Monday, August 23, 2004

Deserving of Hype

I've been hearing about Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card for years. It's one of those books I've been meaning to read but wasn't looking forward to for some reason or other.

First off, I need to try to categorize this book because I am obsessive about that. I often see Ender's Game shelved with adult sci-fi, but it's often in the Young Adult section in libraries. Plus I've always heard of it in relation to teenagers. This kind of thing drives me crazy. What the heck is this thing? Well, the ALA maintains a list called Adult Books for Young Adults. I like that phrase. So, after reading Ender's Game, I've decided to classify it as an Adult Book for Young Adults because it doesn't have any YA characters and it deals with political and philosophical questions most real young adults won't find themselves dealing with.

Specifically, Ender's Game involves training brilliant people through game playing for combat in a war to save civilization. Ender Wiggin is believed to have the right combination of intelligence, killer instinct, and empathy to do the job.

Ender is six years old. By the end of the book he's in his early teens, a brilliant soldier who still doesn't get dirty jokes. The book asks questions about childhood and how children should be treated as well as just what a civilization has a right to do in order to defend itself. It's a novel of ideas, something I enjoy running across every now and then.

I found the book a little demanding of the reader. It requires some commitment to get through it. This isn't a criticism by any means. Commitment is a good thing. I'm just pointing out that it isn't a quick read. (At least for me. More serious sci-fi fans may feel differently.) The climax had a bit of a twist and not the twist I was expecting. (This is good, too.) The ending seemed a little rushed and got into religion a bit, which always tends to mystify me. But it left an opening for a sequel and I think there have been seven Ender books altogether.

There are 2,049 reader reviews of Ender's Game at Amazon. A stunning tribute. I so hope there will be a movie.

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