With a full cast production, this highly-entertaining dramatization of the award-winning military science fiction story Ender's Game will wow fans as well as listeners new to this classic. Using an original screenplay written by Orson Scott Card himself, the audioplay takes listeners through Battle School with prodigy Ender Wiggin.
The cast fleshes out their characters with full personalities and motivations - in particular, the actors who portray the children at Battle School do a wonderful job in bringing out their precociousness and fading innocence. The action scenes are brisk and electrifying, and listeners will be swept up in the events of the story.
Audie Award Finalist, Multi-Voiced Performance, 2014
Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2014
Experience Ender's Game as you've never heard it before! With an all-new, original script written by Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game Alive is a full cast audio drama that reimagines the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic.
Ender’s Game Alive puts you into Battle School with young Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, as he trains to become the general who will lead Earth against the Formics, the alien "buggers". Removed from his family at the age of six, Ender must prove his strength and his leadership, even as he fights his own doubts. The stakes are nothing less than the fate of humankind.
Ender's Game Alive is performed by Kirby Heyborne, Stefan Rudnicki, Theodore Bikel, Scott Brick, Samantha Eggar, Harlan Ellison, Susan Hanfield, Roxanne Hernandez, Janis Ian, Rex Linn, Richard McGonagle, Jim Meskimen, Emily Rankin, John Rubinstein, Christian Rummel, and a full cast.
Directed by Gabrielle de Cuir
Original Score by John Rubinstein
Valentine's Theme by Janis Ian
Additional music and arrangements by Mark Mitchell
©2013 Orson Scott Card (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
“Listeners will feel surrounded by Card's sophisticated, high-stakes universe. With a stately musical score and video-game sound effects, this "re-imagined" production sticks close to the novel while offering listeners an entertaining new way to enjoy one of science fiction's best loved stories.” (AudioFile)
This is an interesting change from the typical way a story is told, with a narrator describing what is going on and also performing the character dialogue.
In this version, it is entirely dialogue. There is no narration whatsoever. To support this, the story has been adapted slightly so that events that were described in the book from a narrator's point of view are written in as dialogue when possible, or described after the fact in a conversation.
Surprisingly, this doesn't negatively affect the impact of the scenes where these things are happening. I found the dialogue-based version of events to be even more evocative. There is a lot more dialogue with Col. Graff and his fellow battle school administrators, and they do much more exploration of Ender's motives, thoughts, and actions.
As someone who has previously read Ender's Game as a novel, I get the sense that this version of the story might be harder to follow for someone who is experiencing it for the first time. However, I find the cast performance adds more than it takes away. It is easier to feel empathy for Ender and the other characters in this version.
Overall, I found that as a prior reader of the novel, this was a completely new way to enjoy the story, and definitely worth the listen.
If you've read or listened to Ender's Game in the past, this is a new and interesting way to listen. If you've never read/listened to Ender's Game, I suggest you buy the 20th Anniversary unabridged edition. The problem I have with this version is so much of the character building is cut. Characters like "Hot Soup" have a line here or there, but if you haven't listened to the unabridged book you have no idea who this person is or why they matter in the slightest.
The biggest problem I have is, you just don't get the personal connection to Ender in this version that you get in the unabridged audiobook. Without that personal connection, you simply care less about what's happening and why. The plot moves so quickly you have no time to appreciate what Ender's going through and the effect it's having on him. You don't understand the torment he's going through like you should. Without that, this is simply a good listen instead of great listen.
The voice acting is top notch. Stefen Rudnicki does an amazing job, as always. Kirby Heyborne does a really good job as Ender. He reminds me of a soft spoken Johnny Yong Bosch, if you're familiar with his work. I haven't been able to find a cast list for the book, but I've recognized a couple of pretty famous voices, including Martin Sheen, which is pretty cool. Some actors are better than others, but nobody does a poor job.
Overall, I enjoyed this very much. If you've read/listened to Ender's Game before I definitely suggest picking this up and giving it a try. If you haven't, read or listen to the unabridged book first. You'll likely get hooked and continue listening to the other books in this universe like I did. There aren't many Sci-Fi universes as interesting and expertly crafted as this one out there. Do yourself a favor and get into it, and years down the road when you're in the mood to listen again, pick this up and give it a try. You'll likely be glad you did, and be glad you read/listened to the unabridged book first.
It's as good as any of those that I've given 5 stars to.
