Ender's Game (Ender Quintet #1)

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Overview

Once again, the Earth is under attack. Alien "buggers" are poised for a final assault. The survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers. But who? Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child. Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battleschool. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. ...
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Ender's Game (Ender Quintet #1)

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Overview

Once again, the Earth is under attack. Alien "buggers" are poised for a final assault. The survival of the human species depends on a military genius who can defeat the buggers. But who? Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child. Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battleschool. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battleschool is just a game. Right?

Winner of the 2008 Margaret A. Edwards Award

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel Ender's Game was a miracle oak that grew from the tiny acorn of 1977 short story. This science fiction classic about a young man's experiences at Battle School won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards and then became the takeoff vehicle for a quintet that continues to gain readers. Speaking of takeoffs, a much-discussed, widely anticipated adaptation will premiere in the United States on November 1st. It stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley. Now in a mass-market movie tie-in edition and a NOOK Book.

Gale Research
That ambition and talent was both revealed and recognized in 1985, when Card released Ender's Game. This novel began as a short story, which Card describes in a CA interview as "still the most popular and the most reprinted of my stories, and I still have people tell me that they like it better than the novel.... When I started working on the novel that became Speaker for the Dead, a breakthrough for me in that story was realizing that the main character should be Ender Wiggin. That made it a kind of sequel, although its plot had nothing to do with the original plot; it was just using a character.... I told the publisher, Tom Doherty, that I needed to do a novel version of `Ender's Game' just to set up Speaker for the Dead. That's the only reason `Ender's Game' ever became a novel."
Children's Literature
This twenty-five-year-old science fiction classic has been repackaged for younger readers. Unlike many hard-core science fiction titles, this book is particularly appropriate for a younger audience, for its protagonist, Ender Wiggin, is just six years old at the novel's beginning and still a pre-teen at its end. Ender's parents have received a special dispensation to have a third child in spite of strict population control laws. His brilliant older siblings, Peter and Valentine, have each showed great promise, but each falls just short of having "the right stuff." The International Fleet (I.F.) believes that Ender may be the commander they need to lead great armies against invasion by alien "buggers." When Ender does exhibit the desired combination of compassion and cruelty, the I.F. takes him to the distant Battle School, where brilliant children are trained in military strategy and tactics. The centerpiece of their education is a simulated battle game at which Ender quickly excels, eventually becoming the youngest commander in history. Life at Battle School, especially these battle games, is richly described. Ender is portrayed as just a pawn in the larger game being played by the I.F., and readers will alternately sympathize with his exploitation and cheer when he is able to make friends in spite of the tremendous forces working to isolate and dehumanize him. The political and philosophical material at the novel's end may get too heavy for some readers, but for the most part, this novel will deservedly reach a new generation through this new edition.
—Norah Piehl
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

This new young adult edition of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card, winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to writing for teens, includes an original postscript by the author in which he discusses the origins of the novel is all about leadership. The novel asks: What does it take to successfully lead men into battle? The buggers have invaded Earth twice. The last time mankind survived only because of the brilliance of Mazer Rackham, commander of the International Fleet. Years later, a third invasion is feared and a new commander is sought. Ender Wiggin is only six years old when he is plucked to succeed Rackham and sent to the space station Battle School. He is isolated, ridiculed, bullied, and persecuted-but he survives and thrives. Using his astonishing intelligence, the boy learns to be a top-notch solider and, despite his youth and small stature, is quickly promoted up the ranks. By the age of 12, Ender learns the art of command and earns the respect and fear of his fellow soldiers. This audio version was created in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the novel and it's a gem. The audiobook is narrated by a full cast. Stefan Rudniki is particularly good as Ender. Despite Ender's age, this is not a children's novel. Its profound themes (and mild profanity) call for intelligent teens who appreciate a complex novel.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

From the Publisher
"Card has taken the venerable sf concepts of a superman and interstellar war against aliens, and, with superb characterization, pacing and language, combined them into a seamless story of compelling power. This is Card at the height of his very considerable powers — a major sf novel by any reasonable standards."

Booklist

 

"Card has done strong work before, but this could be the book to break him out of the pack."—New York Newsday

"Ender's Game is an affecting novel."—New York Times Book Review

"Card's latest novel is both a gripping tale of adventure in space and a

scathing indictment of the militaristic mind." —Library Journal

"A prize-winning novella has been transformed into an even more powerful book about war, that ranges in topic from reflex-training video games to combat between our inner- and other-directed selves....This book provides a harrowing look at the price we pay for trying to mold our posterity in our own aggresive image of what we believe is right." —The Christian Science Monitor

"Ender's Game is a fast-paced action/adventure but it is also a book with deep and complex moral sensibilities. Card constructed the book so that layers fold with immaculate timing, transforming an almost juvenile adventure into a tragic tale of the destruction of the only other sentient species man had discovered in the universe." — Houston Post

