I read this story quite a while back with no special expectations. Like most books I read it just happened to be lying around the house. I read it, was hugely entertained, and went on to read three or four of the sequels.I've heard since all manner of 'stuff' about the author but what's true and what isn't I don't know and I'm not here to critique the man behind the keyboard. All I can do is report on the contents of the book and those I can thoroughly recommend you check out.The main character, Ender Wiggin, through whose eyes we see the story unfold, is a child genius. If you're one of those people who wants your protagonist to be an average member of society, typical of his/her age and gender... step away. Ender's story is told because he is very far from ordinary. OSC employs a bunch of fairly standard story-telling tricks. Our hero is underestimated at every turn, he exceeds expectations, we know he's got it in him and we're frustrated by the stoopid people who just won't see it. There's a bully/nemisis and nobody else but us sees just how nasty he is... However, OSC manages to bake an irresistable cake using those standard ingredients and once he starts sprinkling on originality as well, you've just got to eat it all.This is sci-fi, not hard sci-fi, not soft sci-fi... let's say 'chewy'. It has a slightly old school EE Doc Smith feel to it, and you expect someone to pull out a monkey-wrench whenever the computer starts smoking, but none of that worried me. There definitely is some characterisation going on. We're not talking Asimov's Foundation here where brilliant ideas invite you to forgive cardboard characters. The people here are decently drawn and Ender has his own angst (involving genius psychopathic syblings) that is quite engaging. However, it's the stuff that goes on that drives the story. The war games in preparation for battling the aliens, the unfortunately named 'Buggers'. These war games and Ender's brilliance in overcoming increasingly dire odds are a major theme and I loved them.And then there's the twist. I'll say no more on that except that I was too engaged with the story to see it coming, and when it hit me ... well, I'd give the book 6* just for that moment. It doesn't work for everyone but it did for me!.Alejandro
I decided to read the novel basically because the incoming film adaptation and I wanted to read the original book before of watching the film. I am aware of the controversial opinions about sensitive social subjects, but I want to keep that out of this and only commenting about my impressions about the book itself. First of all, I doubt highly that the film adaptation will be so crude in certain developments of the story mainly because of that the protagonist of the story is a child. And commenting about the shock made for the book, it's obvious that it's provoked due that the protagonist is a child. This very same story using an adult, even a young adult, and this book wouldn't impress anybody. However I think that establishing that this is a story set into the future of humankind, I think that how the children think, talk and act here is not far-fetched. Maybe in 1985 could be, but now? Now, children have all the access to internet just like this "futuristic" story sets, and now kids "mature" very quickly, not a real maturity but the expose to so much information in the web and the interaction on social networks, forums, blogs, etc... make them to "act like adults" before their time and also it make them to lose sensibility on how treating living things. So, that angle is very visionary. Now, the development, I found odd that in his life on Battle School, you only get the practices and exercises, and you only read about how Ender learn from his peers and never from the teachers, it's supposed to be a school but you never see how are "classes" there. It's like if he wouldn't any valuable education from adult teachers. The book was really interesting while Ender was still very young but as soon he got a promotion to commander, I think that much of the "spark" of the narrative was lost. It's kind of a rule on these military sci-fi stories that they have to battle against insect-like species? Like on Starship Troopers. I guess that it's easier to get a lot of killing without provoking so much social shock. I am sure that when Peter did some awful things to one single squirrel disturbed a lot of people, me included, but killing insects? If a kid kills an animal, it's a sure signal that they have a psychopath on their hands, but killing a cockroach? An ant? A wasp? Unless you are a monk in Tibet, you have kill an infinite quantity of insects on your life and you didn't think twice about it again. So, the easiest way to make people confortable with massive killing is convincing them that they are not killing sentient life forms but dang bugs. And, yes, that not only works here in this book but in many dark moments in history. And in the story there are a couple of different deaths that I won't get in details to avoid make spoilers but I can understand why they provoke so much disgusting, getting back again taking in account that children are protagonists in this book.Lithium