The original Ender's Game, and the whole lot of the Ender's series. I've listened to them all as audiobooks, as long ago as I actually have some on cassette tape still!
I was skeptical at first as many "full cast" recordings are not as good as the original books, if the originals are well read.
I watched Card discussing how this recording would be different, if not better, than the original, so I decided to give it a shot. I really enjoyed that many of the original readers were used on this project as well.
This was certainly the best full cast recording of a book I've listened to, and on a par with the other audio Ender books. It is just different enough to make it a worthwhile read, and I really am glad I listened to it.
I appreciated the "old voices" from the other Ender books which I loved.
It was and I did!
If this is your first foray into the "Ender-verse", enjoy. If you are a long time reader/listener, I suspect you will enjoy this version as well. It was certainly worth using a credit on it. I'm glad I did experience it, and it's different enough from the original Ender's Game to keep one interested.
For fans of the series, and those who have never encountered it before, this is a truly fantastic listen.
I was a bit skeptical at first, as I don't always enjoy audio play versions of books I've enjoyed, but this? This was marvelous. There were some new additions that weren't there the first go through, but nothing so big as to completely change the story. The various actors involved did a fantastic job of, yes, bringing the story alive.
This is very much worth a credit, even if only seven hours long.
I loved that it was a fresh perspective on the Ender story. More of an outsider view, on the side of the teachers. Also they added in details that bring the story together with the Ender sequels and now prequels. Its not so much and audio book as it is an audio dramatization.
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
BULLIES AND TODDIES
My favorite book is Ender's Game and my favorite recording is Ender's Game Alive. Even though all tastes differ, Ender's Game, is the only book I have recommended time after time and in which everyone thanks me for later. The story is universally loved by everyone. This recording is even better then the book in my opinion. There are still the Bullies and Toadies and surprises and tense atmosphere and intelligent Ender, but in this Graff comes out as a character even more then the book. The strategy behind what Graf did and why he did it is plainer and much more part of the story. Is it possible Card might write a prequel starring Graf? Something to consider. Buy and read the book, buy and listen to the recording of the book, buy and listen to this play. Do it in what ever order you like, it really does not make a difference. Each format compliments the other.
I also love the whole idea of this full cast performance and I hope we see more books done this way. ( Speaker For the Dead, Seventh Son, Treasure Box, etc...) I am betting Rudnicki was a big force behind this production. Thanks, Thanks , Thanks
OH, WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE, WHEN AT FIRST WE PRACTICE TO DECEIVE
I first read Ender's Game when I was a young man. The original book and its sequels have always been one of my favorite Science Fiction adventures, and I was reluctant to listen to Ender's Game Alive, in fear of being disappointed by someone tinkering with near perfection. But I was wrong, really, really wrong. This production is amazing, the cast is superb. Although only 7 and 1/2 hours long, I was engrossed from the first chapter and happily relived the story of the little boy who had the fate of the world heaped upon his unsuspecting shoulders. The competition between Battle-School students, the rivalry between Ender and his brother Peter, the unbreakable bond between Ender and his sister Valentine, and most of all, the genius of Col. Graph, who is charged with molding Ender Wiggins into the one and only little boy soldier in the entire world who can save the Earth from certain destruction. If you have never read the book, read it first. The original is a masterpiece. But then, lie back and relax, listen as Ender Wiggins comes to life in the theatre of your mind.
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
Before now, I have never read or listened to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game epic. It is possible that I might never have done so, was it not for the hype created by Audible releasing the first three chapters of “Ender’s Game Alive” before the official release this full cast audio drama. It was while listening to the first free chapters that I got seriously hooked.
I understand that Orson Scott Card rewrote his original Ender’s Game into this audio drama. Performed by a full cast directed by Gabrielle de Cuir this is probably one of the best audio drama’s I have listened to. A good story coloured presented by an excellent voice cast and music specially adapted for this audio drama makes it not only a winner, it becomes an addiction. Be warned, you might not stop listening until the very end. This is one of the best audio drama’s I have ever heard.
The storyline is very basic. The listener finds him-/herself in the Wiggin’s home on earth some years in the future. One is aware that something is amiss because married couples may only have two children. You become aware that the genetically engineered Peter and Valentine Wiggin’s parents are allowed to have a third child, because Peter and Valentine weren’t completely the right material to enter Battle School. Thus came about Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. All humankind’s hope seems to be fixed on him to free the human race from an extra-terrestrial threat called the Formics. To do so, however, Ender Wiggen is admitted to Battle School at the age of 6 years.
