Enders Game - Orson Scott Card - New
is one of the most well-known novels by Orson Scott Card. It is set in Earth's future where mankind has barely survived two invasions by the "buggers", an insectoid alien race, and the International Fleet is preparing for war. In order to find and train the eventual commander for the anticipated third invasion, the world's most talented children, including the extraordinary Ender Wiggin, are taken into Battle School at a very young age. The book takes place around the year 2135, and its sequels Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, A War of Gifts, and Ender in Exile: Ganges follow Ender to different worlds as he travels far into the future.
The book originated as the novelette "Ender's Game" published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Card later expanded the novel into the Ender's Game series, dealing with the long-term effects of the war.
A slightly updated version was released in 1991 to keep political facts accurate (such as the decline of the Soviet Union).
In the book, mankind has made contact with a largely unknown alien race, known as the "buggers" because of their insectoid appearance. The buggers have attempted to colonize Earth twice; having been narrowly defeated the second time by International Fleet commander Mazer Rackham, a third invasion is considered a likely threat.
It is in this world that six-year-old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives. Ender, his nickname, was given to him by his older sister, Valentine; he also has a brother, Peter. As third child of his parents, Ender is an exception to the population restriction laws, his conception having been permitted only by a special sanction of the government, with the hope that he would be a combination of his sadistic older brother and his kind-hearted sister. The International Fleet (IF) was seeking the next brilliant military commander among Earth's children, as they needed an exceptional leader to help them fight the buggers. Young Ender is approved by the government for training at the elite Battle School, a space station where only the most brilliant children were trained. After a confrontation with a school bully, Stilson, Ender chooses to accept Colonel Graff's offer to attend Battle School, leaving behind his world with the hope that he could save its future.
Upon arrival at Battle School, Ender is immediately singled out by the administration as the most intelligent student, causing most other students to hate him. Despite the attempts to keep him isolated, Ender does make a few friends; he is promoted early, so that he finds himself surrounded by kids much older than him, most of whom despise him. He again finds a way around his isolation and frustration, however, by forming his own nightly "practice" sessions with his old friends, as well as any other new students who wish to be instructed by Ender. He finds, however, that they no longer regard him as a friend, but rather as a superior.
Ender is quickly promoted to commander of a brand new Dragon Army, and he molds his young soldiers into an unbeatable team, despite the teachers' stacking of every game against him. Some time after an especially brutal victory against one of Ender's former commanders, Bonito de Madrid, Ender is cornered by Bonzo along with several of Bonzo's soldiers. Unable to escape the situation without violence, Ender convinces Bonzo to fight him alone and unknowingly kills him. Ender learns the lesson that there is no rule book in war; he throws his own concepts of the game away. This clever circumventing of an impossible situation causes Ender to be promoted to Command School, six years younger than anyone else in the history of the system. He is taken briefly to Earth to visit his sister Valentine.
Ender is taught at Command School by Mazer Rackham, kept alive into his own future by sending him away at near lightspeed and then turning around and bringing him back in the same manner. Mazer instructs Ender in a game very similar to the Battle Room, only this time instead of commanding soldiers, Ender will command ships in a 3-D space battle. At this point, Ender is reunited with the people closest to him from battle school as his subordinates in this battle game. Ender commands them directly, and it is up to them to carry out his commands. Each day the games become more and more grueling, and Ender is slowly being worn down to psychosis, along with his fellow commanders. Waking and sleeping blend together as Ender loses his sanity, but he maintains his military brilliance.
Finally Mazer confronts Ender, telling him that he will face an extremely grueling final exam. The game begins, and Ender is outnumbered 1,000 to 1. When the enemy is finally in range, Ender orders the use of a special weapon, Dr. Device, against the planet itself, destroying the simulated planet and all ships in orbit. Ender consciously makes this decision knowing that it is expressly against the respectable rules of the game, hoping that his teachers will find his ruthlessness unacceptable and remove him from command, and allow him to return home.
After he wins it is revealed to Ender that all the simulations were real battles taking place in bugger space. He is told that the military sent ships to attack the bugger planets many years ago, and outfitted them with new technology, like the ansible, making superluminal communication possible. Ender realizes that he had just ordered the actual destruction of an entire race, and the guilt of the massacre forces him into a five-day coma.
When he awakens, it's revealed to Ender that he is being heralded as the savior of the human race, and that the bugger threat has been eliminated, mankind is expanding into the empty bugger planets and repealing the population limit laws. Valentine arrives at command school and convinces Ender to go with her on the first ship leaving for colonization. There he discovers an unborn bugger queen who can communicate with him through a psychic link. She tells him that her race was not aware that humans were sentient creatures. It was through their defeat in the Second Invasion that forced them to realize humanity's true nature; and had resolved to never attack the Earth again. He resolves to atone for his destruction of the bugger race by finding a place to resurrect the queen, bringing the alien race back into existence. Ender writes a book under the pseudonym "Speaker for the Dead" entitled The Hive Queen, wherin he tells of the compassion and pain of the bugger race. The book is very popular and at Peter's request he also writes The Hegemon to tell the truth of his brother's troubled life.
