Notes: Welcoming guest blogger Maggie who highlights a 'forgotten gem' of YA fiction - in this case, classic science fiction that may turn out to be closer to reality than we'd like to believe.
Book info: Ender's Game / by Orson Scott Card. Tor-Forge Books (Macmillan), 1994. [author's website] [publisher site] First book in the Ender Quartet. [book trailer by a fan]
Recommendation: An oldie but a goodie, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (published in various story forms since 1977) takes place in a post-Cold War dystopia in which parents are discouraged from having more than two children. Disgracefully, Ender is a Third, but, although he should be the spare - the expendable one - he is selected by the powers that be to be trained on a space station orbiting Earth. He is put through rigorous, even abusive, combat training which alienates him from the other recruits on board the station. His final “training exercise” requires him to command a fleet of space ships launched in an offensive against an alien home world - such a realistic videogame.
Card did not first intend to write a young adult novel, but his themes reach out to a much wider audience than he ever intended to address. In his acceptance speech for the Margaret A. Edwards Award, he admits, “Ender’s Game was written with no concessions to young readers. My protagonists were children, but the book was definitely not aimed at kids” (Card, “Margaret” 15). Nevertheless, he writes, “Young readers… are… deeply inside Ender’s character. They still live in a world largely (or, with younger readers, entirely) shaped by the adults around them. Ender’s attitude is revelatory to them” (Card, “Margaret” 17).
Although some see Ender’s Game as dated by its post-Cold War binaries of East and West - and subsequently Human and Alien – this novel, like many by Card, has a long lasting appeal to readers of all ages.
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. New York: Tor, 1991.
---. “Margaret A. Edwards Award Acceptance Speech.” Young Adult Library Services (Fall 2008): 14-18.
Guest Blogger Bio: L. Maggie Fanning, M.A. English professor, creative writer, and professional editor. Respond to my reflections at http://thehappybibliophile.blogspot.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.