Monday, March 26, 2018

Say It With A Book #12 | ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card

With Guest Book Reviewer Ycel Dimayuga

ENDER'S GAME is set in the future where people are only authorized to have two children, much like in the Shadow Children series. However, the Wiggins were allowed a third child (Andrew, calling himself Ender) by the Interplanetary Fleet (IF) as part of an Earth program to produce brilliant officers to fight an alien race that has invaded the solar system. The older Wiggin children, though highly intelligent, did not make it to the program but Ender did. He was only six when he was taken from his family and sent by the IF to the Battle School, situated in Earth's orbit. Here Ender was rigorously trained and pushed to his limits, and excelled in a competitive squad-based war simulation in zero gravity. He became well-respected by his peers but was plagued with guilt and nightmares because of the terrible cost he paid to earn their respect. Soon Ender hated himself because he thought he was becoming like his brother Peter who liked hurting people.

Scott Card tackles a number of serious issues in writing this novel. He gives us a six-year old protagonist who also figures in some of the most disturbing scenes in the story. But I think the author wants to point out that children are no different from adults, that they have valid thoughts and emotion and should be treated with dignity and respect. Children are oftentimes not taken seriously, and I remember fairly well that children growing up in my generation were not allowed to participate in grown up discussions. I see my son’s frustration as I listen half-heartedly when he is trying to communicate with me, forgetting that this is how our humanity first establishes itself, by reaching out to tell others what we want, struggling to be understood. Valentine was right when she said, "Peter, you're twelve years old. I'm ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice.” How frustrating indeed. Even the long drawn-out war with the aliens was a case of serious miscommunication. And yes, they paid dearly for that.

This book is not purely sci-fi but it is also largely about military strategy. I thoroughly enjoyed the war games in null gravity. Several characters played mind games and manipulated other characters (Graff, Rackham, Valentine and Peter). But the tour de force is in the last game. You’ll always remember Ender for his famous words: the enemy's gate is down.

About Ycel:

Ycel is a devoted wife and mother of three, lover of books and coffee, and dubbed herself as Perspicacious Loris. She is, indeed, very perceptive, but, I'm sure, she does not hang herself upside-down. Or, does she?

TFG:  What is your favorite genre?
Ycel:  I like historical fiction because it forces me to find out what actually happened so I can separate fact from fiction. Though I don't do this all the time. Sometimes I just enjoy getting lost in another time and place.

TFG:  How would you define yourself as a reader?
Ycel:  Moody, so I don't have a set reading list. I will read whatever catches my fancy.

TFG:  Thank you very much, Ycel, for guesting. I hope this is not the last.


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