Ron’s #23: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I have attempted to read this several times over the past ten years, and I finally made it through. Science fiction has never been one of my interests, so please take this review with that in mind.

Ender Wiggin is a prodigy who is recruited from Earth into an elite battle school for children to find the next battle commander who will lead them to victory against the alien “Buggers.” As a 10-year-old, he is younger then the other children, and is isolated. The adults pulls on the strings in Ender’s life like marionette operators to cause the desired results. I’ll stop the story there in case you do know about the semi-surprise ending. Someone told me about the ending, but it really did not matter.

Overall, it was a mildly interesting story and a good quick read. My main problem from early in the novel is that they had all these little kids arguing and discussing military philosophy as though they were college professors. It all felt so forced and phony. I never could buy that Ender is a child. This is also true with his older siblings, Peter and Valentine. There is a completely ridiculous sub-plot about the two of them assuming false identities and writing a revolutionary doctrine that changed the course of the war. Silly.

I’m probably alone in my opinions, as I know that this is a much-loved book in the sci-fi genre. Sorry to offend anyone, but it just isn’t that good.

About Ron 173 Articles
I teach English and government in Okinawa, Japan. I love reading theology and fiction, and helps keep me accountable. Reading with three kids under 5 is a bit of a challenge, but I keep trying to find ways to read more. My favorites writers are C. S. Lewis, Flannery O’ Connor, and Raymond Carver.

1 Comment on Ron’s #23: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  1. Disagree. The point of the book is that these children had sucha high intelligence that they surpassed most adults. That part is not science fiction; though they are rare, there are real children who can and do operate on this level. It isn’t that Card doesn’t know how to write children, it’s that these are not normal children.
    I also want to point out that I read this book as a child. Every book about children shapes the reader’s expectation of what children are or should be like. Though the book was written for adults, it was about chidlren, and because of that it shaped my perceptions drastically. This was the first book about children I can remember that presented intelligence as a value, where books written for children tend to focus on the protagonist’s friends, vague concepts of “destiny”, and even physical appearance, as values. Frankly, I believe this book made me a smarter kid.
    I thought the Valentine and Peter secret-identities sub-plot was silly too, but I believe the point of it was to emphasize that same theme about children whose intelligence leads them into the adult world and adult activities (not what it sounds like). Remember that Ender’s very existence was because the government recognized the extraordinary intelligence in his older brother and sister. The author apparently thought it was important to show what they were capable of.
    That’s all. As always, anytime you need someone to argue with you, I’m here for you.


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