on August 9, 2015
Some time in the future, humanity encounters an alien race known as “buggers” and faces two disastrous wars. In preparation for an anticipated third attack, mankind decides to pick the very best of its youngest, and train them to become perfectly unbeatable militia. In “Ender's Game”, Orson Scott Card tells us the story of such a time period and of one boy genius in particular: Ender Wiggin - who rose the ranks, out-manoeuvring computer games and zero gravity battle simulations.
Quite possibly the best part about this story was the plausibility of the main protagonist. A hero is not presented to us to accept without question. We see a weak boy stand up to a sadistic older brother and a class bully. We see a small boy fight a mean classmate and a cruel commander. We see a strategic boy use everything from a common enemy to an appeal for help to make friends in a strange world. And at every step of the way, we are allowed to follow his most private thoughts and reasoning for his behaviour, as every breath becomes a small fight for survival till the next breath comes along.
Equally captivating is how this story constantly shifts tones, and presents characters - sometimes as helpless 6-year-olds plucked out of their homes, and sometimes as brilliant individuals that all of mankind is right to pin its final hopes on. Every boy goes through the gamut of emotions from heartbreaking homesickness to glorious victory. Adding a touch of grounded reality to this fantasy is the cyberspace world of Peter and Valentine as Locke and Demosthenes; a political story that runs its arc and meets its counterpart military story of Ender in the end.
The final days on the mysterious planet Eros bring together - in a grand conclusion - the epic tale of Mazer Rackham, the much dreaded Third Invasion, and a secret message at The End of the World. From ages 6 to about 11, this is the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin; the greatest battle commander; the “Speaker for the Dead”.
I bought the paperback. A paperback is not the easiest thing to wield, so I also bought the kindle version. I always make sure that it is Text-to-Speech Enabled and it helps to be X-Ray Enabled.
Then to my surprise the kindle version offered Whispersync for Voice so I could not pass the opportunity. The Whispersync starts out on the first page of the book and bypasses the introduction. I read the introduction from the paperback and found it be backing up from where the kindle started.
The kindle version also has the beginning chapter from the next book in the series (Speaker for the Dead) this section also works with the Whispersync.
The reason I mentioned the introduction is because it is as important as the book it's self. It gives a background of the author and a quick how to write a novel course. Orson Scott Card said that the introduction can be passed but I would not do it.
I know this is not really focused on the military; however he nails many of the situations. From commander's intent to training and target of opportunity I felt that I was in the BNCOC and ANCOC while reading the story.
The story takes place in the future. The enemy attacked humankind twice and maybe a third time is on the horizon. We are looking for a great leader as the ones form the past to carry us to victory. The question is how to go about finding and preparing the person for the future. We are more interested in Andrew "Ender" Wiggin's relationship to family, and the people around him. The big picture is finding out whom / what we are.
on December 7, 2009
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card is about earth after Aliens called Formics have attacked and almost wiped out the humans, but the Formics were driven back and earth has a chance to prepare for the next encounter. The government takes to breeding military geniuses and training them and looking for the "One" who will be able to lead earth to a victorious battle against the Aliens.
The training is in forms of games, since training begins when the children are very young. Ender Wiggin seems to be the chosen one and the military brass single him out and train unmercifully and ostracize him from any potential friends. Ender really has no freedom to choose and plays the games to the very end.
Ender has a number of violent encounters with his fellow trainees and is portrayed as being innocent in those matters, but one has to question his complete innocence. He is a genius and he has moral fibre, but he can kill quickly and efficiently fellow classmates and consider himself free from the crime since it was self defence?
Ender's siblings add an interesting twist to the story, his older brother and sister did not make it to military training, but they are both geniuses. By using their abilities and computers they basically control the political environment on earth while Ender is away training is space.
