Thanks to the newly released teaser for the November feature film (starring Asa Butterfield of Hugo, Harrison Ford, and Sir Ben “Mandarin” Kingsley), I’m recalling my first and last read of Orson Scott Card’s novel.
It was at a 2006 writers’ conference that one editor insisted I needed to read more science fiction. Of course he was right. But among his strong sci-fi endorsements was Ender’s Game. I’m afraid if he expected Christian aspiring authors to come up with something like Ender’s Game, he was doomed to get used to disappointment.
Here’s what I recall from my one and only read:
- Fun style, yet vague worldbuilding, at least on Earth.
- The training space station was well-described, to my memory. I recognized it, especially the training space, in theis teaser.
- A sympthatic yet angsty hero (also reflected in the teaser).
- A dystopian and hopeless sense to the whole thing — contrasted with the over-the-top optimistic humanism of early Star Trek or the gritty-yet-comical revolutionary spirit of Firefly.
- Overdone “grit.” Bullies and crass references. I don’t dislike these, but to their overdone nature. Compared with other novels, the author kept things “clean,” but he must have also been asking himself: How many times can I make this reference to pee-pee?
- Slight spoiler: An expected anti-war-esque ending, necessary for the story, yet still predictable.
Given that last item, I wonder how the film will adapt this. What’s easier to show in print — spoiler again: a simulated war that, surprise! turns out to have been real all along — is much more difficult to represent on the screen.
Anyway, it may be that Ender’s Game is overrated. Or it may be that I simply don’t know the rules of this Game.