The audio drama is based on these formative years of Ender. What makes it very effective is the way the line between what is real and what is practise are blurred until almost the very end when the pieces of the puzzle falls in place. I thought it was done neatly and convincingly.
This audio drama is an excellent suspense drama wrapped in a science fiction cloak. I believe that those who have enjoyed Ender’s Game in the past as well as those of us who are new to this science fiction classic will enjoy a five star performance of a five star story.
I'd recommend both this and the "full" version to anyone. This one is certainly very well done, but I'd absolutely recommend you listen to the full non-dramatized version.
Ender remains one of the best characters I've read/listened too.
They were all well done. The actors, as with any other OSC book, are fantastic. The new voice of Ender, who I'd never heard before, was astounding.
I am a huge fan of Orson Scott Card (far too much, honestly). Ender's Game is my favorite book of all time, and I'd recommend both this and the "full" version to anyone. That said, this one is certainly very well done, but I'd absolutely recommend you listen to the full non-dramatized version.
The actors are all well done, and the kid who plays Ender in particular did a very excellent job. It was great to hear a lot of the voices of narrators from all of Card's books as they are all excellent. There were some parts where I felt it got a bit.... cute, I suppose?...in the narration (the kids chanting, squawking, ect.) and I don't know if I really cared for the choice of Bean's voice (the actor was fine, just felt off).
The story itself loses some of it's depth in a dramatic reading like this, which MUST be expected in this sort of format. However, I would have liked to have a narrator who could have broken more stuff down. It was a bit off-putting to have to have the narrators TELL us by speaking what was happening ("Oh look, Ender is doing this in the game! Now he's doing this!") rather than having a common narrator to tell us those things.
It lost a bit more of the depth because you couldn't see into Ender's Head like you could in the book. This again is expected, and the actors compensated for much of it well, but it simply wasn't/couldn't be as deep as the original. There were also things they added to the story/things that were slightly changed, which was a bit disconcerting but again, not unexpected.
Well done, recommended... just make sure, especially if you've never read this book before, that you read/listen to the full audio version.
I am musician and mom of several little musicians. Love good narrators. Love good stories. Love Audible.
First place, if we're just talking about audioPLAYS (like Zorro and the recent Gaiman). It's the most sophisticated audioplay style drama I have heard. The length (7 hours!!) itself puts it in a whole other category from basic radio drama, the sound effects and the rock solid performances make it a new kinda audio high for me. I love the fact that the author wrote this himself. It's different from the book cause the book is very internal, while this is very EXTERNAL. And yet, it retains the intimacy of the story; it's like you're a fly on the wall, eavesdropping on the whole story.
They were all very solid. Of the adults, Col. Graff was the best (he was the original Ender on the audiobooks I think). Ender (Kirby?) showed astonishing range; made me cry. Valentine was very moving, too. The villains were delightfully evil: Peter and Bonzo. My kids loved the villains. I loved the new British lady character. No one has mentioned the sound effects, which are AMAZING. OMG. When that door to the Battle Room opens, and you can actually FEEL the space. (Grammy winnerJanis Ian's Valentine theme is haunting, and all the music is very moving (not that synthesized stuff.) I looked up John Rubinstein (I'm a music teacher) who did the score; he's the son of freakin' ARTHUR Rubinstein!! BTW, I downloaded this at top quality, and on headphones, the sound is stunning. We have a family date night tonight to start listening to it together as a family, episode by episode. Popcorn and Ender!
Yes, yes, yes, as others have said, there are adults and women playing kids. But I suspect Card's writing is too sophisticated to find a dozen little kids to play them. Unlike other reviewers, I had no problem with women/adult voices. I thought they sounded wonderful. Like a musical ensemble; sort of Greek chorus mode. I thought the accents were well done, especially Alai and the head honcho East Indian Admiral. Can you imagine a bunch of real 12 year olds bungling Card's amazing dialogue? Please. And it's not like Bart Simpson acting, because that's a super hyped cartoon fake voice. This is drama. Plus, how do we know what kids will sound like in the future? I felt this was story-telling at it's best. It was awesome. YMMV.
And now, for something completely different.
