Ender's GameBook - 1991
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards
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.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
From the critics
AgeAdd Age Suitability
violet_spider_40 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over
ThePistachioKing thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
black_chicken_135 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
QuotesAdd a Quote
I don't care if I pass your test, I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly- I'll beat you unfairly first.-Ender
“Alai suddenly kissed Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear, ‘Salaam.’ Then, red-faced, he turned away and walked to his own bed at the back of the barracks.”
"I'll lie to him."
"And if that doesn't work?"
"Then I'll tell the truth. We're allowed to do that, in emergencies. We can't plan for everything, you know."
"They found me through the ansible followed it and dwelt in my mind. In the agony of my tortured dreams they came to know me, even as I spent my days destroying them; they found my fear of them, and found also that I had no knowledge I was killing them. In the few weeks they had, they build this place for me, and the Giant's corpse and the playground and the ledge at the end of the world, so I would find this place by the evidence of my eyes. I am the only one they know, and so they can only talk to me and through me."
If you could make them feel as you can make me feel, then perhaps they could forgive you.
“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.”
Violence: lots...fist fights zero gravity fight Ender breaks a guys arm and crushes a boys arm and it crushes his lungs and heart
SummaryAdd a Summary
Genius kid, aliens, video games and fake battles with no gravity to train for war, and a whole space station! How cool, right?
After being attacked by aliens for the second time, Earth’s government is preparing for a third encounter with the creatures known as the ‘buggers’. Six-year-old Ender Wiggin, the youngest of three brilliant children, has been monitored by the military for his suitability as a potential commander in the upcoming war. Surpassing expectations, Ender is taken to interstellar Battle School where he learns the arts of military strategy and leadership, practicing his skills in simulated war games while leading an isolated and lonely existence of his instructors’ design.
Readers will quickly come to sympathize with Ender; he misses his family, wishes for friendship and acceptance, doesn't want to hurt anyone, and above all wants to be a good person. Ender's deepest fear is not of the buggers or death in battle, but of seeing his sadistic brother's tendencies in himself, a dread triggered by Ender's strong survival instincts and calculated acts of self-preservation. As Ender is forced to defend himself, and his brother Peter struggles to master his own violent impulses, their sister Valentine observes that the brothers are “Two sides of the same coin, but which side is which?” (p. 238) Ender's Game raises the question of what makes killing a crime: the act itself, or the motivation behind it? Good fiction refrains from delivering a moral lecture, instead leading readers to ask themselves difficult questions, and teens will appreciate the absence of pat answers in this novel as they work out their own views.
Ender's genius is evident in his unusually independent and innovative thinking, and his ability to adapt to new situations. He is creative and elastic, pushing beyond perceptual barriers to find original ways of solving problems. As a leader, Ender wisely trusts his soldiers to develop winning strategies through play and experimentation. It soon becomes apparent to the reader why risk-taking children, not yet entrenched in restrictive patterns of thinking, are the government's hope to save the human race from destruction.
The novel touches on a plethora of topics ranging from religious oppression to colonisation. The importance of communication, perspective and understanding are underscored with the revelation that the entire bugger war is due to the failure of the two sides on these counts.
Trust, deception and manipulation run through the adult/child relationships in the book. The Battle School trains students to be weapons in a war for the common good, and treats them accordingly without indulging individual desires. Teen readers will relate as adults in their lives enforce decisions about school and socializing that are more in line with long-term societal values and expectations than the immediate wishes of the teens themselves.
Ender's Game balances the inherent excitement and action of battle with psychology and politics, exploring diverse, complex characters and the relationships between them. Set largely in outer space with gifted protagonists aged six to sixteen, this lengthy and multilayered tale will appeal to strong readers of all genders, especially those with an interest in war, computer games, outer space, or fiction involving moral dilemmas. The final part of the book is a moving meditation on guilt and forgiveness, with a surprising and complicated chance at redemption. Teens entering the age of independence and deliberation will take heart from the novel’s message that whatever mistakes they have made in the past, be they crimes or ignorant acts of recklessness, the future is still theirs to shape.