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Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott…

Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) (original 1977; edition 1994)

by Orson Scott Card

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34,38494441 (4.32)1110
Child-hero Ender Wiggin must fight a desperate battle against a deadly alien race if mankind is to survive.
Title:Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1)
Authors:Orson Scott Card
Info:Tor Science Fiction (1994), Edition: Eighth Printing, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (1977)

Recently added bypaa00a, Antlia, Arina40, Alf4, kernalkern, apilmer, private library, Kirjapossut, conserveblik, Veslibrary
Legacy LibrariesTim Spalding
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Now that this novel is heading to the big screen, I thought I'd add my thoughts for the community. I read this quite a while ago so I'm not going to get into details.

I will say that Ender's Game is an excellent story. It is well written and the characters are complete and believable. I know some people have a problem with thinking of mankind as war like, but considering our history this doesn't seem far fetched. It would be nice to think the world becomes better in the future and that we don't need to train children to become soldiers, but this story delves into our primal desire to dominate and protect with force.

Ender fills the role of Messiah in the story quite nicely. A lot of stories that deal with one extraordinary character can come off silly. But from time to time we get a gem like Ender. He has many levels and the reader feels a real connection to his plight and the ultimate responsibility that weighs on him. The training he goes through making friends and enemies can be related back to anyone who went to high school.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the follow-up books, but this book is worth the read. It is filled with action and tension, but it doesn't neglect good character development. ( )
  Eric_S_Hubbard | Jul 10, 2020 |
In the wake of two invasions by the alien "buggers", Ender's Game follows a six year old boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, who is chosen to attend Battle School. There, promising young children are groomed to lead humanity's forces in case the buggers strike again. The following review will focus primarily on the ideas played with in the book (very mild spoilers for Ch. 1).

TL;DR version: Come for the interesting zero-G battles, stay for the complex moral choices.

Given the title, one might expect there to be lots of gaming and scheming in Ender's Game and, indeed, it is flush with both. The primary focus of Battle School is a war-game played in zero-gravity. Every child is assigned to an army which competes against other armies to determine who goes on to Command School, and ultimately who becomes an officer in the International Starfleet. The objective of the game is to disable enough of the opposing players (using guns which freeze other players' suits) so that your army can pass through the enemy's gate. There is much discussion of training, strategy, and tactics, with the interesting concept of zero-G maneuvers explored in-depth. However, though it is interesting, the science-fiction setting serves mostly to explore the following themes and ideas.

Two of the most prominent themes are 1) the relationship between empathy and control and 2) balancing the desire to win with the desire to be moral, especially when the line between game and reality are blurred. From early on, it is clear that Ender is extremely smart but, beyond that, he has a unique ability to shift his perspective which allows him to understand others' motivations and puts him in powerful positions. For humans in general, this ability to empathize allows us to understand the motivation of others, which in turn allows us to predict their actions, and ultimately gives us some control over them. Many of the most interesting passages have to do with deciding what to do with that control once it is attained. Equally interesting though, is the choice of how to treat someone with whom we cannot empathize and, therefore, cannot control (at least, not humanely; fear of pain is always easy to exploit). The alien race of the buggers is used to great effect in exploring the latter situation.

Ender’s other great asset is his ability to quickly identify the rules of a system (virtual or face-to-face) and how they might be circumvented. Often times, given the war-like nature of the games he must play, this puts his desire to win at odds with his desire to treat his opponents humanely and with respect. An early example is when he is cornered by a schoolyard bully, Stilson, and his friends. Ender catches the bully off guard with a kick and must decide to either 1) leave now and hope to fend off Stilson & company again next time (probably in greater numbers) or 2) break the rules of civilized fighting and beat the defenseless Stilson as he lays on the floor, effectively preventing any further battles. Stratified choices like this one, which appear wrong when considered at one level but right when considered at another, occur multiple times in Ender's journey. What is best for a squadron leader may differ from what is best for humanity, and that may differ still from what is best for all intelligent species. Again, the ability to take multiple perspectives comes into play.

Other important themes include: walking the line between being a friend and being a leader, the isolation that comes with being a leader, and finding the sweet-spot between pushing someone enough to reach their potential and pushing them so hard that they break.

