Saturday Softcover: Ender’s Game (Better Late than Never)

Easy as A, B, C . . . from HA

endersgameEnder’s Game is an ‘unfilmable’ book, not because there’s too much violence, but because everything takes place in Ender’s head.”Orson Scott Card

The film is scheduled for release November 1, 2013.

Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game was, originally, a short story in 1977 and a full-fledged novel in 1985. The 1985 edition was edited by Card in 1991 to better reflect the worldwide political climate of the time. He’s threatened to edit it once again, but hasn’t done so as of this writing.

With the movie coming out later this year, it seemed time to visit an old friend. It was a grand visit. The story is as good now as it ever was.

For those of you who have never read Ender’s Game: Shame on you! (Just kidding—no, seriously—shame on you.) Get a copy… buy a used edition on eBay, buy a collector’s edition, or borrow one from the library; whatever you have to do. Read it before the movie comes out.

It’s a compelling story: a group of brilliant children hold the fate of the world in their hands against insect-like aliens.

On the chance someone hasn’t read Ender’s Game, I don’t want to give too much away. It’s a good read, full of plot twists and surprises. The biggest complaint I’ve run across over the years is boiled down to “Children don’t talk/act like that. It’s very unrealistic.” Hogwash.

Let me stress the “brilliant children” in my earlier statement. The people who make this complaint, apparently, haven’t had experiences with high-IQ children. They aren’t blank slates waiting to be imprinted, they’re already imprinted. Please hold that thought when you read this book!

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is drafted into military service at the ripe old age of five. He’s sent to Battle School after proving to those monitoring him that he’s capable of inflicting great pain on an enemy (read school bully) as a warning to other would-be bullies. (You can get away with a lot under the auspices of self-defense.)

The book carries us through five years of his trials and tribulations at Battle School: learning to fight in weightless conditions; strategy and tactics in a three-dimensional arena that has no up or down; and a myriad of other testing procedures, some military, some personality, all designed to break Ender down and build him back up, to make him the “best he can be”… or to completely ruin him.

Once Battle School is completed, he’s whisked off to Command School where more testing is forced on him. Testing, drilling, and testing some more, to make him a Commander, to lead other combatants into Interstellar battle.

The characters are fully developed, the side-stories are interesting, but don’t really help move the story along. They’re there, primarily, to prime the pump for later novels. The military aspects are spot-on. (I say this as a 20-year Navy veteran)

Five-stars…read it.

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