On Ender's Game

The Price of Our Inheritance

By Neal Shusterman

I was lucky enough to run into Orson Scott Card at a recent conference, and over lunch we discussed the nature of the essays coming in for the collection. He found it interesting, and often flattering that people felt compelled to reminisce about where and when they first read Ender’s Game, as if it were the memorable shedding of their virginity. I, of course, won’t go there. You’ll never catch me talking about my first time.1

My curiosity was piqued by the conversation, though, because it pointed to the interesting fact that people do remember details around their first reading of Ender’s Game, in the same way people remember profound, life-changing events. For instance, so many of us remember exactly what we were doing the moment we heard about planes hitting the Twin Towers, or—for those of us who are parents—where we were the day we first learned we were going to be a father or mother. In time, our lives become slideshows of events that have left an indelible imprint on us. They become larger than life in our memories—and reading Ender’s Game is quite often a larger-than-life event.

I’ve read many memorable books, but few of them have such gravity that the memory sucks in other events around it like a black hole. I asked a number of friends, and discovered that each of them had also experienced “The Full Ender.” They proceeded to give me amazingly specific details about the first time their minds were subverted into thinking about  …

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