Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Summary from Goodreads:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. 

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives. 

If you are new to the science fiction genre, start with Ender's Game. That is what they all say. After loving Doctor Who and liking Star Wars, just last year, I thought maybe it's high time for me to try some sci-fi lit. So, I said why not? If it's Ender's Game they say, then Ender's Game it is.

I get it now, the reason for this being the best book to initiate anyone to the sci-fi genre. Orson Scott Card's writing is straightforward, crystal clear, and snappy. The action is brisk and it accelerates.  It has very minimal scientific jargon and tongue twisting alien names that freaks non sci-fi readers. In other words, it is easy to get into. Readable. 

Another thing that I realized, which contributes much to the brilliance of this book is that while it has action and is fast-paced, as mentioned above, it also has just the right amount of thought provoking ideas and challenges established assumptions regarding life and morality and such. At least, enough to satisfy speculative fiction fanboys and fangirls. But on one hand not overwhelming enough for those new to the genre. It is the perfect balance. 

This book also contains brilliantly crafted characters. Most notable would be the Wiggin siblings. Attached to them are two descriptive words that I often love in literary characters. Genius and Underdog (at least, they started out as one). Ender, I found, to be memorable not only during the times when he exhibited his genius and skill in survival and military strategy but also those moments of vulnerability. Moments when you realize, this boy is just a kid. There is where my awe turned into sympathy. Again the perfect balance of these two reactions were achieved. Surprisingly, I found my self interested even when the book switches to the Valentine and Peter Wiggin POV.  One will find these two siblings to be just as compelling as Ender in their genius and proved to be very instrumental to the whole story.

1985. This is the year this book went out. Now it's 2013. It seems blasphemous to have read this book only now. It's a wonderful story about innocence lost, desire and abuse of power, the implications of war, whether the end justify the means, where do we draw the line for what is, as they say, a necessary evil. 

I am going to join the Ender's Game book pushers club and tell you to read this book. Do not be afraid of the label; science-fiction. If you are not into the whole "aliens thing" which was what a friend once told me, then read it to get to know the genius of the Wiggin siblings and also the games in null gravity are a lot of fun, I promise. :D    

Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Award Winning Books Reading Challenge Entry No. 10

Comments

  1. I loved Ender's Game, too! But I haven't had time to read the sequel. I shall try within the year. :)

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    1. Hi Atty. Monique! It's been awhile since I discovered a series that I thoroughly got addicted to. I am about 1/6 through book 2: Speaker for the Dead. It's more philosophical and explains some events and decisions that happened in EG. Oh, and try Ender's Shadow too. For Bean! :D

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  2. Hello, Tin!

    I'm happy that you liked this novel. For me though, my reading affair with Orson Scott Card ends with this novel. :-)

    I realize that my comment might be a bit cryptic. You can check out my blog to find out why I'm never going to read OSC again.

    ReplyDelete

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