The novel that launched the bestselling Ender's Shadow series.
The human race is at War with the "Buggers," an insect-like alien race. As Earth prepares to defend itself from total destruction at the hands of an inscrutable enemy, all focus is on the development of military geniuses who can fight such a war, and win. The long distances of interstellar space have given hope to the defenders of Earth--they have time to train these future commanders up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high orbital facility called the Battle School. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In Ender's Shadow, Card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean--the one who became Ender's right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers. Bean's past was a battle just to survive. His success brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. Bean was sent into orbit, to the Battle School. And there he met Ender....
THE ENDER UNIVERSE
Ender’s Game / Ender in Exile / Speaker for the Dead / Xenocide / Children of the Mind
Ender’s Shadow series
Ender’s Shadow / Shadow of the Hegemon / Shadow Puppets / Shadow of the Giant / Shadows in Flight
Children of the Fleet
The First Formic War (with Aaron Johnston)
Earth Unaware / Earth Afire / Earth Awakens
The Second Formic War (with Aaron Johnston)
The Swarm /The Hive
A War of Gifts /First Meetings
About the Author
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.
Scott Brick has performed on film, television and radio. He appeared on stage throughout the United States in productions of Cyrano, Hamlet, Macbeth and other plays. In addition to his acting work, Scott choreographs fight sequences, and was a combatant in films including Romeo and Juliet, The Fantasticks and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. He has also been hired by Morgan Freeman to write the screenplay adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama.
Scott first began narrating audiobooks in 2000, and after recording almost 400 titles in five years, AudioFile magazine named Scott a Golden Voice and "one of the fastest-rising stars in the audiobook galaxy." He has read a number of titles in Frank Herbert's bestselling Dune series, and he won the 2003 Science Fiction Audie Award for Dune: The Butlerian Jihad. He has also won over 40 AudioFile Earphones Awards. In 2007, Scott was named Publishers Weekly's Narrator of the Year.
Hometown:Greensboro, North Carolina
Date of Birth:August 24, 1951
Place of Birth:Richland, Washington
Education:B.A. in theater, Brigham Young University, 1975; M.A. in English, University of Utah, 1981
Read an Excerpt
ENDERS SHADOW (POKE)
"You think you've found somebody, so suddenly my program gets the ax?"
"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 ones would 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 laboriously 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.
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?"
"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.
ENDERS SHADOW. Copyright 1999 by Orson Scott Card
Table of ContentsOrson Scott Card's Ender Wiggin saga began more than 20 years ago with the publication of "Ender's Game," a novella that formed the basis for the enormously popular novel of the same name, which was followed, in turn, by three increasingly ambitious sequels: Speaker For The Dead, Xenocide, and Children Of The Mind. Now, Card returns to the source material of the series with Ender's Shadow, a "parallel novel" that recapitulates the central events of Ender's Game from a new, and very different, perspective.
Ender's Game, first published in novel form in 1985, describes the relentlessly brutal education of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a preadolescent military genius believed to be humankind's last, best hope against the anticipated invasion of an insectile race of aliens called the Formics. As the novel opens, the Formics -- popularly known as "the Buggers" -- have already made two unsuccessful attempts to conquer and colonize Earth, and xenophobia now runs rampant, temporarily uniting a wide range of political and ideological factions. Ender, together with a handpicked group of gifted, if slightly less brilliant children, is conscripted and sent to a remote space station called the Battle School, where he participates in a series of war games that prepare him, by the age of 9, for the responsibilities of military command. Eventually, the games turn real, and Ender leads his youthful forces to a bitter and ironic "victory" over the Buggers. His chief lieutenant in the final series of battles -- his shadow -- is a brilliant, abrasive, undersize child known, simply, as Bean. Bean is both the hero and the focal point of Card's latest novel. Through him, we re-experience -- and sometimes reinterpret -- a familiar series of events.
Obviously, large areas of Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow -- the military training sequences, the climactic battles with the Buggers -- overlap, and the overlapping scenes reflect and illuminate each other in unexpected ways.
In the end, though, Ender's Shadow is a good deal more than a revisionist rendering of the earlier book. By focusing so intensely on Bean -- on his history; his personality; his bizarre, unprecedented origins -- Card moves his story into fresh fictional territory. As a result, Ender's Shadow steps outside the frame of its predecessor's concerns to become a meditation on survival, on alienation, on the nature of genius, on what it really means to be "human."