Booklist

Card has taken the venerable sf concepts of a superman and interstellar war against aliens, and, with superb characterization, pacing and language, combined them into a seamless story of compelling power. This is Card at the height of his very considerable powers--a major sf novel by any reasonable standards.
Houston Post
"Layers fold with immaculate timing, transforming an almost juvenile adventure into a tragic tale of the destruction...."
New York Times Book Review
"Ender's Game is an affecting novel."
New York Newsday
"Card has done strong work before, but this could be the book to break him out of the pack."
The Christian Science Monitor
" [A] powerful book about war, that ranges in topic from reflex-training video games to combat between our inner-and other-directed selves...."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780808586166
  • Publisher: Demco Media
  • Publication date: 7/13/2002
  • Series: Ender Quintet Series, #1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.36 (w) x 7.02 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Meet the Author

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and it's many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Quintet, the five books that chronicle the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, that follows on the novel Ender's Shadow and are set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, that tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien "Buggers".
Card has been a working writer since the 1970s. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977 -- the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog.
The novel-length version of Ender's Game, published in 1984 and continuously in print since then, became the basis of the 2013 film, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin.
Card was born in Washington state, and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he runs occasional writers' workshops and directs plays. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University.

He is the author many sf and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), There are also stand-alone science fiction and fantasy novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. He has collaborated with his daughter Emily Card on a manga series, Laddertop. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's recent work includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old.
Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.

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    1. Hometown:
      Greensboro, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      Richland, Washington
    1. Education:
      B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"You think you've found somebody, so suddenly my program gets the axe?"

"It's not about this kid that Graff found. It's about the low quality of what you've been finding."

"We knew it was long odds. But the kids I'm working with are actually fighting a war just to stay alive."

"Your kids are so malnourished that they suffer serious mental degradation before you even begin testing them. Most of them haven't formed any normal human bonds, they're so messed up they can't get through a day without finding something they can steal, break, or disrupt."

"They also represent possibility, as all children do."

"That's just the kind of sentimentality that discredits your whole project in the eyes of the I.F."

Poke kept her eyes open all the time. The younger children were supposed to be on watch, too, and sometimes they could be quite observant, but they just didn't notice all the things they needed to notice, and that meant that Poke could only depend on herself to see danger.

There was plenty of danger to watch for. The cops, for instance. They didn't show up often, but when they did, they seemed especially bent on clearing the streets of children. They would flail about them with their magnetic whips, landing cruel stinging blows on even the smallest children, haranguing them as vermin, thieves, pestilence, a plague on the fair city of Rotterdam. It was Poke's job to notice when a disturbance in the distance suggested that the cops might be running a sweep. Then she would give the alarm whistle and the little oneswould rush to their hiding places till the danger was past.

But the cops didn't come by that often. The real danger was much more immediate — big kids. Poke, at age nine, was the matriarch of her little crew (not that any of them knew for sure that she was a girl), but that cut no ice with the eleven- and twelve- and thirteen-year-old boys and girls who bullied their way around the streets. The adult-size beggars and thieves and whores of the street paid no attention to the little kids except to kick them out of the way. But the older children, who were among the kicked, turned around and preyed on the younger ones. Any time Poke's crew found something to eat — especially if they located a dependable source of garbage or an easy mark for a coin or a bit of food — they had to watch jealously and hide their winnings, for the bullies liked nothing better than to take away whatever scraps of food the little ones might have. Stealing from younger children was much safer than stealing from shops or passersby. And they enjoyed it, Poke could see that. They liked how the little kids cowered and obeyed and whimpered and gave them whatever they demanded.

So when the scrawny little two-year-old took up a perch on a garbage can across the street, Poke, being observant, saw him at once. The kid was on the edge of starvation. No, the kid was starving. Thin arms and legs, joints that looked ridiculously oversized, a distended belly. And if hunger didn't kill him soon, the onset of autumn would, because his clothing was thin and there wasn't much of it even at that.

Normally she wouldn't have paid him more than passing attention. But this one had eyes. He was still looking around with intelligence. None of that stupor of the walking dead, no longer searching for food or even caring to find a comfortable place to lie while breathing their last taste of the stinking air of Rotterdam. After all, death would not be such a change for them. Everyone knew that Rotterdam was, if not the capital, then the main seaport of Hell. The only difference between Rotterdam and death was that with Rotterdam, the damnation wasn't eternal.

This little boy — what was he doing? Not looking for food. He wasn't eyeing the pedestrians. Which was just as well — there was no chance that anyone would leave anything for a child that small. Anything he might get would be taken away by any other child, so why should he bother? If he wanted to survive, he should be following older scavengers and licking food wrappers behind them, getting the last sheen of sugar or dusting of flour clinging to the packaging, whatever the first comer hadn't licked off. There was nothing for this child out here on the street, not unless he got taken in by a crew, and Poke wouldn't have him. He'd be nothing but a drain, and her kids were already having a hard enough time without adding another useless mouth.

