"The Polish Boy", a novella written especially for this collection, begins in the years between the first two Bugger Wars when the Hegemony is desperate to recruit brilliant military commanders to repel the alien invasion. In John Paul Wiggin, the future father of Ender, they believe they may have found their man. Or boy.
In "Teacher's Pest", also written especially for this collection, a brilliant but insufferably arrogant John Paul Wiggin, now an American university student, matches wits with an equally brilliant graduate student named Theresa Brown.
It is many years since the end of the Bugger Wars in "The Investment Counselor". Ender's reputation as a hero and savior has suffered a horrible reversal. Banished from Earth and slandered as a mass murderer, 20-year-old Ender Wiggin wanders incognito form planet to planet as a fugitive, until a blackmailing tax inspector compromises his identity and threatens to expose Ender the Xenocide.
Also here is the original landmark "Ender's Game", which first appeared in 1977.
First Meetings is Orson Scott Card at the height of his considerable powers, featuring his most compelling character.
©2003 Orson Scott Card; (P) 2003, 2004 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
"Character, setting, plot: Card does them all right, and makes it look effortless....For newcomers to Ender's universe and long-time fans, this book will hit the spot and whet the appetite for more." (School Library Journal)
"Even those who are intimately familiar with the concepts of the Game from later Ender books will be struck anew by Card's virtuosity. His powerful voice and startlingly clear vision will draw many new readers into a lifelong love of science fiction. This accessible collection will impress even non-sci-fi buffs, besides being a must-have for Ender saga devotees." (Publishers Weekly) "These stories demonstrate the assured scene setting, apparently effortlessly sustained suspense, and moral preoccupation with the responsibilities of kinship and friendship that distinguishes Ender's entire saga." (Booklist)
Fans of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead will definitely want to hear First Meetings: Four Stories from the Enderverse. As I have stated with most of my short story reviews, audio books and short stories are made for each other and for fans of Ender, these four short stories construct a beautiful bridge between Ender's past before Ender's Game and between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead.
The original novelette format of Ender's Game is the third story in this four part collection and it is a great story, even in this pared down format. It just proves that Ender's Game is a terrific story that re-engages listeners everytime they play it. The remaining three stories are the best part of this collection though and my favorite is Teacher's Pest.
Teacher's Pest is the story of the meeting and very brief courtship of John Paul Wiggin and Theresa Brown. The very intriguing couple who become the parents of Peter, Valentine, and Andrew Wiggin.
The Polish Boy introduces us to the "non-compliant" Wieczorek family and the brilliant John Paul, whose genius will alter the course of the future, for both his family and the entire Enderverse. John Paul Wieczorek of course becomes John Paul Wiggin in Teacher's Pest.
This is a great collection of stories that is spectacularly narrated, as usual, by the Fantastic Audio crew. My only criticism of the audio production is the bumper music used at the beginning and ending of each story. I do believe my ears started bleeding at some point and the bumpers overlap the narration too far so that it is very hard to hear for several seconds at the beginning and ending of these stories.
Again, I can't recommend any group of short stories enough but these are terrific, especially for Ender fans. Enjoy!
For those already immersed in the "Enderverse" this is a fun listen. Probably the weakest of the four stories was the "Ender's Game" novella, only because the novel completely eclipses it -- but for those who have not read the short story and like the book, it is interesting to see the evolution of the narrative.
For those like me, who have re-read these books over and over again, the two stories about Ender's parents might hold some very slight anachronisms, but nothing that keeps you from enjoying them.
I most particularly enjoyed "Investment Councilor". It was a neat little insight into Ender's world and travels in-between "Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead".
Great stuff for fans, but definitely not a place to start with Ender (well, the original novella is a great place to start, but that's just a third of this download). Without knowing some details from the books, the resonance of these first meetings would probably be greatly diminished. Without an understanding of the larger structure, some listeners would likely not appreciate the full story.
I'm including an open plea to all audiobook producers: Please please please, if you must include music that overlaps the narration, LISTEN TO IT BEFORE FINALIZING THE PRODUCT! Often, this is a minor annoyance. In this book, it absolutely ruins the end of the Ender's Game novella. You can't hear half of what's being said. So a meaningful quiet moment is completely spoiled. I've never read a review where someone likes these musical overlays: I'm begging you to stop using them. It created a sad, sour experience at the end of an otherwise enjoyable listen.
I enjoyed the stories themselves. It was kinda cool to see how Ender's parents got together. I also enjoyed the glimpse at Ender as a young man. The short story Ender's Game was fascinating to hear and compare to the book.
The one thing that I could not stand was the LOUD music playing over the storytellars at the begining and end of each story. Whoever it was at Audio Renaissance that thought this sounded good needs to have their head examined. Not only was it difficult to hear, but it was terrible music. Personally, I would prefer it if they never did this again, but if they had to, at the very least it should be set in the background and low enough so that it doesn't interfere.
I'm 52 and enjoy sifi, history, funny romance, fantasy type books. I give my views as to how a book is based on my emotions.
...in a few parts, the music was overpowering the voices, you could hardly hear the reader and when they spoke low, impossible. Who ever put this book and music to audible did a poor job.
If you (audible.com) want better reviews on this one, redo the sound or take the music out.
Other then that, I liked it. Gave an insight into a few areas I didn't know about. Such as where Jane came from, and Enders parents meeting.
I have to agree with the other reviews that the "music" at the end/beginning of a section is to much it overpowers the book and you can barely hear the book at that point all and all it is not a bad series, the Ender's Game novella was not needed though.
If you have read Ender's Game, this is a must read! I admit, there are a few things that do not exactly coincide with Ender's Game, but they are barely even noticable. I really enjoyed them and I hope you do to. If you have not read any of the Ender's Game series, do not start with this one.
Having been a long-time fan of the Ender series, it was really neat to listen to these stories as they filled in some of the details of the Enderverse. This book is highly recommended for anyone familiar with the series. The narration is top-notch, but the music that overlaps the beginning and end of each story almost drove me insane! The music was SO loud that it was almost impossible to hear what the narrator was saying. Please don't let this one flaw prevent you from listening to this otherwise fantastic audiobook. Great stuff!
Al the stories were interesting, although, the background on Ender's father was a little incongruous with the book, Ender's Game. If you liked Ender's Game, this is worth listening to.
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