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Editorial Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - One of our most highly-rated books of all-time, Ender’s Game isn’t just a sci-fi novel for kids. From an early age, Ender must tackle the adult concepts of leadership, independence and self-reliance, abstract thinking, and accountability. It helps that he’s a genetically engineered super-genius, but still, that’s a lot to ask a kid to handle. The multi-cast narration adds layers of texture to the diverse characters throughout. —Chris

Publisher's Summary

Now a Major Motion Picture. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.

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!

Browse more titles in the Ender Wiggin series.
©1977, 1985, 1991 Orson Scott Card (P)2002 Fantastic Audio, an imprint of Audio Literature

Critic Reviews

  • Nebula Award Winner, Best Novel, 1985
  • Hugo Award Winner, Best Novel, 1986
"Intense' is the word for Ender's Game." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Jacobus
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 10-27-13

A good production with a little extra

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • DAYTON, OH, United States
  • 11-09-11

Wonderful book, Masterful execution

Would you listen to Ender's Game again? Why?

Yes! Most decidedly. Very imaganitive, great dialogue, Great story. I have a few nit picky details that I have qualms with, but I would give it a 98 out of 100 save those few things. Having been in the military for 12 years, I am contstantly amazed at how people who have'nt been in the military confuse dicipline with abuse. Read Heinleins Star Ship Troopers, (a book thats shares a simular primise with Enders Game), if you want to know what the military is like.I also say a lot of bullying goes on in this book, and that does not happen in the military any more than in civilian life.That being said, I thourghly enjoyed listening to this book, and would definitly get the rest of the series. I give it 5 Stars and you should really get this one if you can.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game?

That would be giving away the ending, but I was totally fooled, and I am a pretty smart guy.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison – was your favorite?

Rudnicki's Ender is wonderful, and Rudnicki is a narrative God! Harlan's okey I really like the Bova Book, City on the edge of Darkness that Harlan did. Its one of my top favorites, in science fiction. I guess I think of Harlan as a writer, which is probebly unfair.

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

I love the battles in the Battle school, it was very creative, and I have always loved stories of Military school, having been in one myself.

Any additional comments?

No way can you go wrong getting this book to listen to.Great Story!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Ginger
  • Birmingham, Al USA
  • 07-12-08

One of the greatest books of the 20th Cen.

Orson Scott Card is firmly one of the 10 greatest Sci-FI authors that has ever lived and everyone of the Ender series books are just masterpieces worth being read and in this case listened too repeatedly.

If you are looking for a great audio books to listen too this should be in your top 15 for Sci-Fi. If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing Ender's universe you have my sympathies for your loss and jealously as you get to experience it unfold for the first time. ENJOY!!!!

14 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara
  • Marietta, GA, United States
  • 03-04-07

Not for readers of more sophisticated fare

With many dear friends who worship this book, I really, really wanted to like it. I'm not a sci-fi newbie, having read virtually everything by Bradbury, Asimov, Henry Cutter, and many others. Orson Card writes a very pedestrian novel here, with yet-another Messianic "The ONE" (a la Star Wars, the Matrix, the Wizard of OZ, Bible) thread about THE BOY (a heavily misogynistic tale) who will save mankind. The "this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" style of Officer Training that 6-year old Ender Wiggin is put into would make an excellent model for suicide bomber camps everywhere. In fact, I'll bet it does!

Peter, the character who embodies pure evil, is as beguiling as Eddy Haskell from "Leave it to Beaver", but while the Cleavers could see straight through Eddy from the start, NO ADULT, but only Peter's young sister, can see him for what he is. Of course she is powerless to stop him, or resist him.

Everyone asked me to reflect on the "twist" in the story at the end. When I finally choked this whole thing down, I was bewildered. TWIST? Have you people ever read *any*thing else? Yes, it takes a tad bit unexpected turn at the end, and I'm told that I REALLY REALLY should try the more-sophisticated sequel. That's okay. I still have plenty of other things to read and *enjoy*.

9 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Very well produced but otherwise despicable

I had so high expectations on this audio book. I wanted a good science fiction book to listen to. I chose this because of it's very high rating. The book is well written, but what this book is about is how an entire society can use children to be their puppets. To train children, Ender is 6 years old when drafted into the military, to be murderous soldiers. I am appalled that this is classified to be a children's book where children are used and forced to kill other children by the adults. The story itself is engaging if you don't think about that the main characters are children. I don't care how smart they are or high IQ they have. I cringe every time the characters' age is mentioned. The future certainly is extremely depressing from the point of view of Card. How children can find this entertaining is beyond me. This book should not be listened (or read) by any child, in my opinion. The child would likely become very depressed if he/she identified with any of the main characters. One is trained to kill anybody that bullies him, another is driven to kill anybody that defeats him in a game and yet another one that plans to take of the world and turn it into a fascistic society. How depressing.