By the age of 4, Bean -- who has no known surname -- is a battle-scarred survivor whose character has been formed on the streets of Rotterdam. Homeless and alone, he makes a place for himself in a street gang/family that is run by a homicidal opportunist named Achilles. Eventually, Bean comes to the attention of Sister Carlotta, a Roman Catholic nun who is also a talent spotter for a military coalition called the International Federation. Sister Carlotta immediately recognizes Bean's immense, virtually unmeasurable intellect and recommends him to the leaders of the Battle School. At the same time, she begins to investigate Bean's shadowy background and discovers that her protégé is the sole survivor of an illegal experiment in genetic engineering and that his intellect has been purchased at an enormous, ultimately tragic, price.
As Bean progresses, with astonishing speed, through the various stages of Battle School, a single question begins to dominate the text: Is Bean, by commonly accepted standards, human? Or is he something different, something genuinely -- and frighteningly -- new? As the narrative proceeds, and the larger events of the novel move inexorably toward their xenocidal conclusion, Card's own position on the question becomes clear. With great skill and compassion, he shows us the process by which Bean develops his dormant capacity for empathy, slowly evolving from an autonomous, prodigiously analytical creature governed by Darwinian survival instincts into a child capable of connecting with the larger human community.
Bean's gradual discovery of his own humanity stands very much at the center of this moving, unsentimental examination of children robbed of their childhoods in the name of a greater good. It should be considered required reading for anyone familiar with the previous volumes of the Ender saga, but it can -- and no doubt will -- be read by people utterly unfamiliar with Card's earlier work. Ender's Shadow is a humane, involving narrative that asks hard questions and successfully revisits old, familiar settings but finds, against all odds, something new to say. It deserves the popularity it is almost certain to achieve.
Bill Sheehan reviews horror, suspense, and science fiction for Cemetery Dance, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and other publications. He is currently working on a book-length critical study of the fiction of Peter Straub.
Explorations Interview with Orson Scott Card
Paul Goat Allen: Although obviously adult science fiction, the novels in your Ender's saga have been consistently voted by students worldwide as some of the very best science fiction literature for young adults. Why do you think these novels are so profoundly popular with that age group?
Orson Scott Card: At first I was surprised by the response from younger readers. Ender's Game -- and all the later books -- are definitely adult science fiction, with no concessions for younger readers. The vocabulary is well above "grade level," and the moral, historical, and philosophical questions that are discussed are not watered down or simplified. Since the rule of thumb in young adult literature is that the hero of the story must be two years older than the intended audience, who is the intended audience for Ender's Game, when the hero starts out as a five-year-old?
Over the years, however, I have realized several things. First, young readers are absolutely critical -- what they don't like they won't pretend to like; but they are also extraordinarily forgiving. If they care about a story, they will read it even if it's full of hard words and abstruse concepts. Second, adolescents and some precocious children are likely to find a strong resonance with a hero who is pressured, exploited, and isolated, yet who sacrifices to save the very community that has treated him rather badly. It is a natural impulse for adolescents to either imagine themselves as or to admire the lone hero who pays a terrible price that no one else could have paid. This was certainly not my plan when I wrote the novel or even the original story, but after seeing such a strong response to Ender's Game (and, later, to Ender's Shadow and the other Shadow books), this is my best guess as to why, in addition to the adult readers, there are so many younger readers.
PGA: Peter Wiggin's goal to unite the people of Earth under one government was a focal theme in Shadow of the Giant. Do you think that humankind will ever adopt the One Tribe concept?
OSC: In the Ender/Shadow series, I cheat: The first experience of unity came when humankind's survival was under threat from alien invaders. In other words, a common enemy united us, and though that emergency unity fell apart when the threat was gone, people remembered the benefits of that unity and wanted it back. In the real world, we haven't had such unity, and in fact we have large populations that are committed to disunity -- or unity only by conquering and imposing an ideology on others. Throughout history, unity has only come when one nation had such overwhelming power that other nations either fell in line or were overwhelmed -- one thinks of Rome or of British rule in India -- but such unity is fragile, even when most people want it to continue.
Unity requires sacrifices of national and individual independence that are not always willingly made. But a unity born of blood and terror is never going to last; only unity born of willing participation and mutual benefit has a chance of surviving. The first kind, if sustained long enough, can become the latter. But it takes a long, long time. Old hatreds and resentments are not erased overnight. Will it ever happen? Quite possibly. Do I expect it to happen soon? Ha ha ha.
PGA: Out of all the Battle School graduates, which character is most like the young Orson Scott Card and why?
OSC: None of them. I was never that smart and never that willing to submit to authority. I would have been one of the kids turned down for Battle School, who then told anybody who listened that Battle School only tested for a certain kind of intelligence and actually the smartest and most creative kids were never sent up into space. But I wouldn't have believed it myself and would have considered myself a failure all my life because I hadn't been chosen. This is not a great revelation. That combination of boastfulness and humiliating self-abnegation is almost universal among fiction writers...it's almost a job requirement. If writers weren't vain to the point of arrogance, we would never have the courage to put forth our made-up tales and expect people to pay for them; but if we also didn't fear that we were really quite awful and untalented, we would never be able to learn from our mistakes and improve.