He's going to ask, she thought. He's going to whine and beg. But that only works on the rich people. I've got my crew to think of. He's not one of them, so I don't care about him. Even if he is small. He's nothing to me.

A couple of twelve-year-old hookers who didn't usually work this strip rounded a corner, heading toward Poke's base. She gave a low whistle. The kids immediately drifted apart, staying on the street but trying not to look like a crew.

It didn't help. The hookers knew already that Poke was a crew boss, and sure enough, they caught her by the arms and slammed her against a wall and demanded their "permission" fee. Poke knew better than to claim she had nothing to share — she always tried to keep a reserve in order to placate hungry bullies. These hookers, Poke could see why they were hungry. They didn't look like what the pedophiles wanted, when they came cruising through. They were too gaunt, too old-looking. So until they grew bodies and started attracting the slightly-less-perverted trade, they had to resort to scavenging. It made Poke's blood boil, to have them steal from her and her crew, but it was smarter to pay them off. If they beat her up, she couldn't look out for her crew now, could she? So she took them to one of her stashes and came up with a little bakery bag that still had half a pastry in it.

It was stale, since she'd been holding it for a couple of days for just such an occasion, but the two hookers grabbed it, tore open the bag, and one of them bit off more than half before offering the remainder to her friend. Or rather, her former friend, for of such predatory acts are feuds born. The two of them started fighting, screaming at each other, slapping, raking at each other with clawed hands. Poke watched closely, hoping that they'd drop the remaining fragment of pastry, but no such luck. It went into the mouth of the same girl who had already eaten the first bite — and it was that first girl who won the fight too, sending the other one running for refuge.

Poke turned around, and there was the little boy right behind her. She nearly tripped over him. Angry as she was at having had to give up food to those street-whores, she gave him a knee and knocked him to the ground. "Don't stand behind people if you don't want to land on your butt," she snarled.

He simply got up and looked at her, expectant, demanding.

"No, you little bastard, you're not getting nothing from me," said Poke. "I'm not taking one bean out of the mouths of my crew, you aren't worth a bean."

Her crew was starting to reassemble, now that the bullies had passed.

"Why you give your food to them?" said the boy. "You need that food."

"Oh, excuse me!" said Poke. She raised her voice, so her crew could hear her. "I guess you ought to be the crew boss here, is that it? You being so big, you got no trouble keeping the food."

"Not me," said the boy. "I'm not worth a bean, remember?"

"Yeah, I remember. Maybe you ought to remember and shut up."

Her crew laughed.

But the little boy didn't. "You got to get your own bully," he said.

"I don't get bullies, I get rid of them," Poke answered. She didn't like the way he kept talking, standing up to her. In a minute she was going to have to hurt him.

"You give food to bullies every day. Give that to one bully and get him to keep the others away from you."

"You think I never thought of that, stupid?" she said. "Only once he's bought, how I keep him? He won't fight for us."

"If he won't, then kill him," said the boy.

That made Poke mad, the stupid impossibility of it, the power of the idea that she knew she could never lay hands on. She gave him a knee again, and this time kicked him when he went down. "Maybe I start by killing you."

"I'm not worth a bean, remember?" said the boy. "You kill one bully, get another to fight for you, he want your food, he scared of you too."

She didn't know what to say to such a preposterous idea.

"They eating you up," said the boy. "Eating you up. So you got to kill one. Get him down, everybody as small as me. Stones crack any size head."

"You make me sick," she said.

"Cause you didn't think of it," he said.

He was flirting with death, talking to her that way. If she injured him at all, he'd be finished, he must know that.

But then, he had death living with him inside his flimsy little shirt already. Hard to see how it would matter if death came any closer.

Poke looked around at her crew. She couldn't read their faces.

"I don't need no baby telling me to kill what we can't kill."

"Little kid come up behind him, you shove, he fall over," said the boy. "Already got you some big stones, bricks. Hit him in the head. When you see brains you done."

"He no good to me dead," she said. "I want my own bully, he keep us safe, I don't want no dead one."

The boy grinned. "So now you like my idea," he said.

"Can't trust no bully," she answered.

"He watch out for you at the charity kitchen," said the boy. "You get in at the kitchen." He kept looking her in the eye, but he was talking for the others to hear. "He get you all in at the kitchen."

"Little kid get into the kitchen, the big kids, they beat him," said Sergeant. He was eight, and mostly acted like he thought he was Poke's second-in-command, though truth was she didn't have a second.

"You get you a bully, he make them go away."

"How he stop two bullies? Three bullies?" asked Sergeant.

