June 25, 2012
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Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
I recently did a two-week stint on the road for work. In preparation for the trip, I loaded a few books on my Kindle Touch. One of those I’ve already posted about on here (The Enlightened Cyclist), and another one was Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t know anything about it, save that it is considered a modern sci-fi classic, and that there have been some rumblings about a possible movie adaptation. Anyways, I can’t say I’m versed in sci-fi without reading this book, and now I’ve done it.
Ender’s Game is the story of a boy named Andrew Wiggin who goes by the name of Ender. He is possessed of extremely high intelligence. He is the third of three children (eldest brother Peter and middle daughter Valentine) in a future Earth so over-populated that many nations have limited childbirth to two children per family. Ender has been allowed to exist because Peter and Valentine were so far mentally advanced that a third child was actually requested of his mother and father. There is a war on, and Earth is taking the brightest and most capable children on to mold them into what Earth needs to defend herself against a future invasion of an insectoid alien race known only as the Buggers.
The defense effort identifies promising children based on intelligence, genetics and other markers. They then implant monitors in these children so they can observe how the children grow and develop. They are looking for signs of how intelligent and capable each child will be in the future. Ender’s siblings were both monitored as very young children, but then had the monitors removed when they were not chosen. We find out later in the book that Peter was not chosen because he was too violent and unpredictable (though undeniably brilliant) and Valentine was not chosen because she was on the other end of the behavioral spectrum – too meek and gentle for the likes of Battle School. The hope with Ender was that understanding his brother and sister’s genetics, he would turn out to have both of their brilliance, but a disposition squarely in between them: equal parts decisiveness and compassion.
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