Ender himself is well-realized as a character. His empathetic nature is important to the story, but he himself is also easy to empathize with. Card has a great way of examining motivations and the way Ender often considers the possible outcomes of his choices before making them allows us to understand his conclusions and help us better identify with him. And though he has an immense intellect, Ender is still a child for much of the book and is correspondingly vulnerable. At the beginning of nearly every chapter is a conversation between Ender's overseers, who are trying to find a way to balance his needs as a child with their need for him to become a leader.

Overall, Ender's Game was a joy to read and I highly recommend it to those interested in any of the above themes. ( )
  salubanski | Jul 8, 2020 |
Science fiction at its finest. This book kept me engaged from start to finish. The plot twist was devastating, and the side plot with Ender's siblings was just as engaging as the main. I found it interesting that in an interstellar war with an alien species, the US and Russia were still trying to outmaneuver one another, and resume aggressions once the major threat was over. ( )
  patrickcreese | Jul 8, 2020 |
I enjoyed this book. I thought it was super interesting how everything was analyzed and how peoples' behaviors were explained. I also liked how there was forgiveness at the end. ( )
  InfiniteWolves | Jul 8, 2020 |
Ender's Game started off as a short story back in 1977. Eight years later Orson Scott Card expanded it into a full length novel. I'm glad he did, for this is a wonderful science fiction story, but I wish he'd expanded it just a tiny bit more.

The plot is simple enough: humanity is at war, or will be shortly, and has decided to go out and find an Alexander the Great rather than hoping one appears amongst the ranks. To this end it takes any promising looking six-year-olds into space to play simulated battle games in zero gravity. The best of the best eventually graduate to Command School where they learn to lead fleets of space ships on simulators rather than platoons of children.

Yes, I said six-year-olds. If your willing suspension of disbelief is stretched by that then this probably isn't a book worth getting into. While I was reading I was fine, but whenever I put the book down and saw the small child's face on the front cover I'd be reminded that all the violence and war games within was being perpetrated by characters who, as one of them neatly puts it, “have eight pubic hairs between [them].” Once I'd stumbled over that mental hurdle I enjoyed the story immensely. Or at least most of the story.

About twenty pages from the end I was resigned to the fact that I'd have to read the sequel to get the whole story — there simply wasn't enough room left to wrap up the plot, was there? Well, yes and no. The plot gets wrapped up with a lovely twist which I probably should have seen coming but fortunately managed not to. And then Orson Scott Card seemed to be trying to cram as much dénouement into the last chapter as possible. It swelled and swelled with rapid and sketchy plot and character developments until the pages couldn't take any more and they burst, spilling a watery imbroglio all over my carpet. Luckily I had some Vanish to hand, but it was still annoying.

Perhaps, then, Ender's Game should have been a little bit more expanded. Not homogeneously – most of the novel is just fine. But that last chapter feels tacked on, like the last five seconds of a horror movie where the supposedly dead killer's hand moves/the supposedly dead monster's eye opens/the egg hatches/there's no toilet paper/etc. It's like the author is saying “I wanna write a sequel, but in case I don't here's a vague sense of where things might have gone.” In the event Orson Scott Card did write a sequel, nine of them in fact, and three prequels, and and a parallelequel, and that's not to mention the short stories. Oh wait, I already did. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 918 (next | show all)
I am aware that this sounds like the synopsis of a grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction-rip-off movie. But Mr. Card has shaped this unpromising material into an affecting novel full of surprises that seem inevitable once they are explained. The key, of course, is Ender Wiggin himself. Mr. Card never makes the mistake of patronizing or sentimentalizing his hero.

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Card, Orson Scottprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birney, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cuir, Gabrielle DeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harris, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemoine, DanielTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubinstein, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Geoffrey,
Who makes me remember
How young and how old
Children can be
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"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one."
And then a worse fear, that he was a killer, only better at it than Peter ever was; that it was this very trait that pleased the teachers.
Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.
-- Valentine Wiggin
Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf. Survival first, then happiness as we can manage it.
Remember, the enemy's gate is down.
[P]ower will always end up with the sort of people who crave it....
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This is the novel form of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Please do not combine the original novella or the movie to this work, as each are uniquely different entities.
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Ender Wiggin is a very bright young boy with a powerful skill. One of a group of children bred to be military geniuses and save Earth from an inevitable attack by aliens, known here as "buggers," Ender becomes unbeatable in war games and seems poised to lead Earth to triumph over the buggers. Meanwhile, his brother and sister plot to wrest power from Ender. Twists, surprises and interesting characters elevate this novel into status as a bona fide page turner.
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