Friday, 3 January 2014

Book Review: Ender's Game

Enders Game
By Orson Scott Card

For such a dated book, i was very surprised at the ingenuity and uniqueness of this book. Card created a world of futuristic elements beyond what i could have ever expected for such a time. When the book was first published (in 1985, (i wasn't even born)), computers were a thing of scientific labs and the World Wide Web didn't even exist! To dream of such technology and a world reliant on computers and the capabilities of them is impressive.

I very much enjoyed the story-line of Ender's siblings, Peter and Valetine. Just when the story became almost saturated with Ender, i was flown back down to Earth and wrapped in an ingenious plot surrounding Demosthenes and Locke's ambitions to take over the world using 'the nets'. Card basically envisaged blogging and the power of social media before it even existed. 

Ender's relationship with Valentine was the one that tied me to the book. The relationship between them was the dominant relationship for me throughout. It revealed Ender's true compassionate side. However i don't think it was developed as much as i had hoped. The relationship between Ender and his freinds however did not go un-noticed. Their greetings and affection for him (despite being their 'leader') really made up for the compassion not developed with Valentine. Alai's 'Salaam' gesture was one that stood out in the book for me as it meant so much. In a world where religion has been quelled, it held even much more meaning.

Ender's intelligence is highlighted throughout the book. Its hard to believe however, that anyone, let alone a pre-pubescent boy, can comprehend, acknowledge and understand manipulation to the point where he becomes paranoid that the incentive of every action, comment and gesture is questioned. No wonder he ended up the way he did! But also, it should have made him into an affection-less, paranoid, self-obsessing robot. This is down to the I.F of which, like Ender, i came to see as the enemy. As successful as Ender is,  he's ultimately the pawn in the larger game being played. The I.F. have untimate control over him and i resented them. However, i found myself sympathising with Ender and cheering him on despite despite his abused position.
I do admit that the story is a bit unrealistic in the sense that these children start off at 6 years of age and we see them through to the age of 16. The ordeals that they are put through are beyond any i have come across. They are so severe that i cant fully comprehend the actions, reactions and behavior in response to what they undergo. 

I loved the double twist at the end of the book. The fact that Enders final assessment WAS the actual Third Invasion took me by surprise. Although looking back i cant see why I didn't see this all along?!
I also loved the last section when the Buggars side of the story was explored and explained. They had a compassionate nature and did not intend further harm. They had even devised methods of communicating with Ender to save their species. It highlighted Man's thirst for War and destruction. All in the name of 'defense'. Destruction just to quell the fear of the unknown.

The issues explored in the book are just as relevant today as they were each time the book was published. 
The book was short and concise, but by no means fell short of my expectations. It was easy to read. It did not get boring. It was engaging and imaginative. I loved it. The language used really made me laugh. things like 'Fart-eater', 'Turkey-lips' and  'Pinprick'. It brought me back to the fact that although they are super-genius military cadets, they are still children

I missed the film in the cinemas when it was released in October '13, but i have heard amazing feedback from both Zuze and Dandy and i cannot wait for a good sofa night to get my critical teeth into it!

Quotes from the Book:

“The story itself, the true story, is the one that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.” 

"Listen, Ender, commanders have just as much authority as you let them have. The more you obey, the more power they have over you."

"Me? I'm nothing. I'm a fart in the air conditioning. I'm always there, but most of the 
time nobody knows it."

"From now on the enemy is more clever than you. From now on the enemy is stronger than you. From now on you are always about to lose."

“Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” 

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them.” 

“If you try and lose then it isn't your fault. But if you don't try and we lose, then it's all your fault.”

“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.” 

“I will remember this, thought Ender, when I am defeated. To keep dignity, and give honor where it's due, so that defeat is not disgrace. And I hope I don't have to do it often.” 

"And always Ender carried with him a dry white cocoon, looking for a place where the hive-queen could awaken and thrive in peace. He looked a long time."

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