Rameau’s Review Archive: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Rameau’s ramblings: This is one of those books everyone recommended to me and once again I’m the odd one out. Originally posted on Goodreads on March 21st 2013.

Synopsis:

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games at the Battle School; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. Ender is the most talented result of Earth’s desperate quest to create the military genius that the planet needs in its all-out war with an alien enemy.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? The only way to find out is to throw the child 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.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Formics has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways.
Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I am disgusted.

I am so thoroughly disgusted with this book that I can’t even logically explain my utter revulsion. Ender’s Game reads like propaganda, and the characters in it are living it. It wasn’t until I saw the comparison to Adolf Hitler that I thought of Hitler Junge, but it makes sense. These kids are brainwashed into becoming soldiers, killers, and they’re never given a choice.

Except it’s much worse than that. Ender actually learns to doubt, to disobey, to choose, and he chooses wrong. (view spoiler)[He chooses mass murder. To add insult to injury, he writes a book about it and gives voice to the voiceless, to the dead. (hide spoiler)] How is that different from any other conqueror rewriting the history to suit them?

If this were a normal review, I’d remark upon the failed, nonexistent characterisations, the lack of character growth or lessons learned, the lack of actual challenges overcome (how can he overcome anything when he never fails?), the lack of plot that isn’t told in short paragraphs as in passing. But this isn’t a normal review and I’m just going to link you to better articles about the story itself.

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10 Responses to Rameau’s Review Archive: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  1. I used to like Ender's Game. I read it and all the other parts of this series as well. I enjoyed it. It was, in my view, just another sci-fi story about a little boy who had so save the world. Like Luke or Anakin Skywalker. I used to be so blind. My only excuse – it was long time ago. At that time I never saw any Hitler connection and I couldn't write a proper review even if my life depended on it. I am still so deeply ashamed of myself.

  2. Blodeuedd says:

    yes not a book I will read

  3. rameau says:

    At least now I can tell the people who recommend this book that I've tried.

  4. rameau says:

    That's nothing. I used to think that Cassandra Clare could write an entertaining story and that Diana Gabaldon could write. Full stop. At least you were fooled by a master manipulator and propaganda machine. I have no such excuse.

  5. Well I had no interest in reading this book to begin with and now I have even less.

  6. A natural reaction of any thinking person I suppose.

  7. rameau says:

    That was my first instinct. I wish I'd listened.

  8. Aurian says:

    Wow. So not going to read this book. I did read some of his books though, very long time ago. Alvin Maker?

  9. What I liked about Ender's Game is that Card captured some of the nastiest stuff that humanity has in its collective psyche. It's disgusting and horrible, but he captured the feeling of abuse and torment that Ender experiences perfectly. And I appreciate that Card seems to say that we'd only be about to xenocide a species if the soldier was TRICKED.I thought the plot, characters, etc. were straightforward but nothing special. The parts seemingly about blogging were too dated to be believable. My memory of my reading almost makes me feel like I skipped them.

  10. rameau says:

    I couldn't really even buy into the message that there's good in the brainwashed soldiers. For me the whole book was a disgusting—and apparently highly successful—attempt to manipulate readers. I've known people like that in real life, so I'm hypersensitive to it and often overreact in the opposite direction of what they're asking me to do because of it.

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