Ender's Game

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Fri Mar 28 16:09:09 EST 2003

Hallie said...
> That was interesting, and I was very glad to see the list of
> characteristics written out (with due respect to the slipperiness of
> definitions like this), but I don't really feel it answered my
> question.  (English is so unsatisfactory sometimes - that sounds as
> if I'm saying *you* didn't answer my question, which I'm not.)  Just
> that I look at the list and still wonder why you consider this
> particular book not to be a YA book.  I guess it must have been
> Dorian who said that Card thought it wasn't, which is another
> question again.

It was me that said that, and I said it based on what I got out of his intro
in that edition that I lent you.  You seem to have got other meaning from it
(or maybe I misremembered what I read).

Anyway, personally I don't class "Ender's Game" as a YA book because (1)
parts of it could frighten/gross out younger teens if they're not already
used to adult reading matter; (2) the aspects of the book dealing with
Ender's motivations could be disturbing ("I killed this guy because I wanted
to end all possible fights here and now" - very understandable and
sympathisable-with, but just a little scary, too!); (3) the themes are quite
complex, involving "rite of passage", the morality of war, the results of
war, and coping with the results of war, some or all of which I wonder if a
13-year-old (say) would grasp/care about/be able to cope with.  The
interactions between Ender and the other kids are realistically complex, and
remind me strongly of some of my own experiences in places, but Card
presents them in a less kind way, shall I say, than most YA authors.

To me, it's (to an extent) a book to read as an adult (or a precocious
teen), who can look back at similar experiences and think "oh shit, that's
just how it was/could have been, and I'm so glad I'm not there any more!"

FWIW, the original copy of the book that I owned (which I lent to someone
who never gave it back) was signed by OSC with the remark "a handbook for
geniuses", which, coupled with his statements in the intro to the copy I
have now (and have lent to Hallie), gives me the impression that he
didn't/doesn't expect any but exceptional young teens to read it.  I may, of
course, be way wrong.

(Hallie, maybe you should give the book to Cara, and tell us all what she
makes of it!)

Until the sky falls on our heads...

Dorian E. Gray
israfel at eircom.net

"I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
- O. Cromwell

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