I am excited that Ender’s Game is finally hitting the big screen. It is my second-favorite Orson Scott Card book. My favorite is the Ender’s Game sequel, Speaker for the Dead. Ender’s Game also happens to be one of the few books that I’ve read more than once.
Ender’s Game is set in the future where overpopulation has led to families not having more than two children. Ender Wiggin is a third child, though. His parents were given permission by the government to have another child, though unbeknownst to them, it was because the government hoped that the third child would have the ability to save the world.
Earth has only just recovered from an alien attack nearly a century earlier by the Formics, a hive race. Since that time, preparations have been made in anticipation of a second attack. Young children who show promise are taken into space and trained at the Battle School. The young are chosen because their minds are open to learning new tactics and thinking outside the box and their reflexes are generally faster than adults. They can be molded into an army to fight the Formics.
In Battle School, the students are trained in military drills using video games and also battle simulations. As Ender begins to show his potential, the Battle School leaders throw more and more obstacles in his path to further hone him. However, Ender is still only a child and the challenges start to wear on him to the point of bringing him to the point of breakdown. The challenge is whether he can remain in control long enough to lead the humans to victory against the Formics.
I first read Ender’s Game in college. I remember that it made me think of Battle School as a very intense high school. There were cliques and bullies. Teachers who pushed to get the best from you. Students who didn’t understand what the big picture was. I think it is that sort of resonance that readers responded to. It’s also what makes the book popular as a young adult novel, although it was written as an adult novel.
Although Card has written parallel novels, sequels, prequels, comics and short stories around Ender’s Game, nothing will beat the original.