Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ender's Game

By Orson Scott Card

 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.

This book has literally been on my 'to read' list for at least ten years. I finally got to it around Thanksgiving and was pretty floored by this book. If you haven't heard of it, it won a couple medals and people tend to either love this book or hate it, which is pretty telling that it is a book that gets a lot of discussion. I was pretty surprised at the load of profanity in this book, but it does lend itself to the story and what is going on, not that I'm excusing it, it still bothered me a great deal. It's really hard to see Ender as such a little kid through the whole book, what with his being a super genious and all the kids in this book being smarter than Einstein. I guess that's part of the fantasy, and the eventual horror. I had no clue what was going to happen and was shocked to say the least at some of the 'reveals' at the end of the novel. Holy smokes. It takes quite the story to get me going like that, and Mr. Card outdid himself on that front. It is apparent from the first pages why this book is contriversial, and why it has won so many awards. This is a book about belonging, about growing up, and about society and war. It's about a whole lot of things and anyone who reads it can find something to latch onto. It's pretty amazing. That being said, I had mixed feelings when I read the last pages. I couldn't stop thinking about it, but I was sad as I finished and more than a little disappointed in the future Mr. Card painted. There was hope, but it was bleak throughout, and I had a hard time swallowing it. But, that in itself, is a sign of what superb writing, and touching story he was able to write. And it only took someone twenty years to make this book into a movie...I just found out it's being made into a movie coming out this summer. We'll see how it goes, looks promising when they cast Harrison Ford.

I give it a 4 out of 5 for excellece, even though I felt a slight emotional scaring by the end.

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