I was always a voracious reader but in reality I recycled the same 10 or 15 books a year with a few new ones sprinkled in for good measure. This isn’t a bad system but it would have made for a very repetitive Cannonball profile and one thing my CBR journey has pushed me to do in the past three and a half years is to read new books: different genres and entire author oeuvres etc.
So now that I’m on my fourth year I figure it’s time to reread my version of the “classics” beginning with Ender’s Game.
“I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.”
I believe most people are familiar with Orson Scott Card’s sci-fi novel about Andrew “Ender” Wiggin and the century long war against alien invaders called Buggers. Ender and other brilliant children are selected for “battle school” and sent to the asteroid belt where they are trained to be military commanders through classes and games. Ender is isolated from the start and rises through the ranks at school quicker than any other student; this makes him even more isolated from his peers although he begins to gain their respect through his talents as an army commander.
After a violent altercation with another student commander, instead of punishment, Ender is sent to further his training to become the commander of the actual military troops. Isolation, evasive adults and training Ender through games continues as the decades long war comes to a head.
“Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something. Maybe humanity needs me—to find out what you’re good for. We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.”
I remember when the movie came out a few years ago I was disappointed a teenager was cast as Ender (just checked, Asa Butterfield was sixteen when Ender’s Game came out) when the novel covers Ender’s life from ages 6 to 12. I first read Ender’s Game when I was probably ten and appreciated that young children were treated like adults and hailed as the world’s last hope. As an adult, it’s probably been 5 or 6 years since I’ve reread Ender’s Game, the young ages of the Battle School students is jarring. My oldest nephew is Ender’s age at the beginning of the novel and I couldn’t believe him doing any of the things these children do!
Card does an excellent job of developing an entire believable sci-fi universe. Cynically the most unbelievable part of the novel is that the entire population of Earth could put aside their differences to battle alien invaders. I look at the world today and feel global unity, even as humanity’s last hope of survival, is an impossibility in today’s world.