Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ender's Game, Reviewed by Caroline

At 13, Caro already has voice and tone in her writing, as well as an exceptional grasp on analysis. She wrote this review for her gifted language arts class, and her teacher liked it so much, he had it sent to the school paper for publishing as an example for the other students. Every day she does or says something to be proud of -- EVERY DAY -- but today can I be obnoxious and brag?

Book Report: Ender’s Game
Editors’ Note
This is a exemplar book report written by Caroline H. in Mr. Key’s Humanities class and edited by Michelle G.

In a futuristic Earth bound society, only one person is capable of stopping the alien “buggers.” Enter Ender Wiggin, the most cunning and brilliant military strategist in the world, and also an 8-year-old child.
Orson Scott Card weaves a story so intricately balanced that the reader is swept away by even the slightest nuance in the plot. Instead of overlooking minor details that might be skipped in many other books the reader notices. The details make the reader feel tremendously involved in the plot, making the imagery vivid and stunning in front of the reader’s very eyes. Although the book is mostly devoid of color or happiness, the overall mood retains a hopeful feel, and carries the reader on a wave of crisp language and brilliant imagination.

Card’s masterpiece, Ender’s Game, caught the attention of the public quickly, and for good reason. Ender’s Game was a new kind of science fiction back in 1979, one that beckoned to readers. No famous science fiction writer of the time had even come close the Card’s idea of an advanced society, which left the book original and ahead of its time.

Published in the 1970’s at the close of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, Ender’s Game quite possibly represented the war itself. The book was written by an American author from an American viewpoint. Card uses “the humans” (suggesting that the Soviets were not humans like everybody else) in the book, whom displayed reason, intelligence and a large amount of willpower and compassion to represent the Americans in the Cold War. By the same stroke of insight, one can see where he used the antagonists of the book, the “buggers,” an alien species who, in Card’s brief explanation were seemingly emotionless, painless, dangerous killing machines, devoid of compassion or a basic sense of moral justice, to represent the Soviet Union.

It would seem that the buggers/Soviets cared only about pride, honor and conquering the humans/Americans, which was the view from an anti- Soviet Union perspective. Another example of bias against the Soviet Union should be more obvious to even the least perceptive of readers, which is that of the actual references to the Soviet Union in the book and their involvement with Ender’s Game’s “fictional” world politics. The Soviets in the book had a tight fisted grip on trade and technology, and a wish to destroy the main character because of reasons not clearly stated in the book, as if implying yet again that the Soviet Union was altogether a terrible country to be feared and who frequently targeted and attacked people (especially our country’s young children) without provocation. This book is actually an example of anti- Soviet propaganda.

A book one might compare to Ender’s Game would be the timeless novel Animal Farm. In Animal Farm there are political representations as well, and is written from another anti- Soviet Union perspective. Using farmyard animals, Animal Farm relays the Soviet public’s view on current political issues and military figureheads and personnel.

Ender’s Game is really about the Cold War, but even from xenophobic literature comes both a moral and immoral undercurrent. In Ender’s Game, besides the Soviet Union being very, very bad, the themes are of a positive nature. The other themes are that of human resilience, determination and leadership. These are expressed through the struggles that are faced head on by the main character, Ender, and the people he encounters on his struggle to greatness. This book is an A-List book for the following reasons: Ender’s Game is the recipient of two awards, the Hugo Award, and the Nova Award. Ender’s Game is also on nearly every A-List book list in the world because of its imagery, imagination and fabulous writing style. It was also highly progressive for its time in many ways, including that of women’s rights. In the book women hold the same positions in government and other non-knitting committee occupations as men, which was quite uncommon for the time. In 1979 there was still a great deal of discrimination in the workplace against women, and it was uncommon for a science fiction book with an American male author to be a sponsor of women’s rights.

Ender’s Game is a fabulous book with great detail, but a lot of xenophobic propaganda. Even though the internal messaging was not great, the writing style was inspired and the scenes vivid. Ender’s Game will continue to amaze.