on his doorstep at the top of a small flight of stairs, near the bottom of which Megan has stopped, no longer reading.]
- Cueball: Hi! What are you reading?
- Megan: Orson Scott Card's 'Xenocide.' It's my favorite in the series!
- Cueball: Wait, you like it more than Speaker for the Dead or Ender's Game?
- Megan: Yeah!
- [Cueball has gone back in the house, leaving Megan standing alone.]
- [Cueball is sitting in the chair again.]
- And to think I loved her.
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