Ender’s Game // Review

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Published 1985. 325 pages.


enders2Ask and ye shall receive. I have so many reviews to get through I figured I might as well do the one someone asked me to do. I also finished this book so long ago I switched notebooks and had to go digging around for the one my initial thoughts were written in.

Ender’s Game was one of the books on my TBR the longest. I’ve had it forever but never got around to it. Then suddenly, all I wanted to read was SciFi, and I figured hey, what a good opportunity to knock this thing off the list?

(It may be beneficial to note I read this book almost entirely in a parking lot before I went to work and while watching Red Sox games on TV).

A few years ago I watched the last twenty minutes of the movie they made in 2013. I had no idea what was going on then (besides the enemy being giant bugs), and it gave my only a vague idea of the end game of the novel. But I’ll tell you what, for most of it I had no idea how the end of the movie was going to set up by first 2/3rds of the novel. Not the faintest notion of how the dots were going to connect.

char_20231The dots did connect, eventually, and that brings me to my thoughts on the book as a whole: it was just ok. Orson Scott Card, in addition to being a not-great human being is not the most eloquent of writers. His prose behaves like a block of wood. Not like Plank from Ed, Edd, and Eddy, but a literal, soulless block of wood. And the plot drags on forever in weird places; so much time is spent on the nuances of children fighting in zero-gravity, which turns out to not really matter in the end.

In fairness, I haven’t read much science fiction at all. Maybe it’s supposed to be that way. But I can say for sure it wasn’t doing good things for me.

I also have a major problem with what is one of the key plot points: the kids don’t act like kids even a little. Personally, I’m a huge fan of novels with children as the main character, and I know it can be done very well. I understand the “loss of innocence” is an important theme, but the way the characters acted was so unrealistic it pulled me right out of the story. For reference, Ender is supposed to be something like eight years old at the start. No wonder they were aged up for the movie.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite part was the completely unnecessary subplot where Ender’s siblings Valentine and Peter plot to take over the world— literally.

Ultimately, I don’t think it’s all it’s cracked up to be. This novel tries very hard to make everything make sense, to the point where it sacrifices character and prose to do so. There’s better classics out there, better science fiction, too (The Left Hand of Darkness, anyone?). I’d say you’re better off spending time and money on something else.

In Transition

I love flying. There’s not much about it I don’t like, despite the large conflicts towards that point. But airports are a place of transition; people moving from one place to another almost passively. In airports, our autonomy is taken away from us. We move through security surrounded by TSA signs that explain our personal belongings are subject to search at any time. We remove our shoes and step through scanners. Everything is expensive because we’re trapped essentially, often in the middle of some swamp on the city outskirts. Someone else tells us which line to stand in, when to board and when to exit. We don’t move ourselves place to place— the pilot does that.

A profound transitioning that each and every person performs passively.

But I find something comfortable in the vaguely gross airplane capsule. The safety of being in an enclosed space. More than anything, however, I just love flying. I’ve always harbored dreams where I have wings. Human love to love things we shouldn’t. Men weren’t born to fly but we made it happen anyway.

We transitioned from crawling things to walking beings to flying people with time.

Now is a time where my life is in transition. I move from one school to another to follow my passions and dreams; the rug of financial stability has been pulled out from under my family in the matter of weeks; I am met at the intersection of who I am and who I want to be. These are my personal transitions, but my country faces larger ones.

I love my country, my home. I do, despite it’s failings, contradictions, and demons. Home is always something I associate with positivity. But we have a decisive political campaign that has made me want to tear my hair out for months now and are faced with unimaginable tragedy again and again and again. Orlando is something that struct so close to home, when my own sister, my wonderful sister who I could not live without, could have easily been a victim. Yet my first reaction was… nothing. An acceptance that has gradually changed to something more. Anger is something that comes slowly to me, but today I am angry. These abstract thoughts come easily.

I would like to fly away, I think. Go somewhere else, maybe to someplace where things are simpler and better, although where that is I cannot say. Or maybe I will fly off into the blue sky like a modern Icarus. Or maybe I will do nothing.

I’ve Been a Bad Mom

I’ve been a bad mom to this blog. My last post was in April. Two months ago, practically.

Going through my life in fast forward, the last thing I posted in late April was right before the death of my grandmother. After that, for a while I just didn’t feel like writing anymore. This blog in particular can be emotionally draining and I had no emotional capacity to spare. I put a hold on my life and flew back to Maine for a week, then had to return for three days to take my finals. Finish off my last year of Freshman year, pack up, and move on.

Every year after I finish school I sort of… go into hiatus for a month. I need time to decompress after working my ass off for months and months. This year I got a job right away where I work a twelve hour overnight two days in a row at a restaurant. It’s a lot of work, but the money’s good and I get four days off in a row. Time to write, or not write.

I haven’t stopped reading. I’ve actually been on quite the tear. At this point I’m a full seven books behind in writing reviews. I also have acquired plenty of stories from working the drunk shift.

While summer in Maine is amazing, beautiful, and I’m so pleased to be home, I do miss the structure of being at college. I’m more focused, more productive than I can be at home. The environment is right for blogging. I’m a person who thrives under pressure anyways.

Thanks for bearing with me, everything. I promise from now on to be a better mom to this blog. I aim to publish one-two days a week, probably Tuesdays and Thursdays. Look forward to more books, New England summer adventures, and crazy drunk people. Cheers, folks.