"Like I said," the boy answered. "You push him down, he not so big. You get your rocks. You be ready. Ben't you a soldier? Don't they call you Sergeant?"

"Stop talking to him, Sarge," said Poke. "I don't know why any of us is talking to some two-year-old."

"I'm four," said the boy.

"What your name?" asked Poke.

"Nobody ever said no name for me," he said.

"You mean you so stupid you can't remember your own name?"

"Nobody ever said no name," he said again. Still he looked her in the eye, lying there on the ground, the crew around him.

"Ain't worth a bean," she said.

"Am so," he said.

"Yeah," said Sergeant. "One damn bean."

"So now you got a name," said Poke. "You go back and sit on that garbage can, I think about what you said."

"I need something to eat," said Bean.

"If I get me a bully, if what you said works, then maybe I give you something."

"I need something now," said Bean.

She knew it was true.

She reached into her pocket and took out six peanuts she had been saving. He sat up and took just one from her hand, put it in his mouth and slowly chewed.

"Take them all," she said impatiently.

He held out his little hand. It was weak. He couldn't make a fist. "Can't hold them all," he said. "Don't hold so good."

Damn. She was wasting perfectly good peanuts on a kid who was going to die anyway.

But she was going to try his idea. It was audacious, but it was the first plan she'd ever heard that offered any hope of making things better, of changing something about their miserable life without her having to put on girl clothes and going into business. And since it was his idea, the crew had to see that she treated him fair. That's how you stay crew boss, they always see you be fair.

So she kept holding her hand out while he ate all six peanuts, one at a time.

After he swallowed the last one, he looked her in the eye for another long moment, and then said, "You better be ready to kill him."

"I want him alive."

"Be ready to kill him if he ain't the right one." With that, Bean toddled back across the street to his garbage can and laborious climbed on top again to watch.

"You ain't no four years old!" Sergeant shouted over to him.

"I'm four but I'm just little," he shouted back.

Poke hushed Sergeant up and they went looking for stones and bricks and cinderblocks. If they were going to have a little war, they'd best be armed.


Bean didn't like his new name, but it was a name, and having a name meant that somebody else knew who he was and needed something to call him, and that was a good thing. So were the six peanuts. His mouth hardly knew what to do with them. Chewing hurt.

So did watching as Poke screwed up the plan he gave her. Bean didn't choose her because she was the smartest crew boss in Rotterdam. Quite the opposite. Her crew barely survived because her judgment wasn't that good. And she was too compassionate. Didn't have the brains to make sure she got enough food herself to look well-fed, so while her own crew knew she was nice and liked her, to strangers she didn't look prosperous. Didn't look good at her job.

But if she really was good at her job, she would never have listened to him. He never would have got close. Or if she did listen, and did like his idea, she would have got rid of him. That's the way it worked on the street. Nice kids died. Poke was almost too nice to stay alive. That's what Bean was counting on. But that's what he now feared.

All this time he invested in watching people while his body ate itself up, it would be wasted if she couldn't bring it off. Not that Bean hadn't wasted a lot of time himself. At first when he watched the way kids did things on the street, the way they were stealing from each other, at each other's throats, in each other's pockets, selling every part of themselves that they could sell, he saw how things could be better if somebody had any brains, but he didn't trust his own insight. He was sure there must be something else that he just didn't get. He struggled to learn more — of everything. To learn to read so he'd know what the signs said on trucks and stores and wagons and bins. To learn enough Dutch and enough I.F. Common to understand everything that was said around him. It didn't help that hunger constantly distracted him. He probably could have found more to eat if he hadn't spent so much time studying the people. But finally he realized: He already understood it. He had understood it from the start. There was no secret that Bean just didn't get yet because he was only little. The reason all these kids handled everything so stupidly was because they were stupid.

They were stupid and he was smart. So why was he starving to death while these kids were still alive? That was when he decided to act. That was when he picked Poke as his crew boss. And now he sat on a garbage can watching her blow it.

She chose the wrong bully, that's the first thing she did. She needed a guy who made it on size alone, intimidating people. She needed somebody big and dumb, brutal but controllable. Instead, she thinks she needs somebody small. No, stupid! Stupid! Bean wanted to scream at her as she saw her target coming, a bully who called himself Achilles after the comics hero. He was little and mean and smart and quick, but he had a gimp leg. So she thought she could take him down more easily. Stupid! The idea isn't just to take him down — you can take anybody down the first time because they won't expect it. You need somebody who will stay down.

But he said nothing. Couldn't get her mad at him. See what happens. See what Achilles is like when he's beat. She'll see — it won't work and she'll have to kill him and hide the body and try again with another bully before word gets out that there's a crew of little kids taking down bullies.

