Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread)

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Re: Ender's Game / time frame

Postby nsmjohn » Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:53 pm UTC

I read Ender's Game first and over a 24hour timespan. Since then I have reread it numerous times, but I personally feel that the Ender's Shadow series is just as good. Maybe I just have the same problem as Cooley and I am just a megalomaniac, but I think the whole war on Earth plot of the Ender's Shadow series was great. I also found the cold calculating character of Bean appealing.
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Re: Ender's Game / time frame

Postby Lord Bob » Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:54 am UTC

Really? I couldn't disagree more. Ender's Game and Speaker are probably my favorite books, but I didn't like the Shadow series at all. I stopped about a third of the way through Puppets. To me, it just felt like he was trying appeal to all the readers who liked Ender's Game but not his other books.
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Re: Ender's Game / time frame

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:05 am UTC

I actually hated Puppets myself, but overall enjoyed the Shadow series. The one thing I couldn't stand was
Spoiler:
that so much character motivation came from wanting to spread one's genes for no explicable reason. And I loathe that Petra, who could have been a great character, goes from "smart Battle School girl" to "tee hee I just want Bean's babies and ain't nothin' gonna stop me!"


And Card is planning on writing a new novel that ties both the Speaker and Shadow storylines together again and completes them. All I know is that it's at some stage of development, but I know it from the man's own mouth from Vericon, so it is quite correct.
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Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread)

Postby katadams » Fri May 08, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

Ender Discussion is chock a block full of spoilers.

Spoiler:
One of the things I don't get in this thread is that no one seems to realize Ender never meant to kill. The idea was traumatic, in fact, when he finally realized he had. The first kid he just wanted to beat senseless before he got beat, AGAIN. If you've ever had to deal with real bullies–the kind that aren't content with bloody noses, this only makes sense. You just stop them, or rat them out, and you're in for even worse. Kids have been really hurt by this. Ender gets taken away before he knows what he really did back there.

In Battle School, he only hits the guy once. ONCE. He doesn't realize it'll be fatal, he only knows it'll be debilitating. And that's all he needs–one debilitating shot to keep him breathing through the night. He, and everyone else, believe the kid's been sent home. And he has, just dead. But Ender never meant to kill, he calculated his moves only to belay being hurt and having to fight continuously. In the end, his choices in both were fight forever, submit forever and maybe die, or hit back hard enough to keep his opponent scared forever. Only one of these lives was worth living.

As for the Buggers, he was flat lied to. He thought it was a game. he thought that if he did something utterly horrific, so unthinkable as to make himself abhorrent, he could go home Show these men that he's unstable and capable of horror, and they'll let me go back home and just be Ender again. Instead, they celebrate him being so emotionally and psychologically broken that he does what they could never do–because they knew what was happening, they knew what was at stake. Ender never did, and never could because they hid the consequences of his actions at every step.

Later in the series, Ender has every opportunity to take the easy, direct, violent way to solving his problems. Kill the Pequeniños, forget the Queen, destroy systems computers via ansible all over the Hundred Worlds, turn the Navy's Little Doctor against them. Any of these choices would have solved his problem quickly and absolutely. But he took the less-violent path, the path wrought with difficulty and loss, because he knew, in hindsight, what horrors violence can bring. Sometimes it is an answer to the problem, but it isn't the solution.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 08, 2009 4:16 pm UTC

katadams wrote:Ender Discussion is chock a block full of spoilers.

Spoiler:
One of the things I don't get in this thread is that no one seems to realize Ender never meant to kill. The idea was traumatic, in fact, when he finally realized he had. The first kid he just wanted to beat senseless before he got beat, AGAIN. If you've ever had to deal with real bullies–the kind that aren't content with bloody noses, this only makes sense. You just stop them, or rat them out, and you're in for even worse. Kids have been really hurt by this. Ender gets taken away before he knows what he really did back there.

In Battle School, he only hits the guy once. ONCE. He doesn't realize it'll be fatal, he only knows it'll be debilitating. And that's all he needs–one debilitating shot to keep him breathing through the night. He, and everyone else, believe the kid's been sent home. And he has, just dead. But Ender never meant to kill, he calculated his moves only to belay being hurt and having to fight continuously. In the end, his choices in both were fight forever, submit forever and maybe die, or hit back hard enough to keep his opponent scared forever. Only one of these lives was worth living.

As for the Buggers, he was flat lied to. He thought it was a game. he thought that if he did something utterly horrific, so unthinkable as to make himself abhorrent, he could go home Show these men that he's unstable and capable of horror, and they'll let me go back home and just be Ender again. Instead, they celebrate him being so emotionally and psychologically broken that he does what they could never do–because they knew what was happening, they knew what was at stake. Ender never did, and never could because they hid the consequences of his actions at every step.

