Fascinatin' Rhythm

January 31, 2014

The Kids Are Alright

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thurulingas @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Ender's Game: cover artOrson Scott Card: Ender’s Game

I read Ender’s Game a long, long time ago.  [Sure you don’t want another ‘long’ in there?  Ed.]  In light of the new film coming out, I thought I’d revisit it, and am glad I did, in spite of my misgivings about Card’s politics and homophobia.  But I’ve always divorced any appreciation of an artist’s work from the artist themselves, or there’s not much Wagner I could listen to.

One thing that is plain: Card doesn’t permit his private beliefs to colour his work.  This was evident in other works such as Songmaster, and so it was much easier to appreciate Ender’s Game as a work outside of the politics of any particular person or era.  What is clear, however, is that it remains a work with relevance for today, in how we view children and the military.

It’s an easy book to love.  Ender in particular is almost too easy to root for, his circumstances drawn so as to engage all our sympathies with him, and yet with a streak of ruthlessness that those with small children will I think readily identify as accurate, though perhaps they would hope that their own kids would not go so far.  Could any parent say for certain that they know how violent their kids might be if pushed?  I think that is what makes Ender’s Game such a disturbing read for some adults/parents, as much as Lord Of The Flies, perhaps.  Card has commented on the mail he receives from people being divided strongly into those for whom the story speaks of their own experiences, and those who complain that the depiction of children is unrealistic, to the effect that he believes the latter merely hope that that is the case, as the alternative would be unbearable for them.

The story itself is masterfully interwoven.  The existence of Ender’s siblings and their contrast with him are beautifully realised.  I particularly like the interludes with the commander of the Battle School (Graff) and his superiors/peers as the development of Ender is carefully choreographed and monitored.  The reveal at the end is one of the best in my memory of reading science fiction, and it still packs a punch years later.

To call Ender’s Game a classic is to throw another drop into the ocean of plaudits it has received over the years.  It fully deserves that status.

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