1985 first edition (hardcover)
|Author(s)||Orson Scott Card|
|Cover artist||John Harris|
|Series||Ender's Game series|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Speaker for the Dead|
Ender's Game (1985) is a military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperilled mankind that has barely survived two conflicts with the "Buggers", an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, an international fleet maintains a school to find and train future fleet commanders. The world's most talented children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are taken at a very young age to a training center known as the Battle School. There, teachers train them in the arts of war through increasingly difficult games including ones undertaken in zero gravity in the Battle Room, where Ender's tactical genius is revealed.
The book originated as the short story "Ender's Game", published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Elaborating on characters and plot lines depicted in the novel, Card later wrote additional books to form the Ender's Game series. Card released an updated version of Ender's Game in 1991, changing some political facts to accurately reflect the times.
Reception of the book has generally been positive, though some critics have denounced Card's perceived justification of his characters' violent actions. It has also become suggested reading for many military organizations, including the United States Marine Corps. Ender's Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel. Its sequels, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind and Ender in Exile, follow Ender's subsequent travels to many different worlds in the galaxy. In addition, the later novella A War of Gifts and novel Ender's Shadow take place during the same time period as the original. Ender's Game has been adapted into two comic series.
Creation and inspiration
The original novelette "Ender's Game" provides a small snapshot of Ender's experiences in Battle School and Command School; the full-length novel encompasses more of Ender's life before, during, and after the war, and 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 novelette and novel. Historian Bruce Catton's work on the American Civil War also influenced Card heavily.
Sometime in the near future, humanity began to explore the solar system and master interplanetary spaceflight. In doing so, they encountered an alien race known as the Formics, derogatorily dubbed "buggers" due to their insect-like appearance, scouting the system and establishing a forward base in the asteroid Eros. The Formics attacked the humans and the two races entered into two drawn-out wars. Despite political conflict on Earth between three ruling parties, the Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos, a peace was established and an International Fleet (IF) formed to combat the Formics. In preparation for the buggers' inevitable return (dubbed the "third invasion") the IF created the Battle School, a program designed to find children of the best and brightest tactical minds and to subject them to rigorous training so as to defeat the Formic threat once and for all.
Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is the youngest child in the Wiggin family, and part of an Earth program to produce brilliant officers; despite this, Ender is teased as a "third" under Earth's two-child policy. He has a close bond with his sister Valentine, but fears his brother Peter, a highly intelligent sociopath who delights in manipulating and tormenting him.
After the IF removes Ender's monitoring device, presumably ending his chances of getting into Command School, he gets into a fight with a fellow student, Stilson. Though the smaller and weaker of the two, Ender manages to fatally wound Stilson (though Ender is unaware of this and believes he merely injured the other boy). When explaining his actions to IF Commander Hyrum Graff, Ender states his belief that, by showing superiority now, he will have prevented further fights in the future.
Graff, on hearing of this, promptly offers Ender a place in the Battle School, situated in Earth's orbit. Ender accepts and is taken away from his parents, who have no say in the matter. Initially, Ender believes Graff is a potential friend and ally, unaware of the fact Graff believes Ender is Earth's last great hope in defending it from a Formic attack. In order to ensure Ender develops as a strong leader uninfluenced by his peers, Graff isolates him from the rest of the new cadets by acknowledging his intelligence and ridiculing his peers. Between being ostracized by his fellow cadets and having troubling dreams about Formics, Ender is soon ready to quit the school, but Graff encourages him through communications sent from Valentine. Among other training methods, the cadets participate in a competitive squad-based war simulation in zero gravity. Ender is quick to acclimate to the new environment and demonstrates tactics not previously seen by the students and supervisors. He is able to lead his squad to victory and other squads are quick to add Ender's tactics to their own. Ender is soon promoted to be leader of his own squad, formed from the most recent and youngest cadets at the school. Despite their inexperience as well as an increasing difficulty of the games, Ender devises new tactics, most often involving sacrificing part of his squad to win the battle, and his squad soon excels and leads the competition. No longer an outsider, Ender becomes friends with several of his cadets, forming "Ender's jeesh." A fellow squad leader, Bonzo de Madrid, becomes furious at Ender's victories and attacks Ender with the intent to kill him. Ender manages to outmaneuver Bonzo in the fight, and fatally wounds him. The Battle School's adult supervisors were aware of the danger to Ender, but chose not to act so as to accelerate development of Ender's self-belief.
