Ender's Game - playing for the highest stakes
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