“Ender’s Game,” written by Orson Scott Card, is set in a future that is surprisingly normal with cars and buses. For the most part, this novel isn’t a dystopian, but it does have elements of being one. The main conflict of the novel is the Buggers that threaten war on Earth and the soldiers who must be trained to fight them.
Meet young Ender Wiggin, a special third child, born only because the government asked his parents too have him. In this future, having more than two children was unpermitted, unless the government requested you to do so. The reason Ender’s parents were allowed to have him is that the government needed a soldier who was a mix between Ender’s siblings, Peter and Valentine, for Battle School, a school located on a space station above Earth. The purpose of Battle School is to train soldiers to fight the Buggers and become future commanders. After being monitored by a device for the first six years of his life, Colonel Graff comes from Battle School to recruit Ender for training.
As I’ve mentioned, the Battle School ultimately chooses Ender over his siblings as he is somewhat of a mix between the two, possessing some of Valentine’s compassion and some of Peter’s malevolence. We see this when Ender attacks a bully. Ender proves that he is capable of fighting off an attacker, but that he also has the ability to empathize with them afterwards.
Peter abhors Ender and even takes joy in threatening to kill him, which their parents are unaware of. So when Ender is chosen for Battle School over him, Peter becomes even more malicious and determined to cause destruction. However, Ender is not entirely left to fend for himself. Valentine tries her best to protect Ender from Peter’s wrath and stands up for him. Ender makes it very clear that the only person he will miss when he is away at Battle School is Valentine
Up until this point, I’ve mentioned “Buggers” quite a few times with no explanation as to what they are. These odd creatures live on another planet and try to invade Earth. Years ago, they fought in the First Bugger War and were barely defeated. These Buggers are highly intelligent and have proven to be resilient, making them nearly impossible to defeat. The purpose of Battle School is to train young children into becoming fierce soldiers that can defeat these buggers. They need to ensure that the soldiers they train are prepared for all possible situations as the Buggers are highly unpredictable.
Upon entering Battle school, Ender is immediately isolated from his peers as he is made out to be the “teacher’s pet.” The teachers quickly come to the understanding that Ender possesses a highly superior intelligence to that of his peers. Unlike some of his fellow soldiers, Ender does not act on impulse. He thinks logically and always considers his next move before he makes it. Due to this, the teacher’s keep a close eye on Ender.
Peter and Valentine’s few appearances contribute a lot to the novel. Under false identities, they manage to gain political influence and are soon highly respected by everyone in society. Keep in mind, the two are only ten and twelve. Even when the government discovers their true identities, the government decides to keep it a secret, since the two have accumulated so much power.
On the surface, Ender’s Game appears to be yet another children’s book. However, it really questions the idea of whether or not children and adults are all that different. It’s quite interesting how two children, Valentine and Peter, are capable of garnering so much power and influence under false identities. Part of the reason why they are able to do so is because their ideas are similar to that of adults. It reflects the idea that children and adults aren’t all that different and that children should maybe be taken more seriously.
I would highly recommend “Ender’s Game” to children above the age of ten. Although it may appear to be a children’s book, it delves deeper under the surface with themes that some children may not understand. However, “Ender’s Game” is not at all a difficult read and anyone who reads it should be able to finish it fairly quickly.