I remember being told about this book many years ago when I was running a literary BBS out of my Scarborough basement apartment, and decided at the time to give it a pass because I had too many other books to read and things to do. After finally getting around to picking up the series, I regret that decision.
I was absolutely floored by this book and its themes. In a world where the concept of Genocide haunts us on what seems less than a monthly basis, we find ourselves constantly questioning other peoples’ morality and conveniently ignore past history to suit our own needs. Now what if you were faced with an entire alien race with their own form of communication that in no way even comes close to ours, and decided that the only way to solve the problem was complete and utter Xenocide? How would history favour you afterwards? Orson Scott Card begins his thesis on this issue with this book.
The book begins with a feel that is fairly reminiscent of the Harry Potter series. It is far into the future, and Andrew Wiggins, or Ender as he is called, is only six years old yet already an intellectual genius when he is drafted into the military. Over the next few years, he progresses in training, solving problems and creating new methods of warfare that were otherwise never considered by anybody previously. Deliberately forced to feel very much alone through his training schedule, he deals with an inner turmoil of not wanting to be a violent person, yet being forced to unleash his fury at times with dire results.
The ultimate result of this training comes to a head in his twelth year in an event that he has been specifically trained to handle, and his own personal feelings about this set up the next couple of books in the series.
The Buggers are the alien race in this novel, and the description of them sounds very similar to the aliens in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. There are also concepts which echo those of the novel The Forever War which my friend Ric loaned me a few months back.
I have already moved on to the next book in the series, Speaker For The Dead, and will write about that when I am done. Until then, go out and grab a copy of Ender’s Game…you won’t regret it.