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Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet) Mass Market Paperback – July 15, 1994
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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.
Ender's Shadow Series: Parallel storylines to Ender’s Game from Bean: Ender’s right hand, his strategist, and his friend.
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.
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.
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?
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The librarian eventually nabbed me, and asked what sort of books I liked reading. For some reason that I still can't explain to this day, I thought that all the "cool" kids read science fiction. So that's what I said.
"Then you should read this book," she told me, handing me a fairly worn copy of 'Ender's Game,' and telling me that she loved it enough to re-read it every year.
I wasn't thrilled with it, to be honest. The cover seemed kind of hokey. It smelled funny (hey, I was a kid). I had no idea what a "Hugo" or "Nebula" award might be. But the bell was ringing, testing would begin shortly, and I was kind of stuck for options. I checked out the book, and went on my way.
I've always been a fast test taker, and so about an hour into a three-hour test I was done and bored. I opened the book and started reading. And a two hours later I was done.
Up to that point, I'd read tons of books—mostly of the "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and "Encyclopedia Brown" variety. This was the first "grownup" fiction I'd ever read. And I was hooked. I went on to read everything I could find by Orson Scott Card. I wrote tons of short stories as creative writing assignments, all featuring Battle School or Ender himself. And I took what was a sorta-hobby of writing short stories and "books" (very short books, I assure you) and ended up turning it into a lifelong pursuit.
And, like the librarian, I've taken to re-reading this book every year. I've given away more copies of this single book than I can count. And I've owned every English-language version of it ever released. It's a benchmark, life-shaping book for me.
'Ender's Game' was the book that taught me that books could be what you do for a living. And for that, I'm incredibly grateful. My only regret is that I can't give it more than five stars.
Does this book really need another review? Probably not. Clearly, Ender’s Game is the mark of an excellent sci-fi read, so a lot of people probably agree with my assessment of Card’s work. But let me just say, any book that has aliens (check), really really ridiculously smart children (check), a fast-paced and interesting plot line (check), action and battle and war! (check), and beautiful writing (check), should be read.
One thing I did just notice, as I bought a kindle version of the book as my paperback is dying from wear and tear, is that the kindle version actually has a lot of racism that wasn't included in the book I've loved for all of these years. Kind of taints my memories of the book a bit.
Yes, there is a movie, and if you never read the book you will enjoy it but to be honest I enjoyed the movie more having read the book. That is rare, but it gave great visuals for what was hard to imagine in the book.
Note: If you read and enjoy this book, check out Ender's Shadow. It is a parallel novel about the character Bean and is every bit of exciting.
I feel like I’m cheating by recommending Ender’s Game. It’s not free, it’s not short, it won the Hugo and the Nebula, and you’ve all already heard about it. I’d be very surprised if less than 75% of you have read it already. So this week, I’m speaking to the very few people who’ve missed it somehow.
What are you waiting for? There’s a reason it won the Hugo and the Nebula! It’s very very good, and it’s important to the history of science fiction, and it’s even considered an important novel outside the genre. And it’s very very good. Did I mention that?
Ender’s Game is the story of Andrew Wiggin, nicknamed Ender. As the novel begins, he’s at the tail end of a period of consideration for military service. He’s been watched by a “monitor” in the back of his neck, and he has it removed pretty much as the novel starts. Shortly after that, they decide that he’s a fit candidate to go to Battle School and learn to fight, to lead men, to be the next Genghis Khan.
Did I mention that he’s five?
Humanity is facing an opponent that they can’t defeat, and so they need a new kind of general, and they need him fast. They’re starting with children, and exposing them to carefully constructed games that teach them, shape them, and allow their talents to be seen.
Ender is very good at these games. Very very good.
The book is the story of his training and what he goes through during the effort to make him the general they need. If you think you can subject a child, eventually a pre-teen, to the stresses of military school without effect, well, you’re wrong.
Ender’s Game spawned off three direct sequels, a parallel series focusing on one of the other characters, and several other works featuring Ender. You don’t have to read any of them. To some extent, I’d suggest you don’t. This book stands best on its own. Most all of the other works in the world are fine reads, but none of them is as important, or as good, as the original.
Copies of Ender’s Game are trivially easy to find new, only slightly less easy to find used, and available in every library in the known universe.
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It was really cool to finally see the imagery of the graphic novel compared with what I had come up with in my mind.
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