Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Year I read it: 2013
One sentence summary: Aliens have twice attacked the Earth and now 6-year-old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin has been selected as humanity's greatest chance of defense and survival - the only question is: can he survive the training?
Interesting fact: Originally published as a short story in 1977, the Ender's series now contains 12 books, several collections of short stories, and Card is still fleshing out the "Enderverse."
Three reasons to read it:
- What I expected? An 80's sci-fi story aimed at 14-year-old boys. What I got? An extremely thought provoking, gripping book that delved into philosophy, psychology, sibling rivalry, human fears, loneliness, otherness, and empathy. The point is, you might not be into sci-fi but trust me that this book transcends sci-fi!
- Battle school is the Hogwarts of space! The games, the maneuvers, the teams, the loyalty, the enemies, the teachers - when written well, I think stories about schools like this one can be some of the most insightful (if perhaps slightly over-simplified) to our daily lives.
- Card knows how to write! The pacing and cadence of his writing is so good, and the character of Ender Wiggin - just wow!
One reason you maybe shouldn't:
- Some have complained about the ending, that it veers in a new direction or doesn't feel cohesive... I actually appreciated the ending, but some have objected.
[Opening line] “I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one.”
“Everything we do means something. Them laughing. Me not laughing. He toyed with the idea of trying to be like the other boys. But he couldn't think of any jokes, and none of theirs seemed funny. Wherever their laughter came from, Ender couldn't find such a place in himself. He was afraid and fear made him serious.”
“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them.”
“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”
“Remember, the enemy's gate is down."