Adam's Reviews > Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
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Feb 26, 08

bookshelves: badbooks
Read in February, 2008

** spoiler alert ** After finishing this "classic" of science fiction, I find myself most intrigued by the large following it seems to inspire. My next step in regards to Ender's Game is not to read the next installation, but to explore the favorable reviews.

But first I have to get my own frustration off my chest...
The writing is atrocious and heavy handed. Apparently, in the future, the earth is threatened by bug like aliens who are going to kill all the humans, so the international federation, for some reason not clearly explained, takes really smart little kids (instead of say, an adult) to a battle school where they play battle games, video games, etc. I guess the big kicker in the end is that the final video game little Ender plays was actually real, and he defeated a billion bugs and yay the world is saved. I guess he's eleven at this point. One of the intermittent subplots is that Ender's sister and brother are influencing political culture back home through the internet.

Now, I'm sure some great speculative fiction could fill in the blanks for us, as to why only children can save the world - but basically the assumption is just granted here that these here kids are really smart.

Two more quick complaints - all the interesting stuff is shoved in at the end. I had to sit through 300 frickin pages of detailed "battles' between little kids in anti-gravity suits, and then at the end we hear about how the alien bugs have a collective mind, the ability to penetrate Enders' dreams, earth colonists taking over the bugs homes - its all very interesting for 10 PAGES and then its over. Secondly, this author is just tremendously sexist - all the women play manipulative, petulant characters bent on controlling lil Ender.

Okay so my review is this book sucks except for the last 10 pages.


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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Amen.

Orson Scott Card is way over-hyped. Not just sexist. Also extremely homophobic: http://blogs.feministsf.net/?p=275


Jane Williams I believe the "reasoning" behind using children who thought they were playing a game is that no adult who was aware they were about to kill an entire species could possibly bring themselves to do anything so ruthless. Well, it's a nice theory.

There's possibly also the point that battle of that sort doesn't require size or strength, only reflexes and obsession. Watch any kid playing a computer game if you need convincing that they can manage both of these.



message 3: by That (new)

That One the kids were alluded to be genetically modified by selection of parents with a certain amount of intellect. The reason the adults weren't leading is because most of the star-fleet was already on their way to the hive planets. Ya I agree there are a lot of plot holes, but its a science fiction, it doesn't need to be realistic.

thanks for the review though


Dave Johnson I agree with the last poster. It is pretty clear from the start of the book that not all kids possess Ender's intellect, and in fact, out of the entire planet (save for nonconforming countries like Poland) only a few hundred kids are at the Battle School.

It is also strongly hinted that the IF wants kids because they have not been tainted by a relatively mediocre education system that is geared toward "normal" kids.


Heine Have the book been revised? 'Cause the edition I read very clearly described the reasoning behind the battle school and the selection of kids.

As far as I remember the most important thing, was the greater ease, with which kids could learn to re-orient their point of view in null gravity.


message 6: by Shawna (new) - added it

Shawna I agree with your assessment completely. I also wondered about the profound adjustment disorders children would be suffering through after they were ripped away from their families and placed in this alien environment. I thought the ending was clearly setting up the sequel...I hate that. I'm not reading any further, I don't care enough about these perfect, perfect children.


Aileen 'All the women...'?
There was only one female character, and her portrayal was both flat and inconsistent (she hates Peter so she helps him with his ambition to rule the world. She knows he tortures small animals for fun, so she protects him from scrutiny. WTF?


Catherine Jamieson Yeah, I am always curious about what other people think about a book I hate (not so about a book I love, interestingly - there's fodder for analysis in there) and tend to seek out reviews, particularly if the book in question is very popular. Recent examples are Twilight, Anita Blake books, The Name of the Wind. Less recent examples are Ender's Game, anything by Terry Goodkind and Angelology.

I thought Ender's Game was *terrible*. Not just "why do people think this is so great?" but *terrible* in that way that makes you seek out reviews and verify that other people thought the same way. I always worry I am just being mean spirited - disliking it to buck the trend - and finding other people with the same issues and observations makes me feel better, I suppose - or at least ... justified.

Anyway, all that aside - I have never read anything by Orson Scott Card, including his how-to writing and essay-ish stuff that ignited any sort of interest in reading him further. I find his writing superficial, dry, flat and pedantic. I do not like to be preached to - the only one I have ever let do it is Tolkien and he has a special hall pass.


Irene Some people loved everything about Ender's Game EXCEPT for the last 10 pages. HAHA.


message 10: by Budd (new) - rated it 5 stars

Budd I think the point of using kids was to train them up as great military minds so that they would be unstoppable as adults (think of the movie soldiers). Ender is a child when the buggers come back, but possesses a knack for fighting battles. His friends are only brought in as a comfort to him and because they understand how he works.

As for the boring battles leading up to the last 10 pages, I think that was to show Ender developing and becoming a leader so it wouldn't be so implausable that the last 10 pages happened.

The last 10 pages were pretty awesome though.


message 11: by Uzo (new) - rated it 5 stars

Uzo Olisemeka Pretty sure Petra is a female and not manipulative, petulant or trying to dominate Ender. Matter of fact, I don't think his mother is, either. Very jaded perspective, if you ask me.

Perhaps you got into the book wanting to hate it? Pity, since it appears you missed a good deal of what made this book such a concise yet interesting read.


message 12: by Laura (new)

Laura >>slow clap<<


message 13: by Myth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Myth I've read a couple unfavorable reviews and it's intriguing that people who didn't seem to like the book liked the end, which I thought was rush, inconsequential and random.

I have to agree with those who say it wasn't the women. Women were used as tools at most, but the manipulators were obviously the military men and politicians. I thought it was a blatant critique of politics and our wars.

Card certainly didn't do a good job of explaining why only children, other than a time limit and then a sort of rushed explanation after the invasion that an adult wasn't as quick (or as malleable or easy to manipulate.)


Sangbin just so u know, they explain- childrenhave more imagination, creativity, and different qualities from adults. military commaders are famed to be hard, but the reason children are winining is because they can understand, and understanding comes from compassion and things adults lack


Rommel I have to agree with this. When they were at the part where Ender fought the 'final battles,' it was really, really close to the end. Although the cliffhanger at the end kind of made me want to get the next book.


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