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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.
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I prefer books to movies simply because I feel I could learn more. And because movies are more easily censored. It is unfortunate. And also, I want to decide what I can and cannot handle in a book. Not the PC police.
And in fact, I bought the hardcopy HOPING it was the original because I don't want censored changes in my books now that kindle books are more popular (and easily changed). But alas, it is not to be.
Edit: BUT JUST FYI, the kindle book is written with the original lines for some reason. The audiobook is the new updated censored version. I have both. Just keep in mind.
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.
Basic premise of the book: future dystopian world undergoing population control. The world has been attacked by aliens and humans were so scared, they decided to track down and wipe the aliens out. But they realized adult reflexes were too slow and their decisions weren’t ruthless enough. So they created a battle school to find the smartest, most ruthless and most strategic of kids, and so they found Ender. To train him, they used games simulating battles they were actually having in space and they were amazed at the choices he made. Through video games, they were able to make Ender into a perfect military leader.
I won’t tell any more than that because I don’t want to spoil the book. But if you find yourself thinking “why is this kid so freaking important to these battle school leaders”, at least you will understand going in. Definitely read it. I’ve read it twice now and it still amazes me.
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.
Top international reviews
The character of Ender is a bit overpowered. He's very strong for his size and super intelligent. He hardly ever fails and he makes enemies because he's so perfect. There is however a lot of depth in his character and he is clearly in pain. The novel lacks any good tension and the climax is a bit disappointing. For a book with so many accolades it fails to meet my expectation.
Even though the book primarily revolves around issues of militray / command training, of what it takes and how this could change - the trainees in the book generally start at the age of three or so, joining the academy at around 6 or 7 years old - there is enough societal commentary to make the reader not only focused on the military take pause and think.
Issues of how society is likely to deal with overpopulation, of an uneasy post Cold War world, that is on the verge of returning there, family ties, etc. are all obliquely addressed and add some real richness to the book.
On the military side the author manages to capture some pretty classical post Vietnam US principles, while at the same time relatively presciently describing unmanned combat (even if this is not always clear from the book). As such the book does a good job of examining some of the issues arising from the slow but inexorable change from manned to unmanned systems in warfare - possibly one of the reasons, why it is so widely read in military circles (for those more interested in the subject, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century is a good non-fiction complement).
The book is part of a series (with Speaker For The Dead: Book 2 in the Ender Saga (The Ender Quartet series) and Xenocide: Book 3 of the Ender Saga (The Ender Quartet series) following) but can easily be read as a stand alone volume.
I would definitely recommend it to all sci-fi fans (especially those prefering a military slant of the genre) and definitely to all readers interested in military / strategy matters more generally. The fact that it is a truly engaging book in addition to being so genre defining is of course an added bonus :)
That aside, I absolutely loved this book. What was most cleverly done was that through his time in Battle School and later on, Ender slowly learns that he's being used, and how and by who. The reader is taken along on that journey of discovery with him (whilst also getting glimpses behind the curtain with his superiors) so that we as the reader are completely confident that we understand what's happening. Then that all gets turned on its head. I absolutely did not see it coming, it was so well executed!
The sweet irony of the ending was the perfect way to wrap the story up, too. That a child could see all these things that the adults couldn't conceive of made the whole thing even more affecting.
The fact that the character is so much younger in the book makes it more brutal and affecting as a 'what if'.
Apparently, Mr Card only wrote this one as a prequel; his original idea was 'Speaker for the Dead' (book 2).
The cast reading this is sterling, I simply adore Stefan Rudnicki's voice. Plus the late, great Harlan Ellison does a little bit.
It is a fascinating science fiction read, where the fate of the future is put in the hand of a super intelligent little boy. It is interesting the way you follow the main character- a little boy called Ender, through a few meagre years of military training in the form of games and sports while they groom him into their perfect weapon.
The ending, wow. I did not see that coming! Amazing book.
But what it does have going for it is a lot - the characters, save for Peter and Valentine, come across as real individuals with complex motivations. The children don't come across *as* children, but that's okay since it seems to be a conscious decision to treat them that way and fits entirely into the whole concept of the book. The plot, which time has rendered cliche, is well constructed and expertly executed. The main themes of the book - for example, the role of duty and the burden of informed consent are explored with considerable finesse. The book is in some ways an extended allegory of the Nietzschen concept of the Ubermensch, but deconstructed and inverted. In Ender's game, the Ubermensch isn't a product of his own transcendence of moral and societal conventions, but a product of the explicit engineering of the context in which he lives. Thus, he is a mix of nature, nurture, and the power of social context. None would be as effective without the others. It also hearkens back to the 'Great Men' theory, and reconciles both the classical and modern interpretations - yes, only a truly great person can shape history, but they only become that way through the explicit building of competence by a society that needs them to function as a tool. No-one attains significance in a vacuum. The experiences of Ender have deep implications for those who want to muse on the story once they're finished reading it.
