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Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay Performance

Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay

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Audible Editor Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (2081 )
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Performance
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  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 08-19-15
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 08-19-15 Member Since 2015

    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)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A quick dose of Card when you have little time"

    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 03-24-14
    Steven ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2014

    Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.

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    "Outstanding presentation of a SciFi classic"

    The 'Ender' series has been one of my favorites since it's release. This presentation is first-class.

    To me, the quality of a work of fiction is defined in two parts, the basic idea/ideas of the story and the execution. IMHO 'Ender's Game' rates among the best in both areas. The unique storyline constantly revolves around the ethical question of whether the end justifies the means. Given a choice, in our daily lives, to win, or to stand on our principles; which is correct? Is true victory the art of finding a way to do both? Ender and his teachers face these questions daily.

    This version is basically true to the intent of the original. Since it is dialog, rather than narration, some changes were necessary to fill-in the missing narrative. I found the net result to be entirely positive. The performances range from pretty good to outstanding.

    Overall, this is an excellent way to enjoy the beginning of this epic SciFi series; however, I recommend that those who are new to Ender begin by reading/listening to the original.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Brea, CA, United States 11-03-13
    Amazon Customer Brea, CA, United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2010

    Professional Opportunist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The enemy of Good, is Better"
    Would you try another book from Orson Scott Card and/or Full Cast Recording?

    I would jump at another Full Cast Recording, it was a stellar job in bringing the book to life as well as the welcome addition of a few sound effects that enhanced the experience. Orson Card has a very specific voice, and when he brings his style to a genre, you're either a fan, or not so much.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Stefan Rudnicki has always sounded like a congested rabbi when he reads a book, but I will say I very much enjoyed him as part of a cast. Well done!


    Any additional comments?

    Card added a few things here and there to "make this the best version of the book". As a book, I encourage people to read the kindle version first. As an e-book, please believe me that there is a reason it will give you a better experience than a hard copy. It also reads better in people's heads as they are exposed to these brilliant children and their oddly inconsistent dialogue. They are children, so there are the usual fart jokes, as well as geniuses, so their thought process is agreeable. I think Card did a disservice by holding a reader's hand a little too much and spelling things out in a key conversation between Ender and a teacher. In what was originally a beautiful twist and roller coaster type climax, his additions completely neutered the wow factor and limped across the finish line. I would not return to this book for fun, and I can only really recommend the sections of battle school and command school, the ending, at least in this version, I can almost skip entirely. Kindle this book first!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bswest5 Winters, CA 10-30-13
    bswest5 Winters, CA 10-30-13 Member Since 2008
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    "It was well done... just listen to the whole book."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ender remains one of the best characters I've read/listened too.


    What about Full Cast Recording’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susannah Corona, CA, United States 10-23-13
    Susannah Corona, CA, United States 10-23-13

    I am musician and mom of several little musicians. Love good narrators. Love good stories. Love Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well done! Something Very Different!"
    Where does Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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!


    Which character – as performed by Full Cast Recording – was your favorite?

    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.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    And now, for something completely different.


    Any additional comments?

    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)

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Cedar Hill, TX, United States 11-03-13
    Brian Cedar Hill, TX, United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you have never read/heard the book then..."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you have never listened to the unabridged "Ender's Game" or read the original book, then you may find this version interesting and entertaining. However, it seems that this version is aimed at bridging the gap between the book and the movie. I haven't seen the movie, so it is speculation on my part, but this book sounds like a movie script based on the original "Ender's Game".


    If you’ve listened to books by Orson Scott Card before, how does this one compare?

    I really liked "Ender's Game", however I am not an Orson Scott Card fanboy. I listened to this dramatization hoping for a quick refresh on the story before the movie comes out. I was disappointed. It wasn't so bad I couldn't finish it, and if I had never heard/read "Ender's Game", I might have liked it more. I have also listened to "Ender's Shadow" (an excellent book), and "Shadow of the Hegemon" (very slow and tedious). "Ender's Game Alive" is the least of the three.


    What didn’t you like about Full Cast Recording’s performance?

    The performances were weak. They sounded superficial. The script was a poor adaptation. The characters were unconvincing and the exposition was contrived e.g. when the battle school instructors watch videos of battles and describe the action to one another. It is dialogue substituting for narration.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was fast paced, and more or less kept my attention.


    Any additional comments?

    I would not recommend this book if you read/listened to "Ender's Game" unless you thought it was much too long and involved. If you want a short, simple version with mediocre voice acting then go ahead. Otherwise, use your credits for something else.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark canyon country, CA, United States 10-24-13
    Mark canyon country, CA, United States 10-24-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Grand!"
    What did you love best about Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay?

    Very well done. Takes audio books to a new level.


    Any additional comments?

    Essentially the same story as the novel but different in several interesting ways also. Bean is almost not in it and little of Ender's shadow. What is in it is a cleaned up, shorter more action adventure version of Ender's Game. I'm a fan, five star's from me.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael New Orleans, LA 10-23-13
    Michael New Orleans, LA 10-23-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Take The Training Wheels Off Your Ender Bike!"

    I'll keep this short and to the point.

    This new dramatic audio rendition of Ender's Game is one of many audio versions of this classic scifi novel. In fact, there's already a another dramatic rendition. Multiple voices. A bit of music.

    So, is this a good audio buy?

    It depends on if you plan to see the movie.

    If you plan to go see the movie, and haven't read the series? NO. Listen to the FULL NON-DRAMATIC version first, as this is somewhat abbreviated, misses the nuances of the author's writing, which add SO MUCH to the experience. THEN go see the movie, Very few movies can do full justice to a great novel. And Ender's Game is fantastic. However good the movie is, the dry version will be a better listening experience.

    So, full dry audiobook, then the movie.

    If you don't plan to listen to the full dry audiobook version, and want to go see the movie, then I recommend the movie first, and THEN you can decide which flavor you want. Dry versus dramatic with multiple voice actors.

    This is very good, but at the end of the day, it's Ender's Game on training wheels.

    The choice is yours.

    25 of 35 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shane K. 03-23-16
    Shane K. 03-23-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The downsides of a movie, in audiobook form"

    I listened to this after having heard the original book more than once, so maybe I'm biased, but this movie really felt like somebody just recorded the audio from a movie.

    Unlike the original story, you can't hear Ender's thoughts so you have the whole deal where everyone is trying to explain what's going on in his head without any personal insight.

    There's also slight tweaks to the story that I didn't care for much. I guess I should have foresaw these problems, but I kinda went into this expecting basically just the original story with more actors.

    The performance and sound effects were great though, so five stars there at least.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bergonzi Champaign, IL, United States 06-08-14
    Michael Bergonzi Champaign, IL, United States 06-08-14 Member Since 2016

    Find more reviews at AudioDramaReviews(dot)com

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Audio Drama Reviews: Ender's Game Alive"

    Ender’s Game Alive has a wonderful cast, powerful sound effects, and a story that has stood the test of time. Just like the novel changed science fiction, this adaptation does the same for audio drama. It says “this isn’t a worn out medium and here’s proof.” This version was my first experience of the story, having never read the book, and I enjoyed the story.

    The opening scene was hard to get through because of the dialogue that was written on the page and I’ve heard the same complaint from people who’ve read the book that the opening was hard to get through. From what I understand, the book starts off with dialogue with no context. It’s essentially two people talking in a white room. Audio Dramas use dialogue all the time as do movies. It’s kind of their thing. I wasn’t sure of the first scenes purpose other than to inform the reader that in this society, having a third child is illegal and how Ender was allowed to be born, despite that law.

    The ending felt a bit rushed, at least in the way it was presented, but I can see how it could’ve worked well in a book. The big twist ending was foreshadowed a few scenes before the reveal actually happened and the foreshadowing was like a hit to the head with a hammer. There wasn’t enough time to collect and process the information.

    Having watched the movie, I have to say I like this interpretation of Colonel Graff better than Harrison’s Ford’s portrayal. In the movie, he didn’t have a lot of depth. In Ender’s Game Alive, you understand his motivation much more clearly. Those scenes with him and the psychologist were some of the more interesting bits of the story. I felt like Graff cared for Ender like his own son. The entire cast did a great job. Even though these characters were supposed to be kids, I was never knocked out of the story—even in the beginning.

    Overall this production is fantastic and there was never a dull moment where I wanted to turn it off. It was more like I had to do it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Ms. R. A. Fitzgerald
    leicester, UK
    12/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Easy to follow"
    What made the experience of listening to Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay the most enjoyable?

    It was really easy to follow what was going on and the cast made it more of a rounded experience.


    What other book might you compare Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to, and why?

    Neverwhere: full BBC dramatisation


    What does Full Cast Recording bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The atmospheric sounds added to the experience


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Life's just a Game....or is it


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    6/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"
    What did you like most about Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay?

    Full cast makes a massive differance


    What other book might you compare Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to, and why?

    Anything with full cast in it


    Any additional comments?

    I would like to see a section dedicated to full cast productions...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    Nottingham, United Kingdom
    3/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great listen"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to be better than the print version?

    no


    What did you like best about this story?

    read as a play this is a great take on the story


    What about Full Cast Recording’s performance did you like?

    story told from different perspective


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mezzaninedoor
    GREAT YARMOUTH, United Kingdom
    12/6/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "... a great start for Enders Game"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay?

    The war sequences are achieved really well. The cleverness of the ideas with the teams is realised well within the audiobook/play


    What about Full Cast Recording’s performance did you like?

    Yes it was a really good performance across the whole group


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not really, I suppose its one of those books that makes you wonder ..... more than anything


    Any additional comments?

    highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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