Later in the series, Ender has every opportunity to take the easy, direct, violent way to solving his problems. Kill the Pequeniños, forget the Queen, destroy systems computers via ansible all over the Hundred Worlds, turn the Navy's Little Doctor against them. Any of these choices would have solved his problem quickly and absolutely. But he took the less-violent path, the path wrought with difficulty and loss, because he knew, in hindsight, what horrors violence can bring. Sometimes it is an answer to the problem, but it isn't the solution.


Spoiler:
Of course, the end result is a perfect being completely without fault - it's okay that he's destroyed billions of lives, he didn't mean to.
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Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OSC?)

Postby eekmeep » Sun May 10, 2009 8:02 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
katadams wrote:Ender Discussion is chock a block full of spoilers.

Spoiler:
One of the things I don't get in this thread is that no one seems to realize Ender never meant to kill. The idea was traumatic, in fact, when he finally realized he had. The first kid he just wanted to beat senseless before he got beat, AGAIN. If you've ever had to deal with real bullies–the kind that aren't content with bloody noses, this only makes sense. You just stop them, or rat them out, and you're in for even worse. Kids have been really hurt by this. Ender gets taken away before he knows what he really did back there.

In Battle School, he only hits the guy once. ONCE. He doesn't realize it'll be fatal, he only knows it'll be debilitating. And that's all he needs–one debilitating shot to keep him breathing through the night. He, and everyone else, believe the kid's been sent home. And he has, just dead. But Ender never meant to kill, he calculated his moves only to belay being hurt and having to fight continuously. In the end, his choices in both were fight forever, submit forever and maybe die, or hit back hard enough to keep his opponent scared forever. Only one of these lives was worth living.

As for the Buggers, he was flat lied to. He thought it was a game. he thought that if he did something utterly horrific, so unthinkable as to make himself abhorrent, he could go home Show these men that he's unstable and capable of horror, and they'll let me go back home and just be Ender again. Instead, they celebrate him being so emotionally and psychologically broken that he does what they could never do–because they knew what was happening, they knew what was at stake. Ender never did, and never could because they hid the consequences of his actions at every step.

Later in the series, Ender has every opportunity to take the easy, direct, violent way to solving his problems. Kill the Pequeniños, forget the Queen, destroy systems computers via ansible all over the Hundred Worlds, turn the Navy's Little Doctor against them. Any of these choices would have solved his problem quickly and absolutely. But he took the less-violent path, the path wrought with difficulty and loss, because he knew, in hindsight, what horrors violence can bring. Sometimes it is an answer to the problem, but it isn't the solution.


Spoiler:
Of course, the end result is a perfect being completely without fault - it's okay that he's destroyed billions of lives, he didn't mean to.




Yes, but
Spoiler:
Ender didn't know he was doing it. I'll grant that I didn't read the whole article. I just saw the title, and read the first few paragraphs. I would suggest you read (or re-read) "Night." It was a good refresher that we should generally be very, very careful when comparing any atrocity or killing to Hitler. Hitler killed and brutalized millions of people. To compare Ender to Hitler automatically undermines the reviewer's credibility.
Oh, and ditto what kat said.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon May 11, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Eh, if someone's writing about a genocide and is writing it between 1945 and 2045, you are going to get Hitler comparisons, and it's pretty naive on the author's part to reject comparisons.

You also may want to read the whole article.

The most explicit parallel between Hitler and Ender is that they're both genocides. Hitler, of course, ordered the death of millions of Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, physically and mentally handicapped persons, and so on. Ender exterminated an entire intelligent species. Most people, I hope, agree that mass murder, much less genocide, is quite indefensible. Yet, as we follow Ender's life after he wipes out the Buggers, we're invited to understand and forgive his actions.

Why? How? Here are two answers. "I would prefer not to see anyone suffer, not to do harm to anyone. But then I realize that the species is in danger..." "I thought I was playing a game. I didn't know it was the real thing. But...if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us." The first words are Hitler's, the second Ender's. But the idea is the same, an appeal to good intentions. To save our people, we had to eliminate the threat presented by the existence of the stranger.

And that's a valid argument, if you're still a child and no one has ever told you what the road to Hell is paved with. It's a matter of historical record that Hitler honestly believed that the people he defined as human were in terrible danger from "inferior races." He did not merely use the threat to Nordic racial purity to become Fuhrer. Rather, he became Fuhrer because there was simply no other way to institute the sweeping racial programs his beliefs required. As Waite writes in The Psychopathic God: "The horror of Hitler was this: he meant what he said, he lived by his ideals, he practiced what he preached." And this, precisely, is the horror of Ender the Xenocide.

