Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Ender's Game

With the movie coming out soon, I figured I ought to finally read this book.  And last Sunday, I found a copy at our local English library.  The Busan English Library is pretty awesome for our family, since the vast majority of their collection is children's books.  They don't have much sci fi for adults, but luckily they did have a copy of Ender's Game.  So I got it, and read it.  Just finished the last fifteen pages or so this evening as my son was in the shower.

Man, that was a good book!  If the movie is half as good, it will be worth watching.  Or it should be, anyway.  My faith in Hollywood's ability to screw up any source material is high.  And so far, this year's potentially awesome movies have been more or less disappointing.

Anyway, this is about the book, not the upcoming movie.  There's a lot to like in this book, especially if you enjoy military sci fi (I do).  It's space opera-ish, but we don't get to see much of the enemy "buggers," it (like the movie Full Metal Jacket) mostly concentrates on Ender's training.

Card does a great job of getting into the mind of a six-year-old boy (who grows to be a 12-year-old by the end of the book), but one who also happens to be a genius with a pair of older siblings who are also geniuses.  We hear about the Bugger Wars, a pair of invasions of the Solar System by insectile aliens, and we see how young Ender Wiggin is trained to become the great leader who will insure victory in the third invasion.  There are a few twists at the end, one I saw coming a mile away, and a couple that surprised me. 

It's a fairly quick read, and definitely worth your time if you've never read it.

I hear from time to time some people complaining about Orson Scott Card, because of his religious views (Mormon) or his political views (not sure, don't care).  They don't want to buy his books or see the movie because that would "support" OSC's points of view.  I've never quite understood this line of thinking.  But we see similar things all the time, for example with regards to Robert E. Howard or H.P. Lovecraft's racist views or the like.  Personally, I don't buy these arguments.  I believe it's possible to support a writer for the strength of their written works, and that has no bearing on whether or not I support their political/religious views.  If you've been avoiding this book because you don't like Card's ideas, I think you're missing out on a nice, evocative, thoughtful piece of science fiction.


  1. Most of my friends like Ender’s Game best, but I liked Speaker for the Dead even more. So, I highly recommend it. My girlfriend liked the third book, Xenocide, best. My mom liked the whole series, but I haven’t read past Xenocide yet myself.

  2. I haven't read the book. Years ago I read the original short story and enjoyed it. For some reason I've never been too motivated to read the book.