Ask Orson Scott Card a question about Ender’s Game!

By May 31st, 2012 42 Comments

As you may already know, we’re publishing a collection of essays on Ender’s Game in February 2013, edited by Orson Scott Card. (You can find out more about the contents and sign up for news and updates at our book page.)

Alongside those essays, we’re putting together some Q&As with Orson Scott Card to add throughout the book. Why is the Battle Room a cube? Why did the military recruit their soldiers as children? How does the queen survive until Ender finds her?

Here’s your chance to get in on it: Card wants to give you the opportunity to ask him anything you’ve ever wondered about Ender’s Game!

Ask your question in the comments below.

We’ll publish as many answers as we can in the final book, and give you guys some sneak previews this fall/winter leading up to the book release over at our Tumblr (so make sure to follow!).

You have until midnight Eastern time on July 1 July 7 to ask. (Time extended due to technical difficulties over on Tumblr.) Feel free to ask more than one! And we’d love if you’d help us spread the word to other Ender fans.

So: What have you always wanted to know about Ender’s Game?

ETA: We’re talking book only. No movie questions, guys; sorry!

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42 Comments On "Ask Orson Scott Card a question about Ender’s Game!"

  1. Angel Co

    What is Alai’s surname? You haven’t mentioned it in the book.


  2. tblondin

    To be perfectly honest, all I’m really concerned about is this:

    How true to the book will the movie be kept? I’m extremely nervous for the movie release, because it could be as terrible an adaptation as Eragon or as great an adaptation as Hunger Games. Obviously I’m hoping that it will be as perfectly translated to the silver screen as possible, with nothing important left out and nothing unnecessary added in. For instance: Much of the book is Ender’s thought processes. How will this translate?


  3. Declan M Garrett

    Considering how long you have been writing about these characters for and how well developed they must now be, do you still have to outline an entire book with their decisions and actions. Or do you now just think of interesting situations and put them in there and just “see” what they do.


  4. EnderSpeaker

    Having just finished Shadows In flight I am mega excited about Shadows Alive. I’ve wanted to know more about the Descoladores and their planet since Childen of the Mind (1997 I think). Now it seems like it could be Bean’s childen, I just need to know more, I feel like a giddy school boy imagining what the answers could be. I know that is not much of a question but I need to know more.


  5. K-McDermott

    In regards the section on “The Technology of Ender’s Game” in the Authorized Ender’s Companion; I would like to know how much information from that chapter will be in the movie?


  6. James Kamlet

    I really liked the part of the ‘Ender’s Companion’ that dealt with the technology of ‘Ender’s Game’. I really hope you include most of it in your movie. Will it?


  7. Emily Thorpe

    what happens to Bean and his kids at the end of the shadow series? do they ever rejoin the human race or do they stay in space forever until they all die?


  8. Iv¡n Preuss

    To be honest, I have much fear about the adaptation of the book in the film. I read in some websites that you were controlling, more or less, this adaptation. I hope the film’s director, Gavin Hood, is considered a great reader and a fan of Ender’s Game, in this way is easier to perform this adaptation.

    The question is:

    Mr. Orson Scott Card, what do you think about this cinematography adaptation of this little treasure called Ender’s Game?


  9. Bjoern


    After “reading” (via Audible) to the entire two series, I would like to know if Ender ever got an answer to the letter he writes to his parents. I thought the letter was so well written that it deserves an answer but I either missed it or forgot it.



    • EnderSpeaker

      Did you read Ender in Exile, the answer is in there


  10. Declan M Garrett

    In your introduction to Speaker For The Dead you explain that the reason Ender’s Game became a full novel was to facilitate the telling of the Speaker For The Dead story. After the acclaim given to Ender’s Game, including an upcoming movie adaptation and its use in thousands of schools, do you ever feel that the greater (in my opinion) work – Speaker For The Dead – has been somewhat overlooked? I am aware of it winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards as Ender’s Game did, but it just seems to me that it is less appreciated that it should be.


