15 June 2010

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game (Novel Version)

  • Author: Orson Scott Card
  • Title: Ender's Game (Novel Version)
  • Publisher: Atom Books UK 2002 (Original Printing 1977)
  • ISBN: 9781904233022
Any SF reader who hasn't read, or at least heard of, Ender's Game has been living under a rock. That's right, you're an under-rock dwelling slug if you haven't read this book. One of the all time great SF novels tackling war and first contact, it tells the story of the Earth's quest to find the ultimate military leader in time to fight the war against the Buggers, an alien species which has twice before come close to invading the planet. The great heads of the world decide that the best way to find this ultimate leader is to recruit the most brilliant tactical minds that they can find, through a series of psychological and academic tests to determine who is most suitable. Oh, and the recruits are six years old. Kids, training to fight intergalactic war.

On face value, the premise is a bit silly. I mean, have you ever known a six year old to have any motivation beyond personal comfort and happiness? And these kids are supposedly fighting mock battles in zero-g? 8 year olds commanding armies? WTF.  Surprisingly though, it works. The book reads beautifully, and comes across as a very natural story.

Ender's Game is one of those few stories that starts as a short and is novelised by the author, and still works. If anything, the novel is better than the original short since it gives greater depth to the development of characters in the story. Character development is the key to this story, since the plot is essentially find kid, train kid, kid fights, the end.

Additional to this book, Card has written the same story from the perspective of another character in the story (Enders Shadow), which also works well. This book is really worth reading if you enjoy Ender's Game, as it provides additional depth to the characters.

This really is one of the all time classic stay up all night to finish novels. 5 out of 5.