Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip awa...

Title:Ender's Game
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0812550706
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages:324 pages

Ender's Game Reviews

  • J.G. Keely
    May 26, 2007

    I was savaged by a miniature poodle the other day--wait--no, someone protested my review of

    the other day. If you have any pent-up rage from that college lit teacher who forced you to think about books, be sure to stop by and spew some incoherent vitriol--my reviews are now a socially acceptable site of catharsis for the insecure.

    In any case, one of them made the argument that children need new versions of great books that are stupider, because children are just stupid versions of norm

    I was savaged by a miniature poodle the other day--wait--no, someone protested my review of

    the other day. If you have any pent-up rage from that college lit teacher who forced you to think about books, be sure to stop by and spew some incoherent vitriol--my reviews are now a socially acceptable site of catharsis for the insecure.

    In any case, one of them made the argument that children need new versions of great books that are stupider, because children are just stupid versions of normal people. Happily-enough, The Giver is a totally stupid version of

    or whatever Dystopian book (actually, it's a rewrite of Ayn Rand's

    ).

    Coincidentally, in my review of

    , I happen to put forth my own philosophy regarding children's books. In short: they should present a complex, strange, many-faceted, and never dumbed-down world, because presenting a simple, one-sided, dumbed-down world both insults and stultifies a child's mind.

    However, if someone were to say that this book were a childrenized version of Starship Troopers, I wouldn't sic a poodle on them. Both present a human/bug war, deal with the issues of death, war, the military complex, human interaction, personal growth, and all that good stuff.

    Also, both authors have their heads up their asses and there must be a pretty good echo in there since they keep yelling their hearts out about one personal opinion or another. However,

    doesn't get into his pointless author surrogate diatribes until the second book in this series, so we may enjoy the first one uninterrupted.

    So it's a pretty good book for children, and like romeo and Juliet, it's easy to see the appeal: kid defeats bullies and plays videogames to save the world(in one of the sequels, they save the world by making angry comments on the internet--surprising that one isn't more popular here). But more than that, it's not a bad book in general, so I guess I don't have to bother defining it as dumbed-down, or 'for kids'. Then again, a lot of grown-ups seem like they need their books dumbed-down. Just look at

    compared to

    , or

    ; or all three compared to The

    . I'm pretty sure when it comes to stupid versions of things, adults have the monopoly.

  • Hollie
    Jul 15, 2007

    This was the first book I picked up and read all the way through in one sitting. Technically, it's not a difficult read but conceptually it's rich and engaging.

    "They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice."

    If you can't understand that statement, you probably won't like this book. It's about intelligent children. Not miniature adults- their motivations, understanding, and some-times naivete clearly mark them as children. But at the same time their intell

    This was the first book I picked up and read all the way through in one sitting. Technically, it's not a difficult read but conceptually it's rich and engaging.

    "They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice."

    If you can't understand that statement, you probably won't like this book. It's about intelligent children. Not miniature adults- their motivations, understanding, and some-times naivete clearly mark them as children. But at the same time their intelligence and inner strength define them clearly as

    . Their personalities are fully developed, even if their bodies are not.

    The book is about war. About leadership. And about the qualities that make some one a powerful or admirable individual (not always the same thing). In this book children are both kind and cruel to each other as only children know how to be. It is not an easy book for anyone who understands childhood to be a happy time of innocence. Even still, the characters retain a certain amount of innocence.

    The questions posed by the war, by the handling of the war, are relevant today, as they were when the book was written, and as they have been since the dawning of the atomic age. Foremost is the question of what makes someone or something a monster. It is an easy read, but not always a comfortable one.

    I'd recommend this book for intelligent children. The sort that resent being talked down to and treated like kids. Here is a book that does not talk down to them, but understands and empathizes with them. Also I recommend it for adults who used to be that kind of child, even if science fiction is not your usual interest. More pure science fiction fans will find it interesting, as will those who enjoy exploring the philosophies of human nature and war.

    This book sets out to make you think.

