Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ender's Game

Card, O.S. (1991). Ender's Game. NY: Torr.
LS5385: Classic/Sci-Fi

I have avoided this book like the plague.  My husband has read it many times and loved it. Three of my four sons have read it, many times each, and loved it.  It is sci-fi, so there is no way I could have loved it. Especially given the cover we have most closely resembles the fifth one below, but without the accolades.

So, it shows up as a "choice" to read for my class. Because we have it on the shelf and that saves me a trip to the library when it's 108 degrees outside, I pick it.

 What can I say? I can say that I loved this book.  I was so impressed that the author was already thinking about things (like blogging) that others weren't really thinking about when he wrote the book.  The setting may have seemed outlandish at the time (the government control over the number of children American's could have, for example), but it is believable.  The premise that children were allowed to be born into certain families who showed genetic promise of creating a certain profile person doesn't seem so outlandish any more.

The travails of young Ender (I kept finding myself reading what he said and did and shaking my head.  He's six? He's eight? He's ten?), are the same that all of us encounter at some time or another in life, so the story really is timeless.  

There are bullies, jealousy, hurdles to face, decisions to make, consequences to live with, realizations. . . the book touches on so many things and can be interpreted in so many ways. I think a seventh grade boy will have a much difference experience with the book than this forty-four-year-old woman did, but it's all good experience. This book is a thinker.

I had not seen any of these other book covers before I read it; I am curious if anyone besides me envisioned Ender like I envisioned him - like Owen Meany in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.  Can't figure out where that came from. Possibly Ender's intelligence? I dunno. . .

I posted all these covers to show how publishers have tried to steer the appeal.  I would not have been interested in reading the books with covers 2, 3, or 4 - and honestly, those seem to be playing it down to an audience younger than I think it belongs.  I also don't want to be told (shown) how Ender should look, though cover 3 is probably appropriate.  Cover 5 is a re-tool of cover 1, but it seems a bit more serious, more intense.  I imagine that if funds permit, I would try and have a variety of covers of this book in my library collection.  I can see how you could draw a number of different readers to the book just by showing different covers.  There were even more than this that I saw. . .

To me, the science fiction in the book is really secondary to the trials and tribulations Ender encounters.  I loved this book, but I am still leary of sci-fi in general; however, I think I will read the next book in the series and see how it goes.

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