Ender's Game

hallieod at indigo.ie hallieod at indigo.ie
Sun Mar 30 15:53:20 EST 2003

This is replying to Dorian's post, but incorporating Melissa's and 
Sally's as well.

>  >
>>  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).

I think you cleared it up later on.

>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.

Actually, hearing what kids have been saying lately, I'm not so sure 
I agree with you about (3) any more, but the others, definitely.

>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!"

That's an interesting description, which gives an entirely different 
>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.

Well, I know far less about what Card thinks about it than anyone, 
but it does make sense to me.  (I cannot believe that someone lost or 
kept your signed copy, btw - that's horrendous!).   When I read the 
book, I had first read the introduction, and was a bit put off by his 
'defense' of the book, in terms of it's really being about kids.  Had 
I not read that, I think I might have had my antenna up for 
un-childlike behaviour much less.  As it was, I sort of had a slight 
feeling that he was writing about characters who might not truly be 
like kids in their behaviour, but through putting them into 
situations which didn't allow them to be kids, talked a lot about 
people, and what they'll be willing to do to defend themselves or 
their countries, world, etc.

But having heard that he called it a handbook for geniuses, I can see 
that he might have been thinking only of 'exceptional' kids.  Which 
still doesn't convince me that their depiction is 'realistic' - 
though, as I said, I wouldn't have necessarily expected it to be the 
first place had he not argued so strongly that it was.

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

She's got Polly's fatal soft-heartedness, and that would be a Very 
Bad Thing to do, although now that you mentioned it, she'd probably 
make something quite interesting of it.  Becca's about half-way 
through now though, and I'll be interested to see what she thinks.


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