That's why Card lays such great stress on Valentine's silly "orders of forgiveness," which give the people in Speaker such a convenient vocabulary for their racism. Says a "brilliant" student in Speaker: "Through these Nordic [!] layers of forgiveness we can see that Ender was not a true Xenocide, for when he destroyed the Buggers, we knew them only as varelse [the truly alien]." To Hitler, of course, Jews, Blacks, and Slavs were equally alien, so by the same argument he is also innocent of genocide!
Spoiler:
Of course, that's just one asshole on the internet's opinion. Ender's Game is another fantasy-fulfillment book, in that the protagonist is a picked on nerd that turns out to have superpowers. Super military command powers! Whatever.. I'll accept that a bunch of guys who made war their livelihood are somehow tactical morons. I'll go with that. I cannot accept that they needed a child to tell them to use the superweapon they took with them. It's not like this is a weapon that was developed in the kid's lifetime. It's not like it's a unique combination of frequencies in the energy weapons they use that the kid happened to notice. They took the superweapon with them, ready to use it.. and just had a kid do it. They completely absolved themselves of all guilt involved in wiping an alien menace from the universe because they had a child pull the trigger.

The fuck kind of people are these?
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Belial » Wed May 13, 2009 1:47 pm UTC

Thank you for that essay, Sexytalon. I will put it with "Creating the Innocent Killer" and use them to occasionally remind myself what a fuckwit I was in highschool.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Jorpho » Wed May 13, 2009 2:13 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Spoiler:
Of course, that's just one asshole on the internet's opinion. Ender's Game is another fantasy-fulfillment book, in that the protagonist is a picked on nerd that turns out to have superpowers. Super military command powers! Whatever.. I'll accept that a bunch of guys who made war their livelihood are somehow tactical morons. I'll go with that. I cannot accept that they needed a child to tell them to use the superweapon they took with them. It's not like this is a weapon that was developed in the kid's lifetime. It's not like it's a unique combination of frequencies in the energy weapons they use that the kid happened to notice. They took the superweapon with them, ready to use it.. and just had a kid do it. They completely absolved themselves of all guilt involved in wiping an alien menace from the universe because they had a child pull the trigger.

The fuck kind of people are these?
Spoiler:
I don't understand. Apparently in the final battle they needed Ender's tactical genius even just to get the weapon to the planet.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby EnderSword » Wed May 13, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:
Spoiler:
Of course, that's just one asshole on the internet's opinion. Ender's Game is another fantasy-fulfillment book, in that the protagonist is a picked on nerd that turns out to have superpowers. Super military command powers! Whatever.. I'll accept that a bunch of guys who made war their livelihood are somehow tactical morons. I'll go with that. I cannot accept that they needed a child to tell them to use the superweapon they took with them. It's not like this is a weapon that was developed in the kid's lifetime. It's not like it's a unique combination of frequencies in the energy weapons they use that the kid happened to notice. They took the superweapon with them, ready to use it.. and just had a kid do it. They completely absolved themselves of all guilt involved in wiping an alien menace from the universe because they had a child pull the trigger.

The fuck kind of people are these?
Spoiler:
I don't understand. Apparently in the final battle they needed Ender's tactical genius even just to get the weapon to the planet.


Spoiler:
The weapon was something they had to use at close range, and would only be effective against massed targets, as its strength fed on matter around it. They do make it seem like they had only conceived of its use against ships of the enemy fleet, and Ender bringing it to the planet hadn't occured to them.
Bare in mind as well they had no conception of what they'd find when they arrived at each planet, and no way to know the buggers would do what they did and mass up on the home world. Ender's task was to win the pre-amble battles at each planet without tipping his and too much, and part of the strategy required in that involved provoking the ships to mass together to allow the weapon's deployment. The final penetration to the home world itself required getting a small fleet through a massive swarm of ships. Ender's previous use of the weapon had caused the enemy to realize they couldn't mass up their ships, so him making a small cyclindrical approach allowed him to get through before they could react to his true intention, which they may have veiwed as inconceivable at the time, which was founded by what Mazer Rackus found to be the case in the previous war.


I don't tend to even think of the Ender's Game series as science fiction, most of the books have the technology as almost irrelevant anyway.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Jorpho » Wed May 13, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

EnderSword wrote:
Spoiler:
The weapon was something they had to use at close range, and would only be effective against massed targets, as its strength fed on matter around it. They do make it seem like they had only conceived of its use against ships of the enemy fleet, and Ender bringing it to the planet hadn't occured to them.
Bare in mind as well they had no conception of what they'd find when they arrived at each planet, and no way to know the buggers would do what they did and mass up on the home world. Ender's task was to win the pre-amble battles at each planet without tipping his and too much, and part of the strategy required in that involved provoking the ships to mass together to allow the weapon's deployment. The final penetration to the home world itself required getting a small fleet through a massive swarm of ships. Ender's previous use of the weapon had caused the enemy to realize they couldn't mass up their ships, so him making a small cyclindrical approach allowed him to get through before they could react to his true intention, which they may have veiwed as inconceivable at the time, which was founded by what Mazer Rackus found to be the case in the previous war.


