Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the "buggers", an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained from a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender's tactical genius is revealed.


Reviewed: 2019-05-17
I've read this book before, but decided to read it again, based on its having been used in several books for examples of how to control plot and reader emotions. I found this book very well written, and very engaging, despite my misgivings about how certain groups of people are seen, or portrayed as being seen in the larger cultural context, in this world setting. I found it a bit unsettling once in a great while when he shifts into a different pov (the book is written in shifting third person pov, past tense), but overall a gripping read. Coming of age too early, gifted kids dealing with bullies and with sometimes bullying adults. I did once find myself asking if a 12 year old, however much an outlier and extreme example of child prodigy/genius, could think that way, but I can believe it, when thinking of other child prodigies, like James Farmer, Jr.
Reviewed: 2019-02-06
Note to self: avoid book due to not willing to support a sexist, racist bigot who supports and encourages violence against women, LGBT and other 'races'.
Reviewed: 2018-12-30

Ender's Game is a classic for a reason. Exploring such themes as culpability, communication and manipulation, Ender's Game really reads like it was plucked from the minds of its characters.

Despite all that, I cannot in good conscience rec this book without the warning that it uses a slur against Black people. As much as I love the book, its excellence does not excuse that moment.

Reviewed: 2018-12-26
Another reread down. This crazy book is so intense but it took me three days to read the last 50 pages. The end of this book depresses me. Still, it's perfectly great as a stand alone and I really think anyone who has considered reading it should.
Mini rant, as I'm annoyed with some of the people I see saying they won't read this acclaimed and honored book due to some crazy shit the author said that had nothing to do with the book at all.
As with any book I read, I don't care about the author's religion, sexual orientation, political party.... These things can shape the story, dialogue, characterization, and certainly help determine the author's "point". The author's intent or message, however, is superseded entirely by what I get out of the story. I am the only who may decide what value a book has to me.
So, don't read it if you don't want to. If sci fi isn't really your thing. If you read some batshit crazy thing Card said in a public forum some time. That's your choice. Just don't ban it. :-P
Reviewed: 2017-11-05

This is one I go back and forth on. I like the setting, the training, the brutality of what Ender does and is forced to do. Then I remember he is a child and I almost can't handle it

Reviewed: 2017-08-29
Book Description In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers 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 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 the world survives, that is. Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards. Editorial Reviews Amazon.com Review A Reading Guide for Ender's Game. THE ENDER UNIVERSE Ender's Series: Ender Wiggin: The finest general the world could hope to find or breed. The following Ender's Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Game, Ender In Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind. Ender's Shadow Series: Parallel storylines to Ender's Game from Bean: Ender's right hand, his strategist, and his friend. The following Ender's Shadow Series titles are listed in order: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight. The First Formic War Series: One hundred years before Ender's Game, the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. These are the stories of the First Formic War. Earth Unaware, Earth Afire. Ender Novellas A War of Gifts, First Meetings. The Authorized Ender Companion: A complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things, and events in Orson Scott Card's Ender Universe. Amazon.com Review Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them in the arts of war... The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'... Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games... He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?
Reviewed: 2017-08-18

This is not a children's book. It's excellently written, the characters are realistic, the world is fascinating. It is important to note that this is a story about the effects of war on the mind os a soldier, and even though the main character is a child, it may not be suitable for young readers. (Mild cursing, physical violence, death, grief, warfare.)

Reviewed: 2017-01-02
I really wanted to like this book. For a while I thought I would, but the author simply attempts too much while not providing enough in other places. The writing is just terrible and I have a tough time understanding why it's won awards and acclaim.

I thought initially the story started off really well with the story of Ender leaving his home and family behind. But once he left Earth for school, it became tedious battle after battle. Admittedly I do not care for war histories and tactics, so I found the descriptions of Ender's fights and battle strategies excruciating to get through. However I had a tough time seeing how Ender really changed or developed while in school. He was a very gifted child. He was a gifted fighter/commander. That's all I really got.

It was quite jarring to see some of the attempts by the author to bring back some of the family back later in the book. Peter is an apparent sociopath who tortures and kills small animals for fun. He later begins writing columns and becomes a political figure. Why discuss how evil his older brother is without expounding on it? To create a contrast? That could have been done without wasting text on Peter.

Others have also said, the plot development is all over the place. I have no idea why Ender felt guilty all of a sudden at the end to go around and tell the story of the buggers. It's my understanding that 'Ender's Game' was supposed to set up Ender as a character for 'Speaker for the Dead', but the ending is much too rushed and felt tacked on. Ender never appears to suspect his "games" are actually lethal and I don't recall him feeling guilt in possibly going off to kill the buggers.

I understand what the author was trying to get at, but I don't feel he was very good in accomplishing his goals. This, combined with the news of his views on gays/lesbians and comparing President Obama to Hitler means this is the first and last book I'll be reading by this author.
Reviewed: 2016-12-30

Full disclosure. Orson Scott Card (the author) is a bad person, which is why its so strange and remarkable how beautifully he writes about empathy. For somone who is explicitly homophobic, it's so strange that he built an entire world and wonderful and epic book series all around the concept of Empathy. He must be a confused person. The book series is great, it's exploration into empathy is quite amazing. And for any science fiction fan, this series is a classic. If you were to read just one book of the series, this would be the one. But the whole series is worth it as well.

Reviewed: 2016-06-24
Ugh. Okay. I'm officially giving up on this one.

