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Monday, December 17, 2007

Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

The story is set in the future, approximately the year 2070. An alien race known as the Formics (often called the Buggers by children) has attacked Earth twice. Humans were very nearly destroyed the second time around, and would have been annihilated were it not for the work of Mazer Rackham. Now the government is preparing for the next invasion, gathering all of Earth's brightest children and sending them to Battle School, where they will learn to use their military genius to win the next Formic War.

The story centers around a child named Andrew Wiggin (given the nickname "Ender" by his sister's mispronunciation of his name). At the beginning of the book, Ender is only six. He is recruited into the IF (the International Fleet) and taken to Battle School, where he endures six years of intensive training. But Ender is not just another one of the children at Battle School; he is the one on whom all the government's hopes are pinned. For Ender is the best of the best, the genius among genius, and he is to be the next commander of the human fleet.

I wonder if J.K. Rowling ever read Ender's Game. As I read it I often thought of Harry Potter. Maybe it was because both books focused on young children or that the training games reminded me of Quiditch. Also, the young heroes of the books have to grow up so fast and face so much responsibility - They both hold the lives of so many in their hands. Even though I can't quite identify the similarities, in my mind at least, there was a similar feel.

Ender's Game was first conceived of when Card was only 16 years old. It was many years later that it was first published in a Science Fiction magazine as a short story. Even later Card developed it into a book that was awarded the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. Ender's Game is used by the Marine Corps University at Quantico as a textbook on the psychology of leadership.

Thanks to Chris I own Speaker for the Dead which is a follow-up to Ender's Game. Card has said that Ender's Game was written specifically to establish the character of Ender for his role of the Speaker in Speaker for the Dead, the outline for which he had written before novelizing Ender's Game. I'm excitedly looking for to reading Speaker for the Dead.

13 comments:

Alyson said...

I've heard of this book before. It sounds interesting. I think I'll add it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review.

Les said...

I've only read the first in this series and enjoyed it quite well. Definitely need to move on and read the rest!

Stephanie said...

Nice review!! I have this one on my list to read next year (for the Cardathon!! Chris has been pushing this book for so long that I really have to read it!!

Suey said...

Another one you'll want to read soon is Ender's Shadow... which is the very same story as Ender's Game, only from Bean's point of view. I thought it was fascinating! Also, you get lots of Bean's background which is very interesting.

Bookfool said...

I loved Ender's Game, but wasn't too thrilled with Speaker for the Dead, so I stopped there. Suey has me curious about Ender's Shadow. Glad you got to read this gem! It's among my all-time favorites.

heather (errantdreams) said...

I do like this series. It's quite enjoyable!

Eva said...

I've been hesitant about reading this book for years. I'll have to look into it after your review!

Carl V. said...

I just finished this a few weeks ago for the first time, also because Chris sent me Speaker for the Dead! I loved it...was absolutely blown away by it. In the end it turned out to be so much more than I expected. I cannot wait to read Speaker for the Dead!

Framed said...

I thought this book was wonderful. My first sci-fi. I'm planning on reading Ender's Shadow and Speaker for the Dead, but I've heard the rest of the series isn't as good. Wasn't Ender a fascinating character?

lisabea said...

I read this years ago and loved it. But I didn't get into the other ones, which is too bad. I gave this to my son when he turned 13 and he loved it, too.

Chris said...

I'm just seeing you're review now, booklogged! I've been so busy lately! I'm so glad you read this one :) Can't wait to see what you think of Speaker! I agree with Suey as well...Ender's Shadow really is a fascinating book. It's more than just a retelling of Ender's Game as well, you get much more background info on Bean and get a whole different view of the story. Great review! Merry Christmas :D

Dewey said...

I couldn't get into this book and didn't finish it. But I love Card's Alvin Maker series. You might consider giving that one a try if you enjoy Card's writing.

Jeane said...

I LOVED Ender's Game, but didn't care much for Speaker of the Dead. You might try Ender's Shadow- it's basically the same story as Ender's Game, only told from the point of view of Bean (one of the other characters). May sound lame, but Card pulls it off really well.

By the way, I've never seen that book cover you depicted with your review. I'd like to get a closer look at it!