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am 9. Mai 2000
I've had a paperback copy of Ender's Game on my bookshelf for years, but for whatever reason, I never got around to reading it. When I found out there was going to be a movie of it coming out, I decided to look the book up on and read some reviews. Wow! I've never seen so many five-star reviews for anything. Not Citizen Kane, Star Wars, Animal House, Shakespeare, not even the Bible. I figured it was time I give the book a shot. Now that I've read it, I can add my opinion to this ever-expanding forum.
I think I should premise my remarks with a couple of preliminary statements. First, I'm 27 years old and I've been a huge fan of science fiction since I saw Star Wars when I was four. I've read one previous book by Orson Scott Card: the novelization of James Cameron's The Abyss, which I thought was pretty good. I know Ender's Game is a very well-loved book, and in expressing my opinion, I'm not trying to anger anyone, but am just trying to say what I feel. Here goes...
I really wanted to like Ender's Game, but I just didn't think it was all that great. It wasn't bad, but it just never really involved me the way that a great book does. What bothered me first off was the quality of the writing. I thought it was extremely poor in places, and at best mediocre. Card doesn't even seem to follow the basic conventions of fiction writing. He'll be in a third-person descriptive paragraph and then throw in a first-person thought mid-stream without any set-up. I found this kind of thing distracting. It's not that the rules and conventions of writing shouldn't be challenged and bent (good writers are always doing this) it's just that I felt in this case, it wasn't Card using artistic license, but rather just writing poorly.
Other aspects of the writing itself bothered me. The lack of vivid description was one of them. Except for in the case of some of the better action sequences, I generally felt that I was reading about something that had happened to somebody else instead of feeling like I was there experiencing it myself. That's the first job of any great writer, to be able to paint with words in a nuanced way that makes the reader feel he or she is uniquely experiencing the world of the story in the first person. I never felt that in Ender's Game. Also I felt the language was overly simplistic and at times unceasingly idiotic. What's with all the fart talk? Surely by having them use a certain amount of slang, Card is reminding us that his characters are children. But I really got tired of reading the word "farteater" after a couple dozen times. That one in particular became very grating. Even the adults say it to one another. Coupled with the weak writing, the language choice and crude dialogue just seemed to undermine the integrity of the story-telling.
Now on to character. I just felt these characters weren't very deeply drawn. I wanted to sympathize with Ender, but from the beginning, didn't feel very close to him. He's supposed to be superhuman (either a Christ-like figure or a second coming of Hitler, or maybe a mixture of the two, depending on how you read the character) and I felt this just made me feel extremely distant from him. I could never see myself making any of the choices he makes. There's too much cold calculation in Ender, and not enough genuine human feeling. I felt that Card's attempt to humanize the character through his relationship with his sister Valentine was forced. There's a lot of telling in this book. Card tells us that Ender loves his sister, that Ender is a genius, that Ender is afraid of becoming the killer that his brother Peter is, but there is precious little showing. There was never a quality scene between Ender and his sister that made me feel what they felt for each other. I have a sister that I love very much and I know what that love feels like, but I never felt those kinds of feelings while reading about these characters.
