The Story’s the Thing: Ender’s Game

In my last foray into storytelling, I mentioned a story that changed my life. Now, I have to tell you all about a story that shaped my life. I don’t even remember who first told me about Ender’s Game. I think it was a college roommate who first gave me the book. After staying up all night to finish the book for the first time, the story and its characters had already worked their way into my very being.

Ender's Game, from Wikimedia Commons

Ender’s Game, from Wikimedia Commons

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is set in a future version of Earth (Card has said that he’s bad at timelines, but fans have theorized that this version of Earth is anywhere from three to five hundred years in the future) that has been attacked by the Formics, a bug-like alien race. In response to this, the International Fleet (think Air Force but in space) has tried just about everything they can think of. Finally, they decided to train children to be military leaders in order to try and defeat the impending Second Formic Invasion. Honestly, these children make the participants in the Hunger Games look positively old.

In the middle of this comes Ender Wiggin, the boy everyone’s been waiting for. He has just enough compassion to lead an army, and enough determination to follow through. Ender leaves for Battleschool when he is six, leaving his brother and sister behind. What Ender finds at battleschool, well, that’s the story; how he survives, and even thrives in that environment.

Back home, though, Ender’s siblings aren’t just sitting back and doing nothing. The book also follows their adventures in international politics. That’s where I fell in love. Valentine, Ender’s older sister, is the ultimate political writer. Objective when she needs to be, inflammatory when she needs to be, I have always wanted to read her actual writings. Contrary to most of the fandom’s opinions, Valentine is strong, not in spite of her empathy, but because of it. Also, she takes on a fake identity on the internet (before the internet and Anonymous were even a thing!) and affects international politics with her brother.

Ender’s Game eventually created two sequel series, a comic book, and an upcoming movie. Honestly, I’m not that much of a fan of the second sequel series (The Ender’s Shadow books), but many people like them just as well.

At its core, though, Ender’s Game itself is an amazing book, one that really gets people thinking about the nature of kids and the nature of childhood. If you liked Hunger Games, Ender’s Game is an amazing story that touches on many of the same themes as that series. So, I leave you with one of my favourite quotes, from Valentine about writing as someone else.

Perhaps it is impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be. ~Valentine Wiggin, Ender’s Game

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  1. Mary

    January 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Ender’s Game is one of those books that I’ve never read but every couple months it pops up in conversation or on the internet somewhere and it’s just sitting in the back of my mind, waiting for me to read it some day. I absolutely loved The Hunger Games though so maybe I need to pick this book up sooner rather than later.

    • Quinn Kess

      February 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      The thing that I find a bit amusing about the Enderverse (other than we were the first fandom to use the word ‘verse to describe an in-character world) is that people are seeing it as a ‘response’ to Hunger Games. Personally, I think it’s just as, if not more awesome.

  2. EmilyR

    February 1, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Awesome rec Quinn!!! Ender’s Game was given to me in college by an awesome bibliophile friend and it was the very first ‘sci-fi’ book. I still cant stop thinking about it 5 years later..

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