  • Charly
    Aug 05, 2007

    Spoiler Alert***

    God damn did I hate Ender’s Game. I checked out Amazon and can surely see why I wanted to give it a shot. Talk about a cult following of people absolutely smitten with it. I even read some where that it’s on the required reading list at Quantico. I suppose this book could be some kind of manifesto for misfit nerds who waste their life playing video games or a source of legitimacy for motivating tired Marines sick of drilling (The book rambles on infinitely about the boy genius En

    Spoiler Alert***

    God damn did I hate Ender’s Game. I checked out Amazon and can surely see why I wanted to give it a shot. Talk about a cult following of people absolutely smitten with it. I even read some where that it’s on the required reading list at Quantico. I suppose this book could be some kind of manifesto for misfit nerds who waste their life playing video games or a source of legitimacy for motivating tired Marines sick of drilling (The book rambles on infinitely about the boy genius Ender and his laser tag in a zero gravity vacuum.) I also suppose we could kid ourselves into thinking the novel brings to light the necessity of Machiavellianism in conflict or maybe we could discuss the pathetic New Age garbage the book ended with as our annoying protagonist spreads some half crocked neo-religion amongst space colonies in which you love the enemy you are forced to annihilate. Some sort of cryptic Latter Day Saints plug by the Mormon author?

    There were several other things I couldn’t stand about it. First of all, like even the best science fiction, the characters were one dimensional card board cut outs. This starts with the dorky, self absorbed protagonist Ender himself. I can deal with this problem if the plot is cool enough (ala Dune). Dune, too, often times dealt with children geniuses, however it was explained and made sense in the story. We have no idea why Ender and the other children (of which 99.9% were male) are so smart. Speaking of children, did any of you guys pick up any sort of creepy pedophile vibe in this book? How many times were we told of naked little boys? Why were there references to their tiny patches of pubic hair? Why did Ender have to have his big fight naked while lathered with soap in the shower? And the corny Ebonics that the children randomly spoke in? WTF?

    The third rate and minuscule insight we were given about the geopolitical conditions on Earth were terribly dated. The Warsaw Pact dominated by Russia? What a cheap rip of Orwell. Lame! The side story about Ender’s genius two siblings also using Machiavellian tactics to achieve their political goals (instead of Ender’s military ones) by blogging on the internet really didn’t add up to beans in plot development if you ask me. Of course, Ender is never beaten at anything he does. I suppose we are to be awed by his victories but, strangely, his greatest triumph was his stoic willingness to use some sort of super weapon to destroy an enemy wholesale via exploding an entire planet. On the cover of my book, it suggests this book is appropriate for 10 year olds. What could a child get out this book? Boo to Ender’s Game!!!!!

  • Alexander
    Jan 11, 2008

    I read this novel because it was often the favorite novel of students of mine, and I wanted to understand why. I should mention that I love science fiction, and have read it avidly since I was barely more than a child. I'm not by any means some kind of anti-sci-fi snob.

    The first thing that bothered me is that the novel sets adults against gifted children in a way that strikes me as bizarre. Adults are essentially evil but teachers especially. The children are inherently excellent, capable of hel

    I read this novel because it was often the favorite novel of students of mine, and I wanted to understand why. I should mention that I love science fiction, and have read it avidly since I was barely more than a child. I'm not by any means some kind of anti-sci-fi snob.

    The first thing that bothered me is that the novel sets adults against gifted children in a way that strikes me as bizarre. Adults are essentially evil but teachers especially. The children are inherently excellent, capable of helping each other in trying to figure out just what the adults are hiding, which is, in this case, a vast and secret war they are tricking the children into fighting for them. This was perhaps the hardest to believe of all the things thrown at the reader, and interestingly, it is hidden from you until the very end, though you can guess at it before then.