So up comes Achilles, swaggering — or maybe that was just the rolling gait that his bent leg forced on him — and Poke makes an exaggerated show of cowering and trying to get away. Bad job, thought Bean. Achilles gets it already. Something's wrong. You were supposed to act like you normally do! Stupid! So Achilles looks around a lot more. Wary. She tells him she's got something stashed — that part's normal — and she leads him into the trap in the alley. But look, he's holding back. Being careful. It isn't going to work.

But it does work, because of the gimp leg. Achilles can see the trap being sprung but he can't get away, a couple of little kids pile into the backs of his legs while Poke and Sergeant push him from the front and down he goes. Then there's a couple of bricks hitting his body and his bad leg and they're thrown hard — the little kids get it, they do their job, even if Poke is stupid — and yeah, that's good, Achilles is scared, he thinks he's going to die.

Bean was off his perch by now. Down the alley, watching, closer. Hard to see past the crowd. He pushes his way in, and the little kids — who are all bigger than he is — recognize him, they know he earned a view of this, they let him in. He stands right at Achilles' head. Poke stands above him, holding a big cinderblock, and she's talking.

"You get us into the food line at the shelter."

"Sure, right, I will, I promise."

Don't believe him. Look at his eyes, checking for weakness.

"You get more food this way, too, Achilles. You get my crew. We get enough to eat, we have more strength, we bring more to you. You need a crew. The other bullies shove you out of the way — we've seen them! — but with us, you don't got to take no shit. See how we do it? An army, that's what we are."

OK, now he was getting it. It was a good idea, and he wasn't stupid, so it made sense to him.

"If this is so smart, Poke, how come you didn't do this before now?"

She had nothing to say to that. Instead, she glanced at Bean.

Just a momentary glance, but Achilles saw it. And Bean knew what he was thinking. It was so obvious.

"Kill him," said Bean.

"Don't be stupid," said Poke. "He's in."

"That's right," said Achilles. "I'm in. It's a good idea."

"Kill him," said Bean. "If you don't kill him now, he's going to kill you."

"You let this little walking turd get away with talking shit like this?" said Achilles.

"It's your life or his," said Bean. "Kill him and take the next guy."

"The next guy won't have my bad leg," said Achilles. "The next guy won't think he needs you. I know I do. I'm in. I'm the one you want. It makes sense."

Maybe Bean's warning made her more cautious. She didn't cave in quite yet. "You won't decide later that you're embarrassed to have a bunch of little kids in your crew?"

"It's your crew, not mine," said Achilles.

Liar, thought Bean. Don't you see that he's lying to you?

"What this is to me," said Achilles, "this is my family. These are my kid brothers and sisters. I got to look after my family, don't I?"

Bean saw at once that Achilles had won. Powerful bully, and he had called these kids his sisters, his brothers. Bean could see the hunger in their eyes. Not the regular hunger, for food, but the real hunger, the deep hunger, for family, for love, for belonging. They got a little of that by being in Poke's crew. But Achilles was promising more. He had just beaten Poke's best offer. Now it was too late to kill him.

Too late, but for a moment it looked as if Poke was so stupid she was going to go ahead and kill him after all. She raised the cinderblock higher, to crash it down.

"No," said Bean. "You can't. He's family now."

She lowered the cinderblock to her waist. Slowly she turned to look at Bean. "You get the hell out of here," she said. "You no part of my crew. You get nothing here."

"No," said Achilles. "You better go ahead and kill me, you plan to treat him that way."

Oh, that sounded brave. But Bean knew Achilles wasn't brave. Just smart. He had already won. It meant nothing that he was lying there on the ground and Poke still had the cinderblock. It was his crew now. Poke was finished. It would be a while before anybody but Bean and Achilles understood that, but the test of authority was here and now, and Achilles was going to win it.

"This little kid," said Achilles, "he may not be part of your crew, but he's part of my family. You don't go telling my brother to get lost."

Poke hesitated. A moment. A moment longer.

Long enough.

Achilles sat up. He rubbed his bruises, he checked out his contusions. He looked in joking admiration to the little kids who had bricked him. "Damn, you bad!" They laughed — nervously, at first. Would he hurt them because they hurt him? "Don't worry," he said. "You showed me what you can do. We have to do this to more than a couple of bullies, you'll see. I had to know you could do it right. Good job. What's your name?"

One by one he learned their names. Learned them and remembered them, or when he missed one he'd make a big deal about it, apologize, visibly work at remembering. Fifteen minutes later, they loved him.

If he could do this, thought Bean, if he's this good at making people love him, why didn't he do it before?

Because these fools always look up for power. People above you, they never want to share power with you. Why you look to them? They give you nothing. People below you, you give them hope, you give them respect, they give you power, cause they don't think they have any, so they don't mind giving it up.

Achilles got to his feet, a little shaky, his bad leg more sore than usual. Everybody stood back, gave him some space. He could leave now, if he wanted. Get away, never come back. Or go get some more bullies, come back and punish the crew. But he stood there, then smiled, reached into his pocket, took out the most incredible thing. A bunch of raisins. A whole handful of them. They looked at his hand as if it bore the mark of a nail in the palm.