I don't want to be overly critical. There were some good things in this book, too. It was definitely a page-turner. Despite my earlier criticisms about the writing, the story itself is well put-together. Once you get involved, you're compelled to finish it. If you're a somewhat fast reader, you probably won't need to bother with a bookmark for this one. Also, I would say overall it was a pretty fun read. I'll give this book three stars, because I think there's some great potential here that, in my opinion, is just not fulfilled.
I don't mean to slam this book if it's your favorite. I don't like it when some one says this or that is a "bad book" or a "bad movie" period. I don't believe in those kinds of absolute labels. Every reader brings something unique to a work of fiction and experiences it on a special plane that no one else can ever quite know, even if that other person is your twin brother and has read all of the same books you've ever read and seen all the same movies and known all of the same friends. The experience of reading a book is a magic one, a sacred one even. If you loved Ender's Game, I have nothing bad to say about that. In fact, I think books are a great thing to be passionate about. This one just didn't do it for me. My favorite science fiction book is hands-down Hyperion by Dan Simmons. That whole series, in my opinion, is some of the best written, most thought-provoking, emotionally-involving storytelling out there. Thanks for your time. Here's to good reading....
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am 6. Januar 2004
Ender's Game beschreibt unsere Welt in einer nahen Zukunft. Was mehrere Jahrtausende Zivilisation nicht leisten konnten, hat schliesslich der Angriff einer ausserirdischen Rasse geschafft. Die Menschheit ist vereint im Krieg gegen die "Buggers", eine insektoide, extraterrestrische Rasse, deren erster Angriff auf die Erde durch das Militaergenie Mazer Rackham abgeschlagen wurde. Die internationale Flotte sucht nach talentierten Kindern, um sie zum Kampf gegen den naechsten Angriff der Buggers auszubilden.
Einer der Kandidaten ist Ender Wiggin, dessen Bruder Peter und Schwester Valentine bereits aus dem Programm genommen worden sind. Ender selbst ist trotz seines zarten Alters von sechs Jahren ein Genie und wird schliesslich ins Programm der internationalen Flotte aufgenommen und zur "Battle School" geschickt, die sich im Weltraum befindet, wo seine militaerische Karriere beginnt und einiges nicht so laeuft, wie es sich seine Ausbilder erhofft haetten. Die meiste Zeit verbringt Ender im Ausbildungsraum und spaeter in einer Art von Computerspiel, wo er mit seinem Team in einer Computersimulation Schlachten schlaegt.
Ein Nebenstrang der Handlung beschreibt Enders Familie, seinen Konflikt mit seinem Bruder Peter, die Aktivitaeten von Peter und Valentine in der Weltpolitik (auch Enders Geschwister sind mit nicht gerade wenig Genialitaet gesegnet).
Ender's Game ist ein wunderbarer Einstieg in Card's "Enderverse", auch die anderen Buecher der Serie ("Speaker for the Dead", "Xenocide" und "Children of the Mind"), die sich um Ender drehen, sowie die Buecher ueber Peter, Bean und Petra sowie den Rest von Ender's "Dragon Army" sind ebenso lesenswert wie Ender's Game.
Die englischen Originale sind relativ leicht zu lesen, die Sprache ist einfach und verstaendlich, der Sprachwitz ist auch fuer Nicht-Muttersprachler ersichtlich.
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am 21. Juni 1997
I tend to be somewhat reserved with my ratings, but "Ender's Game" truly deserves a 10. When one reads the book, it's easy to see why it won the Hugo and Nebula awards. When I picked up this book, I absolutely could not put it down. I finished it within three days (record time for me), and it left me awestruck.

