Ender’s Game Reviewed
The Ladies Who Drink tackle a Sci-fi classic and sobriety with Ender’s Game
Don’t let our tony-sounding name fool you: The Ladies Who Drink have been choosing a fair amount of science-fiction for our monthly book-cum-social club. Most recently, we read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
Only one of us actually finished Ender’s Game before the meeting. One of us was in the family way, one was finishing up her semester, and the other two were just plain lazy. Well, that and they weren’t totally taken with the novel. Ender’s Game is a novel about children who are brought up to be fearsome soldiers in a future world where aliens (called “buggers”) are a real threat. It won the Hugo and the Nebula awards, two of science fiction’s highest honors. But for whatever reason, it just didn’t draw all of us in. Coco’s husband heard what our next read was and said, “Yeah, that’s a great book if you’re a seventh-grade boy.” We didn’t feel quite that way about it—still I wouldn’t say it was our favorite read. Which brings us to ratings: Edie gave it 3.8 stars (out of 5), I gave it 3, and Coco gave it 3.5.
To be more specific, some of us were a little bored by all the mock-battle scenes, of which there are a lot. Personally I couldn’t visualize the battle maneuvers the book describes, so those became a great opportunity for me to zone out. That sentiment wasn’t universally felt by all the Ladies, nor was the next. Some of us had a hard time relating to the main characters, including Ender. I think we found the children’s cold intellect, aloofness, and violent tendencies unlikeable. But, we also wondered how much of that was supposed to be due to their society and their experiences at the relentless battle school (nature versus nurture). After all, it was their society that placed such value on those characteristics and their society that created the battle school they attended. On the other hand, Ender’s brother never attended battle school, and he was basically a psychopath, and Ender himself killed another child before he ever started serious training.
Ender does become more vulnerable at the end and reveals his desire for love and affection, which he’s never received. Coco wondered if there were religious undertones, e.g., everyone is capable of great evil but must fight those tendencies. We weren’t sure if the name Peter (Ender’s brother) had religious undertones, and a quick Internet search told me that Peter showed a lack of faith or courage on a couple of occasions, but ultimately he never stopped believing in Jesus and was fundamental in establishing Christianity after Jesus’s crucifixion … for what that’s worth. On another positive note, there are a few twists at the end that make it more interesting, and we’ve also heard that the second book, Speaker for the Dead, is much more engaging.
As for refreshments, we chose to sip on the Pangalactic Gargleblaster. Yes, this cocktail is based on one described in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but Ender and his friends are underage and therefore don’t drink. Moreover, the little students are so focused on slaughtering buggers, they don’t place any importance on what we might call the finer things in life.