A while ago, there was an interesting conversation among the people I follow on Twitter. They were discussing books, and several people commented that one of the best books they had read was Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card. A book in the science fiction genre, that had quite a following, I found. I put it on my list of books to find at the library. About a month went by, as I had other books that needed to be read and reviewed. But with a holiday season coming up, I thought that it would be nice to have some "recreational reading." I checked out Ender's Game from the library on December 30 and finished it on January 1. I would have finished it earlier, but I needed to sleep and attend work, family, and New Year's Eve activities.
Somewhere in the future, children are bred to defend Earth against a hostile alien's next attack. By law, families can have only two children. The parents give up rights to the children for a while, as they are tested for their fitness to defend Earth. Part of the testing is to discover if a particular child can lead armies and have the fortitude to make hard decisions concerning the future of the human race. However, if the government decides that the parents have a good genetic base, they may authorize a third child, as the first two show excellent results, but not quite "perfect." The problem with this is that the family must absorb burdens placed on it by society. And the child is referred to as "Third," a term of derogation, noncompliance. The Wiggin family has a Third, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, who is six when the story begins. Ender, the government hopes, will strike a balance between his older brother, Peter, who is dangerous, given to fits of anger and destruction, and his sister, Valentine, who is empathetic. All three, however, are extremely smart. It is with Ender that the government pins their hopes of victory over the aliens.
The copy of Ender's Game that I borrowed from the library is a part of the "Gift Edition," which includes a new introduction by Orson Scott Card. While I usually enjoy these new introductions, Card, I felt, explained too much about Ender, his writing style, and how this book has affected the readers. I think that his publisher should have included Card's thoughts, but as an Afterword. It would have had more impact. Now that I have that out of the way, I need to tell you that this is, simply, one of the best books I have ever read. The hero is gifted, but alone. His intelligence makes him an outcast at school. Because of this, he doesn't really relate to any of the children in his class. The government builds on his isolation, so that he can make hard decisions with little thought to the feelings of others or to change his thinking due to friendships. But there is a humanity to Ender that endears him to the reader. The adults in the novel may think that they have control over him, but they are allowed to believe that, if it serves Ender's goals or objectives. I used to read a lot of science fiction, but have moved to other genres; this book has restored my interest. While Ender is six, Card never patronizes the reader or his characters. Ender is a well crafted character; intelligent, warm, and, when the situation warrants, tough. Your preconceived notions of children, and gifted children, will be tested. But the payoff is that you may realize that you have read one of the best science fiction books. Not only is worth your time, it is a book to share with your children.
Here's a great example of late 20th century Sci-Fi that's sure to please today's teenagers. Card's diction and narrative work are easy to follow and the ending (no pun intended!) Makes you want to read more of Card's work!
Ender's game was a summer reading book assigned to me. I usually can read through books pretty quickly, but this one took me a little bit longer to read. I found myself rereading the pages, it was confusing but it was good. I dont like many science fiction books, this was an exception.
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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For the perfect holiday gift for the reader on your list, pick up this special gift edition of one of the most beloved Science Fiction novels ever written. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games at the Battle School; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. Ender is the most talented result of Earth's desperate quest to create the military genius that the planet needs in its all-out war with an alien enemy. Is Ender the general Earth needs? The only way to find out is to throw the child into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Formics has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.