In the 25 years since Ender’s Game was published, first as a novelette, then as a full-length novel, it remains one of the seminal science fiction classics of the century. Card’s powerful ability to take the reader into the heart and mind of his characters, combined with a mastery of exposition, unite in a book whose impact continues to grow with each passing year.
Orson Scott Card writes heartbreaking books about men and women facing soul-wrenching moral dilemmas. A prolific author with over 50 books (in addition to numerous short stories, newspaper, web, and magazine columns, non-fiction, games, plays, and poetry), his work spans a wide array of genres: science fiction, fantasy, historical, religious, and political, and has been published in more than 16 languages. But it is perhaps his Ender novels that he is most widely recognized for, starting with Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, which together earned Card the honor of being the only author to ever win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for two consecutive years.
Andrew “Ender” Wiggins is a third—a third child in a society where population laws dictate two as the maximum number a couple may have. Although his birth is sanctioned by a government attempt to breed military geniuses, Ender finds no respite from the hostile social condemnation that surrounds him. Things aren’t much better at home, where his older brother Peter displays sociopathic jealousy at Ender’s brilliance, his sister Valentine desperately tries to protect him, and his parents remain kind but aloof, torn between pride and shame over their third.
Mankind has already won, by sheer luck, a devastating war with a vastly superior alien species. It is only a matter of time before the next war is upon them, and so the military begins its experiment to breed a strategic genius in the hope of turning the inevitable tide of destruction for the human race. The Wiggins children are among the most successful results, though Peter’s military genius is shadowed by dark aggression, while Valentine’s is hindered by excessive compassion.
Only in Ender does the military find an ideal balance of the two extremes for their purposes: someone who can understand his enemies with perfect empathy and still remain capable of ruthlessly defeating them.
Ender is only 6 years old when he is sent to the orbiting Battle School. There, he faces a merciless regimen designed to turn him into an unbeatable military opponent and thus ensure the survival of the species. While Ender struggles to survive with his own humanity intact, Peter and Valentine watch with growing concern the deteriorating pacts between earth’s political alliances, and devise their own plan to unify earth against the internal threat of chaos and anarchy. Though they are not yet adolescents, their brilliance carves a path that will, for better or worse, end with Peter ruling the world. For their younger brother, Ender, an even darker path waits, one that leaves him no choice for happy endings, no matter which way he turns.
Long after you've set the book down, you'll be haunted by the ghosts of Ender's bitter despair at his dark side, Valentine's unwavering loyalty and love for her younger brother, and the unexpected revelations of the denouement. Card’s keen insight into human motivation and family ties, and his ability to create characters that arouse stark emotion and empathy in the reader, make this story a classic that continues to stand the test of time.