On Ender's Game

If the Formics Love Their Children Too

Or, How I Was Ender’s Gamed Into Reflecting on the Exigencies of War

By Ken Scholes

Of all the other contributors to this collection of essays, I suspect that I have the distinction of being the last to the party when it comes to Orson Scott Card’s classic science fiction novel, Ender’s Game. The invitation came across my email in January 2012. There was only one real problem:

I had not read Ender’s Game.

I had read Card’s Homecoming Saga and enjoyed it thoroughly in the mid-nineties. And I’d relied upon his writing book, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, when I came back to writing in my late twenties. I knew he was a helluva storyteller and I had many of his books in my growing collection that I just hadn’t gotten to…yet.

Fast-forward to January 2012 and the invitation to write the words you’re now reading. Of course, I accepted. And immediately confessed, as I have to all of you now, that I had not yet read the book. But with that confession, I attached a modest proposal—what if I read the book as a first-timer coming to it now in this space and time and then construct my essay from that framework as a newcomer?

You’re reading this now, so it must have worked.

Shortly after committing to the project, Nature conspired to assist as it will, and I took a tumble on one of our few snow days in northwestern Oregon. Stuck in bed with a bungled knee, I picked up my copy of Ender’s Game and settled into a two-day ride that I’ve been pondering  …

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