So, a little disclaimer here. I do not like Orson Scott Card. As a person. I think he's a shitty human who's used his award-winning author status as a platform to advocate the denial of other humans' rights. This is detestable to me.

But that is not why I rated this book 1 star.

The reason I gave this book 1 star, and have given up even trying to read it, is because I do not like Orson Scott Card. As an author. This was the second book of his I've read - or tried to read- and it will most assuredly be my last. I finished the other one, but can't say I liked it, though it was... interesting. This one I just couldn't even muster up any meh over, and it's supposedly his best work. I disliked it almost immediately.

I made it about 15%, and I've read about all I can stands, I can't stands no more.

The writing is awful. We're told what Ender thinks. We're told what Ender feels, and does, and says, and why, and despite supposedly being in his head, I don't understand or like him at all. We're told he's a genius. We're told he's mastered calculus as a toddler, that he can hack school computers with ease. We're told that he plays game A. Then he beats it, and plays game B. In every game, the goal is conquer and kill, and he's the best at it. But we're told that Ender does that only when he's forced... but then we're told that he likes it - no he doesn't! - yes he does. He stabs the game giant in the eye and likes it, and then when the giant is 'dead' and no longer an obstacle, out of boredom, he wishes he could murder it again. Because he liked it. That's why he's The One. Duh.

The ridiculous chapter-leading nameless dialogues are terrible and jarring and distracting, and they take me out of the story. Which is a very bad thing when I'm disliking and uninterested in the story as it is.

The complete lack of characterization is shameful. These kids, and especially Ender, who is SIX YEARS OLD and likes to throw the N-word around like it's a frisbee, sound like adults that I wouldn't even want to talk to, let alone root for. I don't like, understand, or care about a single character in this book. Not one. Wait, I might like the Buggers, but that's only because I feel like they have to be decent if they want to rid the universe of this society of sociopaths and groomed killer children.

Then there's the fact that I'm apparently supposed to believe that a society as advanced as this one, with space travel, in-body monitoring of thoughts and actions of their potential recruits, the ability to at least partially coax out genius children by specialized breeding, etc, would be so casually dismissive of female potential as to respond to a question regarding whether there will be girls at this murder-camp with "A few girls. They don't often pass the tests to get in. Too many centuries of evolution are working against them." Because, apparently, only Y chromosomes can carry intelligence and females are just sub-par, even at evolution. How can they be a war leader and savior of humanity if they can't even master upward evolution, like males have?

Oh, but wait... which entry tests were those again? The ones that require extreme violence? Stomping the shit out of another kid, albeit a bully, was the only test-like thing I saw that earned Ender a spot at murder-school. And it's OKAY that Ender put him in the hospital, because he was forced to do it or keep being bullied. There was no other solution. So maybe that little comment was a backhanded compliment to us of the gentler, weaker sex. Our delicate sensibilities just don't automatically run to murderdeathkill at the slightest provocation, which from what I can tell makes females completely valueless except as future-soldier-makers, so yeah, I guess we fail. Darn!

I don't buy the concept of putting all of the eggs of an apparently critically endangered humanity into a single basket that consists of a child 4 years away from attaining the glorious achievement of double digit age. But wait, this war is apparently on hold while this generation of future soldiers grows up? How awesomely considerate of the "Buggers". I now see why they must die. /sarcasm

Which brings me to the "Buggers". They are aliens. Got that. Apparently, there's no possibility of aliens NOT wanting to wipe out all of humanity... because, you know, the universe isn't big enough for the both of us. I was really, really hoping for a plausible reason why these aliens would want to kill people, but I got nada. Perhaps it's explained later. Or maybe this is just fear and hatred of the unknown. I don't know, and frankly don't care all that much, but it just feels like we're supposed to just go along with the story that implies that different = bad and must be killed.

I'm not squeamish or tender-hearted. I fully believe in killing off characters that need to die, even and especially if it's painful to the reader. Violence, in general, doesn't bother me, and I have no trouble reading about abuse, or death, or destruction, or brutality. But it needs to have a purpose and reason for existing on the page. It needs to be honest, and realistic, and plausible. And I didn't feel like that was the case here. It felt like it was for pure shock value here, placed with ever more aggressive offensiveness with the hopes of a reaction. "OMG! they are just babies! Oh the brutality! Won't someone save the children?!" And it worked, because my reaction is to stop reading this shit called a book. The racism, misogyny, hatred of the 'different', the adult condoned and encouraged cruelty and alienation of weaker or smaller children, the violence and genocidal-tendencies in a 6 year old all made me hate every minute I spent reading, or avoiding, this book, and only confirmed that Orson Scott Card is not someone whose work I will ever read or watch again.

I could go on, but I'm done with this book. Writing it off and washing my hands because they feel like they've been holding something disgusting and slimy. I haven't seen anything even remotely redeeming in this book, nothing that makes me think that the rest of it would be worth my time, and I'm done.
Item Posts
@rebajw completed #endersgame... on 2018-09-07
@16mguilette completed #endersgame... on 2018-06-04
@16mguilette began #endersgame... on 2018-04-22
@kristinawithak completed #endersgame... on 2013-11-04
@kristinawithak began #endersgame... on 2013-10-09
@electricidiot completed #endersgame... on 2016-06-26
@electricidiot completed #endersgame... on 2010-05-17
@electricidiot began #endersgame... on 2016-06-16
@islandgypsygirl completed #endersgame... on 2016-01-04
@lstrano completed #endersgame... on 2015-02-16
@lstrano began #endersgame... on 2015-02-15