Review by Patricia de Hemricourt
Ender’s Game a novel of extraordinary power, among the very best the genre has ever produced. Ender’s Game takes a familiar theme from war fiction, war as seen through the eyes of a child,— but reframes it by making the child the war’s central figure
Andrew Wiggin, known as Ender, is a six-year-old boy born into a future that has suffered two devastating invasions from an alien hive-mind species commonly called the buggers. In order to prevent over-population of the planet, population controls are now strictly in place, and Ender is the third child born to his family, a shameful situation even though is status as a “Third” was allowed by The International Fleet (I.F.). The I.F.’s task is to prepare for the next bugger invasion, partly by monitoring children through devices implanted on their necks, to determine who can be trained from a very young age to be the next generation of soldiers defending Earth. Disappointed by Ender’s big brother Peter, they have exceptionally authorized the conception of Ender, in view of the hopes they had for the family’s genetic make-up.
Shortly before his 7th birthday, Ender is sent into space to attend Battle School where, together with hundreds of other children and adolescents, he subjected to grueling training that takes the form of war games, played both in computer simulation (video games, essentially) and in real time combat practice in an enormous zero-G chamber called the Battle Room.
The innumerable challenges Ender has to overcome are brilliantly described by Orson Scott Card, who display is knack for accurate and vivid characterization together with a keen sense of human interaction and psychology.
Through a gallery of well formed supportive characters, Card provide his readers with a keen insight in human psyche while creating a realistic future world with a wealth of detail, some of which are uncannily prophetic as the book was written in 1985, long before the ubiquity of the Internet.