Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Summary (from Goodreads): In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

I recently finished reading "Ender's Shadow", which is a novel told in the same time-line as "Ender's Game", but from the point of view of the character Bean, following his journey into battle school instead of Ender's. I really enjoyed it, just as much as I enjoyed Ender’s Game, and now want everyone to at least read this first book.

Ender's Game was one of those sci-fi classics that I'd heard of, but didn't know much about. No movie yet (main characters are both very young and time-line spans a few too many years for casting to be easy). Then, one Christmas, I bought and started readed it, brought it home with me and told my dad about it. I didn’t see that book again until my dad was through reading it himself. He’d even read Ender’s Shadow by the time I left. (moral of the story: tell people about books you love only after you're done reading them yourself ;))

In Ender’s Game, you’ll find mock battles in zero g, kids playing at war, humanity scrambling to defend itself against an alien race that has twice invaded Earth. The heavy weight of an all-out war of worlds is put on these child geniuses. It’s games now, but ever-present is the knowledge that there is a real war going on out there. The buggers (the nickname for the alien race) might come back at any time. These kids are being trained to command armies in the war to come. Humanity is depending on them. No, humanity might just be depending on Ender alone, the boy who seems to take war strategy and leadership to a level no one else can compete with.

Okay, so maybe this book isn’t for everyone. It’s all war games and soldiers in training, and not a drop of romance and not much comedy, but the story and characters are great and the books are hard to put down. If you’re at all intrigued by this book, read it! Read it now.

Lit Snit Verdict: A+

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