ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card

Official plot description, because I am too lazy to do it myself:

“Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.”

Pretty jazzy, no?  Actually, it is Lord of the Flies meets Harry Potter meets Worlds of Warcraft.  It is ridiculous.

I mean,  really.  A six-year old kid leading an intersteller army of battleships?  OK, he is not six when he does that. He is ten, or is it eleven.  But it is all just ridiculous.  I never met any six year old whom I would trust to operate the microwave or not pee on the toilet seat, let alone have enough strategy to command armies.  Oh, well, it’s fiction.  Allow me to quote, as my own feelings, the words of another reviewer:

I wanted to like Ender’s Game. I really did. It’s a wonder that even after more than halfway into the book, I still clung on to the foolishly optimistic notion that the book would somehow redeem itself. That it would end up justifying the tedious, repetitive, drearily dull chapters I trundled through.

This book received the Hugo Award for Best Novel (1986), and the Nebula Award for Best Novel (1985).  We thought differently back then in the 80s.  We are more jaded now.  OK, I am more jaded now.  I am less open these days to some guy’s wet dream of what he could have done as a widdle kid if only he had been genetically modified.

I sure as hell am not going to read the sequel, Speaker for the Dead.

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One comment on “ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card

  1. Phoghat says:

    Sorry, can’t agree. I first read it back in the 80s, maybe I was different then, but have since re read it a few times. The sequels suck (IMO), but the original I thought great. Lately Card’s writing has focused on his religion (LDS) and I don’t care for it, or his anti-gay message

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