What is it about? Here’s a short spoiler-free summary
Ender’s Game, released in 1985, is a science fiction story by Orson Scott Card. In the not too distant future, the military is stationed on a spaceship away from the Earth and they are tasked with recruiting and training young and extraordinary children to fight against the hoard of aliens in an imminent invasion. Aboard the ship, children are split up into groups and they must work train and work together. Throughout the story, Andrew Wiggin (known as Ender)finds himself in difficult situations in the form of bullying and important decisions pertaining to the alien threat. To overcome these situations Ender uses his prowess in tactical thinking to try and circumvent any possible problems he may face. The philosophy behind the plot, I found to be thought-provoking and really gets you thinking about what it is to be human and our place as a species in the universe. There is a political aspect too, which while I normally wouldn’t care for, I thought was very well done and didn’t feel too cumbersome.
A few things to note
Ender’s universe is expanded upon through many books and several short stories spanning thousands of years between different series within the franchises. The series that primarily focuses on Ender is called the Ender Quintet. Currently, the Ender Quintet series is 5 books long. Shadow Quintet, sometimes referred to as the Shadow Saga, focuses on the events after the Ender’s Game, with the first book taking place during the events of Ender’s Game. Another series called Formic Wars are all prequels to Ender’s Game and focus on the wars between the humans and the alien species. This series spans 6 novels. The Fleet School series is the 4th series and is a sequel to Ender’s Game. It revolves around the military fleet that once trained Ender and his comrades and what became of it after Ender’s Game. If you’re as lazy as I am and want to know which books go with which series, here’s a list I created to remedy that:
This is not including the handful of short stories. Needless to say that there is a lot to read if you want to dive into the franchise.
Aside from Ender’s Game, I’ve only gotten a chance to read Speaker for the Dead, which I thought was such an amazing follow-up. While great in its own right, Speaker of the Dead is a different beast altogether. Gone is the military focus of the first book and in its place is a much deeper philosophical idea of humans and alien species. A live-action film adaptation was released in 2013, which was unfortunately met with backlash from the public due to Orson Scott Card’s controversial stance against gay marriage amongst other things. While I don’t agree with his personal beliefs, I find it to be such a shame the filmed suffered because of it. I would love to have seen other books in the franchise find their way to the silver screen. Or possibly even a Netflix series? One can only hope…