Did you have that one book? The first one that made you sure you wanted more of the genre? The one that led you to seek out not just more books, but more books like that one? Mine was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game. Isn’t it?
My friend and I were manning an informational table at the mall for a volunteer organization. By “manning,” I mean we were there talking, eating, and then reading while an adult nearby did all the work. She told me she really loved the book she was reading and let me read the first chapter. I promptly went to the bookstore and bought my own copy. I think I finished it before we ever left the mall and our table.
I may have been fourteen, and I liked reading at that age but don’t recall liking one genre more than another. But I was absolutely certain there should be more books like this one, and I wanted to read them.
It was “way cooler” than the books we read in high school at the time. Though it was set in the future and in space, it felt more real than my assigned homework. No adult told me what it had to mean, which was very important. I could read it and not find a meaning if I wanted! I could enjoy the story, and I did.
Unlike some novels read and loved as a teen, this one is still a joy to read. I still have the copy I bought in 1994, though I normally reread on the Kindle since the paperback is about to fall apart.
I did not read the Ender sequels. I don’t know why they never appealed to me, but I still have no interest. I did read the parallel novels though, starting with Ender’s Shadow. This is the story of Bean, one of the characters in Ender’s Game. The story may be better than Ender’s Game but lacks the nostalgia of my first experience in the Ender universe.
You may be familiar with the Ender’s Game movie, starring Harrison Ford. This is a fun movie but read the book first if you’re going to do both the book and the movie. I think watching the movie would greatly affect your reading of the book, but reading the book first won’t impact the movie experience as much.
As a fun side note, the same friend introduced me to Midshipman’s Hope by David Feintuch. I still have that copy too. These books still seem to affect my reading choices today, as I love a good sci-fi or fantasy with a school or young officer in training before they go forth to destroy evil.
Questions for You!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Did you prefer Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow?
What book(s) should I read next?