Ender's Game

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This article is about the novel. For the 2013 film based on the novel, see Ender's Game (film). For other uses, see Ender's Game (disambiguation).
Ender's Game
Cover shows a futuristic aeroplane landing on a lighted runway.
1985 first edition (hardcover)
Author Orson Scott Card
Cover artist John Harris
Country United States
Language English
Series Ender's Game series
Genre Science fiction
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
1985
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback & Ebook)
Pages 384
ISBN 0-312-93208-1
OCLC 22909973
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 imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the "Buggers", an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained at a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, 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.[1] 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 reflect the times accurately; most notably, to include the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Reception of the book has generally been positive, though some critics have denounced Card's perceived justification of his characters' violence.[2][3] It has also become suggested reading for many military organizations, including the United States Marine Corps.[4] Ender's Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel[5] and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel.[6] 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.

A film adaptation of the same name directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield as Ender was released in October 2013. Card co-produced the film.[7]

Creation and inspiration[edit]

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.[8] 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.[8]

Ender's Game was the first science-fiction novel published entirely online, when it appeared on Delphi a year before print publication.[9]

Synopsis[edit]

Humanity, having begun to explore the Universe and master interplanetary spaceflight, has encountered an alien race known as the "buggers" (known in later books as the 'Formics'), scouting the system and establishing a forward base in the asteroid Eros, who provoked 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 against the Buggers. In preparation for the Buggers' return (dubbed the "third invasion"), the IF created the Battle School, a program designed to subject children with the best tactical minds to rigorous training.

Protagonist Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is one of the school's trainees; but, despite this, he is teased as a "Third" under Earth's two-child policy. He has a close bond with his sister Valentine; but, he fears his brother Peter, a highly intelligent sociopath. After the IF removes Ender's monitoring device, presumably ending his chances of Battle School, he fights a fellow student, Stilson. Though the weaker of the two, Ender fatally wounds Stilson, but is left unaware of doing so. When explaining his actions to IF Colonel Hyrum Graff, Ender states his belief that, by showing superiority now, he has prevented future struggle. Graff, on hearing of this, offers Ender a place in the Battle School, situated in Earth's orbit, where Graff quickly isolates Ender from the other cadets, but encourages him to continue training despite frustration, through communications from Valentine.

The cadets participate in competitive war simulations in zero gravity, wherein Ender's innovations disrupt the standard operations. Graff promotes Ender to a new army composed of the newest and youngest cadets, which Ender leads to the top of the school. There, Ender fights Bonzo Madrid, a jealous commander of another army, outside the simulation, and unknowingly kills him. Under Ender's leadership, several of his current and former squad members form 'Ender's Jeesh' that remain loyal to him.

On Earth, Peter Wiggin has used a global communication system to post political essays under the pseudonym "Locke", hoping to establish himself as a respected orator and thence as a powerful politician. Valentine, despite not trusting Peter, publishes works alongside his as "Demosthenes". Their essays are soon taken seriously by the government. Though Graff is told their true identities, he recommends that it be kept a secret, because their writings are politically useful.

Command School[edit]

Ender, now ten years old, is soon promoted to Command School (on asteroid 433 Eros), skipping several years of schooling. There, he is tutored by a former war hero, Mazer Rackham. Alongside other training activities, Mazer sets virtual fleets under Ender's control against Bugger fleets controlled by Mazer. Ender adapts to the game and, as the simulations become harder, receives members of his Jeesh as sub-commanders. Despite this, Ender becomes depressed by the simulations, by his isolation from others, and by his treatment by Mazer.

When told by Mazer that he is facing his final test, Ender finds his human fleet far-outnumbered by the Buggers and sacrifices most of his fighters to launch a Molecular Disruption Device, capable of destroying the entire planet, intending to earn himself expulsion from the school for his ruthlessness. The Device destroys the planet and the entire Bugger fleet; but, as the simulation ends, Ender is surprised to find the IF commanders celebrating. Mazer returns and informs Ender that this — and earlier skirmishes in the "simulator" — were not simulation, but the actual IF contingent and the Buggers' main fleet at their homeworld, and with their destruction Ender has terminated the war. Ender becomes more depressed on learning this and of the deaths of Stilson and Bonzo.

