Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ender's Game (Booklogged's Review)

The story is set in the future, approximately the year 2070. An alien race known as the Formics (often called the Buggers by children) has attacked Earth twice. Humans were very nearly destroyed the second time around, and would have been annihilated were it not for the work of Mazer Rackham. Now the government is preparing for the next invasion, gathering all of Earth's brightest children and sending them to Battle School, where they will learn to use their military genius to win the next Formic War.

The story centers around a child named Andrew Wiggin (given the nickname "Ender" by his sister's mispronunciation of his name). At the beginning of the book, Ender is only six. He is recruited into the IF (the International Fleet) and taken to Battle School, where he endures six years of intensive training. But Ender is not just another one of the children at Battle School; he is the one on whom all the government's hopes are pinned. For Ender is the best of the best, the genius among genius, and he is to be the next commander of the human fleet.

I wonder if J.K. Rowling ever read Ender's Game. As I read it I often thought of Harry Potter. Maybe it was because both books focused on young children or that the training games in Ender reminded me of Quiditch. Also, the young heroes of the books have to grow up so fast and face so much responsibility - They both hold the lives of so many in their hands. Even though I can't quite identify the similarities, in my mind at least, there was a similar feel.

Ender's Game was first conceived of when Card was only 16 years old. It was many years later that it was first published in a Science Fiction magazine as a short story. Even later Card developed it into a book that was awarded the Hugo and Nebula Awards for best novel. Ender's Game is used by the Marine Corps University at Quantico as a textbook on the psychology of leadership.

Thanks to Chris I own Speaker for the Dead which is a follow-up to Ender's Game. Card has said that Ender's Game was written specifically to establish the character of Ender for his role of the Speaker in Speaker for the Dead, the outline for which he had written before novelizing Ender's Game. I'm excitedly looking for to reading Speaker for the Dead.

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