    What disturbed me the most is that the writing is terrible---far too much happens internally, inside the character's head--it's an emo space opera, basically--and one of the most interesting events of the book is nearly buried and the presentation of it is rushed, because it is near the end. There are many points in the battle scenes where it is impossible to understand what's happening. And the penultimate plot event, where it's revealed all of the games were not..games...could have been handled more interestingly. But the novel was overdetermined, things happening only because the writer wants them too and not because they feel inevitable, and so too many of the arrows point in the same direction. By the time Ender meets Mazer, his final teacher, my eyes rolled back into my head at the implausibility of it all.

    And it's worth mentioning the thing no one prepared me for was the bizarre homoerotic subtext built into the book as well, a subtext that is sometimes just a plain old supertext, on display, right beside how women in this novel are to be loved distantly and kept from real knowledge, and turned against themselves, so they can then be used to compel others.

    It creeped me out and I'm gay.

    I'm also a former 'gifted child', and was tested and poked and pushed, all of these things, made to study computer programming when I didn't want to, and I made myself fail out of their program to get away from them. But I found no commonality with the gifted children here, not as I have in other stories about gifted children, say, like Salinger's Glass family. Also, these kids are all jerks.

    I do hand it to Card for the ideas in the novel: blogging? Yes. It's in here, well before anyone was doing it, and it ...matters a lot, and in the ways blogging matters. Also the idea of an institution that runs on the manipulation of its populace into a distant war with an implacable foe, as a way of controlling people. And a society that has no privacy at all, not even in dreams. This novel does offer a dark picture of what life is like under these terms. Also, the idea of how a hive-mind would think differently, without language, and the complications of communicating with someone like that, that's brilliant also.

    I wish it had been revised--that the battle scenes were clearer, that the movement of the novel's action, the way the 'buggers' are in a race to try and communicate with Ender before he kills them, that this were more obvious to the reader, and not a surprise whipped out at the end, so that it could have lent tension to the scenes of the games and manipulation, which were only boring. And Ender's decision, to be the Speaker for the Dead, that struck me cold, because in the end, the buggers were only trying to do what everyone else in his life were doing to him: poring over what makes him tick and trying to get him to do their bidding.

    The novel contains a rant against style at the beginning, added by Card, called 'literary tricks' by him. I think the most interesting thing about it is that given the millions sold, it is proof that story matters more than style, even as convoluted and badly formed as this one is. In the end what matters is the questions the novel raises and the implications of the questions, and that the novel really is about something at its core, behind all of the badly rendered fight scenes. I admire style, don't get me wrong. I love it. But it would appear you can get by without it.

  • Matt
    Jan 14, 2008

    i think 'ender's game' is the only book i've read three times. for me books often don't have repeat reading value in the same way some movies have repeat viewing value. it's probably because a movie takes two hours of your time while a novel, for me, takes a week or longer. so for someone like to me read a novel twice, not to mention three times, is really saying something [and yes, i realize the inherent snobbery in that statement].

    i've thought long and hard about what makes 'ender's game' so a

    i think 'ender's game' is the only book i've read three times. for me books often don't have repeat reading value in the same way some movies have repeat viewing value. it's probably because a movie takes two hours of your time while a novel, for me, takes a week or longer. so for someone like to me read a novel twice, not to mention three times, is really saying something [and yes, i realize the inherent snobbery in that statement].

    i've thought long and hard about what makes 'ender's game' so appealing. it's got a sympathetic protagonist, lots of great action, lots of heart, and a plausible twist of an ending. on those merits only 'ender's game' works. it's a lot of fun to read and orson scott card manages to inject some really moral and ethical quandries without resorting to didactism or heavy-handedness. for example, the manipulations of the battle school powers-that-be are presented and inspected, but card never explicitly paints them as the enemy. they are who they are, for better or for worse, but it's up to the reader to for his or her own opinions. same for ender and his merry band of castoffs. card understands that good v. bad is never as simple as black v. white. the world and universe are, more often than not, varying shades of gray. and the folks who inhabit that gray universe, for better or for worse, are who they are. they all have a part, they all have a purpose--even if those parts and purposes contradict each other.