I enjoyed this book, but must admit that it is not an uplifting book in any terms, I found it depressing; Ender's life pretty much sucks and I feel for the kid. I suppose that is what makes the novel worth reading, I gained an emotional attachment to Ender and I wanted him to be happy, but it just did not happen. A great read...I will check out the others.
on June 8, 2004
Have you ever been alone and afraid well Andrew "Ender" Wiggin had to feel this. First the military chooses Ender to be trained to fight off the aliens which the people called "Buggers" General Graff the principal of the military picked Ender up. In order to get to military school Ender needed to ride on a shuttle plane at the time Ender had no friends. On the plane Ender made his first enemy, Ender borded the plane right when he sat down a kid kept hitting him in the back of the head. After about five blows to the head Ender dicided to take action he tried to calculate the next shot and he grabbed the kids arm and flipped him over the seat. Ender found out that the kids name was Bernard and eveyone called him Bean and that Ender broke his arm. He met a kid named Aali he was Bean's right hand man but Ender didn't care so he asked adi to ge his friend and Ender made his friend. After a couple years , Ender was truely the best. There was only one more game to go for Ender until he mastered every game. It was a game that you had to destroy all the buggers , Ender stasred the game he wiped out all the buggers and all he had to do was kill the queen and he would have mastered all the games. His statigies were so good he took out all the buggers and then he faced the queen, he thought he was hearing things comeone that someone was cummunicating with him in his mind he finally figured out that it was the Queen, Ender felt her pain. If you read this Action/Adventure book you'll find out the Exciting conclusion.
on March 29, 2004
Ender (Andrew) Wiggin is the result of a genetic experiment - he is a cross between his two superintelligent siblings Peter, who is too cruel to be a good commander, and Valentine, who is to kind-hearted. He is sent to battle school at the age of 6 in order to be trained to save the world from the strange insect-like aliens called "buggers".
Orson Scott Card admits that the story is plainly told. However, it has nuances. They aren't poetic nuances like other quality fiction tends to have - they are philosophical. I'd say that this book, and the rest of this series, is for adult readers who are interested in the big questions. Who are we? How did we get here? What's the meaning of life? How did life arise? How should we live our lives? Etc. etc. The author has an uncanny knack for telling the story in a way which makes the facts point in the direction of several different conclusions: This knack is even more apparent in the later books of the series. This means that the book actually DOES move on several different planes. However, it's possible that you need a background in science and/or philosophy to get this.
This book is heavily inspired by game theory. This is one of my criticisms of the book: I didn't find it believable that battle school used such naive game tactics that Ender manages to radically change the way they fight. But it might be necessary for the development of the story - and to introduce readers to game theory from the ground. It's also based on a scientifically unsound view of how insect colonies work, but this may be because of the age of the book - science has moved forward since then. Besides, the author can claim poetic licence.
Ender is an Anakin Skywalker of sorts - but while Ender uses his gifts to try to save the world with the support of his teachers, Anakin is so seduced by his own abilites that he turns to the "dark side" - but still manages to be the "one who creates balance to the force". How Ender deals with his giftedness is controversial, and I'd also NOT recommend this to young readers lest they should be inspired to be an Ender, but end up like Darth Vader instead.....
Ender's game is a fascinating thought experiment and action story, one star deducted for some lack of credibility in the story. I also agree with the author that the later books are stronger: The philosphical issues truly come into play there. Some of the book's loose ends also tie up later in the series.
on March 25, 2004
By: Orson Scott Card
Reviewed by: D. Kaul
Andrew (Ender) Wiggin, a boy genius, is chosen to train in Battle School, a floating satellite high above the Earth's orbit. He is the last hope of mankinds' to defeat the "buggers", aliens who have attacked the Earth two times before. Ender is to lead all of the Earth's army against the buggers, trying to wipe them out in an epic tale of survival. He is isolated from the rest of his classmates and put through difficult, almost impossible tests, that take place in the Battle Room. But will the pressure and stress get to Ender, or will he save the Earth from extinction? Read Ender's Game to find out!
I really liked Ender's Game. This book was easy to read but yet hooked me for hours on end. Mr. Card explains subjects and ideas perfectly, and his descriptions produced vivid images in my mind. The story line was futuristic, but still in the realm of reality. It also taught me some things that made sense only after reading it in this book ("But since adults always said it when it was going to hurt, he could count on that statement as an accurate prediction of the future. Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.")
I disliked this book because some of the concepts weren't really necessary, and some of the ideas could have been made to fit the story line better.
My favorite parts of the book were the battles in the Battle Room. They were so exciting, and it always put Ender in difficult situations. But it was fun to see how he got out of his predicament.
on March 15, 2004
I've never been a huge sci-fi fan but a co-worker pestered me into reading his copy of Ender's Game. I am so in love with this book that yes, I'd like to marry it.
