Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Orson Scott Card: Ender in Exile

Orson Scott Card wrote a series of books based on a group of teenagers who were specially selected and trained as soldiers in a Battle School on Eros. As part of their training they have to play computer wargames. Ender or Andrew Wiggins was the leader of a group that was eventually involved in the final battle of the game. Only after winning the game by destroying the planet where the hive Queen aliens were did the children discover that it was no game. They were in fact directing real solders which ended in total victory- destruction of the Hive/Bugger civilisation. Earth was actually at war with that civilisation. Ender thus became the Savior of the Earth! And Orson Scott Card went on in the next 20 years to write a series of books in the Ender universe.

Ender's Game (1985, Ender's Game won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel)
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind

Ender's Shadow
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow Puppets
Shadow of the Giant

It all started with child soldiers of 11 to 13 years -old. What was attractive about these novels was the way Card interweave the mental, physical and emotional development of the children of Battle School within the stories. There is the emphasis he places on the effect of parents on these children's development and subsequent characters. Each child's behavior and character is the result of the presence and/or absence of parenting. The type of parenting given is also important in Card's stories. Much of Ender in Exile deals with a manipulative and domineering mother and her daughter.

I have enjoyed reading Ender in Exile (2008) which is also the last book I read in 2008. Written almost 25 years after Ender's Game, it place into perspective what happened to Ender after the defeat of the Hive Queen. As a sequel written much later, it is a well written narrative, fitting into the Ender universe with only a few discrepancies. This, Card wrote, will be corrected in subsequent reprints/editions of the series of novels. This will be my last book recommendation in 2008. Happy New Year.

I also found that Marvel is printing the books in the comic format. I already have 2 out of 5 issues of Ender's Game and 1 out of 5 of Ender's Shadow.

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