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

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Spoilers used to shorten this post

Postby BlueNight » Thu Nov 05, 2009 3:52 am UTC

The moral core of this story is that they sent a child to do a soldier's work: to kill. The tragedy is that's exactly what happened. The officers probably hoped Ender would use the M.D. weapon against the planet. Xenocide was a military option from the beginning. They were okay with the prospect when survival depended on it. They just needed someone smart enough, capable enough, to get the device within range of the planet. Ender was, effectively, the bomber on the Enola Gay, on a much larger scale, with a much more heavily defended target. (Hiroshima was probably the metaphor Card was trying to evoke with the original 1977 novelette.)

Ironically, the war turned out to be neither necessary nor a xenocide.

First, it was only attempted xenocide.
Spoiler:
The Formic species continued to live, with its reproductive ability intact, because of the egg secreted away on one of the colony worlds. It counts as a genocide, but only at the very end. ALL the Formics of each colony world were directly a part of each queen entity, who were all "safely" hidden on the Formic homeworld. (Just after Ender blew it up, Graff said that all the queens were on it at the time.) Killing a non-queen was like trimming a toenail. Before the destruction of their homeworld, the only queen killed by humans had been the one Mazer Rackham sniped, ending the Second Bugger War.


Second, it was not necessary.
Spoiler:
The only reason the Formics didn't wave the white flag was because they didn't have one (metaphorically). They couldn't find any way to communicate their apology and cease-fire. They were truly sorry for killing the humans they killed; if anything, they had a stronger moral sense than humans, due to their relatively small population of actual sentient beings.


In addition, there's one more moral point to consider here. (Let me blow your mind...)

Spoiler:
The queens could have fled. They chose not to.

The queens were all safe on the Formic homeworld; for seventy-five years they had lost fleet after fleet from colony after colony, but none of the queens had yet been killed, except the one who had tried to colonize Earth. They had good estimates on the arrival date of Earth's fleet. They already knew humans were individually sentient, each one a tool-using survivor. They could have run.

You can't even argue that they were physically or psychologically incapable of fleeing from their bunker. They were psychologically capable of hiding a queen's egg on a colony. The fertile queen who attacked Earth the second time was right there in the fleet, directing her own mindless spawn, her own meat-puppets. The queens knew humans such as Mazer Rackham were willing to kill queens on purpose, and they had good reason to assume that the humans would blow them all up. They already knew a rampaging fleet of self-defense was taking out their space fleets using a cascading molecular disintegration weapon. They even knew that Ender was the best game-player Earth had yet produced, and had a good chance of getting through their defense, and taking out their planet.

The only conclusion I can consider valid is that the Formic queens, as a group of highly intelligent and morally aware sentients, chose to remain on their world and die as penance for the xenocide they unknowingly committed in the Bugger Wars. It was voluntary self-xenocide by proxy; they walked in front of that speeding bus.

At worst, Ender committed involuntary genocide, mass manslaughter of the queens, under false intelligence from his senior officers and the enemy, while serving in the military. In addition, the queens allowed it to happen as a form of penance. The military made him the axe, and the queens knelt willingly at the chopping block.


So yeah, he's earned the right to whine. Both sides used a gifted child to kill, and left him to figure out what he had done.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread)

