Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel written by Orson Scott Card that takes place in a near future. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, the main character, is a genius at the age of 6 years old and is approached by the International Fleet (I.F), essentially an army in space fully equipped with laser guns and spaceships, to become a solider. In fact, the I.F has been watching Ender since he was born: they believe he has what it takes to become the next Starfleet commander for the next war against buggers, an alien insect species. The last war was 80 years ago, but the humans barely made it out alive thanks to a miracle. Training takes place at Battle School, which is like a spaceship. Day in and day out, the children there devote their time to the Battle Room. It is a null gravity room in which armies of students have skirmishes with fake guns. The scores are recorded and those who do well graduate. Ender accepts and his life is no longer the same anymore.
Early on, Ender is isolated and put under enormous amounts of pressure to succeed due to the hopes of his being a commander to save mankind. He must sometimes defend himself against jealous students, leading to violence. However, it is the exact opposite of what Ender wants to do; he is compassionate and refuses to be like his nefarious brother Peter. Ender eventually cracks under the pressure, refusing to participate in the stupid games and thus putting mankind at stake. Will he succeed?
As a whole, I found the book extremely enjoyable to read as it led me into a world of war, emotion and fiction. The immersive world created by Card is well thought out in that he describes the Battle School in a straightforward way, notably the null gravity chambers. The author is creative in imagining future technologies, which just makes me want to discover more of it. Furthermore, Card touches on a variety of topics which are relevant to mainstream society, even more so with the advent of newer technologies: blending the line between reality and fiction, isolation, love, family, and humanity vs humanness. Card understands human nature and transmits this passion through the action of the characters in the novel. I also quite liked the puns of certain characters’ names. All this while managing to keep my attention throughout the story thanks to intense battles or conflicts against which Ender is pitted!
Describing action is no doubt Card’s strong point. The story is easy to read and well written; enema is probably the only word I looked up. Also, the tidbits of information which are revealed in dialogues at the beginning of each chapter between high officials are satisfying because they give a taste of the chapter and the development of the plot.
Before reading this book, I believed that sentences one page long were the type of books to enthrall you, yet I discovered that a book does not have to use long words like “notwithstanding” or “insofar” to captivate someone. When I finished this book, I discovered the pure joy of reading once again. I was absorbed in the book from cover to cover because of Card’s ability to keep the action flowing; there is not a dull moment in the book that does not add to the plot or the overall tension of the book, which encourages readers to move forward.
However, do not expect to be blown back by the significance of burning books or metaphors as deep as the snow banks this winter. Ender’s psychological conflict with himself is an up and down cycle that is repeated three or four times within the book. He is doing well; he becomes sad; he is encouraged by someone that is important to him; he defeats the opposition. Just as Card’s descriptions are direct, as are Ender’s underlying desires. The author makes an attempt to show this through a video game Ender plays, called the Giant’s Drink. No one has ever beaten the game before except for Ender. When it is beaten, Ender roams freely in “Fairyland”, and comes across a mirror reflecting his innermost abhorrence. Other than that, the book’s depth does not go down any further.
The aforementioned shortcomings do not greatly affect the overall enjoyment of the book. Winning the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, as well as being adopted into a movie, Ender’s Game as a whole will surely appeal to people of all ages who want to relax and be transported by a shallow mellow river into a fictional world that I won’t soon forget.
4/5 or 1/1 Queen eggs
Written By: Charlie Tang