PGA: With so many new plot threads at the conclusion of Shadow of the Giant -- Bean and Petra's children, the various colony ships, etc. -- what's the likelihood of one or more new novels in your Enderverse?
OSC: I am definitely writing a novel that takes place after the events of Children of the Mind, which brings together a few threads from the Shadow books and all the dangling threads from the Speaker trilogy (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind). That one will be called Shadows in Flight. I will also write a novel about Mazer Rackham that is a prequel to the whole series. It is also possible that Tor Books and I will initiate a series of novels (or at least short story anthologies) by other writers about what happened to the kids from Ender's Jeesh after the events of Shadow of the Giant. But no final decision has yet been made on that. But if we don't find writers who can create stories that in my judgment carry on the kind of story I tried to write in my Ender stories, we simply won't do it. Better not to do it at all than to do it badly. And...this next Christmas , we will publish A Battle School Christmas (or some variation on that title), which takes place before Ender comes to Battle School. It will not be a "feel-good" Christmas book in the normal vein -- for one thing, angels and miracles have no place in serious science fiction. It will be as tough a story of kids training for war as any of the other stories in the series. And some of the kids who end up in Ender's Jeesh will be in the book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Orson Scott Card has created another master piece in his novel, Ender¿s Shadow. This parallel to Ender¿s Game is remarkably intriguing in the different perspectives and interpretations of Ender Wiggin and the development of Bean. You are taken on a journey through a boy¿s life who acted Ender¿s right hand man in Ender¿s Game. Bean, as he is nicknamed, is a homeless child with nothing but violence and his need for learning accompanying him. Because of his diminutive physicality, he must overcome many situations using only his wits. Personally I felt that this novel was a close second to Ender¿s Game, although many people may disagree. Much more action and inner conflict took place in Ender¿s Game, and I feel that it was, personally, easier to relate to. However, it is still very interesting to see how the much smarter, but more petite ¿shadow of Ender¿ endures his life, and how Ender is portrayed from a different perspective. His deprived childhood makes this book easy to get into, while his perseverance and advance intellectual mind, as well as the many situations he encounters in Battle School, makes this very easy to continue. Even if you have never heard of the book Ender¿s Game, this book is still very interesting and very easy to follow. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of Sci-Fi, and people who just feel like reading a good book.
The thinking is highly advanced and makes this book quite an interesting read. I read this after reading Ender's Game, and it is cool how everyhing fits together so perfectly. I would highly recommend this to anyone who doesn't mind thinking while they read. I have read and re-read this numerous times, and will continue to do so in the future!
I liked how this book provided another point of view but follows along with the events in enders game
I read Ender's Game first, then decided to read this book next, as I have found out they are now making a movie based on these two books. This book was incredible! Not only did I enjoy immersing myself into Bean's mind, I enjoyed seeing the Battle School and everything else from a different perspective. Well done.
Definitly worth buying. My friend ashly bought for me and forced me to read it. Its all aout bean. Hes great and just as clever and thinky and ender but as raised on the streets and has more street smarts. Buy it definitly. Also recommend enders game. And dont think you have to read enders game first. There parrellel novels meant to be read in either order
Ender's Shadow is an excellent read, one I would recommend to readers of all ages and fans of all genres. This book is filled with military intelligence, cunning, wit, humor, friendship, rivalry, loyalty, love, and an admirable amount of grit and determination coming from the smallest and most unlikely of places. Having read Ender's Game already will not take away from this fantastic tale but might, instead, add to it. I hope that readers and fans of Ender will come to love Bean and hold a special place for him in their hearts as I have.
This is one of the first military sciences fiction booksI have ever read. I loved this book so much I read the entire series and then read all of the Ender books. Not gonna lie, I like the shadow series more, simply because Bean is a major boss in every way. He was given the most interesting background I have ever read, and was given more potential than Ender could ever had had. Although both series are great, I absolutely adore this one.
Loved this book but wish I had read it right after Ender's Game or at the same time!
Was almost as good as Ender's Game
Bean's point of view is so enlightening. He was hilarious! This book had even more action than its companion. Now it's time to read the rest off the series!
Tells the same story of enders game but from a different perspective. Very good book.
An excellent companion to enders game, maintaining the overall flow of the story, as well as the relateability of the charaters, while providing new insights into the world of ender.