Like the best kind of 'young adult' literature, Ender's Game is literature first and 'young adult' second. It doesn't patronise the reader, and leaves the critical and important themes as subtext without feeling the need to grab anyone by the brain and yell 'These are the things about the book you should be finding important!'. It's very highly recommended, but the poorly executed ending robs it of a fifth star. Consider it a 4.5 star book.
One thing this book shows amazingly is the development of Ender over the years and how he is molded into who others believe he must be. Instead of having the thoughts and beliefs of others implanted into his head, his ability to be free thinking is portrayed in a way which you can see the constant conflict he has within himself. You are able to gain an emotional attachment to this character easily, and yet you are sometimes left in the dark on his thoughts and emotions, but this just adds to the suspense. And there is action, and violence, and drama, and has a great subplot. Basically it has everything but romance.
Overall this is something I highly recommend, especially since how amazingly well written it is.
Enders game follows the story of Young Andrew (Ender) Wiggin. His journey through school, home life, then to battle school and so on. Through Ender we get a sense of what it is like to feel the truest fears every one of us faces... Am I a good person? Or am I psychotic for thinking these thoughts? Am I loved? Or am I used? He feels the pressure of his duties and the isolation of being a genius, while all he really seeks is a friend, acceptance and love.
This book has shaken me to the core and truly changed how I feel about myself as a person and how I feel about my loved ones. At the core of each of us is the true desire to be loved and accepted for all our faults. Ender's story is brilliant, thought-provoking, heart-breaking and hopeful. I look forward to seeing what happens next in Ender's Story.
I was surprised that the book characters were much younger at the start and that the book spread the years easily however I’m unsure why the film didn’t stay with the storyline re Enders brother & sister.
I purchased this having seen the trailer for the film, as I thought it might be something I'd like to watch. I'm glad I read the book first, as it gives a really vivid and in-depth picture of the main protagonist.
The story never really falls flat and at no part of the book did I find it heavy going. The concept is really interesting and well played out, even if I did guess large aspects of the ending! It definitely made me want to read more of the series.
I dropped a star from the rating as I felt that the book could have been longer, with certain aspects of the sub-stories fleshed out further than they were.
In terms of the Kindle formatting, nothing out of the ordinary to report.
The book is not as good as the author thinks and certainly not as important or as clever but it is still a great sci-fi novel up there with the best of them or maybe just behind them as the ending is a little weak.
Also ignore the foreword as the author actually says you should as you will be a little disappointed in the book after the puff piece he writes glorifying himself by being so reasonable.
Also once you finish it you have the choice to read more which is always nice but ofcourse every penny more this man has the more influential his views will become.
Ironically none of the vile things he has said in the media are in the book and you would have no idea that he hated gay people considering that the only kissing in the book is between young men.
I would give it an easy B for the story and ignore the other nonsense.
If it sounds like I am conflicted it is because I am, as when you love a story and the views in the story but hate the views the author has publicly stated it is a hard moral call to financially and publicly support.
Maybe the point is that the author has very strong views and these come out in the book loud ad clear so be prepared that OSC might be the devil but he tells a cracking good yarn!
It doesn't spend too much time describing how the world has changed, you have to assume the manner in which it has changed, I'll admit I haven't read the other books in the series where the author may explore the world a little more, but the reader will quickly piece together what has passed from the current world to the future setting.
The military need to train the perfect commander for their fleet for the coming war, they need to find the perfect genetic pairing, test their perfect genetic children, and take the best of these into training to fight an alien menace, but the manner in which they do this is often barbaric, inhumane and whenever the students finally succeed they change the nature of their education and everything begins anew.
The story focuses on a unique specimen, Ender, who has the potential to be the finest student the academy has trained.
Through the story of his education you learn more about the history of the world and why the school is needed.
It isn't the best sci-fi you'll read, but it is enjoyable.
As a conclusion, the book is amazing. The prequels are equally wonderful and I can't wait to start reading the first sequel either. Orson Scott Card, as a writer is a wonderful author. I don't agree with some of his personal views but thankfully that doesn't affect his writing abilities and he doesn't impose his views in his work. A definite buy for SF lovers.
This book is awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed my time reading it and read it in only a few days. The story centres on a 6-year-old boy who is one of several highly intelligent kids who are sent to a battle school to learn how to become leaders and commanders in a world where intelligent kids are used to be the leaders in war. A hive-like collective of insectoid creatures are attacking the earth and it's up to the IF Marines lead by these kids to defeat them before they destroy mankind and takeover our planet. The book covers about 6 years of Ender's life during his time at the school. It is mildly brutal in places (though it's more implied rather than described) as Ender becomes the subject of bulling just because he is the best.
It's good clean reading, no swearing, no sex, no over-the-top gore.
I'd love to have a go of the fantasy game he plays in his spare time; it sounds awesome.
All in all a great read for young teenagers up to adults. I shall certainly be reading the sequel sometime soon
A note on the Kindle version: perfect. No proplems at all.