- Building Action
- Climax and Falling Action
Set in the far future where alien “buggers” have invaded not just once but twice and nearly won both times, Orson Scott Card’s award winning novel Ender’s Game has become a post-apocalyptic classic and a must read for fans of the genre.
Ender is the one. By some trick of preposterously random luck or, more likely, scientific genome manipulation, Ender is the perfect boy to become the perfect Commander. The Commander that the military leaders say will win the war against the space creatures that nearly wiped out humanity in the last invasion. Thing is? Ender is six. He is six years old, and though exceptionally smart, he is small and weak. So when Ender is informed that he is to leave for Battle School to become the world’s last chance, Ender knows that his life will never again (not that is was to begin with) be easy.
On To Battle School
Ender’s Game takes place in three locations. Ender’s home of Earth; Battle School, a space floating training facility for other young military officers; and Command School where Ender is trained to finally take up his post of Commander over all of the offensive forces of Earth. Ender is a great strategist, even at his young age and he quickly finds himself isolated in Battle School, even among other bright children his age. It is obvious that Orson Scott Card has done his homework and written Ender’s Game to be an astoundingly intelligent and acutely prophetic view of humanity’s future should we ever find an alien invasion on our doorstep.
Ender’s Game is unique in it’s genre in that it focuses not on young adults but on a six year old boy. In fact, by the climax of the book, Ender has only aged a few years and is now eleven. This gives two different elements to Ender’s debut story that are rare for post apocalyptic literature. First, which comes as little surprise, there is no romance story. Perhaps, there might be romance in later books of the series, and Ender certainly loves a set few people here, but they are limited and distant such as his sister. Secondly, and more surprisingly, other than Ender’s drive to save the people he loves, there is a distinct absence of any sort of mothering personality or discussion for the need of a mothering personality. Even the self declared “Mom” of Ender’s launch group in battle school shows little evidence of any mothering care or nurturing abilities. In a book devoted to young children it is interesting to see no one concerned with Ender personally or his own future beyond winning the war.
Many people have critiqued Orson Scott Card on his characterizing of children at so young of age. The children seem to not act quite like normal six year olds, even gifted ones, and do things that most readers would attribute to adults or at least much older children. According to the introduction to the re-release of Ender’s Game, he has received an abundance of letters about just this subject. However, taking into consideration the fact that the children in this book are the brightest and most mature of their futuristic age, I believe that readers can make allowances for a slight unbelievability that six year olds can act the way they do in Ender’s Game and can even save the world.
You Might Enjoy This Book If You:
1. …are looking for post-apocalyptic literature that could actually make a difference. Ender’s Game leaves readers with a drive to change humanity’s path and make sure that this possible future never becomes a reality. This particular reader hasn’t encountered quite such a powerful argument since reading the first of The Hunger Games trilogy.
2. …enjoy post-apocalyptic or futuristic sci-fi literature. Or even if you simply love military space battles and strategy. Ender’s Game is actually recommended reading for some American military positions.
3. …like to read the book before seeing the movie. Ender’s Game comes out in theaters November 1st in the US.
Overall, I’m not sure that I can say I liked Ender’s Game. I would recommend it, it’s certainly worth reading, but it did not leave me warm and fuzzy inside. Instead I found myself disconnected and discontent with even the possibility that Ender’s world could someday be ours.