Back on Earth, Peter has used a global communication system to post political essays under the pseudonym "Locke", hoping to establish himself as a respected orator (which he believes will shortly lead him to political power despite his youth). Valentine, while not trusting Peter, believes that his methods are sound for affecting world politics in a positive manner. She becomes complicit in Peter's actions by posting works alongside his as "Demosthenes". Their essays are soon taken seriously by people at the highest positions of power in the government. Though Graff discovers the true identities, he keeps this a secret to himself believing the knowledge might one day prove useful.
Ender is soon promoted to Command School at a considerable distance from Earth but still within the solar system (on asteroid 433 Eros), skipping several years of schooling. There, he is put directly under watch of a former Formic war hero, Mazer Rackham. Alongside other rigorous training, Mazer tests Ender with a war simulator, pitting virtual IF fleets under Ender's control against Formic fleets controlled by Mazer. Ender adapts to the game and, as the simulations become harder, Ender is given sub-commanders, members of his jeesh, to work alongside him.
Ender is brought to the simulator, with several IF commanders watching, and told by Mazer this is his final test. As the simulation starts, Ender finds his human fleet far-outnumbered by the Formic forces above a planet. Despite being told that it was against the rules, Ender sacrifices most of his fighters fleet to launch a Molecular Disruption Device at the planet, destroying the planet and the entire Formic fleet. Though Ender had anticipated that breaking the rules would mean he would be expelled from school, he discovers the IF commanders celebrating. Mazer returns, and informs Ender that this was not a simulation, but the actual IF contingent and the Formic main fleet at the Formic homeworld: Ender has just destroyed the Formic homeworld and committed xenocide of the Formics, ending the war.
Ender enters into a deep depression on learning of this, as well as of the deaths of Stilson and Bonzo. When he recovers, he finds himself still in orbit with his closest friends from his jeesh and learns that, at the end of the Formic war, Earth went to war with itself. He stays on Eros as his friends return home and colonists, space now safe again, begin to venture out to other worlds, using Eros as a way station. Among the first colonists is his sister, Valentine, who apologizes that Ender can never return to Earth, as he would be too powerful a tool to be used by the various leaders, including Peter. Instead, Ender joins an Earth colony program to populate one of the former Formic colony worlds. There, as he scouts the planet, he finds an area shockingly similar to a simulated game from Battle School. Exploring the area leads him to discover the dormant egg of a Formic queen. The queen, through telepathy, explains that the Formics had initially assumed humans were a non-sentient race due to a lack of hive mind, but realized their mistake too late. They could not communicate with the humans as war broke out, but were able to touch Ender's mind, creating the dreams he felt and preparing this place for him. The queen requests that Ender take the egg to a new planet to allow the Formic race to grow again.
Ender takes the egg and, with information from the Queen, writes The Hive Queen under the alias "Speaker for the Dead". Peter, now the Hegemon of Earth, recognizes Ender's hand behind the work and requests Ender to write a book about Peter, which Ender entitles Hegemon. The combined works create a new religion that Earth and many of Earth's colonies start to adopt. In the end, Ender and Valentine board a starship and start visiting many worlds, looking for the right one for the unborn Queen.
Critics have generally received Ender's Game well. The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, considered the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. Ender's Game was also nominated for a Locus Award in 1986. In 1999, it placed #59 on the reader's list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels. It was also honored with a spot on American Library Association's "100 Best Books for Teens." In 2008, the novel, along with Ender's Shadow, won the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors an author and specific works by that author for lifetime contribution to young adult literature. Ender's Game was included in Damien Broderick's book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010.
New York Times writer Gerald Jonas admits that the novel's plot summary reads like a "grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction rip-off movie," but then says that Card develops the elements well despite this "unpromising material." Jonas further praises the development of the character Ender Wiggin: "Alternately likable and insufferable, he is a convincing little Napoleon in short pants."
