Ender\'s Game

by Orson Scott Card

4.18 avg rating
Book 3 of 241 in the Best Science Fiction Books
1583 votes 16 comments
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If the world survives, that is.

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

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Anonymous | 2013-05-26 04:21:08
Each Orson Scott Card novel you mention you have to make a derogatory comment about him dont you.
Anonymous | 2013-10-13 10:55:41
Big disappointment. I believe I would have loved it when I was a child. But for me as a grown up it was extremely boring. Mainly because the characters are very bland. Basically there are just two characters: bullies and softies. The later become bullies themselves, but they have a reason for it, so that makes it right. The best about the book was that it helped me to understand the character of Orson Scott Card better. I have never read more about young boys groins and naked boys (lying naked in bunk beds, fighting naked in the shower running down a corridor without clothes on, and so on). It's very obvious that he is a closeted gay. He might even have been reconditioned. I feel for him.
fea | 2013-12-10 10:28:54
Great book; was intended as a prequel to "Speaker for the Dead"; ppl who read it stand along cannot possibly understand the full meaning of the book. Although it can be read as a stand-alone novel I do not recommend reading it without "Speaker for the Dead". Both "Ender's Games" and "Ender's Shadow" are great reads for teenagers; simple down to earth concepts. The concept of Outside or/and Aiúa is silly; but that's just a personal opinion.
Anonymous | 2014-09-22 01:08:15
Liked the book and idea of the story. However in my opinion story and ideas do not rank as high as Alastair Reynolds books (pretty much any of them) or Hannu Rajaniemi books. I wish the book would have ended in the part when Ender finds out the real purpose of the last simulation, somehow after that story gets way too "common" and predictable.
AA | 2014-11-12 08:44:07
It was okay. I only finished it since it is always on the lists of best sci fi. I felt duty bound but it really didn't interest me that much.
Anonymous | 2015-01-03 01:21:56
Lame! Can't believe it is listed. Video gamer saves the world
Anonymous | 2015-02-11 09:19:14
This juvenile trite is supposed to be the second best Scifi book? This list is looking terrible already.
Anonymous | 2015-03-22 10:15:04
I honestly don't get why this book is so universally acclaimed. It's extremely simple (in plot, characterization, and even in terms of prose) to the point that it reads more like a YA book than an adult novel. Seriously, Hunger Games is more sophisticated than this crap. I really don't get how this won a Hugo and Nebula (must have been a slow year) because it certainly doesn't measure up to the real classics like Dune or Zelazny's Lord of Light.
Anonymous | 2015-03-26 04:00:32
I love this book, I've reread it at least 4-5 times. I first read it around age 13 and I think I identified with ender in some dumb way. It remains to this day one of my favorite books.
WD | 2015-07-10 09:26:51
The abuse of children is appalling in this book. I read perhaps 75 pages and felt sick.
Anonymous | 2015-07-23 07:36:27
A classic for a reason
Ziv | 2015-08-20 11:59:01
Ender's Game should be in the top 10 of any Space Opera list. Great action, very good character development and just a fun book to read. Sorry to see the obligatory jab at Card, it diminishes the respect I would give this list.
Anonymous | 2015-11-06 11:54:41
Having already been disgusted by the seed story in Analog, I never read the book. But I can see why the military likes it. Thinking it is just a competitive videogame, Ender physically destroys an entire planet and all the lifeforms there. All for a political issue never specified, but clearly not that different from the American Revolution. What he did left only asteroidal rubble that will never host ordinary life again. Birds, bees, fish, trees, humans - oh well, that's war. But it's okay. His concern is eased by his teacher, who tells him that he did the right thing, and that it is for the higher-ups who give the orders to decide what is right and wrong. Teacher and associates all end up in high-paying post-war careers. No wonder the military loves it. The big wonder is that anyone else *admits* to liking it.
marie ann | 2015-12-26 07:05:53
What an entertaing book. I wish I had read it long ago. I boycotted the author for his religious views. But I saw movie and I was hooked. I am 59. I want entertainment, well written characters, politics, life struggles, happy and sad endings. That's life too. Thank you Orson Scott Card. A new series to enjoy. I was getting bored.
Rui | 2016-02-01 11:25:36
I find your review is a HUGE SPOILER! Come on, everything that's supposed to be a big revelation later in the book is being given away in 2 sentences!!! What kind of a reviewer does this?? Totally unforgivable! I read this book 2 years ago. I liked it very much, as well as it's sequel Speaker for the Dead. Great books, despite being very different from each other.
Anonymous | 2018-04-01 10:14:03
Not sure why Ender’s Game is listed with anything to do with AI, great story; however, this is about AI stories.
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