    'ender's game' is also a great story of the value and importance of friendship. i choke up everytime ender's friends great him over the headset and the kids prepare for the final 'battle.' who wouldn't want friends like bean, petra, hot soup and the rest? i sure would.

    but i think the real appeal for 'ender's game' comes from the belief that we all want to believe that there's something uniquely special about us. i think it's safe to assume that most of us have, at one point or another, felt like the underdog, the castoff, the misfit, the misunderstood, or the underappreciated, and that if people would just give us a chance, we'd shine. in that way ender is very much a universal character. he embodies a small part of each ous. yes, he is treated unfairly and manipulated, but he's also the smartest kid in the room. there's something very appealing about that. at least there is for me. whether or not i'm the smartest person in the room is irrelevant, but i want to believe it. and whenever i read 'ender's game' there's a small hope that it just might be true.

  • Mark Lawrence
    Nov 06, 2010

    I read this story quite a while back with no special expectations. Like most books I read it just happened to be lying around the house.

    I read it, was hugely entertained, and went on to read three or four of the sequels.

    I've heard since all manner of 'stuff' about the author but what's true and what isn't I don't know and I'm not here to critique the man behind the keyboard. All I can do is report on the contents of the book and those I can thoroughly recommend you check out.

    The main character,

    I read this story quite a while back with no special expectations. Like most books I read it just happened to be lying around the house.

    I read it, was hugely entertained, and went on to read three or four of the sequels.

    I've heard since all manner of 'stuff' about the author but what's true and what isn't I don't know and I'm not here to critique the man behind the keyboard. All I can do is report on the contents of the book and those I can thoroughly recommend you check out.

    The main character, Ender Wiggin, through whose eyes we see the story unfold, is a child genius. If you're one of those people who wants your protagonist to be an average member of society, typical of his/her age and gender... step away. Ender's story is told because he is very far from ordinary.

    OSC employs a bunch of fairly standard story-telling tricks. Our hero is underestimated at every turn, he exceeds expectations, we know he's got it in him and we're frustrated by the stoopid people who just won't see it. There's a bully/nemisis and nobody else but us sees just how nasty he is... However, OSC manages to bake an irresistable cake using those standard ingredients and once he starts sprinkling on originality as well, you've just got to eat it all.

    This is sci-fi, not hard sci-fi, not soft sci-fi... let's say 'chewy'. It has a slightly old school EE Doc Smith feel to it, and you expect someone to pull out a monkey-wrench whenever the computer starts smoking, but none of that worried me.

    Given the date it was written there's some quite prescient stuff about the internet here, although shall we say ... optimistic ... about the ends to which it's put. Card foresaw rather more reasoned political/philosophical debate and rather less hard core porn. Additionally the inclusion of female and Muslim characters whilst not front and centre was fairly progressive for 1985 (not ground breaking but certainly ahead of the curve).

    This is actually a book with good messages (for the time) about equality, and one which poses interesting philosophical questions about what happens with races with orthogonal thought processes come into contact, and how far one can or should go in such situations.

    There definitely is some characterisation going on. We're not talking Asimov's Foundation here where brilliant ideas invite you to forgive cardboard characters. The people here are decently drawn and Ender has his own angst (involving genius psychopathic siblings) that is quite engaging. However, it's the stuff that goes on that drives the story. The war games in preparation for battling the aliens, the unfortunately named 'Buggers'. These war games and Ender's brilliance in overcoming increasingly dire odds are a major theme and I loved them.

    And then there's the twist. I'll say no more on that except that I was too engaged with the story to see it coming, and when it hit me ... well, I'd give the book 6* just for that moment. It doesn't work for everyone but it did for me!

    EDIT: I have now seen the film - which I enjoyed. The film skips a lot that's important to the book, but I found it entertaining.

    EDIT 2: Orson Scott Card reviewed *my* first trilogy. That's pretty damn cool!

    (scroll down the article)

  • Ruchita
    Oct 01, 2011

    I wanted to like Ender's Game. I really did. It's a wonder that even after more than halfway into the book, I still clung on to the foolishly optimistic notion that the book would somehow redeem itself. That it would end up justifying the tedious, repetitive, drearily dull chapters I trundled through over the course of several days (which is unusual, since I'm generally a fast reader).

