International Writers Magazine:
Young Fiction Reviews
The book is set just
over one hundred years from now, and unknown to most people, the world
is said to be at great risk of a third invasion from an insectoid species
known as the buggers. Theres more to the two previous
victories than the government is willing to reveal, and despite the hysteria
surrounding the hero of the battle Mazer Rackham, the fight
had events of dubious merit within it. Although the government uses his
heroic deeds as propaganda to win support for their cause,
they fully know the truth, which strikes a mortal fear into the heart
of everyone who knows it.
Game by Orson Scott Card
(Atom, £4.99) ISBN: 1-904233-02-3
Enders Game opens
itself to everyone as a possible audience. Though a science fiction
novel, the vocabulary is not typical of its genre. It doesnt
often use specialist terms that would mean nothing to people unfamiliar
with this type of writing, nor does it require a dictionary to read.
Coupled with the vast amount of themes, from the more obvious science
and military to the more subtle morality and psychology, this novel
is very accessible to anyone. However, regular fans of the genre
should not feel as if this book is too light for them
and not worth the read, as it encompasses a vast array of interesting
scientific theories and uses them as part of the story instead of
as a critical essay.
This fear creates the elite battle school, a place where the
most intelligent young minds are tested and trialled brutally in order
to see who, if anyone, is skilled enough to become the next military commander
of Earths forces. One such child is six year old Ender Wiggin, the
main character of the story and a tactical genius.
From the very start, Ender is forced into being different, making his
superior intellect obvious and alienating him from his peers. To continue
with what he has, he learns to stay away from other people, keeping to
himself where possible. Early in the book he is bullied by a peer, verbally
at first and then physically. Ender defeats him and almost kills him,
but walks away before it becomes fatal.
Devices like these are used throughout the novel, and very purposefully,
which is why this book raises so many questions to the reader that reflect
modern thought. In the very first paragraph we hear a couple of unknown
people talking about Ender and how they plan to make everyone feel like
his enemy. This is not malicious, but rather to condition him to be used
to overwhelming odds, and not expect outside help. It grips the subject
of morality, asking the reader to make a judgement on whether this kind
of treatment on anyone, let alone a child that symbolises innocence, is
fair, even if its for the survival of humanity. More importantly,
it asks these questions as the reader reads them, which forces the subject
to become present and contemporary.
This novel has also been used in recent times for psychological studies
because of the mental strain that is always forced on Ender, threatening
to break him at any second. Despite his quiet exterior, he is always breaking
inside with no one to turn to. His only source of comfort, his sister
Valentine, is forced away from him when he is taken to battle school.
The novel in its entirety could very well be described as a tribute to
determination and will power.
The use of a child as a hero in an adult world is nothing new, but the
book is so finely crafted and written, so varied and so very cold towards
Ender, that human empathy compels us to read on and discover his fate.
© Daniel Alves, November 2007
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