304: Nighttime Stories

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Nighttime Stories
Cue angry letters from all seven fans of Xenocide.
Title text: Cue angry letters from all seven fans of Xenocide.


This comic introduces a man who observes a woman walking around at midnight reading a book that he can't see. After wondering what book she's reading, he leaves his apartment to ask her. It is revealed that she is reading Orson Scott Card's book Xenocide, the third book in the Ender series behind Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. Xenocide is widely 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. The joke is that Xenocide is so bad that he can't be anyone who considers it a good book.

The title text pokes further fun at Xenocide by saying that there are only seven people in the world who like Xenocide, a pathetically small number.


[ Man sitting in an armchair in a darkened room, behind him a bookshelf and an open window. A girl is seen outside reading a book by an eerie glow]
For a few weeks now, sometime past midnight, a girl has wandered past my apartment reading by flashlight.
[Outside, the girl, 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 let's anyone into that island of light.
[ Man sitting in dark room ]
[ Dark room minus man ]
[ Man standing on his doorstep at the top of a small flight of stairs, near the bottom of which the girl has stopped, no longer reading. ]
Man: Hi! What are you reading?
Girl: Orson Scott Card's 'Xenocide.' It's my favorite in the series!
[ The same, only man looks more dejected ]
Man: Wait, you like it more than Speaker for the Dead OR Ender's Game?
Girl: Yeah!
[ The same, only man has withdrawn ]
[ Man back sitting in the chair within dark apartment ]
And to think I loved her.