I wanted to like Ender's Game. I really did. It's a wonder that even after more than halfway into the book, I still clung on to the foolishly optimistic notion that the book would somehow redeem itself. That it would end up justifying the tedious, repetitive, drearily dull chapters I trundled through over the course of several days (which is unusual, since I'm generally a fast reader).It pains me to say it, as a hardcore fangirl of science fiction, that one of sci-fi's most beloved and highly regarded novels did not do it for me. Actually, that is understating it. While I'm at it, I'll just duck and blurt it out: I loathed Ender's Game. Deep breaths. Let that sink in. Let the hate flow through you. Good, strike me down...I am unarmed. Okay. Now let's get to it.Was it because the expectations I had in my mind were unreasonably high and thus were responsible for ruining the book for me? No way. I make no bones about the fact that Ender's Game, regardless of the respect and popularity it commands in sci-fi circles, is an inherently bad novel. Why, though, you might ask. Why such vitriol for the book? Here you are, then. 1) Bad plotting: It didn't take me long to realise that after I was past Ender's arrival at the Battle School, every - literally every chapter thereon until his return to Earth - was more or less the same thing. Battle games, beating the shit out of kids, battle games, switching back and forth to Armies, battle games. It was so repetitive that I was exhausted at the end of every.single.chapter. Page after page after page of six year old, seven year old, eight year old Ender and his buddies zooming about in ships trying to freeze one another's socks off. Wheeee!2) Lack of characterisation: There are no personalities. There are no motivations. You never learn anything about the characters except that they are the good guys or the bad guys. Ender is brilliant at everything. He NEVER loses. Not once. Bernard, Stilson and Co. are the bad guys. They're evil baddies cause dey r jealuz of ender's brilliance omg!!! That's it. No background, no depth, no internal conflicts. No motivation. Words cannot express how two-dimensional and woefully lacking in personality the characters are.3) Demosthenes and Locke. What the heck was that all about? I appreciate Card's prescience about the 'Nets' and blogging before it was around, but come on, this is pushing it a bit too far. How, I beg you, how are we supposed to take the idea that a pair of kids end up taking the world by posting in online forums and blogging? As if we people of the internet didn't have enough delusions of grandeur already. ;)4) Now, this really gets my goat:I had to wait for the last 20 pages to get information that was of any worth to the story at all. I'm talking about Mazer's Rackham explaning (view spoiler)[the buggger's communications system (hide spoiler)] to Ender. As for the 'twist ending': I honestly, and I mean, honestly did not find that riveting. It was predictable and, worse, did not justify all that I had to read to make my way to the end. 5)Also: It was hard to feel for Ender. I say this as a high-school nerd in my own day, as the reviled and hated and made-fun-of socially awkward kid who wanted to be good at whatever they did. But that doesn't make me any more sympathetic to Ender. Honestly, I fail to see what's so great about Ender anyway. I am so infuriated at Card for this. Apart from Ender's claim to intelligence (which is never completely explained, by the way) there is nothing, NOTHING, that is worth justifying him as the protagonist of one of scifi's supposedly best books ever. Yes, he loves his sister Valentine. Yes, he doesn't want to hurt people. Yes, he goes ahead and does it anyway. Again and again. (view spoiler)[(Ending up murdering two school boys in the process. Uhm, major wtf there.) (hide spoiler)]I am rarely so caustic about the books I read, but this time I feel I am justified in doing so. I had such hopes for this book. Not impossibly high or anything. At the very least, I had expected to like it, you know? I remember, as I worked my way past chapters 4,5,7,10,14...I expected it to get better. I expected myself to be mistaken at the initial dissatisfaction, then incredulity, then mild annoyance and then a string of sad sighs and resignation to dislike. Alas, I wasn't mistaken. I felt betrayed. I thought this book was right up there with those 'kindred ones', you know? The sort of books you can come back to again and again. Instead, what I got was a bad plotline, progressively unrealistic plot developments, and a cast of flat, lifeless, unpleasant characters to boot. Ender's Game, how I wish I had loved you. Why did you forsake me thus.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>UniquelyMoi ... So I Can Shine...
