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.
My taste vary. I love a good, blood stained horror, but also a well written kids story. Lots of Sci-Fi, but also Hist. Fiction. No boring!!!
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.
Two great passions - dogs and books! Sci-fi/fantasy novels are my go-to favorites, but I love good writing across all genres.
Although I really enjoyed this performance, I would only recommend it to those who have read or heard the original Ender's Game novel. liked it, and remember it. This version follows the basic plot fairly closely, but this is very much like listening to a long movie audio track - it's the story told with only dialog and sound effects. What you don't get it is OSC's wonderful prose with the symbolism woven through and the descriptions of the children, the battle school, the contests, etc. If you have read/heard the book and remember most of it, your brain will easily fill in the missing descriptions, but it wouldn't be as much fun without knowing the original story first. The original Ender's Game novel was entertaining and both poignant and thought-provoking. This Audioplay version is mostly entertaining - not as touching or provocative - but nothing wrong with that and I certainly don't regret the listen.
As expected, the audio for this version is first-rate - nicely produced, great narrators, and good quality sound throughout. I had only one issue. Most of the children's voices are done by young adults and they sound alright for boys and girls who are 10 or 12 or older. However many of the children in the book are only 8 and Ender is only 6 when the story begins and 11 at the end, yet in this Audioplay he sounds like he is at least a young teen throughout. It is hard to grasp the trauma done to that child when he doesn't sound like the really little kid he was in the story. Independent of how brilliant a child might be, a 6 year old will never sound like a teenager. The part of Bean is read by a women and she didn't sound quite right to me either.
Minor issue with the casting was not enough to interfere with my real enjoyment of the Audioplay. Recommended to all Ender fans.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Someone commented before that this is kinda like a middle ground between the novel and the movie and I have to agree - you get the non-visual experience of reading so you have to imagine what everyone looks like, but you also get the straightforwardness of actors having to express themselves only via visual medium (i.e. so you don't get to "hear" their thoughts)...
I don't normally listen to full cast/audioplays because I prefer the usual narration approach when the narrator tells the story but doesn't get overly excited and immerse him/herself into it (Scott Brick anyone)... In this case, it was a pleasant break to listen to a story I'm familiar with, without having to spend a lot of time doing so. If you haven't read the full version of Ender's Game, you should go do that now because you've missed something great... if you have, you might enjoy this as a recap of the story, and a quick dose of Card to remind you just how good a writer he is. Please don't think this is "as good as" reading/listening to the original story, it is not... best case, it is an abridged version of the original.
The narration is well done. I didn't find the sound effects annoying, even though I prefer narrations without them. There is no swearing, gore or sex.
"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!
"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!
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.
"Good story but poor performance"
The story is good and easy to follow but I just couldn't get past the performance. The voices were ALL wrong and just spoiled it, I had to stop listening.
"Easy to follow"
It was really easy to follow what was going on and the cast made it more of a rounded experience.
Neverwhere: full BBC dramatisation
The atmospheric sounds added to the experience
Life's just a Game....or is it
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
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