Book Review: Ender's Game

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Book Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" has been the high water mark for me in the Sci Fi genre, so I was feeling some trepidation reading it once again because I enjoyed it so much when I was in University.  I hoped that I would like it as much now, as a more refined older reader.  Sometimes things you remember fondly from the past are better left there, such as when I watched an episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard" as an adult.  It was such a great show when I was younger, but watching it now... not so much.  I digress.

So I opened "Ender's Game" early in the day, remembering how it had cost me a night's sleep eighteen years ago.  I was pleased that it grabbed me from the first page, just as it had that night years ago. The story follows Andrew Wiggin (Ender) as he grows from a young boy to adolescence while being trained and conditioned by the ruthless military/government types to be a leader of Humanity in an upcoming interstellar war against a foe known as the "buggers".  Most of the book takes place in "battle school" which is a space station orbitting earth and how he interacts with the other future leaders there.  

I would describe this book as more of a character thriller as we are invested heavily in the character Ender, and his travails draw you on throughout the book.  It's not a book about space or science so much as it is a book about a person going through trying circumstances and keeping step ahead despite the odds.  It's interesting to read the socio-political undertones of the book where a people in fear of alien invasion are manipulated by the fear to accept a new level of government control.  I wouldn't say it is Orwellian, per se, but it is a tad dystopic in it's view of the machinations of government and the manipulation of the populous. It's an intriguing book in that it was written in the early eighties before the advent of the internet, but Card does a brilliant job of describing it nonetheless.  The kids in the story all have their "desk" which sounds to me a like an Apple iPad.  It's all rather eerie to read about since, so the book was written nearly thirty years ago and so much of what is written has come about.   I would highly recomment this book, and even on second reading it is still one of my all time favourites.  

Comments

Yes, this is the best of OSC's books, and the best of his writing in genreal. I forget who said that very few young writers are ruined by failure, but nearly all young writers are ruined by early success, but OSC can be held up, I suppose, as an object lesson. His last book, Ender in Exile, which tries to capitalize on this first book, just makes the reader cringe, it is trying so hard, and hitting every wrong note so obviously.

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