  11. Declan M Garrett

    In your introduction to Speaker For The Dead you explain that the reason Ender’s Game became a full novel was to facilitate the telling of the Speaker For The Dead story. After the acclaim given to Ender’s Game, including an upcoming movie adaptation and its use in thousands of schools, do you ever feel that the greater (in my opinion) work — Speaker For The Dead — has been somewhat overlooked? I am aware of it winning both the Hugo and Nebula awards as Ender’s Game did, but it just seems to me that it is less appreciated than it should be.


  12. Reginald

    What experiences did you draw from to create Ender and Bean? Your spot-on representation of the “gifted child” demographic is impressive. My heart is closer to those two characters than Holden Caulfield, which is quite odd for an adolescent fighting the clutches of cynicism and role confusion.


  13. Danion Sisler

    When you were writing Ender’s Game, did you epect it to become as popular as it is now?


  14. Ruthie

    I’ve always wondered: will we ever get a chance to get the differences between Common and English explained to us? Because I’m interested in languages, and I’d like to explore Common. Thanks.


  15. Czhorat

    n the novels Xenocide, Speaker for the Dead, and Children of the Mind you dealt with themes of alien-ness, our relationship to perceived others, and the difficulties in coming to understandings with different cultures. In later Enderverse books, you appeared to take a jingoistic stand, particularly against Islam which, to many, should appear less alien to those of us in the west than insectile hive minds or emergent computer-based intelligences. Your personal stand against gay and lesbian rights appears to be another way in which you fail to attempt to understand the other. Did something change in your philosophy between the publication of Children of the Mind and now to so deeply move you away from tolerance, or am I misreading the earlier books?


  16. Jason Morales

    There is another side to the story I’ve wanted to know. What is the story behind the pilots and officers of the invasion force in Ender’s Game? They had to have a tremendous amount of courage to engage in the battles they fought. Did they know they were commanded by children? Did all of the pilots fly unto the breach without concern, complaint? As a reader, knowing Ender, Bean, Dink, Petra, and the others it would be extremely interesting to see the battles from the invasion forces point of view. Would the different squadron leaders begin to learn something about the battle school commander that was ordering them? Would they have feared Petra was near collapse? Would the faith of the other pilots been shaken when Petra’s group was temporarily paralyzed by her meltdown? What was going through the pilots minds when face to face last encounter when they were hopeless outnumbered. All of them more or less plummetted to the Formic homeworld without regard for themselves.


    • Darian Robbins

      I love this question. I think it would make a great set of stories.


  17. SSmith

    A politer version of a question above:

    Does tolerance for “the other” change over the span of the books? If so, why? If not, why not?


  18. Bryan Morrison

    What was your method for expanding the universe of Ender/other characters when you wrote books like “Shadow of the Giant” and such? How did you know where to start?


  19. Jonathan Tillman

    When you originally expanded Ender’s Game into a novel did you have the full story arc planned out or have an idea where it would end up at the end of Children of the Mind? Had you already thought of the Philotic Web connecting everything and using that as a vessel to help tell the story of Ender?


  20. Jonathan Tillman

    When authorizing Ender to be born, did the IF use genetic manipulation or genetic screening assuming they were choosing from a pool of zygotes? We learned in the Shadow series that genetic manipulation was outlawed so how could the IF be sure that Ender would be the perfect mix of Peter and Valentine?


  21. Declan M Garrett

    What did Ender’s Mom study at university, after reading the short “Teacher’s Pest” I can only conclude that the work you describe her engaged in was in fact a small nod from you to the Sci-Fi great Isaac Asimov, please say I’m right and that Theresa was in fact developing Psychohistory – from the Foundation series, that would just make my year.


  22. Orion

    In Xenocide, there are several key points in Qing-Xao’s research that Jane could have stopped from happening using subtle philotic manipulation instead of just shutting down the link. (I.E. When Qing-Xao discovers that Demosthenes is really Valentine.) You went out of your way to cover why she couldn’t just shut down the link altogether, but never really explained why she didn’t use any subtler forms of interference. ( I always thought that she could plant evidence that suggested that shutting down all the ansible links would be a waste of time.)


  23. Paul Graham

    Where did you get the idea for Ender’s Game? Did you get any character inspiration from people you know?


  24. Carlos Ramirez

    When you first wrote of the Mind Fantasy Game in Battle School, did you already know or plan that the ai¹a inside the Mind Game would evolved into Jane, and that Jane would play a major part in the Ender series and help Ender through most of his troubles?