"Little brothers and sisters first," he said. "Littlest first." He looked at Bean. "You."

"Not him!" said the next littlest. "We don't even know him."

"Bean was the one wanted us to kill you," said another.

"Bean," said Achilles. "Bean, you were just looking out for my family, weren't you?"

"Yes," said Bean.

"You want a raisin?"

Bean nodded.

"You first. You the one brought us all together, OK?"

Either Achilles would kill him or he wouldn't. At this moment, all that mattered was the raisin. Bean took it. Put it in his mouth. Did not even bite down on it. Just let his saliva soak it, bringing out the flavor of it.

"You know," said Achilles, "no matter how long you hold it in your mouth, it never turns back into a grape."

"What's a grape?"

Achilles laughed at him, still not chewing. Then he gave out raisins to the other kids. Poke had never shared out so many raisins, because she had never had so many to share. But the little kids wouldn't understand that. They'd think, Poke gave us garbage, and Achilles gave us raisins. That's because they were stupid....

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. In the opening pages of Ender’s Game, Ender observes that “Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.” What does he mean by this? Do you think his observation is correct or incorrect? What does this observation reveal about Ender?

2. What is a “third”? Why were Ender’s parents permitted to have a third? Describe Ender’s relationships with Valentine and with Peter.

3. Are Ender’s relationships with others different because he is a third? In what ways are his relationships with his siblings similar to, or different from, your relationships with brothers, sisters, or close relatives?

4. How does Graff persuade Ender to go to Battle School? How does Ender set himself apart from the other boys before he even reaches Battle School?

5. In the schoolyard, in the shuttle, and later at Battle School, Ender kills in self-defense. Later in the story, a colonel comments that “Ender isn’t a killer. He just wins—thoroughly.” Is this a sufficient explanation for why Ender hurts people? Why doesn’t Ender turn to others for help? Do you think Ender is a killer? Why or why not?

6. What is the Giant’s Drink? What does Ender conclude from this mind game? What does his play teach those who observe him about Ender? Who do you think is manipulating this game?

7. In chapter 7, Petra tells Ender, “They never tell you any more truth than they have to.” Who are “they”? Who does Ender perceive as his enemy at this point in the story?

8. Dink Meeker discusses childhood with Ender, commenting, “We’re not children. Children can lose sometimes, and nobody cares.” Is Dink correct? Does Dink feel sorry about his observation? What are the goals of the “children” at Battle School? How are their goals similar to, or different from, the goals of children you know?

9. What techniques does Ender use to train his Dragon Army? What strategies does he take from his old commanders? What mistakes does he see himself making? What does he do about his errors?

10. Does Ender enjoy the Battle Room? Explain your answer.

11. How do the other boys treat Ender as his Dragon Army rises to the top of the rankings? Where does Ender go to learn more after it becomes clear he cannot be defeated by his classmates?

12. In chapter 11, Ender tells Graff and Anderson that he no longer plays the fantasy computer game because he won it. Is this true?

13. On page 128, Valentine notes that: “There was more Peter in her than she could bear to admit, though sometimes she dared to think about it anyway.” What is the “Peter” in Valentine? Does this same “Peter” exist in Ender? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

14. What is the special relationship between Ender and Bean? What innovations does Bean contribute to Dragon Army?

15. What does Bonzo Madrid plan to do to Ender? Why doesn’t the Battle School staff foil Bonzo’s plot? Why does Bonzo feel such hatred toward Ender? How does Ender feel about the attack? What does Ender do to Bonzo?

16. As Peter and Valentine achieve greater success in their secret roles, Valentine wonders if, “Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” Is this musing correct? Does it ever apply to your own life? Have Valentine and Peter, in their drive to succeed as Demosthenes and Locke, created their own ideological “Battle School”?

17. When they meet at the lake, what does Ender explain to Valentine about loving his enemy? What conundrum does this create for Ender? Why does Ender decide to go back to his life of battle training? Where does Graff take him when they leave Earth?

18. Describe Ender’s life on Eros. Who replaces Graff as Ender’s teacher? What does Ender’s new teacher tell him about Eros that seems to explain his discomfort?

19. With the help of his fighters, former classmates from Battle School, what does Ender decide to do in his “final exam” game? What is different about this game? What is really happening?

20. How does Ender react when he learns the truth about his battle simulations? Does Mazer Rackham’s explanation that Ender was a “weapon” aimed by the responsible adult government officials offer the boy any comfort?

21. What happens on Earth after the defeat of the buggers? Were Peter’s predictions correct? Does Demosthenes’s position win the day on Earth, or does Locke’s?

