Up until a couple years ago, my exposure to science fiction had been limited to Star Trek, Star Wars, and a couple other films. Although I’m an avid reader, reading sci-fi had never really appealed to me. Most of the covers on the books were enough to make me gag. But then my dad read the book Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and recommended it to me. Always ready for a good book (and knowing my dad’s good taste), I read it and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I soon read it through a second time. Not long later I was flying through the parallel book, Ender’s Shadow, and was again floored by the depth of the story. Wasn’t this a science fiction novel? I have since read 8 of the 14 sequels, prequels, and parallel books, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. (Some more than others, yes. But they’ve all been good.) There’s not many series I can say that for.
So today, I wanted to share with you a bit about why I like this book so much — and why you should go read it. 😉
Ender’s Game takes place in the (not-too-distant) future. Earth has twice been invaded by aliens and now the International Fleet is searching for the next commander of Earth’s starships in preparation for the imminent third invasion. Promising children are brought to Battle School where they are trained to become future soldiers, leaders, and commanders. One of the primary methods of training within the Battle School is the battle room, an arena where opposing armies of students compete for the highest rankings in the school by playing a sort of high-tech laser tag game in zero G. One of the students is six year old Ender Wiggin. The book follows his journey through Battle School and the personal journey he must take as well.
Ender’s Game is not your typical science fiction book. I would even venture to say that it’s not true sci-fi. It’s more like a well-written novel set in a science fiction realm. Instead of being bombarded by a multitude of overly-dramatic space battles, a host of grotesque aliens, and mere entertainment value, the plot line revolves around strategy, tactical plans, and the thought processes of military leaders and brilliant children.
“Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.”
~ Orson Scott Card
One of the most fascinating aspects of this book is that it’s written almost entirely from the children’s point of view. Card created a multitude of incredibly brilliant, yet very real, children who all have their own unique of view of Battle School, the teachers, and the challenges they face both in their training and in their relationships with other students. Each of their strengths, weaknesses, backgrounds, sorrows, and motives are explored in Ender’s Game, and many characters are fleshed out even more in the sequels.
I’m excited to see the film next week. From what I’ve seen of the trailers, movie spots, concept art, etc., it looks like they’ve done a fairly good job adapting the story line to film. It is, however, a combination of both Ender’s Game and its parallel book Ender’s Shadow (also a really good read). I’m going to try and see it in IMAX. I have a feeling that will be a pretty incredible way to see the battle room.
So, go read the book and let me know what you think. And if you’ve already read it, I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
*Disclaimer: While I do enjoy and recommend Ender’s Game, it does have bit of language and mature content. Personally, I’d say they’re appropriate for upper-teens but everyone’s filter is a bit different. 😉 Please read at your own discretion.