Ender’s Game is the story of essentially one child, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Ender has two older siblings, but they are too polarized for his important task. In a very simple sense, one is vicious, the other peaceful, and only Ender strikes the right balance. Only he is recruited into battle school, and only he has a monumental task set before him.
I am not a science fiction person. The only science fiction stories I have ever managed to like are Star Wars and Firefly, both not books. Books get too technical, and in general I don’t like stories with aliens. Just personal preference.
With that out of the way, I had a shocking revelation. I liked Ender’s Game! I didn’t love it as everyone else on the planet seems to, but I genuinely liked it. Card’s clever children captivated me, and even though I found their abilities somewhat impossible for six-year-olds, I grew interested in their characters. I knew what it was to be isolated when young, how it makes character stronger, and so I could empathize with Ender, although I have no claims to his brilliance. I read a review that claimed he didn’t have any depth, Card never goes into his mind — I found the opposite to be true. I certainly saw into Ender’s mind, as he was manipulated into doing things he’d never have done otherwise, and especially in the phenomenal ending when he sets everything to rights.
I found the manipulation slightly horrifying, and was utterly relieved when “the twist” occurred. I enjoyed the fact that the story was simple and never got too complicated despite getting across several complex themes. I don’t really understand why it won two awards, I wouldn’t have rated it so highly myself, but then I don’t generally like science fiction so I’m probably not a fair judge.
It was the ending messages about culture and continuity that really got to me, and I think that therein lies a message we should all remember when we’re trying desperately to exterminate enemies that we don’t understand. When is any war any different from that?