The basic premise of Ender’s Game is that humans narrowly won a war with the “buggers” (an insect-like alien race) but believe another invasion is inevitable. So, we’ve created a Battle School in Earth’s orbit to train gifted children to be commanders capable of winning the next war.
Orson Scott Card’s writing is crisp and precise, and quickly drew me into this world, which centres on six-year-old Ender Wiggin. Early in the story, the reader is given just enough insight into young Ender’s personality and experiences to easily follow the thread from the reserved boy he is at the beginning of the story, through the decisions he makes at Battle School, and finally to the military tactician he becomes. The characters can be a bit one-dimensional at times, but given the pull of the overarching plot and how quickly I ripped through the story, it didn’t bother me too much.
While I don’t typically enjoy drawn-out fight scenes, I relished the battles in this book, thanks in large part to Card’s creative setups and clear, action-packed prose. While the plot about war tactics and alien invasions is captivating, ultimately Ender’s Game is about the hardships of leadership, and the relationships and decisions that make us human.
I read this story before I knew that Orson Scott Card is a vocal anti-gay activist. I’m conflicted about having enjoyed a story written by a person who holds views about human rights that I vehemently believe are wrong. Rachel Edidin’s piece, Orson Scott Card: Mentor, Friend, Bigot, and An Ethical Guide To Consuming Content Created By Awful People Like Orson Scott Card by Alyssa Rosenberg have helped me in thinking about this. I’m still thinking it through.
One thing I know is that I won’t be purchasing the book (I borrowed it from the library) or provide links on this post.