Posted in Reviews

Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game details humanity fighting for its place in the universe against a force they don’t understand.  The intelligence of younger generations is honed and seen as their only hope of salvation.  That hope soon forms itself into a small boy called Ender, who must deal with the weight of the people of Earth on his shoulders.

The Summary

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is a young boy of six when he is recruited to go to battle school.  He leaves behind his compassionate and intelligent sister Valentine and his malevolent-genius brother Peter, not to mention parents that play little role in his life.  At battle school, he endures training meant to prepare him to save the human race from the alien Buggers, with whom humanity is at war.  Through various trials, Ender is faced with hardship and overcomes each problem with a cunning solution.

As Ender ages, the Bugger war advances, and it becomes more apparent that humanity is counting on him as a savior.  Also revealed is the extent to which Ender’s life has been manipulated.  The book comes to a crescendo when Ender is in his early teens.  He and the friends he has made at battle school must put to the test what they have learned in order to prepare for saving humanity – if they can make it in time.

My Thoughts

Ender is an admirable main character that you can’t help but root for.  Again and again, he is forced to deal with things that no one should deal with, much less a little boy.  Time after time, though, he comes through.  The intelligence of children in this future world scenario is a very good thing to hope for.  If only our children become the smarter and quicker of our race, then we will keep advancing.

The book is dull to me at some points because of all the military influence.  It isn’t bad, but I have a distaste for anything that involves military references.  I know that armies and such are often great things, I just often don’t care to read about them.

The “big reveal” in the book is surprising, but I half-expected it to happen.  Others that have read the book I know have reported that it was stunning and amazing, but it did not leave me baffled.  It was a very good twist, nonetheless.

I would recommend Ender’s Game based on a number of things.  It is a good book, well written and marvelously put together.  It is an excellent sci-fi tale and takes a great look at humanity and our future.  I would advise people that this is definitely a book worth reading, but reserve the right to say that it will effect everyone differently.  I also think it has a different effect on males, as they have the experience of growing up as a little boy, whereas I do not.


Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012 – book # 14


5 thoughts on “Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  1. “you can’t help but root for”? Really? Doesn’t he kill a fellow child who’s bullying him in the beginning of the work? Card makes us empathize with a twisted person who reacts with extreme violence (again, referring to the killing of Stilson (sp), not the aliens)…. which is his point.

  2. You raise an interesting point. Ender is constantly afraid of becoming like Peter, who I think we can both agree would not have thought twice about killing Stilson. He did kill two fellow boys throughout the course of the novel, but I don’t believe it could be helped. I was surprised to learn that Stilson had died, but I don’t know that Stilson would have done anything less to Ender. Ender realized that he had to end the bullying or that it would cost him greatly. The same can be said for the situation with Bonzo. It makes me wonder how any other six year old in Ender’s situation might have reacted in a world where children are ostracized for being a third, kept watch over by government agencies and recruited to be trained for military purposes. Great comment and thanks for your input!

  3. You’re welcome!

    I guess my issue is that you just sort of apologized for murder…. Ender is selected by the government because he has these characteristics. And Card wants us to root for him. But yeah, the nebulous nature of the morality of Ender himself is rarely mentioned by most readers who generally see him as mostly blameless.

    1. Card does make it quite easy to empathize with Ender. It’s perhaps far too easy to dismiss the murder as a simple act. I suppose I’m just reluctant to apply this world’s rules and morality to Ender’s. It raises a whole lot of philosophical questions about the value of life, one person’s life versus another, and so on.

  4. “I’m reluctant to apply this world’s rules and morality to Ender’s” — why? I find the work just as much a commentary on the nature of war in our society as a projected future…

    I guess I’m also troubled (if you find this offensive, I apologize) by Card’s incredibly far right leanings (I warn you, his blog can be rather offensive)… especially regarding war etc.

    Without doubt the books makes us think. But I find Card’s message rather disturbing. Of course, Ender does seek to atone in the second work 😉

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