The novel has received negative criticism for violence and for the way Card justifies Ender's violence. Elaine Radford's review, "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman," criticizes the novel on several points. She posits that Ender Wiggin is an intentional reference by Card to Adolf Hitler and criticizes the violence in the novel, particularly at the hands of the protagonist. Card responded to Radford's criticisms in Fantasy Review, the same publication. Radford's criticisms are echoed in John Kessel's essay "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality." Kessel reasons that Card justifies Ender's righteous rage and violence: "Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault."
The U.S. Marine Corps Professional Reading List makes the novel recommended reading at several lower ranks, and again at Officer Candidate/Midshipman. The book was placed on the reading list by Captain John F. Schmitt, author of FMFM-1 (Fleet Marine Fighting Manual, on maneuver doctrine) for "provid[ing] useful allegories to explain why militaries do what they do in a particularly effective shorthand way." In introducing the novel for use in leadership training, Marine Corps University's Lejeune program opines that it offers "lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well [....] Ender’s Game has been a stalwart item on the Marine Corps Reading List since its inception."
In 1991, Card revised the book. He made several minor changes to reflect the political climates of the time, including the decline of the Soviet Union. In the afterword of Ender in Exile, Card stated that many of the details in chapter 15 of Ender's Game have been modified for use in the subsequent novels and short stories. In order to more closely match the other material, Card has rewritten chapter 15, and plans to offer a revised edition of the book sometime in the future.
Ender's Game is an '"unfilmable" book, not because of too much violence but because everything takes place in Ender's head.
In 2011, Summit Entertainment financed and is coordinating the film's development and will also serve as its distributor. Gavin Hood is directing. Filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 27, 2012 and is set to release on November 1, 2013 (USA). A movie preview trailer was released in May 2013.
Ender's Game: Battle Room was a planned digitally distributed video game for all viable downloadable platforms. It was under development by Chair Entertainment, which also developed the Xbox Live Arcade games Undertow and Shadow Complex. Chair had sold the licensing of Empire to Card, which became a best-selling novel. Little was revealed about the game, save its setting in the Ender universe and that it would have focused on the Battle Room.
In December, 2010, it was announced that the video game development had stopped and the project put on indefinite hold.
Marvel Comics and Orson Scott Card announced on April 19, 2008 that they would be publishing a limited series adaptation of Ender's Game as the first in a comic series that would adapt all of Card's Ender's Game novels. Card was quoted as saying that it is the first step in moving the story to a visual medium. The first five-issue series, titled Ender's Game: Battle School, was written by Christopher Yost, while the second five-issue series, Ender’s Shadow: Battle School, was written by Mike Carey.
Ender's Game has been translated into 29 languages:
- Albanian: Lojra e Enderit ("Ender's Game").
- Bulgarian: Играта на Ендър ("Ender's Game").
- Chinese: 安德的游戏 (Āndé de yóuxì) ("Ender's Game"), 2003.
- Croatian: Enderova igra ("Ender's Game"), 2007.
- Czech: Enderova hra ("Ender's Game"), 1994.
- Danish: Ender's strategi ("Ender's Strategy"), 1990.
- Dutch: Ender Wint ("Ender Wins"), De Tactiek van Ender ("Ender's Tactic").
- Estonian: Enderi mäng ("Ender's Game"), 2000.
- Finnish: Ender ("Ender"), 1990.
- French: La Stratégie Ender ("The Ender Strategy"), 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001.
- Galician: O xogo de Ender (Ender's Game), 2011
- German: Das große Spiel ("The Great Game"), 1986, 2005.
- Greek: Το παιχνίδι του Έντερ (To paichnídi tou Enter) ("Ender's Game"), 1996.
- Hebrew: המשחק של אנדר (Ha-Misḥaq šel Ender) ("Ender's Game"), 1994.
- Hungarian: Végjáték ("Endgame"), 1991.
- Italian: Il gioco di Ender ("Ender's Game").
- Japanese: エンダーのゲーム (Endā no Gēmu) ("Ender's Game"), 1987.
- Korean: 엔더의 게임 (Endaŭi Geim) ("Ender's Game"), 1992, 2000 (two editions).
- Latvian: Endera spēle ("Ender's Game"), 2008.