Don't expect this to be the book. Don't expect it to be the original audiobook (I loved and still love the original audiobooks, too). Purists may have problems with this version. I foresee that there will be mega review "trolls" who hate it. I say, throw out all the 5 stars (like mine) and throw out all the one stars, and consider this audioplay as a nice solid 4 star. And don't compare it to anything else you've ever heard. It's a different animal. And a very sleek and sexy one. When's the next one??? ;0)
"Could have been great. Was only okay."
Ender's Game is a fantastic story to begin with and with the author writing the dramatisation it means all the important bits are left in.
BUT.The musical intervals were horrible and could be quite off-putting. And although the cast did a good job, having adult-sounding children was also a little ... irritating. If they can make a movie of this fantastic story using child actors, why couldn't they do the same with this dramatisation?So overall, a good way to spend a lazy Sunday. But would have been better with age-appropriate actors and NO music!
This was really disapointing. It is such a great story, and the cast really didnt do it justice. It is like the cast never met...like they recorded their parts in total isolation of each other. The whole thing lacked personality.
Whilst some things are lost in this version, the dramatisation of the book works well with great performances.
This is a great story, a classic sci-fi novel with intrigue, humour, and storytelling
the grown-ups do tend to be better
"Dark but Gripping Story Well Told."
I first read Ender's Game when I was in early high school. It deals with some rather dark subjects - child soldiers, bullying, and pre-emptive "self defence" on both a personal and civilisation level.
The central plot concerns "battle school", an orbital facility for training child geniuses to command fleets and armies against the "buggers" - traditional insectoid space invaders. The protagonist, Andrew "Ender" Wiggan, has been pre-selected as commander-in-chief, and his experience at battle school is carefully designed to shape him as the perfect leader, regardless of the emotional or physical cost to Ender and the other students.
The original novel is almost entirely from Ender's point of view, with small and ambiguous interludes from adult perspectives. This new production is an audio play. Since nothing can be directly described, scenes that were previously from Ender's point of view are now recounted as conversations between the adults, significantly expanding these roles. This works very well, creating a simpler, cleaner story.
Some small changes have been made to the story, increasing or decreasing the significance of various scenes, but without removing or adding major plot elements.
The side-plot of Peter and Valentine Wiggan, Ender's siblings, has been retained but reduced in size and importance.
"A good adaptation of a great story"
I very much enjoyed the audiobook version of "Ender's Game", so I was keen to get this play version too. After reading other pretty negative reviews, I was worried the acting would be very wooden. However, I was pleasantly surprised- whilst the acting is not up to the standard of some of the finest radio examples, like Ian Holm's Frodo in the BBC's Lord of the Rings, I found it to be perfectly adequate. The adaptation of the book to a play script was also very good, such that I think someone who has not read or listened to the original will also be able to enjoy the play.
Full cast makes a massive differance
Anything with full cast in it
I would like to see a section dedicated to full cast productions...
read as a play this is a great take on the story
story told from different perspective
"An excellent adaptation of the original."
Having never read the print version but listened to the entirety of the Ender Universe on audio books, it's hard to say if this is better than the print version. What I can say is that lived up to expectation and really helped to bring the characters to life and add to the story in subtle ways.
Due to the way Scott Card uses third parties to convey to the reader what happens in Ender's head in the original text, Colonel Graff takes an even larger role and could easily be my favourite character - especially read so brilliantly by Stefan Rudnicki who is one of the greatest narrators I have had the pleasure of listening to.
See above - Graff by Stefan Rudnicki.
Having already trodden the entire path of the Ender Universe, one cannot help but be emotionally attached to the central characters and this performance only adds to that. To isolate any particular emotion would be to diminish the impact of the performance.
I implore anyone to continue the journey. But go through the Shadow Saga next, then Ender in Exile and then pick up the thread of Ender's story with Speaker for the Dead. it is one of the greatest stories ever told and finishing the saga makes you feel like you've just said goodbye to your closest group of friends. I had to go back and do them all again to satisfy my need for more!
"... a great start for Enders Game"
Yes, its a book that is very different in that its an interactive radio play version of a book that some feel is stilted. I think this medium works really well and if you have seen the recent movie or read the book this is a great complimentary release.
The war sequences are achieved really well. The cleverness of the ideas with the teams is realised well within the audiobook/play
Yes it was a really good performance across the whole group
Not really, I suppose its one of those books that makes you wonder ..... more than anything
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