Postby ameretrifle » Sun Nov 08, 2009 7:21 am UTC

Recently, I realized that Ender is actually gullible as hell. I don't mean that as a criticism; in fact, I think I could get to like him a lot more because of it. It's not just falling for the grand scheme-- he's a kid, anyone could have done that. Implying that he somehow should have known better is ridiculous to me. But he believes everything Peter says to him. He believes that Stilson the bully literally wants to kill him. He believes that the Buggers are monsters, that the fleet needs him. He believes Graff is his friend. It's never actually explained why Ender starts using the exact same tactics on Bean that Graff used on him. He wonders about it, but never comes to any real conclusion. Even though he thinks they're bad tactics, and that they don't apply, he just keeps using them. He willingly works himself half to death on what he thinks are "lessons", even though he never consciously realizes they're important. Most blindingly, he named himself Ender. There's only one reason he'd do that. He knew what he was born for. He heard what they wanted of him and he became it without a word of protest. And even through all those years, through Dink telling him it wasn't actually important, through Mazer and Graff telling him this wasn't defense, but an invasion-- despite all his military genius, he stayed precicely in line. He did what he was supposed to do. He and Peter were never the opposites, despite Valentine's halfhearted claims; through the whole book, that is quite clearly Peter and Valentine, and it was Ender who was the metal in between-- the part that's strong, and hard, and indelibly stamped with someone else's design. And that is why they didn't choose Peter or Valentine. I think some of them even realized it. Peter was too vainglorious; he would've been suckered into the illusion by flattery for a while, but he only does what he wants to do, and they wouldn't have been able to make him want the same things. And Valentine was too reluctant to hurt people for no reason, too willing to stand up for what was right-- she saved her brother from Peter, and in the end, she faces down the whole planet. (Also, I bet they were sexist pigs. THAT'S why there are still so few girls in Battle School. God forbid you have a general who considers for a second anything other than a military solution. ) Ender was the one they could shape, the "Third", smart enough to know that there was only one reason they let him be born, young enough to think he owed them something because of it.

Anyway, just been wanting to float that theory for a while. And I'm still probably not reading the others-- I find that Orson Scott Card can get seriously creepy. In a bad and unintentional way.

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

Postby Jorpho » Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

ameretrifle wrote:Most blindingly, he named himself Ender. There's only one reason he'd do that. He knew what he was born for. He heard what they wanted of him and he became it without a word of protest.
Oh, hardly. I think the idea that it was a mispronounciation that grew into a nickname is a perfectly adequate excuse as far as the story goes. (The broader realms of marketability and symbolism are a different matter.)
And I'm still probably not reading the others
Well, you should know that all that stuff about Peter and Valentine is done thoroughly to death in the fourth book.

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

Postby clockworkmonk » Sun Nov 08, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

If I remember correctly, Ender is what Valentine called him when he was tiny. And so, he takes the name as his own.

But I think thats really beside the point. Ender is very much a tool. Battle school shaped him, they made him into a gun. and then the Fleet pointed him at the Formics. The character I feel who really sacrifices is Bean. He is entirely aware of what he is doing. And in that awareness, knowing what it will cost him personally, he does it anyways. I think what I'm getting to is that sacrifice requires knowledge of whats being lost, and Ender simply does not know what its costing him when he orders the destruction of a planet, while Bean knows exactly what it will cost him when he orders the men on the ship to detonate the Doctor inside their own ship. He knows exactly what hes asking for.


Oh, and you should at least read Ender's Shadow its about Bean.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread)

Postby rnbguru » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:57 am UTC

Aye, bean definitely comes out as the most bad ass character in the series when you read the Shadow series. Still, I don't think you can fault Ender much. He might be a tool and be totally oblivious to everything around him and never really given up anything to get where he is... but he's incredibly good at it and you have to give him credit for that. And while he didn't have to sacrifice as much as Bean did to achieve their goals, he did have to make a lot of very calculated decisions.

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Ender's Game

Postby Wilhelm » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:16 am UTC

Upon reading this book for the fifth time, it has firmly cemented itself in the #1 spot on my favorite book list. The last few chapters, and even more so, the last few pages, are among the most striking and powerful passages I have ever read. The book isn't written in the classic highbrow only-for-the-educated-who-can-spend-a-few-minutes-untangling-each-sentence, manner, but it conveys messages better than many great works I've read. If you have not read the book, do so as soon as possible.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby jwkincal » Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:23 am UTC

The original work was written in 1977... it was a novella/short story and it was efficient and unapologetic. It rocked. I read it as one half of a dual-novella featuring prize-winning works from that year (the other half was True Names, which made for one of the most awesome spans of pulp that any two covers ever contained)

The rest is tripe. Card got so full of himself after the success of Game that he even went back and "made it better" thus substantially cheapening it (sound familiar?).

