In Xenocide, Ender visits the Hive Queen with Miro and Valentine. At one point in Ender's conversation with the Hive Queen Jane accuses him of cheating, because she can't hear the Hive Queen's conversation.

Then, in Children of the Mind, it seems like Jane suddenly does have some way to speak to the Hive Queen. When Miro visits the Hive Queen, she mentions that she and Jane are searching for a greater danger and that she had discussed taking young Valentine's body for herself. It seems now Jane is suddenly able to converse with the Hive Queen whereas before she couldn't.

How is she doing this? (This is before taking possession of young Val's body).

P.S. And I don't think it is through philotic twines. Human (while conversing with the Hive Queen) doesn't use her as an example when he talks about how fathertrees and queens can do it.

And Human says

Maybe Jane is listening to us now.

To which the Hive Queen replies

No, I'd know her if she were linked to us. Her shape was made to fit too well with mine for it to go unrecognized.

  • I previously assumed that they had no communication. Jane was simply controlling the starship, and the Hive Queen deduced what Jane was doing, and was having her formic assist. I'd have to review the quote where the Hive Queen mentions that she and Jane are searching though. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 21:27
  • In the new book Jane apparently is a Hive Queen. But I doubt OSC had that in mind twenty-seven years ago, so I'm not sure if it's a good answer.
    – ibid
    Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


Philotic communication isn't like a public address system. Jane couldn't hear the Hive Queen because the Hive Queen chose not to speak to her. In fact the Hive Queen considered Jane to be a transitional entity called into existence solely to serve as a bridge between the Hive Queens and Ender. Once a direct connection to Ender was established, Jane was discarded, though she continued to exist.

Excerpt from Xenocide follows, a conversation between one of the fathertrees, probably Human, and the Hive Queen:

<How are you able to speak directly into Ender’s mind?>

<Now that we know where he is, it’s as natural as eating.>

<How did you find him? I’ve never been able to speak into the mind of anyone who hasn’t passed into the third life.>

<We found him through the ansibles, and the electronics connected to them—found where his body was in space. To reach his mind, we had to reach into chaos and form a bridge.>


<A transitional entity, which partly resembled his mind and partly ours.>

<If you could reach his mind, why didn’t you stop him from destroying you?>

<The human brain is very strange. Before we could make sense of what we found there, before we could learn how to speak into that twisted space, all my sisters and mothers were gone. We continued to study his mind during all the years we waited, cocooned, until he found us; when he came, then we could speak directly to him.>

<What happened to the bridge you made?>

<We never thought about it. It’s probably still out there somewhere.>

  • 1
    This does not answer how Jane is working with the Hive Queen before she takes over young Val's body (at which time the philotic communication starts). Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 14:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.