"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ender's Game

by Orson Scott Card

Ender is a child genius who lives in a future world where Earth is fighting a war to stop an alien invasion by what are know as the "Buggers."  He is recruited and trained to be the next great general that will hopefully save the world.  He is trained, along with a number of other children, to learn combat tactics, psychology, and leadership.  But the training he receives is much more serious than he or any of the others understand. 

This is one of my favorite sci-fi books, because its not your typical "hero saves Earth" story.  Ender is an innocent kid who nevertheless has a brilliant mind and can access ruthless and violent tendencies in himself when necessary to get the job done.  And yet, he maintains his integrity and innocence as much as is possible.  There are few books out there that really get into the mind of a kid, and I think Card does a fabulous job of writing from the perspective of children. 

Be warned that there is some violence and language in the book that can be disturbing.  It is a tough read because it is about putting children into situations where they have to grow up very fast and learn to deal with a very hard world.  How each of them cope with it is what the story is really about. 

One of my favorite parts is a bit surprising, because normally I have trouble following technical/strategy type stuff.  However, the parts where they describe the zero gravity combat tactics training missions is really fascinating, and he writes so well that even I can picture it in my mind.  I so wish I could be weightless, just once! 

Ender is one of my favorite characters of all time, and wait until I review the companion novel "Ender's Shadow" which is about the same story, except from a different child's perspective.  Another quite fascinating look into child psychology, but contained within a brilliantly written fiction.

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