  25. Carlos Ramirez

    Why did you not develop Bean’s character more, especially his brilliance, in Ender’s Game? Did you know that you were going to develop him in the Shadow series?


  26. Carlos Ramirez

    Knowing that Mazer Rackham stopped the second Formics invasion by, basically, luck, why did you want him to teach the extremely genius, Ender?


  27. Carlos Ramirez

    Why did you not make a circumstance in which Ender lost at least one battle in the Battle Room?


  28. Carlos Ramirez

    How did you think of the fight to the death of Bonzo Madrid and Ender?


  29. Carlos Ramirez

    Did the military always recruit children into battle school, or any genius?


  30. Carlos Ramirez

    How was Peter too cruel or crazy to not be allowed into Battle School? Isn’t that what the military wanted, a person that would utterly destroy the Formics? I believe that Peter would have destroyed them with the Little Doctor without hesitating or regretting it, like Ender.


  31. Gu°rºn Saga (IceSaga)

    Hope I’m not too late. I read the book for the first time just a few months ago and absolutely loved it.

    What character did you like to create the most?

    Do you think the actors who were chosen represent the characters well?

    Do you have great expectations for the film?

    Was Ender’s Game your first book/Story?



  32. EC Spencer

    How much of Bean’s character did you really have developed when you wrote “Ender’s Game?” With fifteen years between it and “Ender’s Shadow” (longer when considering your original short story), I’m wondering how much of his history/intelligence/influence you created after the initial publication of “Ender’s Game?”

    I love “Ender’s Shadow” and the concept of the parallel novel; reading the story again from Bean’s perspective is always fascinating. But there are certain story elements, certain lines of dialogue, and certain events that seem to have been thought of after-the-fact. When I read “Ender’s Game” now, it’s difficult to separate the Bean from that book with the Bean we’re shown throughout the Shadow series. It seems like he was never originally intended to be such an important and influential character. How hard was it to re-create the story from a new perspective when the character you were writing was more than he seemed in the first book?


  33. EC Spencer

    A trivial question, but it’s always bothered me:

    From the short story to the novel, why did you change Ender’s surname from Wiggins to Wiggin?


  34. EC Spencer

    If you could go back and re-write “Ender’s Game,” what would you change? Is there something that has always bothered you, something you wrote that you now think is silly, or something you wish you would have included?


  35. EC Spencer

    Was there any particular reason you assigned Dragon Army the colors grey, orange, grey?


  36. Adam G.

    Which direction is down?


  37. conrad

    I need some clarification on why Bean’s math equation in Ender’s Shadow was significant. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure n = 16/PI^2 – 2…which is an expressible number. Please tell me what I am missing because it is burning a hole in my brain.


  38. Steven D. Floyd

    Is there any allegorical connections between your Mormon faith and the fictional story of Andrew Ender Wiggin? Are there principles or doctrines of your faith represented or which inspired certain cosmic or fictional technological features contained within the Enderverse which you created? Is there parallelisms between Ender’s world and our world; did each book have a central focus on certain issues and themes of the day; I can find my own but i want to know the authors intent as opposed to guessing meaning at the underlying messages, you know what I mean? For you personally when it comes to philosophy where do you draw from to build on the morality of each and every one of your characters, but specifically Andrew Ender Wiggin? Which scripture by chapter and verse from your Mormon faith, or within your Cannon of Scripture, has been most influential on your writing of any work, but in particular for Ender’s Game and his ensuing story line in the following novels? Do you continue on planning to write more on Andrew Ender Wiggin or have you essential lost interest in his story? I personally find his story profoundly moving and would love to read more of his escapades in the cosmic scheme of things? If you did write more about Andrew Ender Wiggin where do you think you would start and what haven’t you said about him and his character that you would like to explore or would find necessary to tell?


  39. Biggestnerd

    Why did you choose to make the movie a combination of Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, rather than just the first?


  40. Dr. Louis

    Dear OSC: Did you know how important Bean’s character was when writing EG, or did that come later when writing the Shadow books? I hope Bean is portrayed as much as Ender in the movie since Bean is just as important – if not more than Ender – in my opinion. Thank you for all your books, but for Enders Game above all else.


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