It's been a few weeks since I finished this book & now I think I have the distance to write out my thoughts properly. Here we go...
AlthoughIt's been a few weeks since I finished this book & now I think I have the distance to write out my thoughts properly. Here we go...
Although Ender's Game isn't the worst book I've ever read, the acclaim it holds within the spheres of popular sci-fi and fantasy is disturbing. I'm a clear outsider to the genre and I knew I would have fundamental moral problems going into this book. However, the things I was warned about didn't affect me as much as the things no one told me about. This is considered by thousands or even millions of people to be a good entry point into the world of sci-fi. That bothers me.
Where do I even start? Ugh.
I was warned about the sexism and the racism. I could brush the more obvious examples off. Girls aren't aggressive enough to be war commanders in a world that doesn't involve any sort of physical skill? O...kay... The weird cast of "global" characters who are all varying shades of white. Except of course, Jews. They're so foreign and weird, am I right???
The writing immediately turned me off. Children do not talk like that. Prodigies have exemplary mental capacity to do math and science and other cool things. That does NOT mean they are emotionally advanced, as well. The characters don't even change much over 5 years. Their "more mature" 11/13/15 year old versions are emotionally similar, just a little more cynical, to their 6/8/10 year old versions. It's laughable.
On that note, I fucking hate Ender. It's not like there's any other character I like in the book, but Card is force-feeding this concept that Ender is an empathetic, relatable character. He is so annoying. "I'm Ender, I got one weird concept about zero gravity which NO OTHER CHILD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD gets. This doesn't even matter once we get into the final battles, but WHO CARES? I'M SO GREAT AND SMART. Oh, also, murder is cool but I'm sorry I murdered you. Blame adults. I'm just an innocent kid. :(" Mary Fucking Sue to make you, the misunderstood reader, feel like someone finally understands you and treats you like the special snowflake you are.
Why are the relationships between the children so weird? Ender's practically in forbidden incest love with his sister, but he's stuck in a weird incest love triangle with his older brother, too. Why do the children all walk around the school naked all the time? Why are there so many homosexual undertones from a guy who's not down with gay people? Why are the adults written even more 2D than the children? It's just all so weird and foreign.
I hate the politics of the book, both the politics that relate to the near-past Cold War relations and the politics of the war with the buggers. I don't even want to go into details. It's just upsetting and terrible. It's treated as if it's the only sane way of looking at things, and it just all comes off as so entitled and self-centered.
The space battles were super boring on audio. I don't know about the physical book, but they were hard to follow and I found myself constantly zoning out whenever we entered into a space battle and Ender MAGICALLY saw something no one else can see because they're all close-minded normies!
The entire book is just badly-written wish fulfillment for a clear manchild. Orson Scott Card, grow the fuck up.
So why 2 stars? I don't know. It wasn't so achingly terrible that it physically hurt me to read this book. I got through it pretty easily. If you can get past the terrible dialogue and age the children up in your head to be adolescents, it's like... passable. It's okay. It's a story. That's all.
But, if this is considered good sci-fi, I will just go back to reading my classics like the book snob I am....more
this is a politically-charged book about mass surveillance & illegal torture before the Snowden incident. it plays outi mean... sure, i guess?
this is a politically-charged book about mass surveillance & illegal torture before the Snowden incident. it plays out pretty accurately.
i really liked the book when it started. it was a very compelling introduction. we have a diverse group of four kids who get caught up in something that's bigger than them. so, they take revenge and take down the whole government. typical YA formula. fun YA formula!
then... three out of four of our original group are taken away from us. not by the plot, but by Doctorow. and suddenly, 17 year old white boy Marcus is taking down the government alone, with help from his basic hipster white girlfriend, Ange!
for a book that's trying so hard to be political about terrorism, it ignores the POC experience so heavily. they talk about how everything has changed in this country! no, no. nothing changed. it's been like this for years for POC.
Marcus wants to make this country free again, but Marcus, don't you know this country has never been free unless you're a white boy like you are?
i don't even know why Doctorow included throwaway lines about how brown people are more likely to be suspected terrorists than any white people, throwaway characters of color, and throwaway references to Al-Quaeda if he was never going to talk about the real consequences of that.
it's just daft, in the end.
if you ignore how it turns into a teenage romance & skip the long explanations about privacy technology... it's still a pretty compelling story. but for a book so short, it just felt so long.
it was fine. it just could've been so much better. Doctorow dangled this diverse group in my face and gave me hope for an romping YA adventure, but then it's just Marcus and his boring girlfriend, and the fact that she cried & said "thank you" after they had sex. (yes, that's the kind of book this is.)...more
White man appropriates Eastern religious thought to put forward a Christian narrative.
What a piece of surface-level shit. I don't think I blame HesseWhite man appropriates Eastern religious thought to put forward a Christian narrative.
What a piece of surface-level shit. I don't think I blame Hesse as much as the English translation that became popular in the 60s and contributed to the fucking ridiculous condescension towards Indian culture during that era.
The only female character in this book exists for sex & to birth a child & then die. Fuck off.
It's such a Christian-informed view of Buddhism/Hinduism/Jainism. Buddhism is NOT a skin to put on top of your Christian upbringing. It's a totally different way of looking at the world that Hesse clearly did not understand.
I want to write a counter book called "Jesus: Or How Some Dude Named Jesus Who Was Around At The Same Time as Jesus Asked God, 'Yo Man, How Do You Not Run Out of Space in Heaven?'" It's a work in progress....more