Ender’s Game

By: Orson Scott Card
The Ender Quintet (The Ender Universe)
1977
Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Ender's Game

I’m not going to lie: I was pretty excited to read Ender’s Game.

It was recently made into a movie (with a pretty killer cast), appealing to the same audiences as The Hunger Games, The Giver, Divergent, The Maze Runner, so on and so forth, ad nauseam. The whole YA sci-fi crowd.

And I had heard of it, but I hadn’t heard too much about it (read: I didn’t know anything about it other than the name).

So when I found it at a friend’s house, I scooped it up and inhaled it during a weekend at the beach.

It was not.at.all. what I expected.

First things first, the main character is a 6 year old for half of the book.

Wha.

I have a strong suspicion that the movie takes a few liberties in regard to his age (but I haven’t seen it, so I have no idea, really).

It was okay. The most interesting part about it for me was the Author’s Introduction (that’s probably a bad sign, when your favorite part wasn’t even the novel itself…). In it, Orson Scott Card gives away a bit of his reasoning and a lot of inspiration. The idea of extremely young soldiers was set into motion by realizing how young most of the soldiers of the Civil War were.

As many as 20% of Civil War soldiers were younger than 18.

Children.

Oh yeah, by the way, that’s what this book is about. A futuristic world where extremely young children are pegged as geniuses and sent off to a military training school.

In space.

So it’s all about gravity, and creativity, and loneliness, and leadership, and humanity, and the survival of the species. It’s tinted with religion and racial tension and cruelty and family.

It isn’t stellar writing. There are several ideas that are underdeveloped and confusing, but the sheer innovation of Card’s mind is magnificent.

He mentions this idea in the introduction, that so often great writers are reinventing old, classic literature; but this is far from the case for the genre of science fiction in particular. What makes science fiction great is it’s absolute creativity. You can only develop Asimov so far before you’ve got to make it your own somehow.

Ender’s Game is a major thought experiment.

But it hooked me enough to want to read the second!

 

*****

 

Fan of Ender’s Game? Here are some suggestions:

(for sci-fi classics)

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

(for themes of child soldiers)

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

(for space sci-fi with a child as the main character)

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Young Miles by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

The Giver by Lois Lowry

(for more by Card)

Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card

(for books referenced by Card)

Army of the Potomac by Bruce Catton

Aku-Aku by Thor Heyerdahl

Masada by Yigael Yadin

The Source by James Michener

 

Coming up:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Ground Rules by Renee Swann

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

2 Comments

  1. Sara, I am a huge fan of Ender’s Game and I have to warn you that the movie is completely different. I just want to warn you for when you finally pick up the book. As you mention, there are differences with his age and, to me, that is a huge part. In the book, you see him age in a few years and see the system take advantage of him because of that. In the movie, you don’t see him age. Remember in the movie where Ender is at the lake visiting his sister? Well, in the book it had been years since he had seen her and that is a part of the emotions set in the story line.

    • Ah! Thanks for the warning, Faylinn! I haven’t seen the movie yet – I’ve only read the book. But it sounds like I wasn’t too far off assuming it would be pretty different!

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