You kind of lost me there.

Spoiler:
For starters, there was only the one planet involved in any of the battles. It also seemed pretty clear to me that the military knew all along that it would finish with a battle at the homeworld. You might also recall at the end that the Hive Queens recognized right after the first battle how things would end. Also, Mazer Rackam.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby EnderSword » Thu May 14, 2009 2:26 am UTC

You kind of lost me there.

Spoiler:
For starters, there was only the one planet involved in any of the battles. It also seemed pretty clear to me that the military knew all along that it would finish with a battle at the homeworld. You might also recall at the end that the Hive Queens recognized right after the first battle how things would end. Also, Mazer Rackam.


huh?

Spoiler:
Each of the battles preceeding the final one was fought at a different bugger world. These were the worlds colonized after the war. Why would they fight midspace for no reason? They mention that in the whole Vauban thing.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Jorpho » Thu May 14, 2009 5:25 am UTC

EnderSword wrote:
Spoiler:
Each of the battles preceeding the final one was fought at a different bugger world. These were the worlds colonized after the war. Why would they fight midspace for no reason? They mention that in the whole Vauban thing.


Zuh?

Spoiler:
I distinctly remember that they were telling Ender right before the last battle, "This battle is going to be different; this time, there's a planet." But then, I don't remember "Vauban" at all.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Spacemilk » Thu May 14, 2009 3:51 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
EnderSword wrote:
Spoiler:
Each of the battles preceeding the final one was fought at a different bugger world. These were the worlds colonized after the war. Why would they fight midspace for no reason? They mention that in the whole Vauban thing.


Zuh?

Spoiler:
I distinctly remember that they were telling Ender right before the last battle, "This battle is going to be different; this time, there's a planet." But then, I don't remember "Vauban" at all.


Lots of spoilers!

Spoiler:
Vauban was the 17th century (I think?) military strategist (I think?) who Bean and Ender (I think Ender read it; I know Bean did) read; Bean used his writings as a basis for his eventual conclusion that the military had already sent all of its ships to fight the buggers at their own worlds, and that there was no reason to continue training kids at Battle School to be commanders unless they were going to command at a distance.

I think the battles were all fought in the space around the colonized worlds, and the buggers had no reason to fight close to the planet to defend it. The queen of the colony was already on the ships, directing them. But the final battle was was fought in defense of the planet, I think. Bleh I don't know. Time to reread the books I guess.

However I don't think Vauban was used as a reason for why they fought the buggers at the colony worlds instead of in deep space; Vauban was used to justify the reason why we hadn't kept any of our military at home, at our colony worlds, to protect ourselves. We'd sent everything out to fight the buggers.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby EnderSword » Thu May 14, 2009 4:20 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Vauban was the guy they were referencing to explain why any fighting done in space had to be done directly at the end point, the planet you were trying to conquer. Vauban did a lot of fortification stuff for France and they talked about how in a 2D earth's surface, forts made sense for a time, but in space any fortress served no purpose defensively since it could just be by-passed by a fleet flying directly to the planet it was defending.
Each time they stop to fight a fleet in the pre-amble battles, it's in the vicinity of one of the bugger's inhabited planets (that's how they knew where to send the fleet to begin with) but unlike the final battle, the other fleets aren't swarming to protect the planet itself, but they're there because the planets are there.
So while they knew they'd end up at the home world last, they didn't know what they'd find or the strategy the buggers would be using to defend it.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 14, 2009 7:53 pm UTC

Splut out, as this bit was more about Ender than it even was about Ender's Game. Zohar Was Right.

Also, you're now free to not use spoilers. Because I said so.

Consider this red text your spoiler warning.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Spacemilk » Fri May 15, 2009 2:03 pm UTC

Yay no more spoilers!

Ok so - I think we should decide if we're going to look at Ender Wiggin the kid in Ender's Game, or Ender Wiggin the guy in the rest of the Ender series. Because I think we have to treat them differently. Ender the kid is somewhat defensible. Ender the adult starts getting into the "Nordic layers of forgiveness" crap that was talking about in ST's link, and we have his questionably weird attempts to atone or justify or something in the later books. Add all that up and you get a mix that could conceivably be contrasted with Hitler.

