Cheater (short story)

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Cover for the short story
AuthorOrson Scott Card
CountryUnited States
SeriesEnder's Game series
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published inIntergalactic Medicine Show
PublisherHatrack River Enterprises
Media typeElectronic (HTML)
Publication date2006

"Cheater" is a science fiction story by American writer Orson Scott Card, set in his Ender's Game universe. It tells the story of how "Hot Soup" Han Tzu got into Battle School. It appears in Card's Webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show.

Plot summary[edit]

"Cheater" is the story of Han Tzu as a child. Han Tzu was born in Nanyang, China and was a descendent of Yuan Shikai, a great Chinese general. From a very young age, Han Tzu's father would play with him every day. It was his wish that Han Tzu would become a great general and bring glory back to China. When he got a little older, tutors began to come to his house to play games with him. After a while, Han Tzu discovered that the games were actually to prepare him for a test. One day, his tutor began teaching Han Tzu games from a list that his father had provided. When the testers from the International Fleet showed up to give Han Tzu the test, he figured out that his father was cheating. Han Tzu didn't want to pretend to be the best so he answered all the questions wrong. The next day, the people from the International Fleet showed up at Han Tzu's house and arrested his father for cheating but decided to test Han Tzu again, thus discovering how smart he really is.


  • Han Tzu
  • Han Tzu's father – unnamed
  • Han Tzu's mama – unnamed
  • Tutors – mostly unnamed
  • Wei Dun-nuan – language tutor
  • Shen Guo-rong – testing tutor
  • Boys to play with – unnamed
  • Girls to play with – unnamed
  • Mu-ren – household cook
  • Pei-Tian – father's driver
  • International Fleet testers – unnamed
  • Soldier – unnamed


In addition to the text version of the story, "Cheater" is also available from InterGalactic Medicine Show as an audio download. The story was read by Orson Scott Card himself.

Publication history[edit]

"Cheater" was published in the October 2006 issue of Intergalactic Medicine Show.[1] It also appears in the anthology Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show.


  1. ^ Orson Scott Card, "Cheater" Intergalactic Medicine Show, October 2006.