5+ blown away stars!What do you get when you mix Meet the Robinsons with Lord of the Flies? You get a 6 year old boy named Ender Wiggins trying to save the world from buggers. Sound like a kid’s book? Think again. Ender’s Game is one of the most thought provoking books I’ve read in a very long time. I found myself questioning my ideas about right and wrong, good and evil, trust and mistrust, and was unable to put it down. I was completely invested in Ender’s “game” and everyone and everything in this incredible world created by Orson Scott Card.So, not sure if you’d like a novel like this? Neither was I, but take it from someone who can’t stand books without romance and who really doesn’t care for science fiction – this story is incredible and I’m so, so sorry I waited as long as I did to read it. When you’re in the mood for something different, I’d encourage you to give Ender’s Game a try.Riku Sayuj
Ender’s QuestionsI happened to see the new movie based on this book and it has prompted me to indulge in a little bit of speculation about on an old favorite. Ender’s Game is quite an interesting book to think about.(view spoiler)[It is built on a simple (simplistic even) premise: A truly great leader has to understand himself and his enemy. He has to have supreme empathy, enough to understand their every move. And if he is indeed great, he’ll then understand them as himself. How then can he kill?Answer: He has to believe he is not killing. He has to be manipulated.Ender’s Game thus asks its questions:1. Can any leader who killed his enemy be considered really great? 2. Can the noble kill unless we make it a game? War has to be a game?One twist I would have liked more than what transpired would have been if Ender had willingly let himself be deceived — that would have been closer to the real world.This book poses some more interesting questions, more than just about the aims of war, but about the very conduct of war itselfIn war we have to effect two things to ensure success:1. Demonize the enemy for the soldiers.2. Make the war itself a game for the leader.Two levels of illusion are needed.Of course, making a kid make these choices was probably to drive home the absurdity of the whole scenario.+++++About the movie itself: The movie mostly glosses over the other ‘game’ that Ender thinks is a game and is proven to be real. There are two games in the book, both sides of a war playing with the one person who could have stopped it.One gets what they want. The other does not. The wrong party gets through to Ender.Is it because the ‘buggers’/formics were trying to be too clever? What if they had let him know it was not a game?At some point if either of the two illusions could have been broken, genocide could have been averted?Ender is then supposed to go on to become one of the wisest figures in sci-fi canon. Wisdom came from being so throughly misled?In not giving prominence to one entire half of the book, not to mention forgoing giving much of a role to the real Peter and Valentine, the movie does great disservice to the fine texture of the book. That said, the movie is better than what I had expected.However, in making these two omissions (the game & the siblings), the script-writers has ensured that they will have their work cut out for them when those aspects come back with a vengeance in the sequels. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>Wealhtheow
I read this book in 7th grade. I remember it so exactly because still, to this day, I distinctly remember sprinting up the stairs to get to the bookshelf to read the next chapter. It is an absolutely engrossing tale of a small boy involved in a big war, filled with heartache and camaraderie and betrayal and cleverness.The problem is that Orson Scott Card hates queer people and liberals so much that he's written a number of novels entirely about how awful they are. He posts screeds about how gay people should be put into camps. He is a hateful bigot, and I can no longer read his books without remembering that. And almost as bad, now that I'm older, it's all too easy to see how manipulative the story of Ender's Game is. Time and time again Ender commits a horrible act, but is forgiven (both textually and authorially) because he was innocent of mind, and because he was driven to it by the constant, unremitting abuse and neglect he suffers from those in authority. Looking through the book as an adult, I realized that Ender's doctrine (which Card and the characters he speaks through, like Valentine or Graff, repeatedly tell us is morally righteous) is to destroy his enemies, and then be pitied because his victims "forced" him kill them. It's pretty creepy. John Kessel talks about the problem of Ender-as-innocent-scapegoat much better than I over here: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_0... (it's an excellent essay, and I highly recommend taking the time to read it).Ender's Game is a book that's really satisfying while you still feel that the whole world is against you. But once you grow up, it's too easy to see Card behind the scenes, pulling the strings.karen