Anyway, Ender knew. When he went into the Battle Room after the briefing about the planet and there were all these new spectators, I knew. And if I knew then super-genius Ender (intelligence 25, wisdom 0?) had to know. My take was that he was emotionally and morally bankrupt at that point and no longer cared.

But no matter. It was the appropriate choice. The survival of the species was at stake. The complete obliteration of another (even/especially extraterrestrial!) species is a trivial price to pay.

Make no mistake: you are just a gamete's method of producing more gametes. Everything else is bullshit.

P.S. Randall I actually LOL'ed on "The enemy's gate is down!" Thanks for that.

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

Postby mister k » Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:36 am UTC

jwkincal wrote:The original work was written in 1977... it was a novella/short story and it was efficient and unapologetic. It rocked. I read it as one half of a dual-novella featuring prize-winning works from that year (the other half was True Names, which made for one of the most awesome spans of pulp that any two covers ever contained)

The rest is tripe. Card got so full of himself after the success of Game that he even went back and "made it better" thus substantially cheapening it (sound familiar?).

Anyway, Ender knew. When he went into the Battle Room after the briefing about the planet and there were all these new spectators, I knew. And if I knew then super-genius Ender (intelligence 25, wisdom 0?) had to know. My take was that he was emotionally and morally bankrupt at that point and no longer cared.

But no matter. It was the appropriate choice. The survival of the species was at stake. The complete obliteration of another (even/especially extraterrestrial!) species is a trivial price to pay.

Make no mistake: you are just a gamete's method of producing more gametes. Everything else is bullshit.

P.S. Randall I actually LOL'ed on "The enemy's gate is down!" Thanks for that.


I didn't know. The whole point of the masquerade is to throw Ender off. Ender is smart in a very specific way: bear in mind that Ender does NOT have the detachment that the reader has, instead he has extreme emotional distress. For Ender it has always felt like the adults have been playing them. He is, perhaps, too trusting.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby ameretrifle » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:49 pm UTC

Possibly Ender is too eager to be whatever people ask of him. He started off as a "Third", he was told repeatedly that he was born for a very specific purpose, and I think it warped the crap out of him. He doesn't particularly want to be a military commander, but he does it because he's young and he's heard the whispers, all his goddamn life, that he might just be Earth's only hope. He's the successful candidate not only because of empathy, tactical skills, leadership, blah blah blah, but because he is all that, and he also does whatever they tell him to, at any personal cost. Peter would have developed an agenda of his own; Valentine would have drawn a moral line in the sand. Ender is their candidate because he simply fulfills his "purpose". It runs so deep that he names himself "Ender". What else could that possibly be referring to? He's bought into it, hard. And from what I've read of the other books in this series (not all of them, I readily and gratefully admit), this trait only morphs and twists and shifts masks and screws him up further; it never so much as lessens, much less goes away.

(/hypothesis)

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

Postby Jorpho » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:41 pm UTC

Um, you do realize that you already expounded on your theory a few posts up yonder, right?

I will admit that your theory about how he named himself Ender is somewhat more compelling in the sense that he may have recognized himself as the "end" of three children. But that's as far as it goes.

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

Postby pseudoidiot » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:54 am UTC

Granted, it's been a couple years since I've read Ender's Game, but I thought 'Ender' came from Valentine mispronouncing Andrew.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Jorpho » Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:01 am UTC

Yes indeed, that was also mentioned a few posts up yonder. ^_^

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

Postby GhostWolfe » Mon Oct 18, 2010 12:53 am UTC

mister k wrote:Ender is smart in a very specific way: bear in mind that Ender does NOT have the detachment that the reader has, instead he has extreme emotional distress. For Ender it has always felt like the adults have been playing them. He is, perhaps, too trusting.
I agree. I think it was just a little out of Ender's reasoning ability to ever imagine that such a thing could, would, might be possible. He's never had reason to even make believe that such a thing would happen, let alone hypothesize what was happening - not even mentioning how exhausted he was by the end that he was barely thinking above auto-pilot level. If he'd suspected, I don't think he would have been so confused by the spectator's reactions.

