By Orson Scott Card
Century Hutchinson 1985/Arrow Books 1985
ISBN 0 09 949610 0
It has been nearly ten years since I last read ‘Ender’s Game’. On the surface, it is a fairly standard coming-of-age story where the protagonist, who is younger, smaller, and brighter than his peers, has to over come contempt for his ideas/age, suspicion of his abilities, and the bullying that seems to be permanently associated with such institutions as prisons, the military, and schools.
Ender is a pupil/inmate of Battle School, where the International Fleet trains and grades the brightest kids on Earth, looking for the brilliant battle commander who will lead the forces of Earth to victory over the alien ‘Buggers’.
As Ender progresses through the Battle School, his illusions of what is ‘Right’ and what is ‘Fair’ are steadily undermined until, to survive, he learns to win at all costs.
I was a little disappointed by Card’s use of Ursula Le Guin’s ‘ansible’ as his means of interstellar communication – I sort of expected him to come up with something of his own – and a little puzzled by the fact that of all the human’s using the ansible, only Ender was able to converse with the ‘Buggers’ – though this may indicate Ender’s own isolation from his fellow humans as he learns to think more like a ‘Bugger’ commander so he can defeat their forces.
‘Ender’s Game’ is still a good read and I can see why, in its day, it picked up both the Nebula and Hugo Science Fiction awards.
There is a review of Ender’s Game, and the larger ‘Ender’s Series on Wikipedia.