Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 5:31:00 AM
It’s not the typical response you’d hear from a fourth grader. Far from it.
Why had I chosen Ender’s Game? Maybe it was because the entire patriarchal side of my family had adored science fiction novels for as long as I can remember. Perhaps it was because of the excessive desire to read something normally classified in the “Adult Fiction” section of our dimly lit school library. It could have even been because I’d found the shiny sheen of the cover intriguing and its smooth quality comforting to the touch.
I’ll never know how—or why—my hands had groped for its ebony bound spine, but I knew that my life had changed forever from the first time I opened the pristine white pages of Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card is indeed a genius with words. He writes without much bravado, in a way that you’d expect of playwrights, as he’d been one in the past. I had instantly been swallowed up in a mysterious and fast-flowing future civilization where humanity has fallen prey to an alien force and where children have the power to act as their own people.
Ender’s not your normal six-year-old. Ever since his birth, he’d been specially tracked by the government as an experiment—a trial by which children are tested for military potential. Why? The entire earth has been consumed by a fear of aliens, after an army of strange, ant-like beings from the far reaches of the galaxy attack human ships, initiating an international series of warfare that consumes humanity like nothing ever seen before.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought this to be yet another generic, run-of-the-mill, mass-produced piece of garbage, among a landfill more of poorly written science fiction. However, Ender doesn’t let that happen. From the first page, Ender grabs hold of you, gently twining his story around you and pulling you in deeper and deeper until you can’t even remember how you had fallen in the first place.
That had been me when I’d first read Card’s literary masterpiece. And what a first reading it was. The novel, set in a backdrop of war and destruction, told of the internal struggles that mankind faces every day, in a tone that you simply cannot ignore. It presents the ideas of faith, of struggle, and of free will to an audience that has little to no time to think before yet another deep, philosophical fallacy is portrayed. Readers live Ender’s life with him, from the moment he is manipulated into abandoning his family to serve as a general for the International Fleet—the organization in charge of the war—to the various times he discovers the savage dark side of the human mind. They cry, laugh, and think with him. Most of all, they learn to understand and leave from the novel a changed person. Ender’s Game made me realize that life is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have, and it is a book I will never forget.