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Love books – Ender’s Game and then Shadow

I admit this book thing was a small hobby of mine in the past. I read a fair bit in high school and then stopped to play games and pursue the more frivolous things in life. I missed a lot it seems so to make up for lost time I got that Kindle and I started going at whatever was interesting.

This past week I have been devouring both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow leading up to the theatrical release coming soon starring Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford. Let’s start with the genesis of it all, the book that launched an armada:

Ender’s Game
Everyone must have read this book already, I have heard its name and seen the old school 70’s retro future covers and re-prints when I look for the best sci-fi books of our time, wasn’t interested. I looked at the cover and wondered whether this retro vision of the future would even be valid for the iPhone/Pod generation, would the tech be pong to our GTA? Only one thing for it, read it and find out… without referring to Wikipedia for the plot lines. Cover to cover I was engrossed in a fantastic story with depth of character and the sights and smells of the world Orson Scott Card created. Throughout we’re allowed into the mind of a child directed to become the ultimate commander, in charge of forces destined to halt the end of civilisation as he and other humans knew it. It almost felt like I was in Ender’s shoes and shouldering the burden of the human race’s survival, feeling the massive isolation and I came away from each reading session wondering how he was going to continue, what would come next and cheering at the triumphs while sharing the lows. It was a rollercoaster of a ride and I wasn’t just idle, I was invested.

I read at night, usually before bed with the covers on and my pillow supporting the Paperwhite above my head. Why I told you this is because stimulus like a book (for me anyway) seeds dreams and something I never had before was in-between-episodes of my mind filling in other parts of the story from the time I stopped reading. The new information is totally fictitious and based purely on what I thought at the time of reading but I wonder if anyone else got that? I think the richness of the world in the book helped to allow for more thought provocation and therefore a continuation? it’s brilliant and I could not give a book higher praise so much as to say ‘it lives on’. Read it to engross yourself in a way of life so distant from our own, it’s just inconceivable that us as children would be put through such stress and mental anguish at the same time creating amazing triumph through adversity. Play to win completely.

Ender’s Shadow
This novel was written quite some time after Ender’s Game and it chronicles the other character, Bean. Bean is also a great mind like Ender Wiggin however his speciality is intelligence far beyond a normal human being. he is able to record mentally all details of things he sees and hears with the ability to cue any parts of the information recorded, learn at speed and utilise information gathered effectively. Perfect learning and analytical machine shaped like a small 4 year-old boy. This story is the opposite of Ender’s, Bean is an orphan living on the streets of Rotterdam and his life is of poverty, hunger and desperation. All this has developed in him an inherent mistrust of people around him to the point of his demeanor being cold. What ensues is a change in heart for the brilliant but cold, calculating Bean into a true friend to a classmate and confidant even to the increasingly isolated Ender Wiggin. This isn’t pure supporting character material either, Bean is truly given his chance to shine and Ender in this instance takes a backseat as the wunderkind Bean yearns to be but at the same time tries desperately to not imitate. Bean has his own struggles, his own story of how he came to exist and survive when all the odds were stacked against him. The book really fleshed out the world of Ender’s Game even further with the things that Ender himself didn’t see and shows us the ‘behind-the scenes’ journey of the supporting cast through Bean’s eyes. Never once did it fail to inspire and excite, survive intelligently.

Ok now, admission time. I read these two books because of what I heard about the series and they did not disappoint. There are a few more books to go but will it be the same with the characters all grown up? There’s something really crazy about kids who can do these amazing things, think and talk like they do.

You’re right, I should give it a go.

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