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

Postby Josephine » Sat Nov 06, 2010 2:36 am UTC

I read Ender's Game last year, and I've picked up a few shorter books in the 'verse since, but I just finished Speaker for the Dead. Speaker, I think, was one of the best books I've ever read. I know they go downhill from here, but I'm very interested in events on Lusitania after Speaker.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Deep_Thought » Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:17 pm UTC

Well aware I'm swimming against the tide here but I read Ender's Game last year and wasn't very impressed. The version I had came with a preface where Card stated something along the lines of "The Battle Room was an idea I've had for a long time, and this book is a plot wrapped around that idea", and that's exactly what the book struck me as. The parts of the book with the most passionate writing are the battle scenes. The rest of it felt tacked on, especially the ending. I didn't get on with Card's writing style and there are a number of moments that really jarred for me. For instance:

Spoiler:
The Deus Ex Machinas that are the ansible and the MD. They are just perfunctorily dumped into the story when needed. "Oh I need a method of communicating with ships light years away. Hmmm. I know, magic!" I can see the MD being a parallel for nuclear weapons but it still felt lazy compared to the beautifully constructed Battle Room.

and
Spoiler:
Peter getting the terminal from his parents. If memory serves, he just looks at his mother and says if he gets the terminal then he'll try to not be a psychopath any more. I know the Wiggin children are supposed to be exceptional but I thought she could have at least bargained one visit to the psychiatrist out of him.


Perhaps I've read too many other similar books before Ender's Game - it just didn't seem that ground breaking to me, but I know it was first published before I was even born! Or maybe my expectations were too high. It's an okay book but not the 'classic' I was expecting.

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

Postby jml235 » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:24 am UTC

So maybe I'm missing something, but the moral comparison of Ender to Hitler is completely off for one obvious reason: Cause. The Jews/homosexuals/gypsies weren't actually a threat to the survival German people, regardless of what Hitler may have lead them to believe. The Formics, from what was known at the time that Ender fired the Little Doctor, were a reasonable threat. It's been a while since I read Ender's Game, but I believe the Formics had wiped out a significant portion of China. That's how the war started. And without the ability to communicate, there was no way to know that the Formics wouldn't attempt human xenocide again. Given that at the time, there was no way for Graff/Ender to know that the Formics were no longer intent on wiping out the human race, xenocide seems a morally justifiable option. Perhaps simply demilitarizing the Formics would be more justifiable, but this did not seem like a viable option at any point. Were they suppose to imprison an entire planet?

On the other hand, it would take an insane person to think that the Jews/homosexuals/gypsies were intent on wiping out the German people in the 1930s...there was no evidence for that. This is why Hitler was insane/evil whereas Ender's destruction of the Formic world could be called the greatest miscommunication problem of all time.

So Ender's action was more of a tit-for-tat thing: The Formics tried to wipe out the human race, but Ender wiped them out instead (you can argue about the moral validity of Hammurabi's code, but I think most people find it intuitive) whereas Hitler's assault on the Jews/homosexuals/gypsies was completely unprovoked. Whether Hitler thought he was provoked or not is irrelevant: in reality (not his head), he was completely unprovoked.

Anyone want to explain to me why the Ender-Hitler comparison isn't crap and the article isn't simply inflammatory garbage taking advantage of the fact that it will be read by many people because of the popularity of the book/series?

