Brandann's Reviews > Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
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Feb 07, 11

Recommended to Brandann by: Chi Hill-Mann
Recommended for: Lovers of Sci-Fi, military sci-fi, YA readers looking to branch outnerds
Read from February 04 to 07, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I would challenge anyone who is in the military and has read this prior to joining to read this again.

After discussing this with my husband, I told him that my military experience may have added another layer to my perception of this book.

Understanding that the military sees and understands things that many civilians could not hope to glean from everyday de-classed life, the training process of Ender and his Battle School and Command School peers, while obviously extreme in a fantasy setting (though, I believe OSC may have had a fondness for an Atari as a youth), is set in a way that is understandable to me. The tearing down, the isolation (again, not as extreme), and the belief that some things just have to be done in order to preserve the lives of people who don't realize they are being protected.

In my work I find much resistance to military forces, people insisting that pacifism is the best way, and despite my past I may have indicated an inner lean towards such desires without realizing what I was truly saying. But, Ender's Game expresses a theme that deep down I know to be true, that standing military forces are important. We must be willing to defend ourselves, or we risk going the way of the Naked Empire from Terry Goodkind's eponymous segment of the Sword of Truth Series (and I swear to you this will be the only time I say "wow, that Terry Goodkind dude was kind of right!)

Interestingly, the most convincing argument on this point is made by Colonel Graff, who I find to be a sympathetic character, someone who believed that he was doing what was right for the good of the whole, even if it pained him to cause hurt to one. On page 253, when Ender asks him why they are fighting the buggers, Graff tells him that the buggers attacked first, that they were provoked into defending themselves. He says:

"Ender, believe me, there's a century of discussion on this very subject. Nobody knows the answer. When it comes down to it, though, the real decision is inevitable: If one of us has to be destroyed, let's make damn sure we're the ones alive at the end. Our genes won't let us decide any other way. Nature can't evolve a species that hasn't a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, (254) but the race as a whole can never decide to cease to exist."


People have a right and an innate sense to survive, and if we don't take measures to ensure that survival, the first tyrant or entity with the power to do so will take control. And if we are unwilling to defend ourselves then we deserve to be controlled. The nigh collapse at the end of the book shows that anyone with the initiative to do just that can do it (though I admittedly haven't read the subsequent series, either of them).

This isn't to say that military powers should not be controlled to ensure they are always used justly. Something I could expound upon in a more appropriate place.

I found Ender's Game fascinating for many reasons, from it's view of the future, Card's ability to predict what future technology would look like, his foray into the world of what life would be like for military-constructed child geniuses, and what it would be like to build a military out of children. It is a cruel and cold world build on necessity, and it is a many-layered book that could produce an incredibly lengthy review.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and have endeared myself to Ender and Valentine (and also liked the name-puns he used to characterize several of the people inserted into the story).
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Reading Progress

02/04/2011 page 4
1.0% "Holy pancakes this is SO not my genre. Cheer me on, peeps. I will read this book!" 3 comments

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