The production of the audio book, on the other hand, is excellent from start to finish. The narrators are engaging and interesting to listen to, especially the narrator that tells Valentine's, Ender's sister, story.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Tallahassee, FL, USA
  • 11-19-03

A Refreshing 'Read'

It has been some time since I have 'read' a book that has made me physically smile, chuckle, and get goose bumps. This book reminds me that with a good imaganation, a good story can be told.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • 04-06-14

beware of listening with 8-10 year olds

I found this classified in the 8-11 year old suggestions. I listened to a few hours with my 9 year old grandson, and had to turn it off. It is very violent and disturbing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting read - for a boy

What did you like best about Ender's Game? What did you like least?

I really liked the character of Ender and what he went through - and I liked comparing what the author thought would be in the future vs what is - the nets vs Facebook. I did not like the sexism or the anti semitism in the book. And the ending kind of blows.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I thought the most interesting thing was how the author had taken the idea of video games and made it real - way before video games were real. You could almost feel what it was like to be weightless too in the descriptions of their zero gravity games.

What about Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison ’s performance did you like?

I thought all the readers did a good job - being a child's voice (though frankly the characters were not really children) and adult

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Liked The Movie? Check Out The Book!

I will take a different approach with this review and include some reasons why people who have seen the movie should check out the book as well. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a book I have read and listened to many times. This work by Orson Scott Card is the crowning achievement of his career and I am glad that he finally agreed to bring this book to a movie format. If you have not seen the movie yet and want a review of the book by itself, skip the next paragraph.

While the movie release was done well in the given time allotment, I believe that it is still worth checking out the book itself; the real genius. In the book we get a better look at the family of Ender Wiggin and see their effects on Ender. His brother and sister are equal to Enders genius and play a role shaping society. There is a larger focus at the battle school. The overall tension is greater and we see better character development. Ender shapes the pupils around him and the reader can understand more what makes him a good military commander. The reader comes to understand just how manipulated Ender is throughout the book and can find some sympathy with his actions. Without much politics of the time explained, the ending was altered to some extent as well. Lastly, Orson Scott Card wrote a book about Bean himself that takes place from his perspective during Enders Game. If you haven't read/listened to either of these versions yet, then you are missing out on two different and complex stories.

Enders Game is about a world consumed with the fear of annihilation after an alien fleet had invaded some years ago. With similarities to starship troopers, nations have come together to provide a fleet of spaceships for the salvation of Earth. This Earth is overpopulated and there are laws that prohibit having more than two children. Only for special exceptions are "thirds" allowed to be born. Such is the case that Ender Wiggin who is marked by birth with the intent to be the savior of the planet. Ender himself is a tactical genius. He has been recruited at a young age to go to a battle school in order to train to become a commander. There are some interesting applications of futuristic technologies and include mind invasive tech, and battle room facilities in space. Children are brought together at very young ages and forced into hard realities with no privacy. They are hence analyzed and shaped into effective weapons. The story pushes at the limits of human tolerances and shows at what lengths these military leaders will go to produce a commander of battle fleet that they believe will determine the fate of human existence in the stars.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • Pottstown, United States Minor Outlying Islands
  • 09-02-13

Good, Not Sure It Iives Up To The Hype

Would you listen to Ender's Game again? Why?

Not really, Not that it isn't a fun listen once, but unless I decide to listen to the rest of the series, probably not.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Blah. The end feels rushed. Not like he tried to put too much in a small space but like there isn't enough. There are specific things i wished he had addressed as for the ending and this is my main problem with it which i will explain more on in the Additional Comments.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison – was your favorite?

Ender, honestly. I just liked the way he sounded, idk any other way to explain it.

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

Seriously? Would 'This Is Not A Game' work?

Any additional comments?

So, i know i'm probably going to be crucified for this but, i just didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped.

(SPOILERS) The end was the part that fell apart for me. When Ender beat the last 'game' in Command School and Mazer Rackham said "You you just won the war!" (I'm paraphrasing) IT felt like a cop out to me. BUT hold on! Not the basic idea, more the execution. The idea is interesting and surprising. While it was surprising, it didn't feel as powerful as it should have. I really can't explain it well. To me it was just to 'BLAH'. I.. hmm, i was just to not concerned i guess.

Then the human war happened after the Bugger threat was gone, cool right?! WRONG we got to see zip of that war, we've had Bean's perspective of things and could have through some of the war, but no, all we got was Ender's rehab. Huh?

No, i know that the story was originally a Short Story and i am impressed at the way Orson Scott Card turned it into a full on novel. But the end, like I said, it felt rushed and I feel I would have enjoyed the Short Story more than the novel.

