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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.

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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 (2262 )
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  •  
    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
  •  
    Jeremiah 10-29-13
    Jeremiah 10-29-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Awesome retelling"
    What did you love best about Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay?

    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.


    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
  •  
    James M. McKey Florida 09-01-16
    James M. McKey Florida 09-01-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hated the audio performance."

    Not only were the performances way off script from the original book, and in a non-enhancing way, but they were for the most part atrociously acted. It was like what dumb adults think smart kids would sound like. Just puerile (excuse my ironic use of that word, but it fits). I kept wanting to give up and stop listening but I trudged through anyways as I knee the core story was good even if heavily ruined by the design of the performance and voice casting. Graff was good and has been used in prior simpler/true to form audio versions of Ender books, but the rest were average to awful.

    1 of 1 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
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  • HR
    11/3/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could have been great. Was only okay."
    What made the experience of listening to Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay the most enjoyable?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Alex
    Castle Donington, United Kingdom
    3/27/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An excellent adaptation of the original."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to be better than the print version?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


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

    See above - Graff by Stefan Rudnicki.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Ollie
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    10/23/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    16 of 21 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    London, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "classic sci-fi"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to be better than the print version?

    Whilst some things are lost in this version, the dramatisation of the book works well with great performances.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a great story, a classic sci-fi novel with intrigue, humour, and storytelling


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

    the grown-ups do tend to be better


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

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew John Rae
    York, UK
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • WJE Hoppitt
    Cambridge, UK
    11/29/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • regmigrant
    Cambridge, UK
    9/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A brilliant sorry well acted"

    In many ways this is a difficult book to dramatize but this is an excellent and engaging piece of work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • B. Margulies
    2/29/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brillaint"

    Was a fantastic take on the original book. Kept me hooked until the end. Well done

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Bideford, Devon, United Kingdom
    1/9/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "excellent. farsighted"

    I read Enders Game when it was first published and it has always stayed with me. The audible dramatisation does the book justice. Oerson Scott Card. has amazing insight into the complex human condition.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Karen
    Newbury, United Kingdom
    1/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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