Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card: A Review

After spending the month of November consumed in NaNaWriMo, using all “spare” time to write, I am glad to get back to reading again. My 2016 Reading Challenge is not yet complete. At the beginning of December, I still had two more books left to read. One, a book that intimidates me, and one I’ve already read at least once.

For the first of those two, I am reading a collection of writing by H. G. Wells. It includes more than five hundred pages of stories by one of the top names in science fiction. And while I’m enjoying it so far, I decided to skip ahead and read the last book on my list before finishing this one.

I read Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, for the first time some years ago. It was my first experience with what science fiction could be. Prior to reading it, I’d mostly avoided science fiction thinking I would find it too dull or technical to be fun. But Ender’s Game isn’t another stuffy, highly technical, science-y sort of novel. Instead, Card has brought to life a cast of amazingly flawed characters who live in a technical, science-y future Earth.

I loved the book. And it opened my world up to a genre I’d previously avoided. After it was released as a major movie, I decided I needed to read the book again. I had, at that time, only recently recommitted to my own writing, and watching the movie version of Ender’s Game reawakened a lot of the same excitement I’d felt the first time I read the book.

Still, it took this Reading Challenge list to get me to finally commit to reading Ender’s Game again. I’m glad I did. I breezed through the book in a matter of days (really fast for me). And even though any surprises the book holds may have been “spoiled” by having read it before and seeing the movie, it was still very much worth it.

The book follows the story of Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a rare and state licensed third child. He and his two older siblings are brilliant, sought out by a government agency bent on one purpose, protecting humanity from the threat of alien invasion.

There is a brutal honesty in this story, in a world where childhood has been crushed, and children as young as six are expected to bear the responsibility for humanity’s salvation. Card takes the reader through several years of intense training that Ender undergoes in order to become the battle commander of Earth’s space fleet. Card has expertly made the psychological and physical strains of this training regimen real to the reader.

This story reads fast. If you haven’t read it, I would encourage you to do so. Not a science fiction fan? I wasn’t either when I read this for the first time. And reading through it again, the book loses none of it’s impact.