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Ender's Game - playing for the highest stakes

Updated on November 6, 2014
GollyGearHope profile image

Hope Saidel is co-owner of Golly Gear, a bricks-and-mortar and online shop featuring fun, affordable and practical small dog products

I read Ender's Game for the first time more than two decades ago.

I'm probably responsible for hundreds more people reading it - my family owned a bookstore back then. Ender's Game and its sequel, Speaker For the Dead, were the science fiction books I pressed into people's hands on a regular basis. I even made my book group (all women who professed to "hate" science fiction) read it. And they loved it. For good reason - both books won the highest awards in Science Fiction in 1986 and 1987, the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award.

The plot of Ender's Game is compelling - the humans of Earth are at war with an insect-like alien species. To save humanity and our planet, children are tested for their military skills at a young age and the best are recruited into a cadet corps - "Battle School" and trained to help save the world.

Andrew "Ender" Wiggins goes to Battle School at just six years old. As he grows up he is a creative and masterful player of the battle simulation games that are the training basis of the school. He is promoted to the highest ranks and achieves the ultimate "win."

The end of the book was a complete surprise to me, and was an obsession for quite a while - how would I have felt? What would anyone do in that situation? Who is truly the "bad guy" in this scenario?

Consequently, although you can discover the ending fairly easily these days, I'm not going to reveal it - I do think it would spoil some of the joy of reading the book.

As for the author, I've read quite a few of Orson Scott Card's books. I've enjoyed his science fiction and disliked his fantasy novels. Now, for me, his political views (he's made many headlines in recent months) have caused me to lose any interest I might have had in reading his fiction. A shame, really. He's been an excellent storyteller.

The movie of Ender's Game came out in November, 2013.

I have mixed feelings about seeing movies from books I've read.

On the one hand - the movies are never as good as the books (except if the book is based on the movie - but that's another discussion). And if you have a particular image in your mind for the characters in the book, the movie casting can make or break it. If it's a book you've read recently, or if you have a better memory than mine, then inconsistencies between the book and the movie can make you crazy.

On the other hand - if the book featured action, suspense, wonderful characters and imaginative scenery, it's great to see it on the big screen and how someone else interprets the book you already love.

In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them. - Andrew "Ender" Wiggins

© 2013 Hope

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    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Nice lens...

    • GollyGearHope profile image
      Author

      Hope 4 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      @kimberlyschimmel: Yes, and no.

      Card has used his "famous author" status to promote his opinion on a political issue. His opinion may be based in his religion - but the discussion is about a political issue, concerning the law.

      Every author's background colors his work. I, too, read books by diverse authors. Some I agree with, others I don't. I draw the line, however, at those who would deny others the human rights they enjoy.

      Card has injected himself, and many of his later books, into the political discussion. He has every right to express his opinions. And I have the right not to further support him.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      Sigh! As a resident of Greensboro, NC (where Card lives) I am getting so tired of every single review referring to his "political" views--which are actually religious views. He's a good writer and by all accounts a good family man. Do I know the beliefs of every author whose books I read? No. I just want a good book to read. I read fiction by Mormons, Christians, atheists, gay, straight and I don't know what else. I also read nonfiction on both sides of any issue (keep your friends close and your enemies closer.) I wish people would just talk about his books .

    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 4 years ago

      @ThreeQuarters2Day: That is so cool.

    • Projectlazy profile image

      Projectlazy 4 years ago

      I loved the books. I might be the only person who enjoyed Ender's Shadow more though.

    • ThreeQuarters2Day profile image

      Dawn Romine 4 years ago from Nebraska

      Did you know this book is now on the Marine Corps suggested reading list? Just learned that today.

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      Loved Enders Game. Great book, and I couldn't agree more about movies from books. I find it's best to kind of separate the two, and sort of see the movie as kind of an off shoot of the book, and not exactly the same. Great review!

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Nice review... actually thinking about adding it to my wish list :)

    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      This book is a great Book Club book for 'tweeners. Kind of too bad it will be a made into a movie...less kids will read it. But I love Harrison Ford.