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

Postby SecondTalon » Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:07 am UTC

The First Formic invasion is where one Formic ship fried a large chunk of China. The Second Formic Invasion is when Mazer Rackham defeated them at Earth. The Third Formic Invasion was an Invasion of the Formic homeworld by humans, in which Ender blew them all up. Outside of references to decades separating the second and third invasions, I'm not sure of an exact timeline, other than knowing the Third invasion fleet was launched directly after the Second invasion, so I'm assuming within a matter of months due to the need to rebuilt ships, build ships, and so on. There really aren't that many details about the Second invasion, so it's possible it was less of Mazer defeating them, and more of the Formics realizing they were killing Queens and backing the hell off.

At the point of the Third invasion, the Buggers were no longer a threat, though you are correct in noting that the Humans did not have a way of knowing that.

Now, as for your comment about the lack of evidence of a plot pre-dating 1930 of the Jewish people's plan to dominate Europe and the rest of the world.. there's gobs of evidence. Tons of it. Ask your local chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood about it.

.. wait, you meant credible evidence. No, you're right.. there's none of that. But there's plenty of evidence that one can twist and turn and use to convince a crapload of people blah blah blah The German people Humanity as a whole is under direct attack from the Jewish People Buggers!


Now, I don't really thing the comparison is completely accurate, and I don't think Ender was written to be a Hitler simulacrum, but it's an interesting comparison. More interesting I find is that Ender is a murderer twice over and a genocider who nevertheless is morally innocent. Sure, he killed two people in two separate fistfights and wiped out an entire race, but he didn't know and that makes it okay. Also, surprise, there's a Queen left, so he's not really a genocider!
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Jorpho » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:20 pm UTC

Wait a minute...

If the Queens can communicate with buggers via some wacky form of instantaneous communication, why exactly would a Queen need to be among the ships of an invasion force at all, especially when taking her out renders the entire fleet defenseless?

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

Postby JudeMorrigan » Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Wait a minute...

If the Queens can communicate with buggers via some wacky form of instantaneous communication, why exactly would a Queen need to be among the ships of an invasion force at all, especially when taking her out renders the entire fleet defenseless?


I believe there was only a queen with the second invasion, which was intended as a colonization fleet. The queen was, presumably, there for breeding purposes. I suppose one can wonder why the buggers didn't send an egg and have a queen from the homeworld control the fleet, but the newness of the situation for them offers a fairly reasonable excuse. They had presumably never had a reason to not send a queen with a colonization fleet before, and their doing so ties in with the whole buggers-as-insects thing.

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

Postby Jorpho » Fri May 10, 2013 2:05 am UTC

So, with the controversy swirling around the new movie, it finally came to my attention that Shadows in Flight was released last year, and that its sequel, which will finally tie in with the events following Children of the Mind, is in the works.

Has anyone here read it? Could this finally be a book free from ramblings about geopolitics and culture wars?

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri May 10, 2013 12:20 pm UTC

Children of the Mind put me off from OSC for about a decade.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Jorpho » Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:32 pm UTC

Gee, I was also hopelessly oblivious to this "Formic Wars" series, too.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Unaware

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

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Jun 19, 2013 2:11 pm UTC

I've really disliked everything I read out Enders Game, Speaker, and Xenocide. It all just smacked of fanfiction or trying to capitalize on success.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Nylonathatep » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:55 pm UTC

I guess I was the oddball that actually read "Ender's Shadow" before "Ender's Game". It's interesting to note the difference of style between the two novel and see how OSC has matured as a writer. Still, reading "Shadow of the Hegemon" makes me want to puke.

OSC's other individual novels aren't that bad. I actually enjoyed 'Enchantment"

Izawwlgood wrote:I've really disliked everything I read out Enders Game, Speaker, and Xenocide. It all just smacked of fanfiction or trying to capitalize on success.


I'll advise you to stay away from any book after 'Dune'.

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

Postby ahammel » Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:17 pm UTC

Just finished Ender's Game. I learned that I'm willing to put up with a lot of bullshit if I'm enjoying the story enough. Between the ridiculousness every time evolution is mentioned, the racism ("wouldn't it be hillarious if people thought Jews were magic?"), the sexism, and 0/0=1, this thing would be in "kill it with fire" territory if the plot was any weaker.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby WarDaft » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:46 am UTC

I don't think the plot's that strong personally.