ender's game is pretty awesome, when it's not being boring.and of course it is just me - in class yesterday the parts i mentioned as being boring TO ME were other people's favorite parts. and this is all due to a design flaw in me: i am physically incapable of visualizing action sequences. in movies, they make it so easy. in books, i frequently have to reread scenes a few times before i can orient myself. throw in zero gravity and weapons that don't actually exist, and i am loster than lost.but - the parts of this that are good (to me) were very very good. why have i never read this before?? because i thought it was a total little boy book - all outer space and video games. and it is. but it is also about the formative years of a military savant - pushed nearly beyond his endurance into this pit of loneliness and pure strategy and honed into a killing machine. usually i hate precocity, but this was just brilliant. i liked so many of the characters, i loved watching ender progress, i just loved every minute of it. and even the parts i couldn't wrap dumbhead around, they were still fast-paced, even though i couldn't understand "wait, so who is hiding behind the star?? and who has been flashed? and what does that cord attach to??"and of course, all that it has to say about the role of ethics on the military and about the suppression of the individual in these circumstances is gorgeous.and if you like this book, be sure to check out o.s.c's many review of snacks and other sundries:this one is pretty informativei am sorry this review is crap, but i am supposed to be studying for a midterm. plus, almost everyone has already read this, so it's not like i am discovering anything here.Raeden Zen
An Epic Feat of Storytelling“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.” –Colonel GraffAndrew “Ender” Wiggin is the child prodigy destined to save the human race from extinction. He has a child’s mind but a supercomputer’s intellect and he struggles with the monumental task of defeating an enemy that he has never known or seen. He is a walking paradox, a natural born killer with sympathy, a child masquerading around as a man, a reluctant leader against the “buggers.” By the time we meet Ender, the buggers have already attempted two invasions of Earth. They are a superior race with a collective mind; a third invasion could well be on the way.And so the people of Earth turn to a so-called “third,” - a third born in an overpopulated world where “thirds” are rare - to take on the buggers. But they aren’t a hundred percent sure he’s their boy. So they put him through a series of trials and war games to determine his lethality and cunning and intelligence in commanding an army in war. The prose is smooth as water, the dialogue pitch perfect, the use of metaphor and irony perfectly placed and by the end of “Ender’s Game” you’ll feel like you fought in the Battle Room. That you know Ender. That you know Peter and Valentine. That you know Alai and Hot Soup and Dink and Bean and Commander Graff and Major Anderson. And of course, after you read the final chapter, “The Speaker for the Dead,” you’ll feel like you know the buggers too. “…I’m very good…”“Would you expect less?” she said. “You’re a Wiggin.”“Whatever that means,” he said.“It means you are going to make a difference in this world.”This exchange between Valentine and Ender is what makes this tale so sad; children robbed of their innocence in a paranoid world. Ender isn’t even a teenager when he endures the abuse of the Battle and Commander Schools – he is Colonel Graff’s pawn in a galactic game of chess, a game the colonel believes he can win because no species with intelligence could do what he was doing; no intelligent species could willingly and systematically turn children into warriors. It is this fundamental breakdown of morals in a futuristic world that makes “Ender’s Game” resonate so strongly.The bottom line: “Ender’s Game” is speculative fiction at its finest. Ender is the heart and soul of the story; the psychology of human behavior explored through the eyes of a phenom in a futuristic galaxy at war as humans insatiable taste for conflict bares its ugly teeth in the most destructive manner possible. Fight with Ender. Win with Ender. Above all, learn from Ender, from his mistakes and victories and his struggle with morality.Charly
