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Ender's Game

Ender's Game (1985) is one of the best-known novels by Orson Scott Card. It is set in Earth's future where mankind has barely survived two invasions by the "buggers," an insectoid alien race, and the International Fleet is preparing for war. In order to find and train the eventual commander for the anticipated third invasion, the world's most talented children, including the extraordinary Ender Wiggin, are taken into a training center known as the Battle School at a very young age. Its sequels Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, A War of Gifts, and Ender in Exile follow Ender to different worlds as he travels far into the future.

The book originated as the novelette "Ender's Game" published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Card later expanded the novel into the Ender's Game series, dealing with the long-term effects of the war. A slightly updated version was released in 1991 to keep political facts accurate (such as the decline of the Soviet Union).

Plot summary

In the book, mankind has had confrontations with a largely unknown alien race, known as the "buggers" because of their insectoid appearance. The buggers have battled humans twice; the first time as scouts who had entered our solar system on a mission to find new worlds to establish new colonies, the second time as a fleet of the actual colonists. Having been narrowly defeated the second time by International Fleet commander Mazer Rackham, a third invasion is considered a likely threat.

It is in this world that six-year-old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives. Ender, his nickname, was given to him by his older sister, Valentine; he also has a brother, Peter. As third child of his parents, Ender is an exception to the population restriction laws, his conception having been permitted only by a special sanction of the government, with the hope that he would be a combination of his sadistic older brother and his kind-hearted sister. The International Fleet (IF) was seeking the next brilliant military commander among Earth's children, as they needed an exceptional leader to help them fight the buggers. Young Ender is approved by the government for training at the elite Battle School, a space station where only the most brilliant children were trained. After a confrontation with a school bully, Stilson, that (unknown to Ender for the majority of the novel) leaves Stilson dead, Ender chooses to accept Colonel Graff's offer to attend Battle School, leaving behind his world with the hope that he could save its future.

Upon departure for Battle School, Ender is immediately singled out by the administration as the most intelligent student, causing most other students to hate him. Despite the attempts to keep him isolated, Ender does make a few friends. However, he is promoted early, so that he finds himself surrounded by kids much older than him, most of whom despise him. He again finds a way around his isolation and frustration, however, by forming his own nightly practice wargame sessions with his old friends, as well as any other new students who wish to be instructed by Ender. He finds, however, that they no longer regard him as a friend, but rather as a superior.

Ender is quickly promoted to commander of a brand new Dragon Army in the school's zero-gravity wargame league, and he molds his young soldiers into an unbeatable team, despite the teachers' stacking of every game against him. Some time after an especially brutal victory against one of Ender's former commanders, Bonzo Madrid, Ender is cornered by Bonzo along with several of Bonzo's soldiers. Unable to escape the situation without violence, Ender convinces Bonzo to fight him alone and unknowingly kills him. Ender learns the lesson that there is no rule book in war; he throws his own concepts of the game away. This clever circumventing of an impossible situation causes Ender to be promoted to Command School, six years younger than anyone else in the history of the system. Ender fears he is becoming like his brother Peter, using violence to reach his goals and refuses to go. He is taken briefly to Earth to visit his sister Valentine, who helps him see that he is not like Peter and convinces him to go to command school.

Ender is taught at Command School by Mazer Rackham, who has been kept alive into his own future by being sent away at near lightspeed and then brought back in the same manner. Ender is told that the military sent ships to attack the bugger planets many years ago, and outfitted them with new technology, like the ansible, making superluminal communication possible. Mazer instructs Ender in a game very similar to the Battle Room, only this time instead of commanding soldiers, Ender will command ships in a 3-D space battle. At this point, Ender is reunited with the people closest to him from battle school as his subordinates in this battle game. Ender commands them directly, and it is up to them to carry out his commands. Each day the games become more and more grueling, and Ender is slowly being worn down to psychosis, along with his fellow commanders. Waking and sleeping blend together as Ender loses his sanity, but he maintains his military brilliance.

Finally Mazer confronts Ender, telling him that he will face an extremely grueling final exam. The game begins, and Ender is outnumbered 1,000 to 1. When the enemy is finally in range, Ender orders the use of a special weapon, Dr. Device, against the planet itself, destroying the simulated planet and all ships in orbit. Ender consciously makes this decision knowing that it is expressly against the respectable rules of the game, hoping that his teachers will find his ruthlessness unacceptable and remove him from command, and allow him to return home.

After he wins it is revealed to Ender that all the simulations were real battles taking place in bugger space as the human ships sent long ago reached their destinations. Ender realizes that he had just ordered the actual destruction of an entire race, and the guilt of the massacre forces him into a five-day coma.

