Happy weekend, guys!
So for today’s 30DBC, I’m going to go over a book that disappointed me. Said book is:
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I first decided to endeavour reading this novel after watching the film with the same name.
It is set in future Earth where mankind’s existence is threatened by the presence of the Formics, otherwise known as “Buggers”, an ant-like alien species. So to prepare for the third invasion (as it has been dubbed), the International Fleet (IF) train children and seeks out possible trainees to lead an army. Ender is the third child in a society where families are under a strict two-child policy. His family specially requested to have Ender after their two children showed a lot of promise in Battle School – however their first child, Peter, turned out too violent, and their second child, Valentine, too empathic. Ender is supposedly the “baby bear” of the fairytale trope, a.k.a. “just right”.
The rest of the novel follows Ender as he is chosen to go through further training, through difficult tasks and games in Command School.
I was excited to read the novel after watching the book because there were so many interesting concepts that I hoped the book explored more of. Also, after watching an Ender’s Game spoilercast by RoosterTeeth, where they gushed about how much better the book apparently was, I thought that it was inevitable that I would read it.
At first, it seemed alright, there were more moments at the Battle School and I was excited to get into the mind of Ender – but after a couple of chapters I found myself disappointed. Maybe it was the expectation that was given from the film itself – they made it appear that Ender was a boy genius, but the way Scott Card wrote Ender was less remarkable. There was some attempt to be logical and reasoning, but it appeared to be a whole less impressive than I hoped it would be.
The rest of the book was therefore a letdown. The only moments I cherished the most and found the most intriguing was the forum speeches and new relationship that Peter and Valentine had on earth which was not in the movie itself.
Upon finishing the book, I had to come to a conclusion as to why I felt disappointed in the book – and I came to this conclusion.
Firstly, this was a book that was released in 1985, where the technology in the book must have seemed far more impressive back then but has (to some extent) come to fruition today. This includes the large communication network which Scott Card talks about on Earth and the forums present on this network which, today, has become the Internet. There was the moment when Ender hacked into the Commander School system and that is something very realisable today. Hence, first and foremost, reading about technology that was only a vision back then probably takes the glory out of the Ender’s Game universe.
Secondly, this book is probably targeted to a younger audience and, like many books when we read when we were younger, it would have definitely far more enrapturing when I was thirteen than now. The writing is good enough for a teenager but as an adult, there is a lot to lust after in terms of explanations of the universe that surrounds Ender’s Game.
Lastly, I watched it as a movie before I read it as a book. Personally, I loved the movie. I loved the soundtrack of the movie and the amazing special effects of it. They made the universe and Ender appear larger than life. This is a lot different from the book where Ender is still very much a child, he still has many vulnerable moments – however Ender in the film appeared like a boy who had everything sorted out – every minute, every action. I suppose I wished the movie took more scenes in, but in terms of cutting them out – they did remove the more complicated, dull stuff, like the dozens of rounds of anti-gravity war simulations versus other groups that I practically glazed over in the book.
It is for these, very reasonable, reasons why I was disappointed when I finally sat down and decided to read Ender’s Game. So, I’ll be impartial here.
It may not have been because the book was a failure – cause I definitely doubt that. It was just the circumstances in which I read it that made it less than spectacular to me.
Personally, I feel like the book is something completely lost to me. I’ve lost the perfect moment to read it, and therefore I feel I can never fully appreciate it the way it was at that time of first publication. Instead, I will just appreciate the film for what the book inevitably became. So if you like sci-fi books, I still suggest you try reading it – but maybe before watching the film.
So, last but not least, check out Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog to see the book that disappointed her. And I’ll catch you tomorrow for my favourite book turned into a movie – which could very well be Ender’s Game, ’cause Ender’s Game was a good book to movie adaptation (in my opinion, and because I did it the opposite way around, i.e. movie then book) – but I won’t do that to you readers, i.e. Ender’s Game two days in a row.
Till next time!