Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Lessons from sci-fi
Published on March 10, 2004 By Draginol In Fiction

I've been re-reading Ender's Game from Orson Scott Card. It's probably one of the best all time sci-fi books out there. The other books in the series degrade substantially. The first book, however, is totally self-contained.

The book exhibits the types of things I always enjoy in a good story: The good guys are very intelligent. The bad guys are very intelligent. It's a book just full of smart people in every sense and you can see each character trying to accomplish their goals while fully aware that those who oppose them are monstrously clever. The one thing that is unusual about the book is that the main characters are children. These gifted children have been chosen from across all the world to save the world from an impending alien invasion.

I've read this book time and time again and each time I read it I learn something new of it. It's not just entertaining, it's truly inspiring. It taught me a great deal about what leadership is about. I'm a very imperfect leader. I know how I should behave when performing leadership functions but it does not come naturally to my persona. My instinct is to be more of the comic relief. I prefer to tell jokes and make people feel good than to tell them what to do.  Those people who only know me from what I write would probably find that surprising. But that's the thing -- when I write publicly, I'm having to alter my behavior to accomplish my goals. It is something that has taken years to even begin to master and every year I realize there is still so much more to do.

In the book, however, Ender, as a child, has to figure all these things out very quickly. The stakes are very high. The fate of the world is on his shoulders. But throughout it all, he recognizes that there is the person he is and the person he must be to accomplish the goals set in front of him.  But this is just one of the many insights that the book shares about human nature and the world that are pretty fascinating.

If you haven't read this book and are into sci-fi at all, I highly recommend it.

on Mar 10, 2004
Wow, that brings back some memories! I read that book back in my late elementary days. I remember it because one, it was the largest book I had read at that time; two because I couldn't put it down; three, because I am not at all a sci-fi person so it was pretty odd to me that I would like it. I really would like to read it again now that I have been reminded of it, there is no way I could have recognized at that time, all these things you have brought to light. I also remember being so excited by this book I went to the public library for the first time on my own accord (that is a HUGE break through trust me) to get the the following book in the series (was it a trilogy? I don't remember) but Im guessing since I dont' even recall the name, it wasn't anything comparable to Ender's Game.

None of my friends ever read it and I couldn't convince them to because how do you do that at that age? Anyhow, thanks for reminding me of it.
on Mar 11, 2004
I convinced my wife (who doesn't like SF at all) to read the book and sure enough, she liked it. It's a great book.
on Mar 11, 2004
Even if you aren't into Sci-fi read this book.
on Mar 19, 2004
My little brother just started reading these books... I will have to refer him to your blog.....
on Apr 27, 2004
I've read and reread this book about 4 times now and I agree, each time you pick out something new.

What I like about this book is that it could happen. I'm what some call "gifted" or whatever and to me the characters seem like me or people I know. They are all "people"- they make mistakes, the are loyal at times, betray or are just plain mean other times, and each has their own personalities. I espically like Ender. He is just a special type of person. It's really hard putting into words but most who have read it will understand. The book feels very personal- you feel what he is going through, the pain, the curosity, the exhaustion, the hopelessness. And most of all the realization. Another great part is that while there are supporting characters, they seem just as real. They aren't people thrown in (just) for comic relief, they all are unique and different.

Just go read it.
on Apr 27, 2004
I love Ender's Game. It is brilliant writing. Ender's Shadow is also amazing as it chronicles the exact same story from Bean's point of view. A must read for any fans of the series.

But I absolutely must disagree 110% with Brad's comment that "The other books in the series degrade substantially". The other books in the series, while much slower in pace, are equally brilliant works of philosophical science fiction. As with all of OSC works the focus is the characters. The sci-fi is only secondary to the human story that is being told. And it is a truly fascinating and moving story that any true fan of good literature owes it to themselves to read and understand.