In the world devised by Orson Scott Card in Ender’s Game, humanity has successfully achieved interstellar travel at the speed of light, and have been forced to foil two invasions of an insectoid alien species referred to as “buggers.” Anticipating the third invasion, the military has devised the Battle School, a program in which very young children of superior intellect are trained in battle strategies and other fighting maneuvers in order to protect humanity’s future.
At Battle School, children are sorted into “armies” and forced to devise strategies and compete against each other in a mimicry of a real alien invasion. The protagonist of the novel, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who was taken from his family at the age of 5, is praised for possessing an undeniably brilliant and strategic mind, perhaps the best in the entire academy.
Quickly working his way up the “ladder,” Ender becomes the youngest leader of an army with a 100% success rate, but his status as the best of the best wins him as many enemies as it does allies. Eventually, Ender graduates and joins the space force to defend Earth from the third “bugger” invasion, but his strategies come at a cost not obvious at first glance.
While it may not be as well known as some other sci-fi classics, Ender’s Game is intriguing in that it raises some interesting psychological questions regarding the morality of training and harming children for the sake of the greater good. Personally, Ender’s Game has always been one of my favorite novels, and I would definitely recommend it to all readers, especially if they are fans of the sci-fi adventure genre.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.