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Sep 18 2008 book review

Enders Game Review Very minor spoilers

Ender’s Game is a Science Fiction novel by Orson Scott Card about Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, an almost-super-human child in terms of shear mental ability and military strategy. Ender is selected at an early age to enroll in an elite military training program in order to save humanity from an alien race of insect-like creatures known as “buggers”. Throughout the book Ender is put through a mental hell, constantly pushed beyond the previously thought human limits to prove his self worth to save humanity from destruction.

Ender’s Game is regarded as a SciFi classic for many good reasons. Card is an ingenious author, combining military strategy and tactics with commentary on many human related dilemmas such as over-population and resulting controls, the capabilities and limits of human potential as well as the technology we build, relationships between two vastly different intelligent species who can’t so much as communicate with each other in any physical means, and many other profound philosophical insights. Throughout the book, human and political nature is explored through Ender’s siblings, Peter and Valentine, who while Ender is in space training for his destiny to come, discuss and manipulate the subtle political structure of the future which the story takes place. Relationships between vastly different emotions such as love and hate are postulated, and Card dives deep into exploring the human psyche, especially when when humans are forced into uncertain situations for long periods at a time. By the end of the novel, the author wraps everything up quite nicely into a very complete conclusion, while leaving the reader thinking about how one would behave in the same situations. The reader won’t agree with all of Ender’s and the other characters actions in the novel, but thats partially the point, to point out what it means to be human and some of the mistakes we make,

Everything being said, I did find at some points, especially earlier on, that the pace was a tad slow. Various scenes, including the many war games in played in a vast, gravity-less battle room, are used to construct various aspects of Ender’s personality and way of thinking, but could have potentially been combined. Conversely, a lot is revealed at the end of the book, particularly the last three chapters, and while its is common nature not to reveal all the subtleties of a novel until the very end of the plot, the reader finds himself rereading the same paragraph a few times due to the plethora of information contained.

That being said, the book wraps up very nicely, with all the hanging threads taken care of (save a significant one or two) leaving the reader satisfied. Any reader will have to make the choice at this point to leave the series as it, having completed a well written and deep novel, or to continue and find out more (which is what I will be doing ;-) ). Overall, I very much recommend Ender’s Game for SciFi and Military enthusiasts alike, as well as the general literary fan.