    It pains me to say it, as a

    I wanted to like Ender's Game. I really did. It's a wonder that even after more than halfway into the book, I still clung on to the foolishly optimistic notion that the book would somehow redeem itself. That it would end up justifying the tedious, repetitive, drearily dull chapters I trundled through over the course of several days (which is unusual, since I'm generally a fast reader).

    It pains me to say it, as a hardcore fangirl of science fiction, that one of sci-fi's most beloved and highly regarded novels did not do it for me. Actually, that is understating it. While I'm at it, I'll just duck and blurt it out: I loathed Ender's Game.

    Deep breaths. Let that sink in. Let the hate flow through you. Good, strike me down...I am unarmed.

    Okay. Now let's get to it.

    Was it because the expectations I had in my mind were unreasonably high and thus were responsible for ruining the book for me? No way. I make no bones about the fact that Ender's Game, regardless of the respect and popularity it commands in sci-fi circles, is an inherently bad novel.

    Why, though, you might ask. Why such vitriol for the book? Here you are, then.

    It didn't take me long to realise that after I was past Ender's arrival at the Battle School, every - literally every chapter thereon until his return to Earth - was more or less the same thing. Battle games, beating the shit out of kids, battle games, switching back and forth to Armies, battle games. It was so repetitive that I was exhausted at the end of every.single.chapter. Page after page after page of six year old, seven year old, eight year old Ender and his buddies zooming about in ships trying to freeze one another's socks off. Wheeee!

    There are no personalities. There are no motivations. You never learn anything about the characters except that they are the good guys or the bad guys. Ender is brilliant at everything. He NEVER loses. Not once. Bernard, Stilson and Co. are the bad guys. They're evil baddies cause dey r jealuz of ender's brilliance omg!!! That's it. No background, no depth, no internal conflicts. No motivation. Words cannot express how two-dimensional and woefully lacking in personality the characters are.

    What the heck was that all about? I appreciate Card's prescience about the 'Nets' and blogging before it was around, but come on, this is pushing it a bit too far. How, I beg you,

    are we supposed to take the idea that a pair of kids end up taking the world by

    ?

    As if we people of the internet didn't have enough delusions of grandeur already. ;)

    I had to wait for the last 20 pages to get information that was of any worth to the story at all. I'm talking about Mazer's Rackham explaning

    to Ender. As for the 'twist ending': I honestly, and I mean, honestly did not find that riveting. It was predictable and, worse, did not justify all that I had to read to make my way to the end.

    It was hard to

    for Ender. I say this as a high-school nerd in my own day, as the reviled and hated and made-fun-of socially awkward kid who wanted to be good at whatever they did. But that doesn't make me any more sympathetic to Ender. Honestly, I fail to see what's so great about Ender anyway. I am so infuriated at Card for this. Apart from Ender's claim to intelligence (which is never completely explained, by the way) there is nothing, NOTHING, that is worth justifying him as the protagonist of one of scifi's supposedly best books ever. Yes, he loves his sister Valentine. Yes, he doesn't want to hurt people. Yes, he goes ahead and does it anyway. Again and again.

    I am rarely so caustic about the books I read, but this time I feel I am justified in doing so. I had such hopes for this book. Not impossibly high or anything. At the very least, I had expected to

    it, you know? I remember, as I worked my way past chapters 4,5,7,10,14...I expected it to get better. I expected myself to be mistaken at the initial dissatisfaction, then incredulity, then mild annoyance and then a string of sad sighs and resignation to dislike. Alas, I wasn't mistaken. I felt betrayed. I thought this book was right up there with those 'kindred ones', you know? The sort of books you can come back to again and again. Instead, what I got was a bad plotline, progressively unrealistic plot developments, and a cast of flat, lifeless, unpleasant characters to boot. Ender's Game, how I wish I had loved you. Why did you forsake me thus.

  • Kat (Lost in Neverland)
    May 06, 2013

    DNF at 52%

    Dear Orson Scott Card,

    There are over 3,310,480,700 women in this world.

