Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ender's game by orson scott card

once again, earth is under attack. alien "buggers" are poised for a final assault. the survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers.

but who?

ender wiggins. brilliant. ruthless. cunning. a tactical and strategic master. and a child.

recruited for military training by the world government, ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: battle school. among the elite recruits ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. in simulated war games he excels. but is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on ender? simulations are one thing. how will ender perform in real combat conditions? after all battle school is just a game.


i didn't want to like ender's game. i really didn't. not for any other reason than i don't agree with some of your personal opinions on some issues. personal opinions you've made publicly known. repeatedly. but that brings up the question: is it okay for me to dismiss an author or book based on who s/he is in everyday life? i suppose i don't really believe that i have to hold the same views as you. we don't have to agree on everything or anything at all, but i think i need to be able to respect your view and where you're coming from. so i suppose it doesn't really matter, except i know that sometimes i let it matter. i guess that makes it my problem alone. and i am one mere reader.

either way, i will admit that i enjoyed ender's game. probably even more because you've written a story that has stood the test of time. i mean, from it's first manifestation in 1977 until 2009 -- wow. there is a lot of sci-fi and fantasy being published these days (and even more written that will never appear on a bookshelf near you -- thank goodness). i've been reading even more of it over the past year, and yet, your novel still stood out to me. it's about children, but it's another novel that i don't think i'd label strictly a children's book. you've brought into play too many themes that will appeal to adults more than kids. there is a lot of moral issues that ender is forced to resolve for himself, for better or worse. and ender's self loathing as he struggles to remain an individual and not caving to what is being forced on him is quite powerful. but, just to keep life from being easy, he also bears the burden of being told he is the only one who can save humankind. and so, he must figure out what his responsibility to saving humanity is. how much of what he is being told is lies. and how much can be sacrificed before the means don't justify the end? hats off to you. that's like the mother of all dilemmas for one character. 

and during it all, you paint an incredibly vivid depiction of ender's world. what the universe is like for him. exactly what the battles are. how life in space is totally different form life on earth in so many ways. the gaming part of it, and ender's friendships at school, are aspects i think younger reader's will appreciate. and the overall story is superub. the pacing, the plot, the tension, the twists -- it's spot-on. 

also, the intense relationships of love, hate, and indifference you've crafted -- impeccable! your entire story is realistic, despite it's sci-fi theme. ender's universe is one full of life's shades of gray. my favorite relationships in the story, in case you're interested, are those among ender, his brother, peter, and his sister, valentine. witnessing their growth and development as characters, individuals, and siblings was beyond the scope of most sibling relationships in books these days. the three of them gave one another such depth and dimension. i was kind of amazed.

so, to my faithful readers out there, i'll tell them to add this to their reading lists if they enjoy sci-fi and want to read one of the contemporary pioneers in bringing sci-fi to the masses. because despite our differences, you've written an exceptional story. 

dutifully yours,
a lone reader 

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