Posted by: Mish | November 2, 2008

Ender’s Game

How can I begin, but like how others told me about the book? So, “Read Ender’s Game“. That’s it. They didn’t go into plot or any other details that usually occur when recommending books. So I finally got a copy, flew through it, and am in agreement that Ender’s Game is a “must read”. I’m tempted to leave it at that, but for the sake of this being a review won’t.

In what is perhaps Orson Scott Card’s most acclaimed novel, Earth’s government breeds military geniuses. At the top of his class, young Ender Wiggin wins all the games used for training. He knows Earth may not survive a third attack by aliens, but doesn’t think he’s the one to save it.

In Ender’s Game, space and technology are used to explore society and possibilities. The idea that at the age of 6 children are trained for war is scary enough, but add in that they are bred for that is more so. Gravity, or lack thereof, can make or change the game. Present are leadership and respect, how they can be earned or lost, and the concept of nice versus good. Also brought to question is isolation to bear creativity. Is it humans or qualities and abilities that form humanity?

The character and plot development are superb. One can’t help but love Ender and sympathize for him. Despite a few characters’ beliefs, faults, or actions, the reader can understand what caused them. Orson Scott Card is excellent at digging into things without forgetting his main storyline. He grasps the reader’s attention quickly and holds it fast. He’s deep, but witty and humorous at the same time. I’ve now read two novels and a few short stories by Orson Scott Card, who has quickly risen to be one of my favorite writers. The rest of the Ender series are in the queue, along with a few others books by him.

For some, the fact that Ender’s Game is of the science-fiction genre may be a turn off. Yes, it does involve spaceships, but without the associated high-tech mumbo jumbo. Once begun, its genre will disappear into the outer limits while the content remains. Published in 1985, Ender’s Game stormed the science-fiction universe, winning the Hugo and Nebula awards and making the top of bestseller lists. Taken from the cover, Gene Wolf says that:

Card understands the human condition and has things of real value to say about it. He tells the truth well- ultimately the only criterion of greatness. Ender’s Game will still be finding new readers when ninety-nine percent of the books published this year are completely forgotten.

Quotes:

  • “There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.”
  • “Nature can’t evolve a species that hasn’t a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, but the race as a whole can never decide to cease to exist.”
  • “Any decent person who knows what warfare is can never go into battle with a whole heart.”

Dedicated to the best theatre dog I was lucky to work with. Ender Wiggin, 5 minutes.

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