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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

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Submitted by Meg 
(Sep 25, 2001)

My ex-boyfriend got me to read Ender's Game when I was a freshman. I liked Science Fiction, of course, but mostly fantasy, instead. In fact, previous to this book, I had read Enchantment (a worthy fairy tale). But Ender's Game proved to be one of the best books I ever read (even if the boyfriend was not). It was intense all the way through, and the characters Card creates are so real, it's hard to remember that they're in the book. The battle sequences are so believable, even though they are only a game. That year, I also read the other books in the same series. Each book developed on new characters, and I kept reading, even though that boyfriend was long out of the picture and the books were getting lengthier. Just this past year, when the most recent book of the series was published, Shadow of the Hegemon, another friend let me borrow it in the car for a 2 hour drive. I couldn't put it down, until he took it back. All of the books in the Ender's Game series are well worth anyone's time to read. They are as intense as any science fiction movie I have ever seen, and made me think even more about what is actually out there in the universe. I highly recommend this captivating series to anyone, not just science fiction fans, including those who do not like to read. This is science fiction and writing at a culminating height.

Submitted by Sam 
(Sep 03, 2001)

I've read and enjoyed SF all my life, but in recent years I've been distressed by what is marketed as "Science Fiction." Most of it is actually Fantasy, and I suggest the bulk of that is actually Juvenile Fantasy. True SF doesn't have wizards or dragons, I'm afraid. So when someone mentioned Ender's Game as a legitimate hardcore SF novel, I eagerly picked up a copy. Sadly I found myself struggling to finish the book. Why? Several reasons. First, I understand why EG is so popular among young (and immature) readers. It's a nerdy kid's dream, defeating those larger than you, overcoming outrageous odds, piling victory upon victory. I would have probably treasured the book if I were 14 and lonely, too. Card has definitely touched a nerve here, and I don't criticize him for having created a successful series of books. But the story is essentially primitive. Seemingly endless exercises in the battle room, mind-numbing detail regarding whether to shoot from between your feet, unnecessary and repetitive descriptions of each battle test are pretty much the theme. This is probably exciting to a kid who spends all his time playing video games, but it's certainly not very creative or engaging to grownups. In fact it's boring. There are also these off-the-record discussions, conducted between the military leaders, setting up the next challenges and predicting the ominous future to come. In writing parlance, this is known as omniscient foreshadowing, and it's a hack technique. Another criticism I have is that the actions of Ender (and for the most part, his colleagues) are not consistent with the behavior of a child. At the age of six or seven, no child would be able to endure the sort of vigorous training and classroom study described, prodigy or not. The physical body would not withstand it. And emotionally and developmentally, the young child cannot maintain the type of concentration and focus Ender goes through. And don't tell me about his having been genetically selected for top performance, either. Hitler's people tried that. It doesn't work. Precocious kids are still kids. If Ender had been a near-adolescent, say about 11 or 12, then I might have bought the premise. But a child of six? Nope. No way. Another thing that I thought was mundane was the overemphasis on this battle drill scenario. In real battle, pilots act with skills that are honed from training exercises in simulators and combat flight instruction. In the future, pilots won't be shooting hand-held pistols or worrying about whether part of their body has been hit. They will be flying in connection with online computer systems that are connected directly with their neural pathways. Putting Ender through these senseless battle drills was silly. However, my strongest objection to this book is not its juvenile plot or its strange obsession with personal battle drills. No, what I am most concerned about is the thread of aberrant sexuality that runs through the novel. We're often told that the boys run naked through the halls, sleep naked, even fight naked. Why? Why have that in the story at all? It isn't germane to the plot. It doesn't have any value at all. So why put it into the story? It serves no purpose other than to titillate some pervert's mind, I think. And there's this one strange passage where Ender meets this girl his age (7 or so), and although they are both naked (I didn't say it--Orson Scott Card did) he doesn't realize she's a girl because her hair is short. Huh? At that age she might not be developed, but she certainly lacks the primary characteristics that boys do. Ender would notice that. Something is funny here, and I don't mean "ha ha" funny. I understand that Card is a family man and a Mormon. That further confuses me, because I cannot understand why such a man would write this sort of low-grade pederasty into an otherwise acceptable but juvenile book. I don't mean to make a mountain of a molehill, but I was disturbed with these overtones. Honest. Sorry, I give the book a "1" for adults, maybe a "3" or "4" for kids. Anyone who thinks this ia a 'great' SF novel apparently hasn't read Zelazny's "Lord of Light", or Delaney's "Triton", or Gibson's "Neuromancer."

Submitted by Eba Run 
(Aug 02, 2001)

It is a wonder that the first Sci-fi book I ever read turned out to be one of two of the best, the other one being the magnificent "Dune". The plot is neat, the characters believable, and even sub-plot is moving.

Submitted by Melanie 
(Jul 23, 2001)

It still amazes me to remember that I almost never read Ender's Game. I thought it was all battles (which don't interest me at all) and my friends had to force the book on me. I was at camp at the time and I still finished it in three days. That was two years ago and I've read it at least six times since then. Some people don't like the book as much as I do, I know, but there are certain groups of people who will love it. Any kid or adult who has intelligence as a major part of their self-concept will love Ender's Game: Ender is someone they can relate to in almost every aspect of his character. The main part of the story relies on the reader's ability to empathize with Ender, and sometimes it's harder for nonreaders to get into this book. However, I would recommend it to anyone.

Submitted by
(May 28, 2001)

Ender's Game is one of the best books I've ever read, not just in science fiction, but in any field. While the basic plot is fairly simple, what makes the book great is how Ender deals with people and situations. I've read this book at least 10 times and recommend that everyone else read it, as well as the rest in the Ender series.

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