22. Where do Ender and Valentine go after the war is over? What does Ender find on the new colony?

23. What are the books that Ender writes? Why is it important that there are two stories? Are Ender’s books, in a way, the foundation for a new religion? Why or why not?

24. Although he will always carry the weight of his crimes with him, has Ender, as a speaker for the dead, finally achieved some autonomy over his own life? What is his mission now?

25. Early in the story, Graff tells Ender that “Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.” What does Graff mean? Do you think this is a true philosophy? Does Graff ’s statement apply to human beings in our world today? Explain your answer.

26. In his introduction, Orson Scott Card states that “Ender’s Game is a story about gifted children. It is also a story about soldiers…The story is one that you and I will construct together in your memory…” In what way do you most relate to the novel? What character or perspective is most relevant to your own life? How does Card’s statement help readers understand the actions of character in Ender’s fictional universe?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3560 )
Rating Distribution

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(2651)

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(542)

3 Star

(186)

2 Star

(66)

1 Star

(115)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 3576 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    End the Game

    I've seen this book in libraries, on best-of lists, and pretty much everywhere. But I've always dismissed it because of the cover and the premise which just seemed corny and something meant for 14-yr-old StarWars fans. So I was surprised when I saw my math teacher reading it. My math teacher is pretty, in her early 20's, and a conservative Bible-thumper, so I was curious to what she saw in it. Once I see somebody with a book in their hands, I become very nosy. Her rave review convinced me to read it.

    What can I say about this book is that it's very fun and entertaining. I read it in one day. The sci-fi itself was pretty basic, and the most interesting part for me was Ender's trials at Battle School. Even though I had trouble following the null gravity battles. I did not understand Ender's explanation at all. It seems I would not be fit for Battle School :(

    The most unbelievable part for me was the age of these kids. They were very young, yet talked like your average adult. I understand they were supposed to be genius's and everyone was chosen as the best in something, but the only I saw that in Ender. I wish I could have known the other characters more.

    The "twist" ending didn't surprise me as much as the final chapter did. It just seemed so completely different from the rest of the book. I'm not sure whether or like it or not. This book definitely made me think in places.

    Overall, I recommend it to sci-fi and non sci-fi fans alike. I'm interested to read the sequels to see what happens to their universe afterward, if I can find them at the library. The library has a nasty habit of only carrying some books in a series- and never the ones I want.

    125 out of 158 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Magnificent World of Ender Wiggin

    I'm not sure how I've never made the time to read Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game". It came to my attention about 15 years ago because of it's prescient inclusion of something like the Internet - a supercomputing, connected and communication experience. Viewing Ender's "desk" through the lens of 2010, one can't help but also applaud Card's anticipation of the iPad.

    The book is not standard sci-fi fare. Oh, it has its aliens (called "buggers" throughout the book), space- ships, travel, and battles, but it has much more than that. It has a unique depth. After reading it, I see now why schools are including it on their reading lists.

    Ender is a genius. A six-year-old genius. It becomes clear early in the book that Ender's intelligence is ridiculously off the charts, even by the standards of Card's fictional future. Card's mastery is on full display in how deep and dimensional he's able to make the characters. Like many children who have some distinguishing characteristic, whether it's a good or bad, Ender finds those characteristics under attack. He's very withdrawn, insecure and closed off to most of the real world. I couldn't help but feel Ender's claustrophobic view of his world.I couldn't help but feel his anger, frustration and outrage.

    I'm looking forward to reading more on Ender Wiggin. But like Ender, I need to step away for a while. I need some fresh air. I need to stretch out and catch my breath before I re-enter Ender's game...and Orson Scott Card's world.

    51 out of 64 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Awesome Sci-Fi

    In the running for top 10 sci-fi books of all time, in my opinion. I am only sorry that I waited so long to read this gem. Card has kicked off his Ender Wiggin series in grand fashion here. With all the sclock coming out of hollywood these days, it would be nice to see a faithful screen adaptation of this novel- it could not go wrong. Truly an original story with gripping characters and an engaging plot. I could hardly put it down.

    33 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Orson Scott Card

    This is a very good book. Orson Scott Card wrote an interesting book. In the book kids are taken from their homes and put into a school that teaches them to become the best naval fleet commanders they can be. The main cause of this is an alien enemy called the Formics, and are generally called the Buggers as a more unofficial name. It is a strange step to use children and train them from age 6 to about 18. This is similar to Sparta where the best and smartest were the only ones allowed to fight and started at age 7.

    Ender however will not have that much time to become the best commander he can. The book goes through his struggles of isolation, being younger than most other kids, and the resentment of others at his perfection of everything. I recomend this book for anyone who just wants a fun read while still making you think a little bit.

    26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Movie

    Btw there is a movie of this book coming out in 2013. It has the kid with the awesome eyes who played hugo...and the chick from nims island. Sorry only movies i can think of with them in it. Go to IMDB for more info!
    Hope that helps!!!!

