Ender's Game

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Ender's Game is a military science fiction book by Orson Scott Card. The story revolves around Ender Wiggin, a child protégé who is pushed through military school in hopes that he can become the best military leader the planet has ever seen to protect them from an alien invasion that will undoubtedly wipe out the human race.

Status

I do not own this book, but have listened to an audio book recording.

Review

Good

  • I liked the description of null-gravity motion.
  • The fantasy videogame that Ender plays on his desk sounds really cool by using human psychology against the player.

Bad

  • For a fleet commander who would never use any close-quarters combat, and direct pilots who also would never use close-quarters combat, why did Ender's teachers make him spend the majority of his training with close-quarters combat?
  • It was a bit annoying that Ender created so many strategies that nobody else had considered. He was the first person to consider using a frozen body as a shield, first person to attack an army the moment it came out of the door, first person to try and go through the door before the opponent's teams was defeated, etc. The only conclusion I can come to is, the collected minds of the battle school (teachers included) are not as smart as one six-year-old. Maybe they should have just let the Buggers put them out of their misery!
  • The book glossed over why children are needed to defeat the bugger army. I understand that it was beneficial for the commanders to not know they were committing genocide, but since only the top brass knew that the test was actually real, why would it matter if they used adults?
  • The rise to fame of Peter and Valentine on the "nets" as bloggers who become globally syndicated and treated with more respect than most politicians and CEOs in a matter of months, while still remaining anonymous, is a very naïve 1980s idea of how the Internet would work.
  • The ending is a bit drawn out and dull.
  • It seems very unlikely that the military would allow colonists to go to the Bugger's home world without first snatching up all their technology, or at the very least, making sure all the queens were really dead.

Ugly

  • I had this book partially spoiled by Rebecca Watson who pointed out that if you assume it was written by a nerd who was bullied as a child, it plays out less like a kid dealing with adversity, and more like childhood revenge fantasy porn. Ender cripples or kills every bully he meets, but we're repeatedly told, heavy-handedly, that his motives are pure, and he's morally good.
  • Ender is w-a-y too perfect. At age six, he's smarter than everyone, including all of his teachers. He easily defeats bigger opponents without even trying. He can out-fight, out-strategize, out-hack, and out-teach everyone in his school. Sure, he was hand-picked as the best child on Earth, but so are Olympians; that doesn't mean one Olympian beats -all- other Olympians at their own game, every time, even when the opponents get to cheat. This made the book lose any sense of suspense. Of course he would win, he always does, no matter what.

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