** spoiler alert ** Spoiler Alert***God damn did I hate Ender’s Game. I checked out Amazon and can surely see why I wanted to give it a shot. Talk about a cult following of people absolutely smitten with it. I even read some where that it’s on the required reading list at Quantico. I suppose this book could be some kind of manifesto for misfit nerds who waste their life playing video games or a source of legitimacy for motivating tired Marines sick of drilling (The book rambles on infinitely about the boy genius Ender and his laser tag in a zero gravity vacuum.) I also suppose we could kid ourselves into thinking the novel brings to light the necessity of Machiavellianism in conflict or maybe we could discuss the pathetic New Age garbage the book ended with as our annoying protagonist spreads some half crocked neo-religion amongst space colonies in which you love the enemy you are forced to annihilate. Some sort of cryptic Latter Day Saints plug by the Mormon author? There were several other things I couldn’t stand about it. First of all, like even the best science fiction, the characters were one dimensional card board cut outs. This starts with the dorky, self absorbed protagonist Ender himself. I can deal with this problem if the plot is cool enough (ala Dune). Dune, too, often times dealt with children geniuses, however it was explained and made sense in the story. We have no idea why Ender and the other children (of which 99.9% were male) are so smart. Speaking of children, did any of you guys pick up any sort of creepy pedophile vibe in this book? How many times were we told of naked little boys? Why were there references to their tiny patches of pubic hair? Why did Ender have to have his big fight naked while lathered with soap in the shower? And the corny Ebonics that the children randomly spoke in? WTF? The third rate and minuscule insight we were given about the geopolitical conditions on Earth were terribly dated. The Warsaw Pact dominated by Russia? What a cheap rip of Orwell. Lame! The side story about Ender’s genius two siblings also using Machiavellian tactics to achieve their political goals (instead of Ender’s military ones) by blogging on the internet really didn’t add up to beans in plot development if you ask me. Of course, Ender is never beaten at anything he does. I suppose we are to be awed by his victories but, strangely, his greatest triumph was his stoic willingness to use some sort of super weapon to destroy an enemy wholesale via exploding an entire planet. On the cover of my book, it suggests this book is appropriate for 10 year olds. What could a child get out this book? Boo to Ender’s Game!!!!!Stella ☢FAYZ☢ Chen
If I fail my exams this week, I blame this book.Ah Ender's Game, how you have sat on my bookshelf for over a year before I got to you. You have been so nicely received by the sci-fi community so why did I put you off? BECAUSE I WAS STUPID, THAT IS WHY.My stupidity aside, I hope you guys will still consider this 5-star review to be credible and valid. I'll list off the pros and cons to this novel and you can decide.Pros:An adorable main character. Ender (Andrew) Wiggins was a breath of fresh air from the strong heroine of YA literature. Being a 6 year old at the beginning of the novel, I was completely caught off guard by his maturity and how sneaky he was.The tactics used in the Game.The reason the Hunger Games was interesting to me were solely due to the tactics Katniss used to stay alive, Well, guess what? Ender Wiggins just pretty much kick this Katniss chick's butt. Ender almost reminded me of Alexander the Great or Napoleon and I LOVED IT.Oh the perceptive of Valentine and Peter was also very fascinating. The political backdrop highlighted by Demosthenes and Locke was very refreshing for a science student like me. Now, I shall move on to the cons:The lack of romance.OMG WHO AM I SUPPOSE TO SHIP NOW? NO DARK, MYSTERIOUS BOY WHO THE MAIN CHARACTER CAN FEEL SEXUALLY FRUSTRATED FOR.Haha, just kidding. I am glad the focus was on Ender and his growth to his maximum potential. The lack of romantic development is one of the best thing about this novel. I find romance takes away from such a masterpiece.Just to be clear, there are no cons to this book. I am just a fool who never listen to others' opinions and it often comes back to bite me in the rear.Joke's on me, I suppose.Matt
i think 'ender's game' is the only book i've read three times. for me books often don't have repeat reading value in the same way some movies have repeat viewing value. it's probably because a movie takes two hours of your time while a novel, for me, takes a week or longer. so for someone like to me read a novel twice, not to mention three times, is really saying something [and yes, i realize the inherent snobbery in that statement].i've thought long and hard about what makes 'ender's game' so appealing. it's got a sympathetic protagonist, lots of great action, lots of heart, and a plausible twist of an ending. on those merits only 'ender's game' works. it's a lot of fun to read and orson scott card manages to inject some really moral and ethical quandries without resorting to didactism or heavy-handedness. for