I think if you want to talk about Ender Wiggin from Ender's Game (henceforth EWEG, as opposed to EWES - Ender Wiggin from the Ender Series) you can see that he (a) had no concious idea of what was going on, (b) when he committed the final crime, he did it because he thought it would be such an awful and despicable way to break the rules, they would send him home and he'd never have to fight again. As far as the messed up adults who used him, yeah, they were messed up. They had their psychological tests that told them an unknowing, brilliant kid would perform better, but the blood is on their hands, not Ender's, in my opinion. If I recall correctly, at the end of Ender's Game, Graf mentions something about this while Ender is on trial. Anyway, from the way OSC describes all the battles, especially the final battle - in which Ender hears the adults quietly gasp behind him, and he believes it's because they've recognized the impossibility and unfairness of the test. Since it's not really a test, it's the adults believing it's absolutely hopeless - the adults know that if they were put in this situation, they'd be fucked. So they did need Ender, but I agree with the assessment that Ender was a gun they pointed at the enemy - the adults pulled the trigger. But from Ender's point of view, it was target practice, and he wasn't conciously capable of recognizing that he was shooting at the real thing and not paper targets.

But EWES is just messed up. The shit with Valentine, plus the Nordic layers of forgiveness . . . yeah. Just messed up. There's definitely more to discuss with EWES.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 15, 2009 3:57 pm UTC

I just find it hard and difficult and hard to believe that Ender was the first one to think of shooting the weapon at a planet.

I mean.. fuck.. at no point in the design of it did this conversation not happen?

"So lemme get this straight. This weapon's pretty shitty against a single target, but against the Bugger fleet, as they like to clump, it'll kinda pull mass and stuff and basically gets better due to there being more stuff around it, right?"
"Right. The weapon works by generating a field that disrupts molecules. It falls apart after time, but when it hits more molecules it reinforces itself, causing a cascade effect.."
"Yeah yeah, I got that. So what happens if you shoot it at something big, like a star?"
"..... Holy fuck. What have we made?"

I mean, seriously.. as a mental exercise, no one thought about what would happen if it were fired in an atmosphere? In a nebula? No one? Magical Ender was the first?
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby EnderSword » Fri May 15, 2009 4:26 pm UTC

Truly 'Evil' one is Bean.
The adults pointed a gun they didn't uderstand at a target they weren't sure about and basically set a timer, Ender was the gun just going off when required.
Bean's the one who knowingly adjusted the scope a little bit to make sure it was a headshot.

I'm sure that it had occured to them, its not really thinking outside the box, but they maybe have been unaware of how necessary it would be and possible that they were all horrified by the prospect of doing it.
Though they also do mention the secrecy surrounding the weapon, it is possible to a point that if few enough people did know about it that the scientists studying it may not have known what its application would be, and a few military officials may not have thought outside of the narrow scope of fleet combat.
If they kept the information seperated enough you may have either never had it occur to them, or never had it occur to someone with any influence.
Keep in mind its not really something they made, its stolen technology they adapted.

Unlikely, but possible.


I do remember being more and more disappointed in Ender as the series went on, even Bean lost a few levels in my eyes as it went on. (Frankly if 'Bean' was a cooler name, people like me would all have created nicks based on him, Not Ender)

I like the concepts Card explores in the other books, but they basically left behind the usefulness of Ender and let him deteriorate into nothing in a really unsatisfactory way. I kind of wish he had written those books without him in it and left Ender strong.

The Hitler comparison seems wrong though, no one really displayed malice or anything, it was done out of self-preservation and certainly no one seemed to be in it to gain power.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby SecondTalon » Fri May 15, 2009 4:45 pm UTC

...again, you're missing the comparison.

Hitler didn't see what he was doing as malicious, nor did he do it to seize power. He seized power because he saw no other way in protecting the species. That wacky German efficiency just kicked in.

I mean, from the Bugger point of view, you've got this crazy Pink species that misunderstood normal interactions for them. You then have the humans striking out with an incredible force and blowing their planet up.

From their point of view, we're an insane species who will commit genocide over the difference between a handshake and a bow. They would be in the right to wipe us out, as clearly we're too dangerous to be unleashed on the universe.

No one wakes up in the morning and says "Time to be evil!" No one thinks of themselves as a truly bad person. They may admit to doing bad things. They may say they've lived a hard, difficult life and done questionable, bad things. But deep down they still see themselves as a good person. Deep down they think they're in the right. An external look can reveal such things, but no one really stops mid-bite of their Puppy-n-Kitten stew and thinks "Gee, this seems a bit much."
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby EnderSword » Fri May 15, 2009 5:15 pm UTC

That's only the case if Hitler actually believed that completly, which doesn't seem true. Hitler knew it was real, he felt actual anger or hatred, he couldn't possibly have attained that power without being intentionally and knowingly manipulative towards that end.

Ender really didn't know, he didn't just not know it was evil, he plain didn't know it was even real. He never made any sort of moral choice on the action because his action didn't seem to have moral implications. This is not the case for Hitler.

Evil people may have misjudged their own goodness, but they atleast make the judgement. And yes, I think a great number of people view themselves as a bad person. Tons of people do stuff they know is wrong even at the time they're doing it, but also know they're overwhelmed by some selfish desire to do it.

