In my desire to explore as much as possible all kinds of genre in fiction stories, I have discovered that I am also able to enjoy fantasy and dystopian literature. The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness, for instance, got very high ratings from me, and Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin introduced me to the darker side of fantasy.
My attitude towards fantasy also holds the same to science fiction. In fact, I haven’t read that much sci-fi books, and I am not a fan of sci-fi movies or shows. But with the right mood, and right timing, I know that I can also enjoy sci-fi. This is true with Ender’s Game by Scott Orson Card. I have never heard this book or this author until some of my fantasy loving slash science fiction aficionado friends in the book club kept on raving about this classic story of a young kid, Ender Wiggin, fighting off buggers in outer space. I got curious and when I chanced upon a cheap copy in Booksale, I decided to finally give it a try and see for my self what the furor is all about.
My copy of the book has an Introductory chapter written by the author himself, where he explained how his idea for the story came about. He also responded to the criticisms of the book when it first came about, especially on the way the characters in the story talk — one criticism which I also share, although his explanation also seem to make sense.
I love the development of the story, and the simple but engaging storytelling of Mr. Card. I am not really a fan of war stories, more particularly war stories against extra-terrestrials, but in this book, the war tactics were presented as children’s games, and I must admit that I enjoyed the battles and the computer games that Ender played. The description of ETs as buggers, though, still solicits chuckles from me. Buggers? With antennae? Please. 😉
The main character however is the kind of boy anybody will learn to like. And love. He isn’t superhuman because he has insecurities and struggles. He also gets tired. And he also feels lonely. He cries. And he gets angry. He is just like any little boy out there, except that he is just gifted with quick analytical skills. Skills that will make him become a commander. But he also longs to be normal, to have friends and do the things that little boys do.
I feel for Ender Wiggin, his struggles to not become like his violent brother, Peter; his love for Valentine; and his determination to live and survive his training. Ender’s Game was first published in 1977, but indeed it has the potential to withstand the trends of time when it comes to science fiction. Outer space and null gravity are concepts that continue to fascinate me, as well as the notion of other beings that live outside Earth.
What I love the most in the story is the final chapter where Ender is about to graduate from Command School. The twist, although not that shocking, gave the story a much different meaning and perspective. General truths on human survival instincts, love, unity, regret, and forgiveness are also discussed with utmost sensitivity and profundity.
For those who are intimidated by science fiction, you can start with Ender’s Game. It is very easy to read and the vivid illustrations are the kind that can tickle the imagination profusely. I love seeing in my mind pictures of Ender and his friends in battle games together in space without gravity. Can you imagine yourself in null gravity?
Ender’s Game is one wonderful read. I must warn you on the violence, though. It is not as gory as other thrillers or crime stories, but the fact that the characters are kids (Ender is 6 years old when he entered Battle School) who fight each other, I advise parental guidance when kids are to read this. 🙂