S4L Book Club – Ender’s Game

 Ok, who did their summer reading?  I’m such a readaholic, I used to love picking books from the summer reading lists.  Unless I didn’t like the book; then it was a terrible chore.

Ender’s Game – The copy I have is a paperback from 1985-1986 which I probably got from my older brother.  (When my brother went off to college, he left most of his books at home, so it was like having my own personal library to read from!)  I don’t remember when I first read Ender’s game, but it was probably around 1987.  I see on Wikipedia that a revised edition was published in 1991 to deal with the fact that the Soviet Union was going away.  Who thinks that is cheating?  I do.  I don’t expect an author to perfectly project all the changes of the future.  However, I do find it interesting that the short story the novel is based on was written in 1977.

Do you think Card’s characters of Ender and the other children are believable?  This novel is driven more by the characters than just science-fiction “space stuff”, so the believability of the characters is important.  I remember being completely pulled into the “what’s going to happen next” of the novel when I read it as a kid.  When I read it this summer, I see the characters as a bit too black and white.  It feels like Card is forcing Ender down a particular path by the circumstances.  Of course, isn’t that what all authors do?

What makes this story science-fiction?  Well, there are the spaceships with the ability to travel at near light-speed, the ansible, the zero-gravity battle school, and the war with insect-like aliens.  I think that the story could be retold without these elements, but these possible technologies allow the story to move along. 

Anybody love or hate the book?

Categories: Reading

5 replies »

  1. I loved it! This is a big reason why I wanted to have a book club here: to broaden my reading horizons. I don’t think I’d ever have picked this up on my own. I’m so glad you handed it to me…sort of…more or less.

    Are the characters believable? I wondered throughout why Card made Ender and the other battle school attendees kids—and very young kids at that. Believing their maturity and intellect was oh-so-hard for me. On the other hand, I felt extra-sympathetic toward them because of their young ages.

    I listened to the audio book. It was brilliantly read/acted by a group of readers. There was an interview with Orson Scott Card at the end. The choice to make the characters kids came early on to him, and he seemed to think it was a necessary no-brainer—who else would be able to think outside the gravitational box? That does not seem like a necessary no-brainer to me. I can believe lots of creative, open-minded teens and adults could believably imagine existence outside the bounds of earth’s gravity.

    While I don’t see Card’s choice as necessary, and while it does require some serious suspension of disbelief, it is permissible in a story, and I liked the pros enough to allow the cons.

    My question is: Would the story work as well if the characters were teens or adults?

    I see what you mean about black-and-white characters, though. There was so much else going on I don’t think I noticed.

    The character of Ender may have been forced down a path by the author, just as Ender himself was being forced down a path by the school administrators. Plot and character drive a story. The plot may be a stronger force here.

    I thought this was fairly light SciFi, which suits me fine. I haven’t read enough of the genre to know if I especially like it or not.

  2. I got the book late and am only about 1/3 of the way through. So far I like it, but I do find the characters a bit- the word that comes to me is “forced”,but I’m not sure that is really what I want to say.
    I have trouble buying that the kids are as young as they are supposed to be-even if they are very bright. In his intro to the revision, Card seems almost defensive about depicting the kids realistically and sites that gifted teens have written to him about how they relate to the book. Uh- it’s TEENS who are relating, not 6 year olds.

    I think it is very cheap to revise a book because history has changed. People, including kids, can accept that a book was written in a different political or social climate. Are we supposed to retitle 1984?

    Still, my initial impression is favorable and I want to see what happens.

  3. Hi, I have my “ordinary life” on a spinning cycle just now. I hope to slow this down and do my favorite things: reading and creating.

    I am with you in the discussions on a slow way: I have to keep up my language skills by reading and writing, and it is the last part that is hardest to work on. But it helps by joining this group 😉 really, it does. forceful enjoyment – does this make sense- it is happily meant-?

    I read about ancient Rome while I wait for the books on the S4L list. I am here, even if I do not comment on the books, the reading, just a little on life and everything …

    Best regards from Harriet
    reading gardening books as well, by the way…

  4. I have got the books for June and July today, so I will read and join the group soon. And I hope it is ok to write in august as well? It is good to let go of sorrow for some minutes or two, and let the mind and heart rest and be stronger. I am refering to the event Fridday 22. July in Oslo and Utøya/ Utoeya. We have much to think and reflect about right now and for the future to come. Good to have so much support from all over the world! Best regards from Harriet