When he awakens, it's revealed to Ender that he is being heralded as the savior of the human race, and that the bugger threat has been eliminated, mankind is expanding into the empty bugger planets and repealing the population limit laws. Valentine arrives at command school and convinces Ender to go with her on the first ship leaving for colonization. She tells him of the impending announcement that he is to be the governor of the colony. There he discovers an unborn bugger queen who can communicate with him through a psychic link. She tells him that her race was not aware that humans were sentient creatures. It was through their defeat in the Second Invasion that forced them to realize humanity's true nature; and had resolved to never attack the Earth again. He resolves to atone for his destruction of the bugger race by finding a place to resurrect the queen, bringing the alien race back into existence. Ender writes a book under the pseudonym "Speaker for the Dead" entitled The Hive Queen, wherin he tells of the compassion and pain of the bugger race. At Peter's request he also writes The Hegemon to tell the truth of his brother's troubled life. These books become the basis of a new human religion.

Creation and inspiration

The original novelette "Ender's Game" is merely a snapshot of Ender's experiences in Battle School and Command School; the full-length novel is a more encompassing work dealing with Ender's life before, during, and after the war, and it 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 creation of the novelette and novel. Historian Bruce Catton's work on the American Civil War also influenced Card heavily. He also derived the name and basic function of the ansible from Ursula K. Le Guin's works.

Characters

The Wiggins

Ender's Jeesh

Other Battle School students

Others

  • Major/Colonel Anderson
  • Admiral Chamrajnagar
  • Dap
  • Colonel Hyrum Graff
  • The Hive Queen
  • Mazer Rackham
  • Stilson

Awards and impact

Ender's Game was the winner of the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986 and the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, two notable awards in science fiction. The following year, the sequel Speaker for the Dead also won both awards; Card is the only author to have won both awards in two consecutive years. In 2008, it received the Margaret Edwards award for its long term impact on science fiction.

Many schools around the world have adopted Ender's Game as required reading, some for its psychological aspects, others for its science fiction background. Some examples include the Marine Corps University at Quantico, as a textbook on the psychology of leadership, and the state of New South Wales, Australia, Higher School Certificate.

Ender's Game was the very first novel given away online before its publication. Card posted the novel on the DELPHI online service in 1984, inviting anyone to download and enjoy it.

Reviews

Film

The latest author-written screenplay was finished and submitted to Warner Brothers by Orson Scott Card in May 2003. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were later signed to write a new script, working closely with Wolfgang Petersen. However, as of 15 December 2005, all previous attempts to write a script had been dropped. Card himself has announced he will be writing a new script not based on any previous one, including his own.

While Ender's Game is officially in pre-production, according to IMDb, there is still no financier for the movie rights to the book. Nothing has been released on the content of the approved script, or casting; however, based on information from Orson Scott Card's previous scripts, it will be a fusion between Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, both of which take place in the Battle School at the same time, but the former from Ender's point of view, and the latter from Bean's point of view.

About the movie

Video game

Ender's Game: Battle Room will be a digitally distributed video game for all viable downloadable platforms. It is currently under development by Chair Entertainment, who also developed the Xbox Live Arcade game Undertow. Chair had sold the licensing of Empire to Card, which became a best-selling novel.

Little is known about the game save its setting in the Ender universe, and that it will focus on the Battle Room.

Graphic novel

Marvel Comics and Orson Scott Card announced on April 19 2008 that they would be publishing a limited-series installment, Ender's Game to be released in the Summer of 2008 (It is now known that the official release date is October 8, 2008). It will be the first in a plan to release a comic book series based on all of Card's Ender's Game novel series. Card was quoted as saying that it is the first step in moving the story to a visual medium.

The Original October 8, 2008 release is titled "Battle School" and is the first in a series of five graphic novels to be released monthly.

Translations

  • Играта на Ендър ("Ender's Game").
  • 安德的游戏 ("Ender's Game"),2003.
  • Enderova igra ("Ender's Game"), 2007.
  • Enderova Hra ("Ender's Game").
  • Enders strategi ("Ender's Strategy"), 1990.
  • De tactiek van Ender ("Ender's Tactic").
  • Enderi mäng ("Ender's Game"), 2000.
  • Ender ("Ender"), 1990.
  • La Stratégie Ender ("The Ender Strategy"), 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001.
  • Das große Spiel ("The Big Game"), 1986, 2005.
  • המשחק של אנדר ("Ender's Game").
  • Végjáték ("Endgame"), 1991.
  • Il gioco di Ender ("Ender's Game").
  • 엔더의 게임 ("Ender's Game"), 1992, 2000 (two editions).
  • エンダーのゲーム ("Ender's Game"), 1987.
  • Enders spill ("Ender's Game"), 1999.
  • Gra Endera ("Ender's Game"), 1994.
  • O jogo do exterminador ("The exterminator's game") (Brasil).
  • O jogo final ("The final game") (Portugal).
  • Jocul lui Ender ("Ender's Game").
  • Игра Эндера (Igra Endera) ("Ender's Game"), 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003 (two editions).
  • El juego de Ender ("Ender's Game").
  • Enders spel ("Ender's Game"), 1991, 1998.
  • Enderova igra ("Ender's Game"), 1988.
  • เกมพลิกโลก ("The game that change the world"), 2007.
  • Ender'in Oyunu ("Ender's Game").

See also

References

External links

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