In Ender's case, there was no such decision. I get the comparison, I just don't think its an apt one.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby eekmeep » Sat May 16, 2009 10:24 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:...again, you're missing the comparison.

Hitler didn't see what he was doing as malicious, nor did he do it to seize power. He seized power because he saw no other way in protecting the species. That wacky German efficiency just kicked in.

I mean, from the Bugger point of view, you've got this crazy Pink species that misunderstood normal interactions for them. You then have the humans striking out with an incredible force and blowing their planet up.

From their point of view, we're an insane species who will commit genocide over the difference between a handshake and a bow. They would be in the right to wipe us out, as clearly we're too dangerous to be unleashed on the universe.

No one wakes up in the morning and says "Time to be evil!" No one thinks of themselves as a truly bad person. They may admit to doing bad things. They may say they've lived a hard, difficult life and done questionable, bad things. But deep down they still see themselves as a good person. Deep down they think they're in the right. An external look can reveal such things, but no one really stops mid-bite of their Puppy-n-Kitten stew and thinks "Gee, this seems a bit much."


No. Hitler could have ~ if he perceived Jews as a threat ~ communicated with them to figure out how to co-exist. In the Ender situation, there was NO communication. All the humans could do at that point was defend themselves against an enemy that seemed to want to wipe them out. No communication meant no trying to find the common ground. Hitler spoke the same language as the Jews ... he just didn't want to find how they could coexist. Totally different situation.

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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby mister k » Tue May 19, 2009 11:32 am UTC

eekmeep wrote:
SexyTalon wrote:...again, you're missing the comparison.

Hitler didn't see what he was doing as malicious, nor did he do it to seize power. He seized power because he saw no other way in protecting the species. That wacky German efficiency just kicked in.

I mean, from the Bugger point of view, you've got this crazy Pink species that misunderstood normal interactions for them. You then have the humans striking out with an incredible force and blowing their planet up.

From their point of view, we're an insane species who will commit genocide over the difference between a handshake and a bow. They would be in the right to wipe us out, as clearly we're too dangerous to be unleashed on the universe.

No one wakes up in the morning and says "Time to be evil!" No one thinks of themselves as a truly bad person. They may admit to doing bad things. They may say they've lived a hard, difficult life and done questionable, bad things. But deep down they still see themselves as a good person. Deep down they think they're in the right. An external look can reveal such things, but no one really stops mid-bite of their Puppy-n-Kitten stew and thinks "Gee, this seems a bit much."


No. Hitler could have ~ if he perceived Jews as a threat ~ communicated with them to figure out how to co-exist. In the Ender situation, there was NO communication. All the humans could do at that point was defend themselves against an enemy that seemed to want to wipe them out. No communication meant no trying to find the common ground. Hitler spoke the same language as the Jews ... he just didn't want to find how they could coexist. Totally different situation.


QFT. I was just about to say this my self. Whether Ender's actions are right or not, we can differentiate from Hitler's rationale.

The Buggers attacked the earth, scourged china, and came close to wiping out humanity (or so humanity thought). They refused to respond to any manner of communication, and, once again, attacked TWICE. They were a clear and present threat that needed something doing about. Whats more, as was mentioned more than once in the book, defence of earth was ultimately futile. One could argue that earth could have taken a very pacifistic approach, and spread out (as they do later), to avoid something like the buggers threatening the species, but that still would not eliminate the threat to billions of lifes.

Hitler believed Jews were a threat, with much less evidence than this. He had this notion of a global conspiracy of power, but his extermination would actually not to much to destroying that control- after all, those in power presumably would not let themselves get caught! His actions were not only out of proportion to the evidence there was in the world, they also wouldn't have been terribly effective if he had been correct. I can see the argument thats trying to be made here, and it doesn't follow.

"Creating the Innocent Killer" is a much stronger and more close to the mark argument about what Card was saying to my mind.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby SecondTalon » Tue May 19, 2009 3:28 pm UTC

Fair enough.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Azukius » Wed May 20, 2009 9:30 am UTC

Whiny, very whiny. The entire series was filled with questionable ethics and the writing was really very, very poor. This being a geeky fora I fully expect to get attacked for this, but the books just arnt that good.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Zohar » Wed May 20, 2009 9:45 am UTC

Meh, I'm not a huge fan of Ender either. We can stand back to back against the hordes as we defend our literary opinions. :P
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby EnderSword » Wed May 20, 2009 8:56 pm UTC

I never think of it as great literature, nor is it really about the story itself, or science fiction.

It's more about counterplay, game theory, intelligence and power structure, and appeals to smart kids.
I know where you're coming from, my ex gf loved them but said the writing was terrible, I've never cared about the writing in any book.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Jorpho » Wed May 20, 2009 10:06 pm UTC

Nuts, now we're seemingly drifting back to the topic of the thread this was split from. :P

For all its flaws, the original book had a can't-put-it-down quality nearly unmatched in anything else I've encountered, and one appreciable by a wide audience. The rest were pretty ugh.