Since I'm sure you've already read the synopsis, I'll skip to some more specific points. First off, the mood of the book changes as the story progresses. At first Ender is an innocent youth, and the tone of the book reflects this. Although not generally a funny book, there are points where excellent use of humor is made. As the story goes on, however, the mood shifts. Ender is weighed down--indeed, almost crushed--by responsibility, and as the wargames get harder and more fierce the book's tone gets progressively darker.

The ending of "Ender's Game" contains quite a twist as well, and it really caught me off-guard. Perhaps the most profound thing that I noticed, however, occurred *after* reading the book. There are a very few authors who are so immensely talented that they can convey a moral of sorts on an entirely subconscious level. I was never able to find out what exactly that moral was, but I knew that "Ender's Game" had, in one way or another, affected me profoundly.

I honestly can't see why there are those people who dislike "Ender's Game". Against complaints of unrealism regarding Ender's maturity, I reiterate that this book is indeed meant to be *fiction*. If such a small matter upsets you so greatly, you probably shouldn't be reading science-fiction to begin with. That said, if you *do* enjoy reading science-fiction, this book is a must-read
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am 2. August 1999
This book was of an anguished young boy who simply wanted to go home but was instead thrust into the role of the saving the world. Telling the story from Ender's point of view made the story very exciting. I read this book thinking I probably wouldn't like it but while the writing could have been better, I would taken in by the world Card had created.
Personally, I thought the idea of having kids command was a great idea. It shows how desperate the world is since they don't have time to wait for the children to grow up or teach current generals to adopt a new worldview. But it's not a bad choice since children have adaptable and flexible minds, able to do things adult counterparts can not.
But that's also the main complaint against it, saying kids couldn't do such a thing. People seem to miss vital points about them. These kids are geniuses. They're not your regular mill of kids. This is the future and maybe it's so harsh kids have to grow up young and forced military training can do a lot. Under certain conditions, of which I'm sure is present in a future of battlerooms and spaceships, I have no problem with kids talking and behaving responsibly like adults.
You can't help feeling sorry for Ender cause while he's adult in mind, he's only a child in body and spirit. That should have been a blessing for him instead of a curse. You can't help but feel as if you're there as you read him try to handle what life has thrown at him.
The plot and writing is quite good if you don't simply dismiss it by saying it's implausible. That's why it's called science fiction. I would have to agree the ending could have been better but rest of book makes up for it.
This book was enjoyable and I hope Card's parallel work, Ender's Shadow is just as good.
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am 10. Juni 1997
This review is mostly a response to the negative posts above....please don't ruin the art of the best book yet written by reading this review before you get it.

This book not only brought me into science fiction reading, it brought me into scifi WRITING. This is the pinnacle of character writing, this book is the definition of Pathos.

I've read every review here (took over 1 hour) and I have seen 2 groups of negative comments:

1. This is not hard scifi. I know this. It isn't SUPPOSED to be. I've read a LOT of scifi, and believe me, Card knew what he was doing. He didn't want you to be questioning his suppositions in the science world. He brings in a few concepts to catch your attention but doesn't give you enough to DISTRACT from the flawless tale. Hard core scifi is great stuff...but as a whole I find the characters there shallow, merely a vessel for a new scientific idea. Here the characters are real, powerful, and beautiful.

2. How can a child be so smart: Anyone who can't suspend their belief the little tiny bit that it requires to follow the story line isn't a reader, they are a critic, and not a very good one. Ender is a genius, but he IS a child, or he wouldn't be put in the situation he was in. What the critics are missing here is that Ender LOSES the game, and spends the next 3000 years trying to pay for that loss. His innocence is his downfall. I've known children that are introspective...not all are hyperactive sugar-bombs, some struggle just to gain acceptance in their own family. He was born a "third" you may remember, and was subject to intense scrutiny his entire would you have behaved as a child? I think you would have grown up in an awful hurry.

Anyway....I am a hard core scifi fan. I've read every book I've ever heard of from Clarke, Niven, Asimov.....these Scifi giants are fabulous and they help us shape our vision of the future.

Card is a storyteller. He doesn't base his books on the science. He bases them on the character. That's how the art works. That's WHY the art works. If you want pure science, pick up an engineering book. Most people read for the thrill of the characters.

Sure, it can be fun to calculate the testile strength of Ringworld <yawn> if you're an engineer....but if you're a human, this is the best book you will EVER read.

Anyone who makes it this far down the review list would be on chapter 7 by now. :) Just go get the book, see for yourself. Or maybe that advanced quantum physics book is more your style. I guarantee you'll love one of them.

PS I've bought ender's game 23 times, and given it away 22 times. When someone asks me why I write SciFi, I give them a copy. Its become a textbook for me now.

If I ever get to meet OSC, I'm going to shake his hand and tell him what an impact he has had on me as a Reader and as a Writer. I'm sure he gets it daily, but when you're that good....well I guess it just goes with the territory.

Long story short......just go buy the book. If you didn't get it, take a deep breath and read it AGAIN. heehe
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am 12. Mai 1997
The opening to this science fiction shows a frantic earth trying to save itself from aliens (aka "buggers"). The novel develops from an idea that rearing children to play games can save the earth from ultimate destruction. The earth is unified in this novel to defend and destroy the aliens. One senses that this is a tenuous aliance with differing factions jockeying for propaganda dominance and the right to rule after the "Third Invasion." The story progresses along a narrative of Ender Wiggin's training for command and combat. There are strange twists and turns in this wonderfully written science fiction.