    Sincerely, Women.

    Please leave now if you don't want to get all huffy and insulted and make a comment defending the author or whatever other shit that is this book.

    Or, if you want, go ahead. If you're going to comment, at least read the whole review and not just a quarter of it. I'm so sick of repeating myself over and over in the

    DNF at 52%

    Dear Orson Scott Card,

    There are over 3,310,480,700 women in this world.

    Sincerely, Women.

    Please leave now if you don't want to get all huffy and insulted and make a comment defending the author or whatever other shit that is this book.

    Or, if you want, go ahead. If you're going to comment, at least read the whole review and not just a quarter of it. I'm so sick of repeating myself over and over in the comments.

    Yes, I bash the author first, but I do make my points on why I hated the book itself, and not just because of him.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely, Kat.

    First of all, before I get into the book, I'd like to say that Orson Scott Card is one of the biggest dicks on this Earth. For those of who don't know, he is openly homophobic and a hyprocrite (

    )). He is a Chauvinist (known to believe that women are the weaker sex and were only put on this world to make babies). He is a Mormon that, from what I've heard from people who've read his other books, tries to convert you in his own writing in his novels.

    Just for this author's personality, this book deserves one star.

    But now onto the actual book, which deserves one star in itself.

    It starts out well enough. It's interesting and keeps your attention. But immediately, the sexism shows its ugly face;

    Keep in mind that this book is supposed to take place in the future. There are several things wrong with this sentence.

    1. In this day and age, thousands of women are in the military and fighting for their country. They have been for decades now, and longer still. So if this is supposed to be in the future, does Card think that women will give up their ability to fight so easily?

    2. Centuries of evolution working against them? On what terms? That we have ovaries? That we can have babies so are therefore unfit to fight or have the mental capacity to pass the tests boys can easily pass?

    This is the 21st century, genius. Women work. Women are in the army. Get your head out of your ass and look around, for fuck's sakes.

    I feel that Card made all the characters far too young. Ender is six, Valentine is eight, and Peter is ten. Peter has a fetish for torturing squirrels and threatening to kill his siblings.

    Um, okay? Is there any explanation for this strange behavior? No, because according to this book, all our kids in the future are fully functioning psychopaths. (Except the girls, of course. They're too 'mild' for behavior like that.)

    In the future, the army is apparently full of kids barely older than six, up to age twelve. To be trained for a war that, as far as I could tell from the point I got to, was already won.

    The writing was atrocious. Card switches from third person perspective to first person constantly. The first person switches are for the character's 'thoughts', but the words aren't italicized or anything so you can never tell.

    To me, that's a sign of bad writing. If you can't stick with one kind of perspective, than you should go back to those non-existent creative writing classes.

    Towards the middle of the book, the plot started to seriously drag and get outright ridiculous. Valentine and Peter start planning to 'take over the world' by writing fucking debate columns. Not only is the whole 'let's rule the world' concept highly overused, it's poorly planned out. It's randomly thrown into the story like, "Okay, we need more villains and more things happening, so let's make the ten year old girl and twelve year old murderous boy try to take over the world!......with debate columns."

    Sure.

    Then, switching back to Ender, who is now nine years old and a commander of his own kid army, we have our main character turning into the bullying idiots that bullied him in the beginning of the book. Has he learned nothing? Oh sure, it makes the kids 'better soldiers'. They're not even seven years old, they are

    fucking soldiers. The whole story is a fucked up version of a 'kid military' which is run by controlling adults who don't want the war to end so they can remain in power.

    It--just--ugh.

    It got so tedious and irritating that I decided to give up on it. I'm not going to waste my time with a book written by a sexist, homophobic, dickwad. I'm not even going to see the movie, which is a real shame because I love Asa Butterfield. I feel bad that he was brought into such a stupid book/movie business.


Top Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. We uses Search API to find the overview of books over the internet, but we don't host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners, please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them. Read our DMCA Policies and Disclaimer for more details.