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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Zohar » Thu May 21, 2009 5:22 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:For all its flaws, the original book had a can't-put-it-down quality nearly unmatched in anything else I've encountered, and one appreciable by a wide audience. The rest were pretty ugh.

To pull this thread even more off topic - Asimov is definitely my can't-put-it-down sci-fi author. Try him, if you haven't.

And to get us back on topic - So, that Ender was such a Nazi, huh?
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby SecondTalon » Thu May 21, 2009 12:12 pm UTC

Nah, just an Übermensch
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby Vaniver » Thu May 21, 2009 5:35 pm UTC

Eh. There are a few different layers here.

Ender's situation is designed to deflect blame from him. Why do we need to be at war with the buggers? Because we can't communicate with them. Why did you use the bomb on the homeworld? Because it's just a game. Why did you kill Stilson? Because I thought he was just unconscious. Why did you have to fight the bullies? Because they wouldn't respond to reason.

I don't really like the deflection. Compare this to, say, Starship Troopers. That book was, in several ways, a love letter to self-defense- whereas in Ender's Game, it's all about the person, not the action. The Heinleinian hero can commit war crimes and remain healthy- the Cardian hero commits war crimes and then spends the rest of his life atoning for it.

If the action is justified, it does not require atonement.


So, in my mind, Ender did the right thing. Any ethics that does not have survival as its first tenet will be outcompeted by an ethics that does. The moral should have been "genocide is ok if your species is at risk"- not "genocide is ok if you didn't mean to."

So, where does that put me in regards to people like Hitler? I mean, he was committing genocide because his in-group was at risk- the difference is the in-groups. And, since the difference in in-groups has real effects, that's worth fighting a war over.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (Split from Should I read OS

Postby EnderSword » Thu May 21, 2009 6:13 pm UTC

But Card doesn't intend to say Genocide is ok at all, so that moral wouldn't fit.

He's writing it in such a way the intially Ender is considered innocent because of a lack of knowledge, but his own feelings about it, written down, help convince everyone that he's Not innocent no matter what circumstances caused it.

They aren't trying to say it was ok because they couldn't communicate, he's saying the ignorance involved in and of itself was wrong.
Killing because it's the best plan at the time is not good enough is the point. He's saying if they had taken the time to understand it, they could have avoided it...And further to that he then displays the Hive Queens as intentionally allowing Ender to kill them....they made a mistake out of ignorance, and their response is to accept death rather than continue to strike out.

He's basically saying that while it is in our every instinct, self defense is NOT justified when it terminates the other thing, and any resort to self defense represents a failure to understand and prevent the situation...unavoidably or not.
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Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby overlordjebus » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:18 pm UTC

A few years back I read Ender's Game because all I heard was about how it is the best sci fi book out there. Recently I've wanted another sci fi book, yet every book I now read I always compare with Ender's Game, and they are never as good, almost every top Sci Fi book list names Ender's Game as the best.

Is Ender's Game really as good as Sci fi gets?

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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby Midnight » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:27 pm UTC

have you read the other books in the series? foundation? dune?


There's TONS of scifi.
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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby overlordjebus » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:22 pm UTC

I've read alot of sci fi books, but in my mind I'm always comparing them to Ender's Game, its annoying that I can't enjoy a book without thinking about another.

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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby BlueNight » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:24 pm UTC

Ender's Game is not the pinnacle of Science Fiction, nor is the series that follows it.

In my opinion, that distinction belongs to Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover. Every time I read it, I get three quarters of the way through, and I HAVE to finish reading it, whether or not I have work in the morning. I have been up until 4am finishing it.

In the future, humanity has been united by technology, and a single social structure. Although most people live their lives in domestic tranquility, castes have been instituted, and freedom is denied. The masses are kept entertained by five-sense virtual reality recordings. Actors who can maintain a suitable story are among the most highly regarded members of society.

The Actors are provided with a brain transmitter, and sent through a portal to a parallel universe, Overworld, where magic is real, and society is at a swords-and-dungeons level of advancement. There, they move within society to cause wars and make the recordings they send back more exciting.

Hari Michaelson is the best. His character, Caine, is the assassin that kings seek to hire before their rival hires him first. He is trained in every halfway decent martial art, has killed many people, started and ended wars... and provided the studio with the most popular recordings.

Hari's father was secretly libertarian, a fan of the banned works of Robert Heinlein, Nietzche, and Thomas Jefferson. When the powers that be discovered this, he was disgraced, and lost his position. Hari knows all of this, but allows himself to be used by the studio anyway.

But when Pallas Ril, a mage played by Hari's estranged wife Shanna, is captured by an up-and-coming emperor, his decision to rescue her changes everything. And I do mean, everything.