example, the manipulations of the battle school powers-that-be are presented and inspected, but card never explicitly paints them as the enemy. they are who they are, for better or for worse, but it's up to the reader to for his or her own opinions. same for ender and his merry band of castoffs. card understands that good v. bad is never as simple as black v. white. the world and universe are, more often than not, varying shades of gray. and the folks who inhabit that gray universe, for better or for worse, are who they are. they all have a part, they all have a purpose--even if those parts and purposes contradict each other.'ender's game' is also a great story of the value and importance of friendship. i choke up everytime ender's friends great him over the headset and the kids prepare for the final 'battle.' who wouldn't want friends like bean, petra, hot soup and the rest? i sure would.but i think the real appeal for 'ender's game' comes from the belief that we all want to believe that there's something uniquely special about us. i think it's safe to assume that most of us have, at one point or another, felt like the underdog, the castoff, the misfit, the misunderstood, or the underappreciated, and that if people would just give us a chance, we'd shine. in that way ender is very much a universal character. he embodies a small part of each ous. yes, he is treated unfairly and manipulated, but he's also the smartest kid in the room. there's something very appealing about that. at least there is for me. whether or not i'm the smartest person in the room is irrelevant, but i want to believe it. and whenever i read 'ender's game' there's a small hope that it just might be true.Meg
I didn't think I liked Sci Fi. Maybe I still don't... but you have to be on mind-altering drugs not to LOVE this book. Actually, mind-altering drugs might make it better. Hmm.Kyle Nakamura
This has to be, hands down, one of the best science fiction books written. Ender's Game is set in a disarmingly straightfoward sci-fi setting: a near future earth threatened by a hostile alien species with superior technology that seems determined to destroy the human race. The story centers on a young boy who is drafted into an all-consuming military training program at the age of 6. The program he's inducted into seeks to forge a new generation of military commanders out of gifted children, and it's sole purpose is to break them at any cost, until they finally discover someone who can't be broken. What follows is an emotionally complex and at times painfully familiar story of children struggling to accept their inner demons. Ender in particular is cursed with a brutal combination of profound empathy for others, and an overwhelming survival instinct that drives him to win no matter what the cost. It is this combination of gifts that may make him the commander the fleet needs in it's war against the alien invaders, but only if Ender can find a way to survive the burden of understanding his enemy so thoroughly that he can no longer see them as "the other," but as a reflection of himself. The story is fast-paced, and Card's signature style of simple, plain language and streamlined descriptiveness serves to bring the characters front and center at all times. This book is infused with a very real sense of psychological and spiritual dislocation, and treats it's young protagonists as fully realized, intelligent, 3 dimensional characters struggling with very adult questions. Card's other signature: creating drama through ethical dilemmas, is also a central element of the story, and he does a very good job of challenging the reader to find some semblance of moral high ground anywhere. The conflicts between characters are made all the more powerful by the almost total lack of mystery: motivations and intent are laid out very clearly in most cases, and it is the reader's ability to empathize with everyone's point of view that makes the story less about winning and loosing and more about living with the consequences of either. This book is thought provoking, emotionally complex, and ethically challenging. It's a powerful examination of conflict and violence, military necessity, family roles, and the ways in which we use the idea of "the other" to justify all manner of savagery.Kristjan
