Friday, May 11, 2007

Ender's Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Genre: YA sci-fi

Chapter 1 of Ender’s Game:

The monitor gone. Ender tried to imagine the little device missing from the back of his neck. I’ll roll over on my back in bed and it won’t be pressing there. I won’t feel it tingling and taking up the heat when I shower.

And Peter won’t hate me anymore. I’ll come home and show him that the monitor’s gone and he’ll see that I didn’t make it, either. That I’ll just be a normal kid now, like him. That won’t be so bad then. He’ll forgive me that I had my monitor a whole year longer than he had his. We’ll be—

Not friends, probably. No, Peter was too dangerous. Peter got so angry. Brothers, though. Not enemies, not friends, but brothers—able to live in the same house. He won’t hate me, he’ll just leave me alone. And when he wants to play buggers and astronauts, maybe I won’t have to play, maybe I can just go read a book.

A six-year-old boy fights for survival at battle school—so he can fight for the survival of all humanity.

The Writing: The writing is excellent—vivid, precise, clear. More than that, Ender is a sympathetic character, especially if you like underdogs like I do, and it’s easy to pull for him throughout this sci-fi coming-of-age novel. Not to mention the plot, which engages you from the first page and doesn’t loosen its hold until the last—and even then, not very much. This story, whether you like or hate it, will stick with you for a very long time.

However, Ender’s Game may pose problems for the more sensitive CBA reader. Cussing and other bad language is prevalent, nudity referenced, and fighting pretty graphically portrayed.

The Story: I admit, this complex story is difficult to analyze. The overarching themes seem to ring true within the storyworld, but the ending is unsettling, leaving a touch of hopelessness and an internal plead that this can’t be all there is to life.

That’s very specific, isn’t it?

I think (though I’m not sure) that this external vexation results from the foundational thought that the end justifies the means. Evil acts look understandable at best and right at worst, despite occasional remorse. Building on this foundation, an end conclusion of the story is that humans are only as valuable as they are useful. This, combined with the theme of “It’s necessary to both love and hate your enemy so that you can destroy him in the end,” creates a dark undercurrent.

Summary: A thought-provoking story with a fast-paced plot and sympathetic characters, Ender’s Game is not without its downside, from the use of language to the dark, underlying themes. Therefore, this book is memorable reading, excellent for guys, but probably should be limited to a one-time read by those who are discerning and over the age of sixteen. A strong stomach is recommended too.

Rating: 3.1 stars of 5


chrisd said...

I wasn't sure how to e-mail you so I'll have to send my comment along.

Did you happen to blog about your conference experiences? Are they worth attending if you're a novice?

Bryce Beattie said...

Card really does produce some technically excellent work. I recently read his book on Characters & Viewpoint, and he really does a good job of explaining many of the technicalities of writing. I still haven't read Ender's Game, but everyone tells me I should, so I probably will sometime.