I know, I Know! Crucify, Crucify!!!! But I'm just being honest and feel this doesn't quite live up to the hype

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Hopkins
  • 12-09-13

enders game

Would you listen to Ender's Game again? Why?

This is by far the best audio book ive listened to,including lord of the rings trilogy which i thought would never be beaten.Regardless of your views on the writer and his opinions,not mine by the way,the guy can write.He is the only person to write an ending to his book that i didnt see coming a mile away.Here goes ...in a war where aliens always seem to have the upper hand the earth has united and in a desperate bid to end the 3rd bugger war,the earth now trains its best and greatest from childhood,taken away from his family ender is the 3rd child to be allowed birth,his previous siblings all failed and were ejected from the military.....will ender wiggins be any different?One last statement...when they say this is a must read{listen}they arnt kidding.

Who was your favorite character and why?

cant help but like val{valentine}shes funny and desperate and gets the better of peter

What does Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

They are brilliant all the cast readers are brilliant,they get the feel of the book perfectly

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

It did make me laugh and i have to admit to feelings...im a bloke so thats all your getting....stiff upper lip ....

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  • Angela
  • 12-07-13

Sci-fi for all ages

What made the experience of listening to Ender's Game the most enjoyable?

Enders Game has just been released as a movie but do yourself a favour and listen to this before you go to see it.
I read the book when I was 12 and working my way through the library. I loved it then and devoured the others in the series, this re-read (listen) did not disappoint and as such it is a science fiction book that anybody who is interested in the genre should enjoy.
A fantastic story that has been well produced as an audio book. I was worried before I started listening that having more than one narrator would be jarring but instead it is flawless and adds to the overall enjoyment immensely.
When you get to the end make sure you listen to the author Orson Scott Card talking about the book and the film as he is incredibly engaging.

What other book might you compare Ender's Game to, and why?

If you enjoy this you should try Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I haven't listened to either of the narrator's before but, I will definitely be looking out for them now.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book in two big chunks if I didn't need sleep it would definitely have been perfect for one sitting.

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  • Raimundas
  • 12-05-13

Very good scy-fi book!

Any additional comments?

This is amazing book about genius child playing games to learn to battle actual enemies.
Story goes very deep. It touches very interesting child psychology and general philosophic questions. Writing style is good, characters are interesting and relateble. Action scenes are interesting and vivid, and mind work of protagonist is very interesting.
Is is better then the movie? It is wrong question - it is different experience. I would recommend reading the book first... watch movie. Take a break of couple of years, reverse the order and do it again.

Highly recommend.

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  • Niall
  • 12-02-13

A landmark novel in sci-fi

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I'd recommend this book to anyone with even the vaguest interest in science fiction or fantasy writing. It plays off familiar tropes of the genres yet still manages to be innovative and fresh. It follows the story of an exceptionally talented young boy called 'Ender' as he progresses though battle school and all the struggles associated with it. Throughout each mounting problem that Ender has to engage with you find yourself rooting for him with bated breath and silently cheering for him when he succeeds. The book is well-written; accessible, well-paced and interesting throughout.

What did you like best about this story?

The story, while a little plain and predictable, manages to attract you into Ender's world and leaves you desiring more.

Which character – as performed by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison – was your favourite?

Ender himself was the most interesting character in the story and the voice actor performed him well.

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

This is not a game

Any additional comments?

Highly recommended book, ideal for both newcomers and veterans of the genre.

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  • Mr
  • 12-01-13

Great scifi

Would you listen to Ender's Game again? Why?

I'd certainly listen to this again as it's a gripping story, well written and well read by the voice actors.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game?

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.

Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

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.

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

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Scotsch
  • 12-01-13

A character centric masterpiece

Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game to be better than the print version?

Yes, a stellar perfomance, combined with a book greatly suited to be an audio book makes this a perfect rendition.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game?

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.

What does Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

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

Among great great perils and endless technology, we are all still human, and very much alone.

Any additional comments?

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.

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  • Dimos
  • 12-01-13

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.

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  • Piotr
  • 12-01-13

Fantastic story with taste of cold war age

If you could sum up Ender's Game in three words, what would they be?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Ender's Game?

Final battle - epic turn in action - yet shock of extermination a whole spice what looks like game.

What does Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Perfect story for long flight or journey.

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  • Dr
  • 12-01-13

One the greatest sci-fis of all time

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

What other book might you compare Ender's Game to, and why?

The analytical aspects of the writing remind me of Piers Anthony, but the stroy has always struck me as utterly original.

What about Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison ’s performance did you like?

Great character differentiation, good diction and good speed of narration.

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

Don't bother watching this film, the book is better

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  • Andy
  • 12-01-13

Great story from an alternative timeline

What did you like most about Ender's Game?

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

Who was your favorite character and why?

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

What about Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison ’s performance did you like?

They mixed up the book really well and made the characters come to life. Really well performed

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