It's not as quotable as "the enemy's gate is down," but I enjoy it a lot more.
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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby overlordjebus » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:11 pm UTC

I've never even heard of that! But it sounds like a very promising concept... I shall look into it, the fantasy side of it sounds like it will make it stand out against other Sci Fi :D

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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby BlueNight » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:36 pm UTC

Ender's Game is what I call Morality Fiction. It focuses on choices, moral dilemmas, and willpower. The sequels even more so.

Heroes Die and its sequels are also Morality Fiction, as are Death Note, Trigun, Blue Gender, Cerebus, the films Dawn Of The Dead (the original), Iron Man, WALL-E, and the TV series Jericho, Life On Mars, and the new Battlestar Galactica.

Why is Morality Fiction so powerful?

We exist in three worlds at once: the worlds of the Physical, the Logical, and the Emotional. Where they overlap, a composite world appears.

  • Where the Physical and Logical overlap, such as computers, cartography, and slide rules, Science exists.
  • Where the Logical and Emotional overlap, such as rational examination of what is good and bad, or emotional reaction to truth, the world of Wisdom is open to us.
  • Where the Emotional and Physical overlap, such as hunger, anger, instinct, and pleasure, we exist in an Animal state.

Morality is choice, where all three overlap. Mind, body, and heart make a person. Humanity is defined by the ability to choose: to have a motive, to devise a means, and to take the opportunity when it arises, to change the world however we decide. When freedom is taken from us, no matter how easy life can be without it, we fight to regain at least some small measure.

Our legal system currently only recognizes humans as moral beings, and will only try and sentence humans. Computers cannot feel, animals cannot understand logic beyond simple cause and effect, and philosophies have no bodies; none of them can be justly tried for murder or theft.

Each person is naturally intuitive in one of the three realms, and antagonistic toward a pure expression of its opposite. I am Logically intuitive, and thus football's fan culture (the Animal activity of passionately picking sides) holds no interest for me whatsoever. Until I learned this philosophy, I could not even understand it.

Learning to appreciate the entirety of human experience (as I've laid it out here) has only increased my appetite for such works of fiction. For example, the Star Trek/Star Wars crossover fanfic Conquest captured my imagination quite easily. A story written in the style of interactive fiction computer games, Ruby Quest, absorbed my attention so thoroughly that I willingly gave up sleep to finish reading it - twice. (Ruby Quest will change you. You will be a different person when you finish reading it. Pace yourself, and go for a walk in the afternoons between reading sessions.)

In fact, all good Morality Fiction is transformative. This is why we read it. This is why we write it.
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Re: Damn you Ender's Game!

Postby Spacemilk » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:05 pm UTC

BlueNight wrote:
Spoiler:
Ender's Game is not the pinnacle of Science Fiction, nor is the series that follows it.

In my opinion, that distinction belongs to Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover. Every time I read it, I get three quarters of the way through, and I HAVE to finish reading it, whether or not I have work in the morning. I have been up until 4am finishing it.

In the future, humanity has been united by technology, and a single social structure. Although most people live their lives in domestic tranquility, castes have been instituted, and freedom is denied. The masses are kept entertained by five-sense virtual reality recordings. Actors who can maintain a suitable story are among the most highly regarded members of society.

The Actors are provided with a brain transmitter, and sent through a portal to a parallel universe, Overworld, where magic is real, and society is at a swords-and-dungeons level of advancement. There, they move within society to cause wars and make the recordings they send back more exciting.

Hari Michaelson is the best. His character, Caine, is the assassin that kings seek to hire before their rival hires him first. He is trained in every halfway decent martial art, has killed many people, started and ended wars... and provided the studio with the most popular recordings.

Hari's father was secretly libertarian, a fan of the banned works of Robert Heinlein, Nietzche, and Thomas Jefferson. When the powers that be discovered this, he was disgraced, and lost his position. Hari knows all of this, but allows himself to be used by the studio anyway.

But when Pallas Ril, a mage played by Hari's estranged wife Shanna, is captured by an up-and-coming emperor, his decision to rescue her changes everything. And I do mean, everything.

It's not as quotable as "the enemy's gate is down," but I enjoy it a lot more.

So this description fascinated me. I went to Amazon to get a copy for my Kindle... and apparently this title isn't available in the United States! What the fuck. What's even more confusing is that the Kindle edition has been around since December 9, 2008... and you haven't been able to buy a Kindle outside of the U.S. until a few weeks ago. So basically they've had a Kindle edition of this book for almost a year but refused to sell it to the only customers who could buy it.

WHAT THE FUCK :evil:
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread)

Postby Jorpho » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

Ender's Game is very well paced. But I think a distinction can be drawn between a book that is so well-paced that you can hardly keep yourself from finishing it in one read, and a book that is truly excellent.


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