There are many underlying themes and levels of understanding developed alongside this interesting and unfolding story. One level is the story itself. Others discuss philosophical and political questions. How much of life is a game? In chess there is an endgame strategy, and so it is fitting that Card names his book, Ender's Game. Can children be taken from their parents and developed into fighting machines incapable of affection or emotion without appropriate consequences? The novel pits emotions with missions and purpose and the sacrifice of youth for the survival of society. How much will it impact humankind is discussed but not fully developed or concluded. Overall, the book poses questions about life, training and education and the importance that kinship, friendships and relationships play in the development of the whole person. I read the novel at several levels and appreciated the author's intellectual challenge.
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am 20. November 1999
Whenever I talk about this book, it's hard not to make it sound like I am a science fiction junkie. I love and defend sci-fi, but I am not limited to the genre. Neither, I think, is this magnificent book. To label it simply a sci-fi classic would be like labeling "Moby Dick" a great book about boats. All great books, regardless of the genre, say something truly profound about the human condition.
"Ender's Game" not only manages to have a strong message, but it is also a joy to read. The plot is enthralling, the characters are complex and realistic, and the descriptions of the battleroom fill your head with fantastic images that make you wish your school had been like this, without the burden of saving humanity. The subplot involving Valentine and Peter is superb and cannot fail to inflame every reader's megalomaniacal side. Though the book is about children, it never condescends and gives kids the credit for the intelligent creatures they are (a big plus for teenage readers). The characters are exceptionally bright, but they are still identified as five- to twelve-year olds, not as mini-adults. It's no wonder that so many gifted young readers have made the statement, "I am Ender." I hope "Ender's Game" is able to make the rare crossover from lowly sci-fi to recognized, so-called "legitimate" literature.
Not only will you not be able to put the book down, you won't be able to read this book just once.
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am 12. Juni 2000
There are lots of books in the English language that you won't be able to put down once you start reading them. These books are a great gift to the reader. The first time I read EG, I picked it up in the school library before first period and skipped a whole day of classes to finish it. There aren't a lot of books that demand, once you've voraciously consumed them, to be immediately read again. EG is one of those books. Its value as entertainment is unsurpassed in the Science Fiction genre. It may not be SciFi's best entry (so far, for my money, that award goes to Hyperion), but it is certainly one of the most delicious. Somehow Scott Card manages to combine every boy's dream of zero gravity space play, the ultimate war game (where you can accurately shoot without harm), an epic science fiction tale, with the speculative religious/scientific ethical considerations that distinguish good SciFi from bad space opera. You will love this book. There was a time in my life when I recommended this book to strangers in the SciFi bookstore aisle. I would do so with such passion that they would, without exception, buy the book.
Read this book and thank me later.
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am 20. März 2000
I recieved my first copy of Enders Game when i was 17 from a co-worker. I read it, remembered it and loved it. Eventually over a series of moves i also lost it. I bought another copy and when it arrived i started reading immidatly. 226 pages under 36 hours. Thats with 10 hours of sleep as well. This copy that i have now is going into my safe. If anyone wants to borrow it they will require to beat me to death to get to it. It is absoutly the best book that i've ever read in the Sci-Fi section.
Personal feelings aside. The way the book was written was in of itself beautiful. The detail to science i've never seen in other books. Not only the science part but the humanity, feelings and emotions. Bravo Orson Scott Card. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.
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am 3. November 1997
My name is Kevin Goulding and I go to Desert Ridge Middle School. "Ender's Game was a beautiful story of a young boy." Yeah right. I read this book in school and was extremely disappointed. I can understand breeding military genuises, but 6 years old? Nobody acts that much like an adult when they are six years old! No matter how much genetics takes over, you are not going to get a genius that young. All of these characters are incredibly unreal in the way they talk and act. You can only imagine how bad Ender felt when he found out that we were going to attack those poor, innocent little buggers. If you read the back cover, you read that they have almost destroyed Earth. How could you feel bad for them? Then the last 2 chapters went by so fast and pointlessly that I was left feeling confused when I finally finished that piece of literary garbage. Read some other reviews and you'll hear people spewing out trash about how great the book is. For the most part it was not descriptive, and I could not visualize the games, the ships, or the characters. Ender's Game was definitely worth a 1 to me.
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