*** Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

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Andrew « Ender » Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

I watched the movie before reading this book, which IMO is always the best order to do things in. If a great storyline is in the book and not the movie, as is the case with the siblings storyline in Ender’s Game, it’s a fun extra content when you read the book second, but a criminal oversight when you read the book first.

This isn’t the best science-fiction that I’ve ever put my hands on, but that has probably more to do with the fact that it’s a classic, and therefore I’ve seen all of the tropes it contains remixed and remade better and stronger in a thousand other things – but you have to acknowledge that this book probably did those things first and therefore deserves the recognition. In any case, « remember that the enemy’s gate is down » is an incredible piece of worldbuilding. Physics in space gets disregarded in a lot of scifi projects, but I just love it when a « problem » to be ignored in other books becomes a crucial piece of worldbuilding and one of the pillar of a book’s plot.

I think I enjoyed this book more for the potential of what it brings to the scifi genre table than for its ownself. Obviously, being a « classic » of scifi, the book runs into all of the bad parts of being written by a man in the mid-80s. Namely, only boys are importants but they’re also all violent monsters, and girls are soft and pretty. It’s boring and part of the reason why I seldom read old men classics, but in this book I was able to ignore it long enough to enjoy the scifi parts and the plot. I since learned more about the author and I have better things to do with my time then to read the sequels of his series, but at least I can say that I’ve read this one and I enjoyed it. (Death of the author and all that, yet he still won’t get another penny from me.)

Another aspect of the book that I did really like was how relatable Enders was as a smart child. Listen, I’m not a genius by any means, but I remember what it was like to be a kid and to be a smartass and to *think* I was as wise and smart as any adults. Kids absolutely believe that they can win a war and save the world, and a lot more’s going on in their heads than you think, and I love YA books that adress them on their level. Immaturity was already tedious in others when I was 6, nevermind that I was immature myself and I didn’t know it. Reading it in storytelling has always been the most unbelievable torture (thus, I hate Peter Pan with every fibers of my being.) So yeah, I liked Enders when I read his POV, and I think I would have liked him even more when I was a kid and was devouring books at supersonic speed without much care for quality or genre.

A solid 3 stars I think is fair.

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