Child’s Play

Ender's Game

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut–young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Back on Earth, Peter and Valentine forge an intellectual alliance and attempt to change the course of history.

I’ve been hearing a lot about Orson Scott Card‘s Ender’s Game, ever since I started getting into sci-fi many years back. Hailed as one of the must-read science fiction novels of all time, I had to know what the fuss was all about. But I haven’t been able to read as every time I go to the book store and browse the sci-fi/fantasy section it’s not there. So I end up buying something else. I chanced upon a copy of it earlier this month and decided to go finally get it, because I might not have a chance anymore.

And it didn’t disappoint. When I did pick it up two nights ago, I couldn’t put it down. I was dreading that it would be a hard read, since it was a sci-fi classic and all that, but I was surprised that it was easy to read but still very deep and engaging.

The only thing that bothered me was that the main characters are children, as young as six years old— Not little adults, but believable young children that are very intelligent for their ages. And this is a violent and dark future, which is also believable. If you keep on thinking that, it makes you wince a little. But since the story was very engaging, the circumstances that lead to it explain a lot. Otherwise, it is good! It goes beyond locker room bullying, questions child-labor ethics and still tackle a frightening possible future. No wonder it’s a sci-fi classic. Now if only I read this book years ago and didn’t wait too long, the supposedly twist ending could’ve been not so… familiar to me. On it’s own though, it works.

I’m still thinking if I’d buy the rest of the saga, as some reviews only point to this and ‘Speaker of the Dead’ as the must-read from the rest. But so far, am satisfied with this book— start, middle and end. And I highly recommend it to sci-fi lovers everywhere, also one of good introductory piece for non-sci-fi readers.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars [?]

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