    22 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2009

    Everyone Should Read this at Least Once

    Everyone should read this book at least once. The imagery O.S. Card uses is so extreme and futuristic, considering that this book was written in the eighties; indeed, ahead of its time, some instances have recently appeared in the last few years. The overall plot keeps you turning the pages. Read it- you wont be disappointed!

    19 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Gravo

    My all-time favorite book!

    18 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Anonymous

    One of the most confusing booksnive ever read. It starts out pretty cool but as you continue reading its very hard to understand, and overall just not that great of a.book. you can tell the author tried to make it have twists and be surprising and.be GOOD but he desperatly failed, lacking any sort of suspense and everything was predictable for the most part. I generally like all o fthe author books, but this was definetly one of his mosy failed attempts at a legacy...it honestly isnt worth your time to read.

    16 out of 115 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2010

    A great book

    I happened to stumble across this book by accident. I have so enjoyed reading it that I gave it to my Grandson. He so liked it that I have purchased a number of other books in this series. This is a great books for kids to read.

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 14, 2008

    Very Enjoyable Reading!

    Ender¿s Game by Orson Scott Card is a thought provoking book about Andrew ¿Ender¿ Wiggin and his attempts to help the military save the plant from destruction. However, the pre-pubescent child has no idea that he is actually helping the military. Ender is rather brilliant, just like his older sister and brother. His intelligence causes lots of problems throughout the story, especially resentment from classmates, both on Earth and while he attends the Battle School. Ender enjoys being at the Battle School because he is presented with many games that help stimulate war such as computer games and one that is similar to laser tag. One game in particular called ¿Free Play¿ fascinates the boy because he cannot seem to get past a level. This computer game stumps him until he begins to get angry, and the game rewards his frustrations with progress, conditioning Ender's violent tendencies and supporting his need to win completely. He manages to succeed extremely well at the laser tag game and using superior tactics, manages to defeat more experienced soldiers. Ender reorients his team using the phrase ¿the enemies¿ gate is down¿ so that they always know where the zero G environment is located. Because of his advancing skills, Ender becomes a leader at the Battle School and after being transferred to Command School, others begin watching how he plays the games. Through his lessons at the Battle School, Ender learns that reality is not always what it seems. <BR/>The author uses two different fonts to distinguish between the military¿s world and Ender¿s belief of what the world is. This format helps the reader recognize that Ender does not understand his environment and that reality is not what he believes it to be. Card uses a limited point of view to help the reader feel the same isolation that Ender must endure. The setting plays an important role in Ender¿s Game because without the technological advancements that allow space travel, Ender would never have left the Earth. <BR/>Science fiction novels generally do not draw largely on the author¿s own life, but Card¿s life had some influence on Ender¿s Game. He enjoyed reading immensely as a child which sparked his imagination. Card¿s first interaction with political activism was prior to and during the 1964 presidential election because his family had just moved to a very conservative town in Arizona. This introduction to politics plays some role in how the military control Ender¿s mind. Card¿s own children enjoyed video games greatly and his son Geoffrey currently designs them for a living. <BR/>I would greatly recommend this book because I truly enjoyed it. I do not tend to like reading and this book grabbed my attention from the beginning. I related to Ender¿s fascination with the games because I enjoy playing video games in my free time. The plot has many twists and turns that will keep the reader anxiously waiting for what will happen next, but the story still flows smoothly. Ender¿s Game is a book that I believe many young adults can relate to today as the popularity of video games increases.

    16 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    You guys dont make sense

    Instead of complaining about the one page sample JUST BUY THE FREAKIN BOOK. Its a really good book.

    13 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    I love this book

    I read this for english class in high school 15 years ago,and loved it. I have reread it about every other year since. Definitely recommend.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Great

    Everyone should read Enders Game, 3 chears for enders game

    13 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    free sample isnt worth downloading

    Is only one page. Its like only reading the first two words of a poem. YOU CANT FIND OUT WHAT IT IS ABOUT!!!!

    11 out of 87 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    A Must Read at ANY age

    This is a classic novel in the sci-fi genre. Non sci-fi fans will love it too!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2012

    I love it

    This is my favorite book of all time no doubt

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Aeh. So-so.

    I know everyone will say that "Enders Game" is the best sci fi classic ever. Bla bla bla.

    I
    did
    not
    care
    for
    It
    At.
    All.


    So sue me.

    7 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    GREAT

    This book is an openly amazing, exciting, and wonderful. It pulls you right in and you can't stop reading! I'm 11 and I read this book in a day, and I haven't done that since the Harry Potter, or Twilight, series. That just shows you how this book compares with many other greats.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2012

    Ender's Game

    One of the best books ever written

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Great

    Favorite book ever

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 3576 Customer Reviews

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