When he recovers, he finds himself still in orbit with his closest friends and learns that, at the end of the Bugger war, Earth's powers fought among themselves. He stays on Eros as his friends return home and colonists venture 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, where he would become dangerous as used by the various leaders, including Peter. Instead, Ender joins the colony program to populate one of the Buggers' former worlds. There, he discovers the dormant egg of a Bugger queen. The queen, through telepathy, explains that the Buggers had initially assumed humans were a non-sentient race, for want of collective consciousness, but realized their mistake too late, and requests that Ender take the egg to a new planet to colonize.

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 work and requests Ender to write a book about him, which Ender entitles Hegemon. The combined works create a new type of funeral, in which the Speaker for the Dead tells the whole and unapologetic story of the deceased, that is adopted by many on Earth and its colonies. In the end, Ender and Valentine board a series of starships and visit many worlds, looking for a safe place to establish the unborn Hive Queen.

Critical response[edit]

Critics have received Ender's Game well. The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985,[10] and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986,[11] considered the two most prestigious awards in science fiction.[12][13] Ender's Game was also nominated for a Locus Award in 1986.[6] 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.[14] Ender's Game was included in Damien Broderick's book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985–2010.[15]

New York Times writer Gerald Jonas asserts that the novel's plot summary resembles a "grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction rip-off movie", but 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."[16]

The novel has received negative criticism for violence and its justification. Elaine Radford's review, "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman", 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.[2] 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", wherein Kessel states: "Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault."[3]

The U.S. Marine Corps Professional Reading List makes the novel recommended reading at several lower ranks, and again at Officer Candidate/Midshipman.[17] 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."[18] 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."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Amazon.com United States Best of the Century: Best Books of the Millennium Poll[19] 1999
32
Locus United States Best 20th Century Science Fiction Novels: Reader's Poll[20] 2012
2
Modern Library United States Modern Library 100 Best Novels: Reader's List[21] 1999
59
NPR United States Top 100 Science Fiction, Fantasy Books: Readers' Poll[22] 2011
3
Publishers Weekly United States Bestselling Science Fiction Novels of 2012[23] 2012
1
Science Channel United States Top 10 Sci-fi Books of All Time[24] 2013
5

The weeks ending June 9, August 18, September 8, September 15, November 3, November 10, November 17, and November 24, 2013, the novel was #1 on the New York Times' Best Sellers List of Paperback Mass-Market Fiction.[25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

Revisions[edit]

In 1991, Card 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 were 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.[33]

Adaptations[edit]

Film[edit]

In 2011, Summit Entertainment financed and coordinated the film's development and served as its distributor.[34][35] Gavin Hood directed the film, which lasts 1 hour and 54 minutes.[36][37] Filming began in New Orleans, Louisiana, on February 27, 2012,[38] and was released on November 1, 2013 (USA).[39] A movie preview trailer[40] was released in May 2013 and a second trailer[41] was released later that year.

Card has called Ender's Game "unfilmable", "because everything takes place in Ender's head", and refused to sign a film deal unless he could ensure that the film was "true to the story." Of the film that he eventually agreed to, Card said it was "the best that good people could do with a story they really cared about and believed in", and while warning fans not to expect a completely faithful adaptation, called the film "damn good."[42]

Video game[edit]

Ender's Game: Battle Room was a planned digitally distributed video game for all viable downloadable platforms.[43] 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.[43]

In December, 2010, it was announced that the video game development had stopped and the project put on indefinite hold.[44]

Comics[edit]

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.[45] 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.[46]

Audioplay[edit]

Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay, is an audio drama written by Orson Scott Card, based on the Ender's Game novel. At over seven hours in length, this retelling of Ender's Game hints at story lines from "Teacher's Pest", "The Polish Boy", "The Gold Bug", Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight, Earth Unaware, and Speaker for the Dead, and gives new insight into the beginnings of Ender's philotic connection with the Hive Queen.