- Lithuanian: Enderio Žaidimas ("Ender's Game"), 2007
- Norwegian: Enders spill|("Ender's Game"), 1999.
- Persian: بازی اندر ("Bazi_ē_Ender"), 2011
- Polish: Gra Endera ("Ender's Game"), 1994.
- Portuguese: O jogo do exterminador ("The Game of the Exterminator") (Brazil).
- Portuguese: O jogo final ("The Final Game") (Portugal).
- Romanian: Jocul lui Ender ("Ender's Game").
- Russian: Игра Эндера (Igra Endera) ("Ender's Game"), 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003 (two editions).
- Serbian: Eндерова игра (Enderova igra) ("Ender's Game"), 1988.
- Spanish: El juego de Ender ("Ender's Game").
- Swedish: Enders spel ("Ender's Game"), 1991, 1998.
- Thai: เกมพลิกโลก ("The Game that Changed the World"), 2007.
- Turkish: Ender'in Oyunu ("Ender's Game").
- List of Ender's Game characters
- Concepts in the Ender's Game series
- List of Ender's Game series planets
- "Short Stories by Orson Scott Card". Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- Radford, Elaine (2007-03-26). "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman (20 Years Later)". Elaine Radford. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- Kessel, John (2004). "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality". Science Fiction Foundation. Retrieved 2011-01-28.
- "Marine Corps Professional Reading List". Official U.S. Marine Corps Web Site. Retrieved 2011-04-06.
- "1985 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Sneider, Jeff (29 November 2011). "Asa Butterfield locks 'Ender's Game'". Variety.
- Card, Orson Scott (1991). "Introduction". Ender's Game (Author's definitive ed.). New York: Tor Books. ISBN 0-8125-5070-6.
- Mann, Laurie (22 November 2008). "SFWA Nebula Awards". dpsinfo.com. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
- "The Hugo Awards By Year". World Science Fiction Society. 9 December 2005. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2009.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Hugo Awards". Locus Publications. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
- "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Nebula Awards". Locus Publications. Retrieved 2009-01-13.
- [dead link]
- "Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010 — Nonstop Press". Nonstop-press.com. 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Jonas, Gerald (1985-06-16). "SCIENCE FICTION". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- "USMC Professional Reading Program (brochure)" (PDF). Reading List by Grade. Marine Corps University. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Ender's Game Discussion Guide" (PDF). USMC Professional Reading Program. Marine Corps University. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Ender in Exile". Audio edition, Macmillan Audio, Nov 2008
- by Cassandra (2013-04-22). "Full Interview with Card and Johnston from the 2013 LA Times Festival of Books | Ender's Ansible". Endersansible.com. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- "Orson Scott Card Talks About 'Ender's Game' Book And Movie". Neon Tommy. 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- Gallagher, Brian. "Ender's Game Lands at Summit Entertainment". MovieWeb.
- McNary, Dave (Apr. 28, 2011). "Summit plays 'Ender's Game'". Variety.
- "Gavin Hood Attached to Ender's Game". "comingsoon.net". September 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
- Zeitchik, Steven (September 20, 2010). "Gavin Hood looks to play 'Ender's Game'". Los Angeles Times.
- Christine (2012-03-01). "‘Ender’s Game’ begins filming at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans". Onlocationvacations.com. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- "Ender's Game Trailer, News, Videos, and Reviews". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
- "Ender's Game Trailer". Summit Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-05-14.
- Croal, N'Gai (January 29, 2008). "Exclusive: Chair Entertainment's Donald and Geremy Mustard Shed Some Light On Their Plans For 'Ender's Game'". Newsweek. Archived from the original on June 3, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Ender's Game tabled by Chair". Joystiq. December 14, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- Penagos, Ryan (May 12, 2008). "NYCC '08: Marvel to Adapt Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game Series". Marvel Characters, Inc. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- "Enders Shadow Battle School #1 (of 5)". Things From Another World, Inc. 1986-2009. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ender's Game|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Orson Scott Card|
- About the novel Ender's Game from Card's website
- Ender's Game title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Intergalactic Medicine Show: Online science fiction magazine published by Orson Scott Card. Features a new Ender's world story in every issue.