I first read Ender's Game the same year it was published; I was a marginally successful junior in a US Service Academy at the time, and well on my way to forming my current negative opinion about how such works. What ever other critiques readers might have about Card's story here, IMHO he nailed the military training environment, complete with psychological manipulation and Machiavellian intrigue. I am not surprised to hear rumors that Ender's Game might even be promoted by the military training establishment. Even before this book was published, my training cadre made no secret of how they were using 'significant emotional events' to reshape our personalities to conform to the expected standard ... Much like Graft attempts to manipulate encounters for Ender at the Battle School. This was made slightly more difficult after hazing became illegal; it didn't actually eliminate it, just moved it into the shadows. Needless to say, my first encounter with the book evoked a very strong affinity with the protagonist. First cut gets 5 stars.Another significant concept Card presented in the story was that such a system inevitably fails ... As in it doesn't predictably (limited correlation) create your top military commanders during war time and can in fact hinder their development. Unfortunately I don't believe Card's solution is very realistic. Throwing away the rulebook in order to foster social isolation and constant exposure to violence at an early age does not create individuals who are strong, independent leaders ... It creates sociopaths. Fortunately Card seems to have a knack for knowing when he may have pushed too hard, as Ender immediately becomes overwhelmed with angst about his actions. About the only benefit I get from these rather irritating episodes is an opportunity to expose ethical talking points (which I took advantage of when I re-read the book with my preteen). Several critics seem to believe that they know which side Card comes down on these issues (e.g. Is Xenocide always evil? ... Is it ever necessary?) ... Strangely enough, there is little unanimity among them (I actually think Card leaves it up in the air for each reader to think about). There are other areas in the story that I could pick apart, in fact an army of critics have already done so (and to some extent they have valid points); however, I still find the over all story to be an excellent starting point for talking about how we go about determining ethical behavior, both within our society and in response to a potential foreign encounter.Marvin
I believe it was A. E. Van Vogt who said, "The Golden Age of Science Fiction is 14." And in fact, much of the classic science fiction of Heinlein and others feed into the mind of the adolescent boy. The protagonist Ender is an adolescent's dream. He is alone, alienated and feels he is not appreciated for how special he is. In other words, he is the average teen male or at least how the average teen male sees himself. Add on the naive and egotistical worldview envisioned by Heinlein and it is no wonder why adolescents flocked to the science fiction pulps of the 50s. In fact it can be argued that the teen sci-fi fan of the 50s was not all that different from the Emos of our generation.Ender's Game was written in 1986. Yet it reads very much like a Heinlein novel and the plot and themes are not all that different from Starship Troopers. Card was smart enough to add in video games and the internet as waves of the future but the old Cold War mentality and the "might is right" philosophy hangs on. This is why this somewhat sadistic journey of a six year old child to his role as sci-fi messiah is so disturbing. Ender is brilliant but it is his habit of extreme violence that attracts him to his superiors. This appears to be a virtue in the author's eyes. In fact, one of Ender's teachers spell it out in no uncertain terms. "The power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you."Keep in mind this is being said to a six year old boy.This is the basic theme of the novel. Violence is never extreme enough if it is for a good cause. This idea is never really questioned by Ender or anyone. At the end there is a twist that appears to lay doubt. However is not the basic moral issue in question but the assumption that sets the means to the end in playThis is why I cannot give this novel anything more than two stars. Card isn't a bad writer although some of his action scenes are muddled and he had an annoying habit of changing to third to first person and back for no reason. This was his first novel but I've never read anything else by him so I don't know if he developed any better habits. But this kind of philosophy in any story, especially one that appeals to teens, is disturbing to me. I'm OK with the idea of a young boy with talent being challenged and persecuted. It is a stalwart of YA literature. Harry Potter is an excellent example. But Card seems to preach "If you can't beat them, join them but just be a better fascist than they are."While we are on the subject, Orson Scott Card is also known for his rather conservative social and religious viewpoints. One of those is his opposition to gay marriage and his basic revulsion to homosexuals in general. So why does his book have so many scenes of young boys running around and wrestling in the nude? Not to mention that the aliens are nicknamed "Buggers". I see some major issues here. Mr. Card, please seek help.