Name one thing Ender does not eventually succeed at. ONE. Anything, of practically any level of significance.

He wins at everything. He never really fails, at anything he tries to do.


He's lonely, and sad, but does he ever try to make friends and fail?


I am trying, and not for the first time, but I really can't think of a single thing he ever tried to do and couldn't.
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Re: Ender Wiggin: Awesome or Whiny? (The Ender's Game Thread

Postby Jorpho » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:17 pm UTC

He gets beaten up by Peter right at the start, doesn't he? And he makes his fair share of enemies.

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

Postby roband » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:26 pm UTC

Oh hey, we can discuss books here too.

Ender's Game is one of very few books which have made me recoil in shock/surprise. I really liked it.

Speaker for the Dead was sooooooo slow to get going, then very good.

I'm currently just over halfway through Xenocide and I really like it, but it's really fucking long.

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

Postby roband » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:24 pm UTC

Xenocide was great. The ending was weird, but no more so than a certain OTHER part of the book....

Wat?

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

Postby cemper93 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:51 am UTC

Okay, so I've read through this book now after hearing about a lot of praise about it on the internet, and I really have to ask one question -

How the fuck is any person capable of thinking this book is any good? I just really struggle to understand this. WarDaft asked above to name one thing Ender failed at, but maybe the more important question is whether there is one thing Card really succeeded at.

Story:
Not much of it there, really. Ender gets pushed through an evil and oppressive educational system and is constantly under pressure, until he does in the end oh-so-surprisingly find out that he actually killed the people he was taught to kill. A revelation big enough that it might probably have made for a decent short story's climax.

Characters:
Is this a joke? The characters don't feel like child prodigies, because they don't feel like children at all, and there is nearly zero character development throughout the book. Ender is just a traumatized, scared genius all the way through. The subplot with Valentine's relation to Peter doesn't really feature any character development on Valentine's part either, she just has two character heel turns, once completely out of the blue, the other time in a situation that just leaves you wondering why she didn't stop helping Peter like 100 pages ago. (Which would have also spared us a subplot which has exactly zero relation to the main plot at all, and which never cares to explain why Peter is happy with being constrained by checks and balances when he could be out in the woods skinning squirrels, leaving him an incoherent mess of lukewarm bad-boy-tropes.)

Prose:
Haha, fart-eater! The children's manner of speech changes from scene to scene and sometimes from paragraph to paragraph, ranging from playground slang to well-mannered speech, and feeling realistic at neither end.
Hmm, how interesting - I wonder whether Card was unable to show the reader the character's thoughts through their actions instead of writing them down in plain and dull direct speech. This certainly would explain the annoying, because unnecessary, mid-paragraph narrator changes.

Technobabble:
Because, let's all be honest, this is still the most important thing about good science-fiction-writing! Unfortunately, Card fails even at this. An MD device which apparently reverses entropy and makes planets detonate using much less energy than would normally be necessary? Uh sure, look, it detaches molecules! Rightey-oh! Bonus terribleness: When Ender asks Petra how the doors to the battle rrom are kept in sync when the center of the space station is not rotating, she essentially just changes topics to how the teachers keep so many things secret from them.

Fun:
Okay, I'll be frank, I had some fun with the null-g lasertag strategies and the crudely overpainted characters. But in the end, I didn't like it more than any pulp fiction, which I might also enjoy for it's minute depictions of goblin heads being chopped of, but which I still wouldn't consider a great read worth praising on the internet and opening threads about.

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

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Jan 02, 2014 3:06 am UTC

cemper93 wrote:Characters:
Is this a joke? The characters don't feel like child prodigies, because they don't feel like children at all, and there is nearly zero character development throughout the book.


Here's the thing - child prodigies don't act like normal children (okay, some do, because their genius is in social matters, and they learn how to be accepted, but then they stop being prodigies) - being a child prodigy means not being a normal child.