Ender is a tragic hero. You can't help but love him even though you know the adults in his life have ruined any chance for him to truly feel loved or accept love without suspicion. The recruiting officer, Graff, grows heavy with guilt throughout the story and it's interesting to see him physically gain weight as his role at the Battle School effects his conscience. Ender's peers are each fascinating and you continually marvel at the brilliance and maturity they display at such young ages. Ender's brother and sister play important parts and are complex and compelling. Peter, the eldest, is horrible but you almost root for him to succeed. Valentine, the middle child, is lovely even as she manipulates her beloved brother, Ender. Mazer is the necessary tough-love mentor and the buggers provide a thoughtful commentary on xenophobia.
All of these characters combine to form one far-out, interplanetary plot. I especially love that I never saw the climax coming. It's so refreshing to be surprised by a plot twist.
I enjoyed this book so much. In fact, I was reading Ender's Game in the dreaded prison of a physician's waiting room and felt intense irritation when they finally called my name. I had my eyes dilated and gripped my book, squinting and blinking, until the very end when I simply couldn't see the words clearly any longer. At that moment I despised the eye doctor, a perfectly nice man, for even momentarily robbing me of my ability to read.
The end of the book peters out, but after all the suspense and excitement, there had to be an emotional let-down. Not that it's a bad ending. It makes sense and was necessary for Ender. I'd like to know what the heck happened to Peter, but perhaps it's in a sequel edition. Another thing, if the planet's been attacked twice by aliens and everyone's afraid of being wiped out if it happens again, why are population control measures in place?
Anyhoo, it's a great book. Very entertaining. I loved it. Thanks Mr. Card.
on February 12, 2004
This is the first science fiction novel I have read, and I barely kept myself from finishing it in one day; it took me two. The overall plot in this novel did not really interest me, because I do not care that much for science fiction, but the way this novel was written still made it one of the best books I have read. Orson Scott Card constantly wove unexpected events into the novel. Card also wrote in a way that I could sympathize with a young boy, yet still be amazed by his genius.
What is this novel about? The humans have twice been attacked by alien bugs and have become a single league of nations to protect themselves. They have a fleet to protect earth, a fleet of space ships. They have developed weapons more deadly than any now in existence. But the bugs have greater numbers and probably better technology. The humans need a leader, and they have been breeding geniuses trying to get that leader. The novel is about the training they put Ender, through. I liked the situations he was put in, as well as the training he went through; I enjoyed reading about it. Once he turns eleven, he is sent to command school to learn how to lead the fleet, and then the novel gets good.
I recommend this novel, even if you, like me, have never read science fiction before.
on February 4, 2004
Ender's Game has many layers of meaning behind the cover. It is like an onion with its subsequent layers of meaning. On the first layer there is a story about a young boy who is being trained to fight in the Third Invasion of the Bugger, the aliens. His training is in the form of "games". The adults in the novel think he is the one who will defeat the buggers. Layer one of Ender's Game is the story and Ender's actions. At this level everyone relates to Ender in one way or another. The reader begins the game of decoding these layers when the first page is read. Orson Scott Card said about this decoding game, "...If you don't care to play the game, that's fine with me. I designed Ender's Game to be as clear and accessible as any story of mine could possibly be. My goal was that the reader wouldn't have to be trained in literature...to receive the tale in its simplest form." That is what exactly what Orson Scott Card has done with Ender's Game. At one junior high in Provo, Utah, a librarian reported that Ender's Game is the book that is lost the most. This book is popular not only among young adults, but it is also extremely popular among adults as well. It has a broad general young adult and adult interest. As time progresses and more people read Ender's Game its popularity will soar.
on January 29, 2004
Reading the negative reviews is very revealing. The majority of the one-star reviews resort to insulting those who have enjoyed the book. Criticism that consists of name-calling is a high form of praise.
Which is not to say that a little bit of controversy surrounding Ender's Game isn't inappropriate. A six year old child is taken from his family and trained for battle with other children and ultimately commits genocide - xenocide, to be more accurate. Not a happy, uplifting tale by any stretch of the imagination. Yet there is something nevertheless compelling in the tale of how Ender overcomes every obstacle placed in his path to not only succeed but, ultimately, grow into a better person than most. Card's prose is at times spartan, but the pages turn so fast one doesn't notice.
Be warned that the "sequel," Speaker for the Dead, is not really a sequel at all. It would be difficult to find two more different books marketed as the same series. Ender returns, but where Ender's Game is largely action-driven, Speaker for the Dead dwells upon inner turmoil and family struggles. Speaker is by far the more powerful and provocative book, and one does not need to read Ender's Game to appreciate it.