This archived article was written by: Brady Maynes
Why is it that people either love or hate sci-fi and fantasy books? Do they think that they will get too lost in a world of space or magic? Ender’s Game is very much a science fiction. It starts on Earth about the year 3000. A young boy named Andrew, nicknamed Ender, is the third child of a family of geniuses. He seems to have the perfect balance of nerve, and kindness. His older brother Peter is aggressive, arrogant, even mean. His sister Valentine, is kind, soft spoken, and comforting. Because he is the third child of a society that usually only allows two children, he his teased constantly. Children are prepared, basically from birth, to go to Battle School a preparatory school of sorts for future military commanders. They are preparing to go to war against the Bugger’s. They are an alien race that are very antlike, and invaded Earth. Ender is all but counted out until he gets in a fight at school and puts the kid in the hospital. The next day Commander Graff, who is the head of Battle School, comes to Ender’s home to take him to Battle School. Battle School, in a word, is terrible. It is no better than his regular school, except for the war games. Ender thrives during the war simulations. He brings new tactics and skills to the game. Even though he’s very young, Ender quickly climbs up the ranks. Being put in charge of his own squad younger than most other Battle School cadets. His squad continuously leads all the other squads, even with the squads getting help from the commanders. His commanders just keep telling him that all the unfairness and extra big responsibility is all for his good and learning. Throughout his time at Battle School,
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Ender meets and becomes friends with several people and eventually they become part of his squad.
Though he’s still young Ender is promoted to Command School and Mazer Rackham, the hero of the previous war with the Bugger’s. In many ways Mazer is like Ender; small but strong. Very smart and military minded. Playing a video game like war simulation game tests Ender. Ender’s friends and fellow Battle School participants slowly but steadily join him at Command School. The simulations get progressively harder. Mazer keeps telling Ender not to waste as many ships during the simulations but Ender’s first goal is winning. Just as in Battle School, Ender doesn’t care that he looses people or ships, as long as he wins. While all of his friends are excellent commanders, Ender is the lead commander and he pushes them hard, just as he has been pushed hard all throughout his life. He has used this as a way to progress, as a way to become better despite most people around him telling him he would fail and that he was inadequate. Ender’s last test comes and he and all of his friends are focused and ready to win. The simulation comes up and it is like nothing Ender has seen before. The enemy far outnumbers his own fleet. And they are at the enemy’s planet. Ender feels like he has no choice but to use the Molecular Disruption Device or “the Doctor.” Mazer has told him that “the Doctor” is against the rules since it will destroy not only the enemy, but it will blow up the planet as well as any of his own ships that are too close. Ender gives the order and the enemy is destroyed. Many of Ender’s own ships go down as well. All of the commanders start celebrating and hugging Ender. Ender finds this odd until Mazer tells him that the war simulations were not simulations at all. They had in fact all been real battles. That was why Mazer had advised Ender not to use the Doctor. Ender goes into a comatose like state. He finally snaps out of it and makes it his mission to find the last egg of the Bugger’s so they can grow and become a great race again. It seems that this last decision, more than any of the other growing experiences Ender has had over the years, changes Ender. He finds his compassionate side again. He discovers what it means to live, and care for others. So was annihilating an entire race worth it? Will the pros be greater than the cons? That is for each reader to decide for themselves.