A War of Gifts: An Ender Story Mass Market Paperback – Sep 29 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Card returns to his Hugo and Nebula award-winning Enderverse saga (after 2005's Shadow of the Giant) with a heartwarming novella for the holidays. When Zeck Morgan, the young son of a puritanical minister, qualifies for admission into the International Fleet's Battle School, he is brought to the school against his will. Citing his pacifist religious beliefs, Zeck refuses to participate in any simulated war games, but when he sees a Dutch student give a friend a small present in celebration of Sinterklaas Day, he reports the violation of the school's rules against open religious observation and sparks an uproar over religious freedom and the significance of cultural traditions. Meanwhile, Zeck becomes a pariah until series hero Ender Wiggin finds a way to show him the real meaning of the holidays. Exploring themes of tolerance and compassion, this story about stuffing stockings is, fittingly, a perfect stocking stuffer for science fiction fans of all ages. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“An undeniable heavyweight. . . . This book combines Card's quirky style with his hard ethical dilemmas and sharply drawn portraits.” ―New York Daily News on Ender's Game
“Card has taken the venerable SF concepts of a superman and an interstellar war against aliens, and, with superb characterization, pacing, and language, combined them into a seamless story of compelling power.” ―Booklist on Ender's GameSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But Orson Scott Card gives it a good try in the megabrief novella "A War of Gifts." Despite a rather abrupt ending, it's a pleasant little story with a dark side that one doesn't expect from a Christmas story, and a Scroogian main character who's hard to like.
That character is Zech Morgan, son of a fanatical preacher who condemns everything, and "purifies" Zech by beating him. Even when he's drafted into Battle School, which does not allow outward religious observance, he shows nothing but pious contempt for his classmates and superiors. But on Sinterklaas, one Dutch boy slips a gift into another's shoe. Zech sees and reports it, but their superior doesn't care.
Soon the other children have decided to pull a "Santa Claus" -- they'll exchange little gifts and favours over the holidays. But since Zech believes that Saint Nick is a tool of the devil, he disrupts the festive favors -- and it may take Ender Wiggin to show him what the real problem is.
Just a warning: this book is very short. Very short. As in, 130 smallish pages short -- if rendered in normal pages, it would be a fair-sized short story. But despite its brevity, it is a pleasant little story.
Half is a story about kids celebrating the spirit of Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Ramadan) despite their sterile, grim surroundings. Lots of fun, goodwill, and general holiday spirit. But about halfway through, it suddenly becomes darkly unfestive, as Ender tries to force Zech to confront -- without any "my father says" or Bible quotes -- the painful truth of his own feelings, and his father's cruelty.
Okay, readers will have picked that up long before.Read more ›
If you're a fan of Ender and have an affection to that grim place, Battle School, you'll like this.