Creation and inspiration
The original novelette "Ender's Game" is merely a snapshot of Ender's experiences in Battle School and Command School; the full-length novel is a more encompassing work dealing with Ender's life before, during, and after the war, and it also contains some chapters describing the political exploits of his older siblings back on Earth. In a commentary track for the 20th Anniversary audiobook edition of the novel, as well as in the 1991 Author's Definitive Edition, Card stated that Ender's Game was written specifically to establish the character of Ender for his role of the Speaker in Speaker for the Dead, the outline for which he had written before novelizing Ender's Game.
In his 1991 introduction to the novel, Card discussed the influence of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series on the creation of the novelette and novel. Historian Bruce Catton's work on the American Civil War also influenced Card heavily. He also derived the name and basic function of the ansible from Ursula K. Le Guin's works.
About the Author Orson Scott Card
August 24, 1951 is a bestselling American author, critic, political writer, and speaker. He writes in several genres, but primarily known for his science fiction work. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, making Card the only author to win both of science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years. Card has written, "We care about moral issues, nobility, decency, happiness, goodness—the issues that matter in the real world, but which can only be addressed, in their purity, in fiction."
Card is descended from Charles Ora Card, a son-in-law of Brigham Young and founder of Cardston, Alberta the first Mormon pioneer settlement in Canada. Card was born in Richland, Washington, and raised in Santa Clara, California as well as Mesa, Arizona and Orem, Utah. He served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Brazil and graduated from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah; he also spent a year in a Ph.D. program at the University of Notre Dame. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, an environment that played a significant role in Ender's Game.
Card's writing career began primarily as a poet, studying with Clinton F. Larson at Brigham Young University. During his studies as a theatre major, he began "doctoring" scripts, adapting fiction for readers theatre production, and finally writing his own one-act and full-length plays, several of which were produced by faculty directors at BYU. He also explored fiction writing, beginning with stories that eventually evolved into The Worthing Saga. After returning to Provo, Utah, from his LDS mission in Brazil, Card started the Utah Valley Repertory Theatre Company, which for two summers produced plays at "the Castle," a Depression-era outdoor amphitheater behind the then-active state mental hospital in Provo; his company's were the first plays ever produced there. Meanwhile, he took part time employment as a proofreader at BYU Press, then made the jump to full time employment as a copy editor. In 1976, in the midst of a paid acting gig in the Church's musical celebrating America's Bicentennial, he secured employment as an assistant editor at the Church's official magazine, Ensign, and moved to Salt Lake City. It was while working at Ensign that Card published his first piece of fiction. His short story "Gert Fram" appeared in the July 1977 fine arts issue of that magazine under the pseudonym Byron Walley.
He first wrote the short story "Ender's Game" while working at the BYU press, and submitted it to several publications. It was eventually purchased by Ben Bova at Analog Science Fiction and Fact and published in the August 1977 issue. Meanwhile, he started writing half-hour audioplays on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the New Testament, and other subjects for Living Scriptures in Ogden, Utah; on the basis of that continuing contract, some freelance editing work, and a novel contract for Hot Sleep and A Planet Called Treason, he left Ensign and began supporting his family as a freelancer. He completed his master's degree in English at the University of Utah in 1981 and began a doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame, but the recession of the early 1980s caused the flow of new book contracts to temporarily dry up. He returned to full-time employment as the book editor for Compute! Magazine in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1983. In October of that year, a new contract for the Alvin Maker "trilogy" allowed him to return to freelancing.
Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead were both awarded the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, making Card the only author to win both of science fiction's top prizes in consecutive years. Card continued the series with Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, and the 2007 release of A War of Gifts. Card has also announced his plan to write Shadows in Flight, a book that connects the "Shadow" series and "Speaker" series together, and Ender in Exile: Ganges, a book that takes place after Shadow of the Giant and before the short story "Investment Counselor". Furthermore, Card recently announced that Ender's Game will soon be made into a movie. It is slated to be directed by Wolfgang Petersen, who also directed The NeverEnding Story and Das Boot. Card is writing the screenplay himself.
Other works include the alternate histories The Tales of Alvin Maker and Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, Robota, a collaboration with Star Wars artist Doug Chiang, and Empire, his latest novel, which is about a near-future civil war in the United States.
He has since branched out into other areas of fiction with novels such as Lost Boys, Treasure Box and Enchantment. Other works include the novelization of the James Cameron film The Abyss and the comic book Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel Universe series. Outside the published fiction world, Card contributed dialog to two video games, the The Secret of Monkey Island and The Dig in the early 1990s. In 2000, Card published the first novel in The Women of Genesis series. This series explores the lives of the principal women mentioned in the first book of the Bible and includes Sarah (2000), Rebekah (2002), and Rachel and Leah (2004).
In the fall of 2005, Card also launched Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show. He edited the first two issues, but found that the demands of teaching, writing, and directing plays for his local church theatre group made it impossible to respond to writers' submissions in a timely manner; former Card student and experienced freelance writer and editor Edmund Schubert took over as editor on June 1, 2006.
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