Sunday, March 11, 2007

Book review: Ender's Game

Note: Given that Ender's Game appear on the "50 Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years" list that is going around at the moment, I thought I'd repost a book review of it that I originally posted in Readerville.

Orson Scott Card: Ender's Game

Science fiction at its very finiest (at east in my oppinion), unless you're into hard science fiction. Then it's probably too lightweight for your taste. As the book won both the Hugo and the Nebula award, I'm apparently not alone in thinking it very good.

This is the story of Andrew Wiggins, called Ender, a brilliant child who, together with a lot of other very intelligent children, is trained to lead the human fighting forces against an alien force.

Card describes the children well, and many of the devices and details in the book are very interesting, esecially the battle room fights ("the enemy is down"), and the non-Ender parts of the story.
Ender's Game doesn't only deal with Ender and his fellow trainees, it also tells about Ender's two siblings, who are equally brilliant, but have personal flaws that make unfittng for officer duty. The siblings use their intelligence to influence world politics through comments on what might in our world be the Internet (Ender's Game was published in 1985, the Internet didn't exist until 1992). This shows that Card sees the potential in new technology, but he isn't unique in that aspect, though he does it well.

Now comes the hard part - would I recommend this book? It depends.
If you don't like science fiction, it might still be worth a shot, but if you don't want to read books by authors whose personal views you disagree with, be aware that Card has more than once expressed views that many, myself including, consider bigoted towarts homosexuality and homosexuals (see Salon article here). These views aren't explicitely expressed in his writing, which is why I can still read and enjoy him, but it has taken some of the pleasure out of reading Card for me.

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