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First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse Hardcover – July 1, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
A quarter century after the world first learned that "the enemy's gate is down" in Card's groundbreaking "Ender's Game," comes a collection bringing together that novelette with two more recent stories that expand on the concepts and philosophies bound up in the story of Ender, the uncannily brilliant boy who is forced to sacrifice himself to save the world from alien "Buggers." "The Polish Boy" a previously unpublished tale of how Ender's father, John Paul, at the age of five manipulated Captain Graff of the International Fleet into saving his "noncompliant" family showcases Card's talent at developing the inner life of a character. John Paul possesses a mind that marries a child's lack of worldly experience with a preternatural sense of the people and goings on around him. "The Investment Counselor," a fun if relatively slight story, explains how the AI named Jane first formally introduced herself to Ender. As for "Ender's Game," even those who are intimately familiar with the concepts of the Game from later Ender books will be struck anew by Card's virtuosity. His powerful voice and startlingly clear vision will draw many new readers into a lifelong love of science fiction. This accessible collection will impress even non-sci-fi buffs, besides being a must-have for Ender saga devotees.Hugo in 1977 and in its better known book form the story collected both Hugo and Nebula awards in 1985.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
No continuing characters in sf are more fascinating than those Card introduced in the 1977 story "Ender's Game" and developed in the award-winning novel of the same name and its six sequels. Here that story reappears, accompanied by two recently written ones set, respectively, 30-odd years before and well after the events of their great progenitor. In "The Polish Boy," recruiters for the Battle School in which "Ender's Game" occurs come to screen a poor Catholic professor's precocious offspring and decide that the best prospect among them, though he will never attend Battle School, bears continued watching. In "Investment Counselor," Ender has attained age 20 and must pay taxes; almost unimaginably wealthy from investments begun for him when he was Earth's 12-year-old savior, he needs help and gets it from an uncannily knowledgeable software program. Like "Ender's Game," which concludes this book, these stories demonstrate the assured scene setting, apparently effortlessly sustained suspense, and moral preoccupation with the responsibilities of kinship and friendship that distinguish Ender's entire saga. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"The Polish Boy" is the tale of Ender Wiggin's father, John Paul. John Paul is a precocious Polish Catholic child (five and a half) whose parents haven't noticed his unusual intelligence. But a government tester does, and soon a tug-of-war begins between his parents and the people who want to reshape him into a battle strategist.
"Investment Counselor" is a "plug the hole" type of story. It's been years since the events of "Ender's Game," and Ender is travelling the stars. He also has turned twenty, and there's a slight problem concerning the whole tax thing. The one to help him? An artificial intelligence named Jane -- a familiar figure to fans of the Ender series.
And the third story is the original "Ender's Game," a short story published in the late 70s, that produced the idea of the Battle school, genius children Ender and Bean, and a sort of microcosm of the eventual epic series that Card has since written.
It's a smal book, only about 150 pages, but Card never tries to flesh it out too much. It's the content of the stories that really makes it worth the buy, because of what he does with them. "Boy" adds an extra dimension to Ender's father and the situations that came years later. "Investment" is a nice bit of backstory, with a slightly humorous tone that makes it lighter than the books. And "Ender's Game" (the short story) is merely pleasant to read because it's nice to see how this short story blossomed and expanded.
Fans of Card will not be disappointed by this well-written, interesting collection of stories. This is the kind of SF I like to read.
"Ender's Game" is the Hugo-nominated novelette that served as the basis for Card' sprawling Ender series. The short story begins when Ender is in Battle School, whereas the novel begins much earlier. Both stories tell the same tale, but the short contained herein is a superb short story.
"Investment Counselor" was previously published in Robert Silverberg's 'Far Horizons' anthology. This story relates how Ender first met Jane, the artificial intelligence that is his constant companion in several books of the series. This is an enjoyable story that was unjustly criticized by several reviewers in its initial publication.
"The Polish Boy" is original to this collection. It's the interesting story of Ender's father's childhood. It tells an entertaining story, but I'm not sure exactly what Card is trying to do here. Why did this story need to be told? It doesn't seem to fit into the Ender stories. We learn that Ender's father was a precocious child from a large family. We see a bit of the history behind the Hegemony, the worldwide government that has fallen into disarray by the time "Ender's Game" occurs. We learn how Ender's family arrived in the United States. The story of a precocious young child has been told better by Card in "Ender's Game" and "Mikal's Songbird". I can only assume that the story was written to fill-in the Ender univese for devotees of the series. As such, it's an enjoyable piece of work.
As a whole, this is a nice collection. The stories range from excellent to enjoyable, a spectrum that many authors would love to have! Outside of my reservations regarding "The Polish Boy", this is a very entertaining collection.