On Ender's Game

Introduction: Ender's World

By Orson Scott Card

I thought I had a pretty good story when I gave my first draft of the original novelet “Ender’s Game” to my mother to type up for submission.

My mother had been another set of eyes on all my plays and my handful of previous stories. So even though I had long been a very fast and accurate typist myself, I passed her my longhand manuscript because I wanted to see how the story would work for her. This was my first serious attempt to write a sci-fi story to sell. My theatre company was getting good attendance, but losing money even with no rent and no salaries to pay (you can lose money on hit plays). I needed “Ender’s Game” to help me launch a non-theatrical writing career. As a non-fan of sci-fi, my mother would definitely let me know if I had something that would work outside the science fiction community.

I was surprised at how strongly positive her reaction was. She had enjoyed my Worthing stories, but those were completely character-centered, with not a single spaceship and, for that matter, no electricity or power tools or weapons beyond a medieval level. They felt like fantasy. So “Ender’s Game” was the first time I had asked my mother to read something that really felt like science fiction.

It wasn’t the space stuff that worked for her. It was the child under pressure, isolated and yet able to build a community around him, able to keep his head and think inventively even  …

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