Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book #50

Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.

This has been on my to-read list for years. But it was during a recent conversation on the Book Guys podcast where discussion of this particular version, the multi-voiced audio version, was specifically recommended. It seemed like a good time to take the plunge and finally pick up this SF classic.

Earth has been attacked in the recent past by the Buggers, alien beings whose most recent attack was barely beaten off. Since that, Earth has been preparing for the inevitable counter-attack, and have recognized that their greatest assets in the war may very well be her children. Their age makes them the only Earthlings who can be trained to fight in the zero-gravity environment of space warfare.

Ender Wiggin, the youngest of three children, is tabbed as humanity's only hope to fight off the Buggers -- his skills, instincts, and personality have been noticed by the government. Recruited into Battle School and groomed to be a commander, Wiggin faces many challenges from his superiors and colleagues. His age and size make him a target for bullying, but he is eventually able to gather a team of trusted child colleagues, and eventually breaks every training record ever.

Through a terrific twist that I won't reveal, Wiggin leads his team to victory over the aliens, although the experience leaves him troubled. The end of the novel explores the effect that committing genocide has on a young person, and adds a depth of emotion to the action-adventure story that makes up the majority of the novel.

This book is rightly considered a classic, a terrific, thoughtful novel that deserves the praise it has received.

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