That said, C J Cherryh does a better job of portraying child Specials in Cyteen (and adults - at least in one setting - in Wave Without A Shore - but then, she's a better author all round)

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

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jan 02, 2014 2:25 pm UTC

Cyteen is by an order of magnitude the worst book I have ever read, and only approaches readability during those brief instances that it resembles Ender's Game.

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

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:36 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:Cyteen is by an order of magnitude the worst book I have ever read, and only approaches readability during those brief instances that it resembles Ender's Game.


De gustibus non est disputandem. I would rank Cyteen above Ender's Game any day of the week, but obviously you feel differently.

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

Postby Jorpho » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:07 am UTC

The Toast ran over Ender's Game today. Some interesting stuff in the comments. I didn't realize there was quite so much visceral hatred for this book out there.

This bit about how the book was revised is new to me. And this essay about Gay Sex and Death in the Science Fiction of Orson Scott Card. And holy heckies what the blazes did he do to Hamlet.

Shadows Alive, the sequel to Children of the Mind that is supposed to tie in with the Shadow novels, is still conspicuously TBA. I wonder if behind the scenes Card (along with his editors?) is struggling to find something palatable to the current political climate, or if it's just a matter of scheduling.

I did read Shadows In Flight a while ago, and it's fairly innocuous, considering that it's short, has a small cast of characters, and has nothing to do with Earth politics.

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

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:24 am UTC

The thing about Ender's Game is when you read it. If you're young enough to see yourself as Ender, savior of the human race, it's not bad. If you're an adult it whaps you upside the head with its terrible problems. I haven't dared to reread Hart's Hope because I loved it when I was younger and don't want to see its flaws exposed.
And I haven't read a new work by Card since the first one he wrote about "magic".
Don’t become a well-rounded person. Well rounded people are smooth and dull. Become a thoroughly spiky person. Grow spikes from every angle. Stick in their throats like a puffer fish.

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

Postby Quercus » Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:24 am UTC

I still enjoyed it when I re-read it as an adult, though that may have been more nostalgia than anything else. I also tend to be quite good at acknowledging terribleness in books, while still enjoying the story (it's why I can still enjoy Heinlein). I knew about most of the stuff in the article Jorpho mentioned, but I just ended up reading it as part of the general awfulness of the world the book's set in. It helps that I stopped seeing Ender as a particularly sympathetic character on my re-reading.

I much preferred speaker for the dead though, but it's been too long since I've read it to remember whether it had similar sorts of awfulness in it.

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

Postby speising » Fri Aug 14, 2015 9:23 am UTC

Let's not forget: "Let's colonize other planets, so we can all be religious again and get the God-ordained 8+ children, because colonization will totally solve overpopulation, even here on earth."

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

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:26 pm UTC

I first read any of them as an adult, and enjoyed them, though the Shadow series dragged a bit.

The key factor about which to suspend your disbelief is the idea that a couple of kids are not only the smartest people on the planet (aside from Bean) but sufficiently so to shape world opinion. Of course, there's never been a child emperor or other political figurehead used to grant legitimacy to the people actually running things, so it's completely ludicrous that an internet celebrity, and elder brother of the saviour of mankind, who's been notably correct about political developments, could possibly get elected. Next you'll be saying that a former movie star could be elected PotUS...

If you can swallow the whole Locke/Demosthenes bit, then the rest is easy enough to buy into.

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

Postby Quercus » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:41 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:If you can swallow the whole Locke/Demosthenes bit, then the rest is easy enough to buy into.


The thing which made the Locke/Demosthenes bit easier to swallow for me was to remember that the internet Card is imagining is way different from the internet as it exists today IRL. Card's internet has multiple levels of restricted access fora, and at higher levels (which Valentine and Peter spend considerable time and effort building up to accessing) everyone there has considerable political clout. I got the impression that being "talent spotted" out of these high level fora is a rather standard way to gain political office in Card's world, rather than an exceptional thing that only Valentine and Peter manage to do.


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