Bean may be bettet than Ender
A great book showing the original book in a different perspective. Bean turns out to sometims be a more exciting main character than Ender was. Highly recommended!
Excellent read for those who enjoyed Ender's game!
Ender's Shadow is the story of Bean, Ender's close comrade and friend from Ender's Game. This story is takes place at the same time as the Ender's Game, however it follows Bean from his early childhood all the way to the end of Ender's Game. This story shows a very different childhood and introduction to the IF compared to Ender, Bean is a street rat that used the IF to escape his town. The story is nothing like Ender's Game, it starts off with Bean starving in the streets of Rotterdam, organizing a gang of children using his immense knowledge. As I was reading this book, it completely changes my perspective on Ender's Game, I feel more empathy for Bean after learning about his struggles. I highly recommend reading this book after Ender's Game to learn the background information. I feel that this book is very powerful and changed my perspective on Ender's Game, I suggest to everybody to get in on this series.
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card, published 12/15/2000,is a fiction book that you wont be able to put down! It is the best one of Card's books yet. It is like Ender's Games but from another charecters point of view. Bean is a hyper-intelligent young kid off the streets that gets recruited by a nun to go to battle school to fight the buggers. It is a very exciting book because you get to see battle school from another perspective besides Ender's and not just anyones. Bean is a very young genius, who has an act to figure things out and not settling for second. This book is exciting and fun. You wont be able to stop reading it once you have started.This book affected me by giving me an escape from life and stress, it helped me take my mind off of homework and work and gave me a place to go and get lost in a world of pure exciting imagination and adventure. I would recommend this book and other books from the Enders series to everyone and anyone. It is easy to follow and has very clear details so you always know exactly whats going on. The setting in Ender's Shadow takes place on the hellish streets of Rotterdam, where Bean is on the verge of starvation and fighting for food, but being the smallest and youngest on the street he cant get by with strength or toughness like the other kids. Beans has to use his brain and strategy to survive.Card uses so much detail to describe the setting you know how it feels to live on the streets and you learn the personality's and weaknesses of the other character. In battle school, the author does amazing at drawing this picture for you to where you know exactly how each room and section of the school looks and is used for. Bean goes through so many adventure and life threatening challenges that keep you locked in and anxious! You will be surprised and shock how many twists and turns there are in the story. The book will surpass all your expectations. Be prepared to fall in love with each character and their lives. I highly recommend Ender's Shadow!
Ender's Shadow takes you back through the time of battle school except this time it is through the eyes of Bean. Ender's Shadow is a very good book that is exceptionally hard to put down once you have started. There are many things in Ender's Shadow that happened in Ender's Game but it is taken to a whole different level of detail as you see how Bean accomplishes the things that make him a vital character in Ender's Game. I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether they like science fiction or not.
A twist on the "Ender's Game" series, "Ender's Shadow" offers the same story told from Bean's point of view. OSC does a beautiful job of separating the voices of the characters, limiting story overlap, while keeping appropriately consistent the same socio-political structure and happenings of the first book yet telling a new story within that existing infrastructure. Personally, I favor the story from Ender's Game to this book. But that's just a matter of preference, and certainly doesn't diminish the quality of this parallel series. All in all, I would recommend this read.
If you liked Ender's game then this is a must read. I would suggest you re-read Ebnder's game first if its been a while. Appreciation of this book climbs when you are more familiar with the first.
Before I start, I must say the original Ender's Game was one of my favorite books of all time. I had high expectations of this book before starting it. To my surprise, I find it quite thrilling and intense. The book's plot never slows down and is fast paced. Throughout the book I enjoyed reading about Bean's personal struggle against the IF administration. I wish the author wrote about Ender more like the original book, but I like how the author developed Bean's character. I feel like I can relate to the characters in this book and feel what they are going through. All in all, Ender's Shadow was a very good book and I highly recommend it to any fan of Ender's Game or a fan of any science-fiction novels.
This book is a great beginning to very philosophical sequels. It's easy enough for the younger reader and yet interesting enough for every age. The end of this book sets the stage for the rest of Ender's life's purpose
Excellent read for those who enjoyed Ender's Game, this is a must read to see another facet of the story. From Bean's point of view.
Ender's Shadow is a marvelous and engaging book. It is the parrelel novel to Ender's Game, and it gives an indepth view of the world from Bean's point of view. Card's charachter decelopement skills leave nothing to be desired. He pulls the characters along, and introduces them to new expierences. They evolve beautifully to carry the story along. This book is completely imagineable and engaging. It shows the depth of poverty in the world and how one story has hundreds of different angles. This books is complex and thrilling. Even if your not a fan of Sci-fi, this book is one of the best.