Ender's Game Alive is directed by Gabrielle de Cuir, produced by Stefan Rudnicki at Skyboat Media, published by Audible.com, and performed by a cast of over 30 voice actors playing over 100 roles.[47][48]

Translations[edit]

Ender's Game has been translated into 34 languages:

  • Albanian: Lojra e Enderit ("Ender's Game").
  • Bulgarian: Играта на Ендър ("Ender's Game").
  • Chinese: 安德的游戏 (pinyin:Ān dé de yóu xì) ("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).
  • Slovene: Enderjeva igra ("Ender's Game"), 2010.
  • 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").
  • Ukrainian: Гра Ендера ("Ender's Game"), 2013.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Short Stories by Orson Scott Card". Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b Radford, Elaine (2007-03-26). "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman (20 Years Later)". Elaine Radford. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  3. ^ a b Kessel, John (2004). "Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality". Science Fiction Foundation. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  4. ^ "Marine Corps Professional Reading List". Official U.S. Marine Corps Web Site. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  5. ^ "1985 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  6. ^ a b "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  7. ^ Sneider, Jeff (29 November 2011). "Asa Butterfield locks 'Ender's Game'". Variety. 
  8. ^ a b Card, Orson Scott (1991). "Introduction". Ender's Game (Author's definitive ed.). New York: Tor Books. ISBN 0-8125-5070-6. 
  9. ^ D'Ignazio, Fred (December 1986). "What Is Compute! Doing Here?". Compute!. p. 90. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Mann, Laurie (22 November 2008). "SFWA Nebula Awards". dpsinfo.com. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "The Hugo Awards By Year". World Science Fiction Society. 9 December 2005. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved 3 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Hugo Awards". Locus Publications. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  13. ^ "The Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Nebula Awards". Locus Publications. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985–2010 — Nonstop Press". Nonstop-press.com. 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  16. ^ Jonas, Gerald (1985-06-16). "SCIENCE FICTION". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  17. ^ "USMC Professional Reading Program (brochure)" (PDF). Reading List by Grade. Marine Corps University. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  18. ^ a b "Ender's Game Discussion Guide" (PDF). USMC Professional Reading Program. Marine Corps University. 2009-09-25. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  19. ^ "Locus Online: Books and Publishing News, November 1999, Page 3". Locusmag.com. 1999-11-23. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  20. ^ Author: Your Name/Company (2012-12-22). "Locus Roundtable » All-Time Novel Results, 2012". Locusmag.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  21. ^ Search for a Title or Author. "100 Best Novels « Modern Library". Modernlibrary.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  22. ^ "Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books". NPR. 2011-08-11. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  23. ^ "Ender's Game". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  24. ^ Sci Fi (2012-10-11). "Top 10 Sci-fi Books of All Time : Science Channel". Science.discovery.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  25. ^ Taylor, Ihsan. "Best Sellers – The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  26. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  27. ^ Sehgal, Parul. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  28. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  29. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  30. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Best Sellers – The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-09. 
  31. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  32. ^ Cowles, Gregory. "Print & E-Books". The New York Times. 
  33. ^ "Ender in Exile".  Audio edition, Macmillan Audio, Nov 2008
  34. ^ Gallagher, Brian. "Ender's Game Lands at Summit Entertainment". MovieWeb. 
  35. ^ McNary, Dave (Apr 28, 2011). "Summit plays 'Ender's Game'". Variety. 
  36. ^ "Gavin Hood Attached to Ender's Game". "comingsoon.net". September 21, 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  37. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (September 20, 2010). "Gavin Hood looks to play 'Ender's Game'". Los Angeles Times. 
  38. ^ Christine (2012-03-01). "'Ender's Game' begins filming at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans". Onlocationvacations.com. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  39. ^ "Ender's Game Trailer, News, Videos, and Reviews". ComingSoon.net. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  40. ^ "Ender's Game Trailer". Summit Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-05-14. 
  41. ^ "Ender's Game Trailer 2". Summit Entertainment. Retrieved 2013-08-18. 
  42. ^ "Orson Scott Card Talks About 'Ender's Game' Book And Movie". Neon Tommy. 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  43. ^ a b 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. 
  44. ^ "Ender's Game tabled by Chair". Joystiq. December 14, 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  45. ^ 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. 
  46. ^ "Enders Shadow Battle School #1 (of 5)". Things From Another World, Inc. 1986–2009. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  47. ^ October 1, 2013 (2013-10-01). "Ender'S Game Alive – The Full Cast Audioplay By Orson Scott Card". Skyboat Media. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  48. ^ from Skyboat Media Plus 3 weeks ago not yet rated (2013-10-04). "Orson Scott Card – Author of Ender's Game Alive on Vimeo". Vimeo.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 

External links[edit]