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Scifi for Teens: THE ENDER SERIES

Updated on June 12, 2015

One of the best science fiction series for teens must be the Ender Series. I remember enjoying it very much when I first read it.

The series starts with its main protagonist, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, then six years old, being recruited for Battle School at a time when the survival of humanity itself is being threatened by an alien species. The stories offer action and adventure that will keep your teen turning the pages. But if it's just entertaining space opera, I wouldn't be recommending it. What makes the Ender Series is its thought-provoking themes. It raises questions about war, the morality of using children in battle and cross-cultural (mis)understanding.

Written by Orson Scott Card, the Ender Series begins with Ender's Game, and continues with Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind.

The Ender Series At A Glance

Book 1: Ender's Game

  • First published 1985
  • Won Nebula Award 1985
  • Won Hugo Award 1986

Book 2: Speaker for the Dead

  • First published 1986
  • Won Nebula Award 1986
  • Won Hugo Award 1987

Book 3: Xenocide

  • First published 1991
  • Nominated for Hugo Award 1992

Book 4: Children of the Mind

  • First published 1996

The Plot

Ender's Game is set in a time when aliens have attacked earth, almost destroying the human race. The government decides to recruit children who show signs of being extremely intelligent, and then training them in war tactics and strategy required to win a war with the aliens. The main character, Andrew "Ender" Wiggins, is the most brilliant of the children recruited and the novel follows him as he progresses in his training -- at first, it's all fun and games for the kids, but as time passes, the "games" gets deadly serious.

The Speaker for the Dead continues with Ender, 35 years old. It's been 3000 years since the war, but only 20 odd years for Ender himself due to relativistic time. He lands on the planet Lusitania, where he becomes involved in the lives of a human family, whose lives are themselves intertwined with that of the native species on that planet. In the process, the novel explores the relations between humans and aliens.

Xenocide and Children of the Mind also take place on Lusitania.The planet has a virus that humans have not adapted to, which will eventually eliminate humanity it spreads to other planets. In an effort to head off that eventuality, Starways Congress, the interstellar governing body of the time, has decided to destroy the entire planet. Ender marshals his force, and they struggle against time to find a form of the virus that allows the native species on Lusitania to survive, but doesn't harm other species.

About the author

Orson Scott Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona and Utah. He currently lives in North Carolina with his wife and their youngest child.

Orson Scott Card is of course most well known for the Ender novels, which gave him the distinction of being the first author to receive both the Nebula and Hugo awards two years running (for Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead).

He is also the author of various novels (contemporary fantasy and biblical novels), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker, as well as poetry, plays and scripts.

The "Enderverse"

The Ender series was so successful that it spawned many more novels and short stories based on the same fictional universe:


  • Ender's Shadow
  • Shadow of the Hegemon
  • Shadow Puppets
  • Shadow of the Giant
  • A War of Gifts: An Ender Story
  • Ender in Exile


First Meetings

  • "Ender's Game"
  • "Investment Counselor"
  • "The Polish Boy"
  • "Teacher's Pest"

More short stories from the Enderverse will be published in an upcoming anthology co-edited by Orson Scott Card titled InterGalactic Medicine Show (expected release date: August 2008)


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    • My SciFi Life profile image

      My SciFi Life 7 years ago from London, UK

      The Ender series - specifically Enders Game is an exceptional book. Being much more than a "teen" now I think it appeals to a very large audience (in fact I seem to recall reading or hearing somewhere that it is required reading by the US Marine Core). I never really enjoyed the other books in the series unfortunately but I have come back to Enders game several times over the years.

    • Marlene_OnTheWall profile image

      Marlene_OnTheWall 9 years ago from Singapore

      You're welcome, Lizybeth. If you want to find the names of the books in order, then Wikipedia actually has quite a bit of information. And, of course, you can always refer to Orson Scott Card's official site

    • Lizybeth profile image

      Lizybeth 9 years ago from USA

      Thanks for the names of the books in the series in order.