"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card; Tor Science Fiction, 1994, 352 pages.
Fast forward to the future, and Earth has been decimated in two wars with the buggers, an alien life force that attacked and nearly destroyed Earth before Mazer Rackham, an army officer, managed to defeat them and save the planet.
But, despite Rackham's defeat of the buggers, Earth lives in constant fear that they will come back for a third invasion, and that's where Ender Wiggin steps in.
Enter the world of "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, a book that has recently been released as a blockbuster film.
The Earth of the future is a much different place where people must renounce their former religion and are only allowed to have two children. They make an exception for Ender's parents because they have a high potential to have a child who is qualified to attend the Battle School, a place where incredibly smart children are trained to become battle commanders in preparation for the buggers' next invasion. Unlike his two older siblings, Ender qualifies, and the story begins as he is sent to the Battle school to begin his training.
Ender excels at Battle School, becoming the youngest commander of a practice army the school has ever had and turning a young and untrained team into the best army at the school.
From there, Ender is promoted to Command School, where he learns that Earth has already sent out a fleet to destroy the buggers on their home planet that will arrive in five years.
Ender also finds out that he is the one expected to lead them.
"Ender's Game" was a really interesting and thought-provoking read. The book brings up a lot of philosophical issues associated with war, like whether the ends justify the means or the reasons behind fighting a war, things that are definitely worth thinking about.
I particularly like the way Card ends the novel. Without giving it away, it does a great job of acknowledging the tragedy of the past while showing hope for the future, setting up what eventually becomes another book.
At times, the book did tend to be too military-oriented for me, getting bogged down in tactics and battle formations. They were necessary in "Ender's Game," which draws heavily on military operations, but occasionally they got too detailed and slowed the plot.
There was also a subplot involving Ender's older siblings, Peter and Valentine, who remained at home with their parents and eventually get involved in politics through the Internet. What they do is interesting and opens up the political aspect of the war Ender is preparing for, but it shifts the story away from the main storyline and slows it down without adding too much back into the story.
"Ender's Game" is a piece of classic science fiction for a reason. Card has created an interesting world and a compelling story that not only entertains readers but forces them to think about serious issues that may often be ignored. And for those who really love it, there are a number of sequels to satisfy your thirst for more.
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