Orson Scott Card wrote this book in 1985.
Has there been a movie made of it?
Not yet, but the man who directed “Troy” has just signed on to direct a movie version of Ender’s Game to come out in 2006.
Who are the main characters?
Ender Wiggin – a kid you meet at the age of five who is a genius and apparently of great interest to the government. He is selected to go to battleschool.
Valentine Wiggin – Ender’s older sister. She also is a genius, but was rejected for battle school on account of being too compassionate. She loves Ender more than anyone else.
Peter Wiggin – Ender’s older brother. He’s a genius (see a pattern in the Wiggin family?) but was rejected for battleschool. He’s a psychopath and hates Ender.
Colonel Graff – the government official assigned to watch over Ender’s training.
What’s it about?
This is the story of Ender Wiggin, a boy who lives on a futuristic earth which exists in fear of another “bugger” attack. The buggers are aliens who have attacked the Earth twice, almost annihilating humanity both times. Ender is selected to attend “battle school” to train to fight the buggers when they return. Although he feels the system is working against him, he excels at every subject. But everybody isn’t telling the truth about their motives and plans concerning the buggers, including Ender.
This book is a classic because of it’s tone, perspective, and the thoroughness Card employs in creating his futuristic universe. There is the tension between the government and Ender, Valentine, and many of the other battle school kids. There is the angst of Ender as he fights to stay innocent in an environment demanding he lose his innocence as quickly as possible. You relate to Ender, you hate the government but can understand their paranoia about the buggers, and you grow to love and hate many of the characters as if they were real people. Plus, the depths Card plumbs into Ender’s mind and motivations are astounding.
Why should I read it?
If you don’t like science fiction, you might want to take it slow reading this book. Because of the detail of Card’s future Earth, it is sometimes hard to envision. The reality of the characters and their struggles makes it a little easier to digest. Also, if you don’t enjoy deep psychological studies into the protagonist, this book might be a challenge. But overall, this book is a classic for a reason – it’s interesting, engaging, heartfelt, and has a twist at the end.
Has it won any awards?
Yes, it won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards. (Those are given for superb science fiction novels. The Hugo is given by the Science Fiction fan community and the Nebula is given by Science Fiction authors.)
It’s short, so if you’re looking for a quick classic read – this book’s your man.
My personal thoughts: