Is Ender the general Earth so desperately needs? The only way to find out is to throw him into ever-harsher training at Battle School, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will grow up fast.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. His two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Among the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
This Special 20th Anniversary Edition of the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic is now digitally remastered with a full cast production. It also contains an exclusive bonus: an original postscript written and recorded by the author himself, Orson Scott Card!
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©1977, 1985, 1991 Orson Scott Card (P)2002 Fantastic Audio, an imprint of Audio Literature
"Intense' is the word for Ender's Game." (The New York Times)
Ender's Game is one of the best sci-fi books written.
However, I'm mainly writing this review to make others
aware that there are actually 6 books (so far) in the
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
Shadow of the Hegemon
The last two books don't actually feature Ender at all -
they're about the character of Bean and the story of
what happened on Earth after Ender's Game.
All 6 books are fantastic. I've bought them all on
audiobook, but for some reason I can only seem to
find 4 of these titles using Audible's search engine
(and "Shadow of the Hegemon" seems to have been
renamed for some reason?).
Based on an Audible.com recommendation I looked into obtaining Enders Game. Admittedly I was reluctant to listen to this. Primarily - I enjoy political thrillers, history and biography titles. I did not see a science fiction novel fitting in there. On reading other reviews I decided to give this a try. Was I in for a surprise. This is one of the most entertaining audiobooks I have ever listened to. Hang on, because you are in for a warp speed ride through Andrew Wiggins world. Incredibly entertaining, intellectually challenging, and very mature. Sharp dialogue, great pace, non-stop action. As with most truly great reads (listens??) you do not want it to end. Well, Enders game is part of a trilogy: Enders Shadow and Shadow of the Hedgemon. I just finished Enders Shadow, another excellent audiobook. I have purchased 'Hedgemon' but I need to catch my breath before I start it. Listen to Enders Game you will not regret it.
Love Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Romance books.
Wow...all I can say is wow, believe the other reviewers, you need to read this book. This one is as good as it gets for sci-fi, but I think anyone can enjoy it. It is also a great performance, a wonderful listen as well as a great story.
The more audio books I listen too, the more I wonder why I didn't start sooner. They make the ride to and from work much more tolerable.
I have to admit, this audio book totally took me by surprise. Except for the Harry Potter books, performed by the incredible Jim Dale, Enders Game is the first audio book that I've listened to that I hadn't first read. All I can say is, WOW. The performance given during this 'reading' comes close to rivaling that of the previously mentioned Mr. Dale, in my humble opinion. It's obviously a very different kind of performance, for a very different kind of book, and that's a good thing.
As for the story, it's excellent. Recommended by my brother, I read the summery with a great deal of apprehension. A little boy, attending a 'battle school' to become the military commander that would lead Earths space fleets to victory over an alien invasion force? As I write this, it still sounds silly, and perhaps it is. But Card makes it work, and work very well. And extremely entertaining to boot. The plot and character development move along at a good click. So good in fact that I was completely engrossed within the story when plot twists materialized and was genuinely surprised. THAT'S the mark of a well written/performed book.
Overall, between Card's story telling and an excellent narration, this audio book should be towards the top of everybody's list. And not only science fiction fans, but anybody searching for a great performance of a great book.
This book was a strange choice for me,(I didn't know Card, and rarely read Sci Fi) but I was browsing, and chanced upon it. For some unknown reason, it intrigued me, so I tried it.
It was, then, to my utter astonishment, that Ender, and his story, somehow catapaulted within me to earn a place on my list of all time favorites!(Lit major,former teacher,I've read a bunch).
The story itself is a good one, but I think that, it is its unraveling, that speaks to one's soul.
But to experience all the depth and wonder of the series, you must start here. Card himself admits, that he basically wrote this book to set the stage for the next one, which is "Speaker for the Dead"(my favorite...so far)
I encourage you, even if you don't usually read this type of book to try it.
Experiencing withdrawal symptoms, waiting for audible to offer "Xenocide",(the sequel to Speaker), and hopelessly addicted to Ender's story, I wandered on to listen to the others in the series. I actually READ "Ender's Shadow", because I didn't want an abridgement (I craved every single word!). I thought that these other books would have little impact on me, since Ender's character is only a peripheral element.
Was I wrong!
In the "Shadow" series, like the peeling of an onion, Card reveals layer after layer of the characters he creates in this book, and I found myself caring as much about them as I did about Ender.
I understand that Card is in the process of writing a book about Ender's mother.(As is probably obvious, I became obsessed with Ender, and had to find out everything I possibly could.) Before I read the "Shadow" series, I thought, "Who would want to read a book about Ender's mother?" Now I know the answer: ME.
If you start with "Ender's Game",and then go on to the others in the series, I think the answer might also be YOU!
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.
Do you have to listen to the audiobook of ‘Ender’s Game’ if you had listened to the audio play ‘Ender’s Game Alive’ and want to further immerse yourself in the so-called ‘Enderverse’? A lot of die-hard Ender fans seems to swear by it judging from the reviews. I disagree.
While ‘Ender’s Game’ is probably the best option for the purist, ‘Ender’s Game Alive’ gives you the whole story and more, since Orson Scott Card has seemingly incorporated some ideas from ‘Ender’s Shadow’ in the audio play. Furthermore die-hard Enderverse purists should start with ‘First Meetings: in the Enderverse’ which contains the original novelette. Personally, I prefer ‘Ender’s Game Alive’ due to the actors and the ripening of an old classic into its current form.
Yet this review is about ‘Ender’s Game’ which is itself an excellent production which also deserves five stars.
The story while along the same lines, are more inward focussed. Much is left implicit and it seems that the listener is caught up in the mind of the boy Ender Wiggin. The listener sees the world of Battle School through the eyes of Ender and your emotions are closely linked to the way he experiences things. The audiobook also provides you with more elaborate scenes especially after the great war against the ‘Buggers’ are won.
The bonus material added to the audiobook ‘Ender’s Game’ might tip the scale in buying the audiobook and not the audio play. Orson Scott Card discusses how ‘Ender’s Game’ came into being for more than half an hour. It is indeed an interesting listen which also gives you some insight on how the film came into being. In another added recording at the back of the audiobook, Card addresses young listeners/readers about the truths found in Ender’s Game and how it apply to their world. If you care for these things, the audiobook might be the best choice. If not, you are faced with a difficult decision - both ‘Ender’s Game’ (the audio book) and ‘Ender’s Game Alive’ are excellent productions that brings alive the Enderverse. Enjoy Ender’s universe, just don’t buy both versions of Ender’s Game.
Don't get me wrong. Although this is a story about a child, it's not written for children. A child might enjoy it, but it is a story about war, violence and politics. It is a classic tale of the weak overcoming extreme adversity.
Ender faces many trials during his training to become the savior of the world in a futuristic setting. He is a character I could identify with and found myself cheering him on at each challenge.
An excellent book. I can't wait to listen to the related stories to find out what happens next to Ender and what happened to his friends and family.
Paranormal-urban fantasy book lover!
I cannot believe this was written in the 80's. This book is captivating, entertaining, humorous, heart warming and emotional. I found myself wanting more, watching Ender grow up and the trials he goes through at such a young age tugged at my heart strings. I really liked the story of Peter and Valentine as well. Honestly, I'm glad they made a movie because I probably would not have picked this book up otherwise. I always read the books before a movie and I can't be sure the movie can do the book justice but I will definitely be seeing the movie.
The narration was perfect. I am a very picky listener and don't like trying new narrators because they can absolutely ruin a book. These readers did an amazing job. I never got confused on the characters and it flowed seamlessly.
Onto the next. I am a Orson Scott Card fan for life now!!!
This book is the first part of an astounding series of four books; Ender's game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind. Although interesting, deep and often fun in itself, Ender's Game serves a greater role of introducing the child Andrew Wiggan, his sister and brother Valentine and Peter, and the concept of another rational (the books use "sentient") Alien Species, known unaffectionately as "The Buggers". Ender is a sensitive but brilliant young boy whose combination of intelligence and desperateness for survival, and extraordinary empathy make him invincible in any setting, physical attack, mind games whatever. And hence set him up to be the potential saviour of the the human race in their war to the death against the Buggers. But this book is really a lot like "The Hobbit" is to "Lord of the Rings", and establishes characters who are in the later books a vehicle for astounding ideas and insights ranging across science fiction, physics, religion, psychology, romance, courage and self sacrifice. With a few small tussles between good and evil thrown in. I feel certain that in 100 yrs after their writing these books will be considered a pinnacle of a style of literary creation. Get listening ...
I enjoyed this book in college and 15 years later, I re-read it and still enjoyed it. I think the plot of brilliant children in battle school makes this book intriguing. As you're reading to find out what happens next, you're also contemplating their circumstances - "do brilliant children think like adults and so is it acceptable to treat them as such?" and "if they excel at that age in military tactics, should you be afraid of them when they get older?"
Only a small portion of the book weakened the story. There were hints of overpopulation and prohibition of religious practice. You're left wondering if the parents were allowed only one or two children... what does that mean to the protagonist (the third child). Also there were a few scenes of religious acts, such as praying, that didn't seem relevant to the story -- other than breaking the law to express a thought or an emotion to show how they felt about the protagonist??
I'd certainly listen to this again as it's a gripping story, well written and well read by the voice actors.
Without giving anything away, the best part is around the beginning of the final quarter of the book when we find out what Ender's and the other youngster's training has really been for.
I have now listened to most of the Ender's series, all of which have the same voice actors, and they're all really good, would recommend them to anyone who enjoys scifi.
I enjoyed the questions raised on ethics / morality and the rights of other species in this book, more so in latter books in the series. Although it does confuse me that the writer is apparently quite the homophobe, but is skilled in bringing the reader's thoughts to matters of ethics.
I would highly recommend this book, for any age 15+ and I think that even listeners who don't necessarily look for scifi audiobooks would really enjoy it.
"A character centric masterpiece"
Yes, a stellar perfomance, combined with a book greatly suited to be an audio book makes this a perfect rendition.
It is hard to pinpoint a specific point, there are several great once, but mostly it's about the journey Ender and partly his siblings take. Orson Scott Card shows off a lot of knowledge in this work, psychology, physics, combat and warfare. But most importantly how to present people, how to make them feel real but never be boring.
Orson Scott Card comments on this at the end of the book himself. He claims his writing style is best suited for plays and dramatic performance. And I believe this to be true, a great presentation that brings spirit to the characters.
Among great great perils and endless technology, we are all still human, and very much alone.
A great listen. In all stories that I either read, watch, listen, or see, I've come to realize that it is the characters that decide how well I like it.
This book centers on the character in a convincing and interesting way, in a setting where you could easily get sidetracked by technology and sci-fi traps.
"One of the best performances"
The narrators were bang on the money with their amazing performances. I read the book years ago an I was looking for a refresh before seeing the movie. It brought back all the amazing ideas and sublime writing of Orson Scott Card and even enhanced the experience. Its a must listen to book.
"Fantastic story with taste of cold war age"
Genetic manipulation lead human offspring to become more alien in nature - that advantage help them understand their enemy - alien race - but usual human manipulation lead o extermination aliens rather than dialogue over differences.
Again human arrogance take lead.
Final battle - epic turn in action - yet shock of extermination a whole spice what looks like game.
Perfect and full of emotions performance of Rudnicki and Ellison add another layer of expression to the story - somehow crossing world of books toward movie.
Perfect story for long flight or journey.
"One the greatest sci-fis of all time"
I would strongly recommend this to a friend as it has always been one of my favourite books, and the audiobook version is very well read indeed.
The analytical aspects of the writing remind me of Piers Anthony, but the stroy has always struck me as utterly original.
Great character differentiation, good diction and good speed of narration.
Don't bother watching this film, the book is better
"Great story from an alternative timeline"
Great story line from what is now and alternative timeline, the underlying story of the world and the politics relating to the early 80s really fill out the story. It would have been very easy to concentrate on the main story arc of Ender, but OSC does a great job to make this story well rounded
Hyrum Graff was a great character. The way he fights with this emotions and feels bad for the way he is treating ender and pushing him so hard makes him the stand out character in my eyes
They mixed up the book really well and made the characters come to life. Really well performed
"Not Very Good For Adult Reading"
Ah, where to begin? Well, this story kinda starts out semi-promisingly but quickly descends into boring repetitive nonsense. At around half way through the audiobook, I upped the speed to 1.5x as it was starting to drag so much.
The whole story revolves around taking certain children and sending them to battle school in order to hopefully weed out great commanders for Earth's space fleet. This is mainly achieved by playing a game of laser quest in zero gravity.
Sadly, the battle school part of the story isn't that interesting and often reminded me of that scene in Red Dwarf where Rimmer is recounting a game of Risk to Lister ("Then he threw three fours, but I rolled two fives" kind of thing). On top of that is the whole absurdity of the principal - it's like thinking that playing Super Hang-On on the Mega Drive will make you into a great motorbike racer. Except, it won't, it'll just make you good at that game.
If only the first 3/4 of the story had been condensed into the first quarter, then it may have ended up much better. The last two hours or so are okay and this part should have been expanded. I also wasn't bowled over by the narators, but they can't be blamed for such a weak story. Though I suppose the author should be given some credit for trying something a little different.
To give you an idea of the kind of sci-fi books I do like (as you may then get an idea whether you're likely to agree with my review), I love most Peter F Hamilton (Fallen Dragon, Night's Dawn Trilogy, Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained, Void Trilogy, but not the Great North Road - thought that was his weakest book) and most of what I've heard from Alastair Reynolds. I'm also liking the two spin-off series to the Lost Fleet Series and The Phoenix Conspiracy (available free from the author's website). If you dislike most of those, then you may end up liking Ender's Game.
"Took Me Right Back"
I'd put it at the top half for sure. I think the book was incredibly well done.
Ender - as always. I think it's easier for me to identify with him as I grow older because he's dealing with a changing, adult world.
I think they brought the story to life - and that's not incredibly easy when you're dealing with all the character quirks that are in this book.
I had an emotional reaction, but not laughing or crying. It's a book that deals with some very hard situations... and in those times, I find myself putting myself into Ender's shoes. So, I guess it makes me feel anxious more than anything.
"Good story, interesting concept."
It will be interesting to see how the film captures this book. Overall quite enjoyment, some good bit and an interesting plot. Overall a good yarn.
"A Game shot through with moral dilemmas"
The book ranks in the top 50%. Narrower than that would be to compare apples with oranges. I don't listen to a lot of novels, let alone SF.
I'd compare it to Dune, by Frank Herbert. Dune has nothing in it about computer games, and plenty of other SF books do, trying to make a computer game sound relevant to life and more than just empty escapism, but that's not the heart of it. Both Ender's Game and Dune are about the boy hero growing up in a weird environment with unfamiliar imperatives, developing rare but vital skills and at the same time increasing in moral stature.
Both male speakers were competent, and their voices pleasing.There was also a female narrator, not listed (unless one of the male narrators has rare skills in female impersonation) who read the scenes involving Valentine.All narrators,when reading dialogue, rarely made any change of voice to cue the listener which character was speaking. Rarely did this matter, though, because rarely did prolonged dialogue illuminate the character of the speaker(s). Usually the author was simply philosophising through their mouths. To my mind, all the Valentine vs big brother stuff could have been cut without any loss to the main story.
Do they have to lie to us, to make sure we win?
It’s a coming-of-age story — but in view of its gruesome violence, is it really young-adult literature? Would a teenager be able to identify with protagonists aged 5 to 11? Would children that young really act with the judgement and maturity you'd only expect of 30 year olds -- even under such a (one-sided) regime of forced development? Maybe it's really for old-adults who are young in parts?
The novel has some major defects like these, the plot almost coming apart in your hands. But the tale is memorable, well told, and in the end thoroughly worthwhile.
What makes it worthwhile are the towering questions about war, and conflict in general, which the author is not afraid to explore. And to do so without preaching, which is a real achievement. Questions like this...
What do you do when you discover you've killed someone, when you only meant to stop them hurting or killing you? What if your aim in life is to avoid hurting or killing anyone? Do your parents, your teachers and your government really have to lie to you, manipulate you, in order to turn you into an efficient and focussed killer? Do they have to disguise real war, indeed aggressive war, as a game, if they want to minimise the possibility you'll lose? Might both players and instructors become too interested in the Game for its own sake?
And what if you discover you've destroyed an enemy — an alien species — which it turns out wasn’t aiming to destroy you after all, even though there was never any chance of a negotiated peace? Is it possible to make amends to the vanquished? Should you even think of doing so?
Are there people who hurt and kill without giving such questions a moment’s thought? What if they plot to become world leaders -- should they be stopped in good time? Might they actually make good leaders, without ever becoming "nice people"? What if one of these psychos, these megalomaniacs, is your own brother? However can you get through childhood in the same household without him killing you?
Not only adults but very young children have to face such questions. And even in matters of life and death, the grown-ups may not come to your rescue. The author explores these knotty themes in an honest and original way. But if you're not paying attention, it's so easy to get carried away by the thrill of the Game.
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