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, that is, the world survives. Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
My thoughts . . .
In my view, Ender's Game is one of the best coming-of-age book in all of Young Adult lit. Hefty praise as most books in the Young Adult genre explore the challenges and pitfalls of transitioning from child to adult.
Ender is six when he's drafted into Battle School and twelve when the book ends. By the end of that ride, Ender is no longer a child (if he ever was). He has proved himself a leader with compassion, wisdom and an unfailing ability to win. I love this quote by Colonel Graff which sums him up so perfectly:
"Ender doesn't just win, he wins thoroughly"
Ender isn't the only character who goes through the crucible. Battle School is filled with brilliant kids, all trying to become leaders in the war against the Buggers. Not all of them make it. Orson Scott Card pulls no punches with his creations. Without mercy or respite, he puts his characters through huge emotional, physical and psychological challenges. Many of them break. It's fascinating - and heartbreaking - watching this happen to children who, thanks to Card's brilliant writing, have become as real to me as my own family.
The setting in the Battle School is wonderfully fleshed-out. Although Orson Scott Card shows us much of the day to day life our hero, none of those details slow the story. In fact, the pace is fast, action-packed and riveting.
In hindsight, some of the science fiction was amazingly accurate too. The book was written in the mid-eighties and Orson Scott Card predicted computers in every home, linked to a net - like the internet. Pretty cool, huh? His Battle School orbits the planet in a similar way that the International Space Station orbits Earth.
But I think the biggest surprise was the ending . . . Obviously, my lips are sealed, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that it literally blew me away. (Pun intended! For those who have read the book)
Do you have to be a Sci-Fi fan to love Ender's Game? No way. The character development and plot alone are good reason to enjoy this Five Galaxy read.
Anyway, back to the movie . . . I saw the trailer and had to share it with you.
Orson Scott Card has been VERY involved with all aspects of this movie - which is a blend of both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow (Goodreads), so we can be confident we're getting the very best director, screen writer and cast.
So, down to the casting . . .
I always saw Ender as much slighter and blonde! So Asa Butterfield is a bit of a mind shift for me, but I think he'll grow on me.
I love Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff! I think that's a stroke of genius there. Although I'm not sure I can imagine a grossly over-weight Harrison Ford . . . my mind just doesn't go there. Maybe they have written that out of the screenplay.
And Sir Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham? Fantastic! He's just what I imagined Mazer to be. And the tattoos don't worry me at all. I think they add to the Mazer Mystique!
Another surprise in the looks department is Aramis Knight chosen to play Bean. I had a totally different Bean in mind. Oh well. That is the price we pay for having our favourite books made into movies - someone else's imagination takes over.
As for the other cast, I am happy to see how they perform.
These are my thoughts . . . expressed in a very long post (sorry about that). Now I would love to hear yours. What do you think of the cast?