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A War of Gifts: An Ender Story (Other Tales from the Ender Universe) Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Reading Guide for Ender's Game.


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.

From Publishers Weekly

Adding to the ever-growing Enderverse, Card provides listeners with an amusing and sincere tale about religious observance just in time for the holidays. Like all Battle School students, Zeck has been torn from his family and religion to train in a school in outer space. Passively resisting his environment, Zeck must find a way to reconcile his beliefs with his actions and learn new things about himself that will challenge the life he knew. With Brick's lighter tone complementing Rudnicki's deep resonating voice, the two make an excellent pair as narrators. Often, their parts are split according to point of view, so that Brick narrates aspects of the story from the vantage point of Zeck and the other students while Rudniki embodies the adults, especially the militaristic leaders at the Battle School. Mostly, this shifting back and forth is done by sections of the book, and not in characters exchanging dialogue. However, very abruptly at one point in the story, the director decided to have Brick and Rudnicki exchange dialogue. If this were the standard throughout, it may well have worked, but since it happened only once and in mid-discussion between two characters, it feels out of place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Other Tales from the Ender Universe (Book 6)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; Reprint edition (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765358999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765358998
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #168,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Orson Scott Card is the bestselling author best known for the classic Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow and other novels in the Ender universe. Most recently, he was awarded the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in Young Adult literature, from the American Library Association. Card has written sixty-one books, assorted plays, comics, and essays and newspaper columns. His work has won multiple awards, including back-to-back wins of the Hugo and the Nebula Awards-the only author to have done so in consecutive years. His titles have also landed on 'best of' lists and been adopted by cities, universities and libraries for reading programs. The Ender novels have inspired a Marvel Comics series, a forthcoming video game from Chair Entertainment, and pre-production on a film version. A highly anticipated The Authorized Ender Companion, written by Jake Black, is also forthcoming.Card offers writing workshops from time to time and occasionally teaches writing and literature at universities.Orson Scott Card currently lives with his family in Greensboro, NC.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Science fiction and Christmas usually don't connect. They have different focuses, and not much in common.

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.
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186 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Too many toys on November 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unfortunately, folks who write reviews for the sake of writing reviews got here first. I preordered this book and waited anxiously for its arrival. When I opened the box my question was "Where's my book?". All I found was a poorly bound hardcover pamphlet.128 sparse pages in a book that looks like it was designed, printed and bound at my local Kinko's. I love OSC, but this overpriced short story is a disservice to his loyal fans. The brief content is of a quality that OSC fans have come to expect. Unfortunately these "reviewers" whose only interest seems to be getting their inane pseudo culture in print first are not serving to inform potential buyers. My advice is to wait until this is available used, preferably in paperback.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Orson Scott Card has long since earned his place among the true masters of science fiction with novels like Ender's Game, Pastwatch, the Homecoming series, and his alternate history/fantasy Tales of Alvin Maker. His Ender universe has been expanding for some time now, and this year he dives back into the time period of the first novel for a short Christmas tale, A War of Gifts.

In the original Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin was recruited, along with hundreds of the most brilliant children on Earth, to train in an orbital battle school for the day when the human race would have to repel an invasion from an alien race they only barely defeated once before. In A War of Gifts, the camera moves from Ender to another student at the school, Zeck Morgan. A fundamentalist Christian, Zeck refuses to participate in the wargames at the school, and when a pair of Dutch students participate in a Sinterklaas Day celebration (St. Nicholas' Day, on Dec. 6), he issues a complaint about their being able to express their religion while others are supressed.

The other kids don't take kindly to Zeck's reaction, however, and the children of Battle School begin a mini-mutiny, trying to find small ways to celebrate Christmas despite the protestations of the adults running the show. In the end, Zeck has to face Ender to discover a truth hidden from everyone, even himself.

This story fits neatly between the pages of Ender's Game and makes for a highly unique Christmas tale. Most Christmas stores these days are more secular in nature -- about Santa and Frosty and the like -- and I really have no problem with that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The physical dimensions of Orson Scott Card's diminutive new seasonal story, A WAR OF GIFTS, brought out the Christmas stocking-stuffer in me right away. What a "cute" little book, I thought.

A cozy evening of reading later, I was amazed at the breadth and depth of wisdom I encountered within a mere 126-postcard-sized pages. The journey to Card's futuristic world of the popular Ender series --- specifically to an elite Battle School for preteen children housed in an orbiting space station above Earth --- offers a concentrated experience of artificially constructed peer-group societies in which any deviation from prescribed behavioral norms carries enormous risk.

Created to indoctrinate the younger generation by weaning students away from any "distracting" attachments to family, culture, religion, ethnicity, passion, altruism and the like, Battle School's mandate is to select the best, brightest and potentially most dangerously independent children and reform them into wholly focused galactic warriors. In essence, however, Battle School is really an ultra-sophisticated and high-tech version of old-style American boot-camp training --- or, perhaps more potently for Canadians, the infamous "residential" schools of the 19th and early 20th centuries, where aboriginal children were forced to learn in an environment stripped of their native traditions and languages.

But Card (despite having abundant theological qualifications to do so) doesn't spend time abstractly moralizing or preaching from some distant pulpit about various forms of child abuse, war-footing mentality or social conditioning.
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