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Ender’s Game review: big ideas, small heart

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Ender's Game yellow light Asa Butterfield Hailee Steinfeld

My soul was never stirred. My spirit did not soar. My intellect did twitch a bit in ways that made my heart ache disagreeably, however.
I’m “biast” (pro): I’m a big science fiction geek

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The book is better.

I haven’t even read the book, and I know this must be the case, because there’s little here that can account for how highly fans rate the 1985 novel. For the book and its preteen hero, Ender Wiggin, to be as beloved as they are, there’s gotta be some heart lurking in there somewhere. My soul, alas, was never stirred by this film adaptation. My spirit did not soar. My intellect twitched a bit in ways that made my heart ache disagreeably, however. This Ender’s Game — from writer-director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Rendition) — engages the mind, in some ways that are uncomfortable and yet never intriguingly so, but it does not engage the heart.

I might say that that odd omission could be intentional, because the Big SF Ideas of this strange mashup of Starship Troopers and Harry Potter — gifted kids go to fascist military school! — are ones that seem positive only if your heart is made of stone. (Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld will love this flick; it’s a gung-ho endorsement of their decision to invade Iraq.) Decades after Earth repelled an invasion by insectile aliens who killed tens of millions of humans, the planet is preparing for another invasion by the “Formics” that may or may not come by training all kids in tactics and strategy in the hopes of finding a new “Julius Caesar or a Napoleon” who will win the war decisively. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield: Hugo (2011), Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang), aged up from the book to around 14 years old, is plucked from his regular school to attend the orbiting Battle School, because Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford: Cowboys & Aliens, Extraordinary Measures) and Major Anderson (Viola Davis: Prisoners, Beautiful Creatures), who run the place, think he could be the legendary-scale genius they’re looking for.

And what makes Ender stand out? He accidentally stumbled upon the strategy Earth’s leaders believe is needed to defeat the Formics: preemptive assholery on a personal level and preemptive war on a societal one. It’s prison rules as a cultural philosophy: gotta beat up the biggest badass in the yard in order to kill off in him the idea of even thinking about beating you up in the future.

Ender’s Game is all might-makes-right and justification for violence; there has apparently been no attempt to even communicate with the Formics, for one thing, never mind a go at a diplomatic solution with the aliens, and apparently everyone is okay with that. Ender himself articulates it neatly at one point: “Follow the rules, you lose; chose violence, you win.” What just barely saves the movie as something worth a look for kids (and probably only kids; more on that in a moment) is that Ender does eventually rebel against the attitudes that his manipulative education — okay, sure, let’s call is brainwashing — has inculcated in him. This is far more science fiction of ideas than of action, and it demands discussion of its ideas, if in a weak sort of way, as if it doesn’t want you to question them too much. Ender’s turnaround injects only some minor quibbling about the film’s larger repulsive ideas, and in a way that barely rejects them.

But here’s another problem with Ender’s Game… and with Ender himself. Ender’s about-face is possible because, we’re told, he has a special sort of empathy with his enemies that helps him to understand and even love them. But we never see how this is possible, such as with the many bullies he faces in his various schools, and we certainly see nothing that would explain the empathy he comes to have with the Formics. A certain connection between Ender and the aliens jumps out at the end as an almost mystical thing that is entirely at odds with the film’s hard-science approach up to that point. Author Orson Scott Card has said that he considers his novel to be unfilmable (even though this adaptation does have his blessing), “because everything takes place in Ender’s head.” Way too much of what is inside Ender’s head is missing in the film for the very dramatic ending to be plausible.

And why is this version, at least, of Ender’s Game probably best suited to kids? For one, Ender’s tactics and strategies that amaze his elders don’t seem terribly ingenious. I was stunned, in fact, that all the adults here are stunned by how Ender utilizes a new weapon in a battle scenario. Because how can no one else have seen his use as a possibility? How can the people who designed the weapon not have had this in mind? It was the first thing I thought of when we got the infodump explaining what the new weapon is capable of, particularly because it fits in so perfectly with the total-war philosophy of Earth’s leadership. Also too: While it’s commendable for the film to play around with zero-g ideas — like how there’s no up or down in space — and it’s smart of Ender to have figured this out even on his first trip off the planet, it seems kinda ridiculous that the Formics appear not to have hit upon this fact. I suspect adult fans of SF will find much of what goes on here, SFwise, to be rather simplistic, even while it pretends not to be, just as adult fans of drama won’t find much nuance, even when it’s desperately needed.

Watch Ender’s Game with a kid… and talk about it afterward. Unless you’re cool with an endorsement of preemptive violence as a way of life.


Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.]

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Region 1
release date:

Feb 11 2014
Amazon US DVD
Amazon US VOD
Amazon Can DVD
Region 2
release date:

Mar 10 2014
Amazon UK DVD
Amazon UK VOD
US/Canada release date: Nov 1 2013 | UK release date: Oct 25 2013

Flick Filosopher Real Rating: rated FSF (contains fascist science fiction)
MPAA: rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material
BBFC: rated 12A (contains moderate violence)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a public multiplex screening

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes
  • Froborr

    I can assure you, the book is not better. It is the Twilight of the 80s and 90s. People love it for the same reason they love Ayn Rand: because it tells them they’re better than everyone else. If you’re a smart, picked on kid, this is a story about a smart picked on kid beating up bullies and saving the world while retaining his innocence; if you’re anyone else, this is a story about a complete sociopath being chosen by sociopaths to lead humanity into a new aid of sociopathy and genocide.

    Also, the author is a raging homophobic right-winger who would probably be pleased at the comparison to Rumsfeld.

  • Travis Else

    The story is not about endorsing violence or war. Ender hates getting into fights and he hates the fact that he is good at winning his confrontations. All he wants is to be left alone. From what I hear, the movie omits much of Peter and Valentine. Peter is basically evil and Ender is afraid that he will become like Peter. Thing is, he is intentionally put into these violent situations from the powers that be so they can keep evaluating and pushing him. This is a story that studies morals and ethics in wartime and if the ends justify the means. It is not something that celebrates this violence. In the the book anyways, there is a lot of meat to chew on.

    I could be wrong, but I feel most of your problems with the movie are addressed in the book. If you are a sci-fi geek, you gotta read it!

  • Jef

    Yeah, it was the Twilight of the 80s. That’s why it won the Hugo and the Nebula, has been a critically acclaimed best-seller since it was published 35 years ago, and is considered one of the foremost classics of science fiction literature.

    Also, good job of not only generalizing an entire fan base as arrogant and resentful, but of being completely unable to separate an author from their work and view their writings objectively. Maybe next time when you post you can stop yourself from being as close-minded as the novel’s author.

  • Ian Davidsson

    The relationship between Ender and the Hive Queen completely invalidates your stance. Ender doesn’t retain his innocence, he damns himself for committing xenocide. The entire book is about destructing the whole concept of the Bully, in that it tells you to understand and even love the bully. I think the deepest aspect of Twilight was er…abstinence.

  • Emil Hyde

    The book does have a heart, and it’s a quick enough read that you might want to devote a Saturday afternoon to tearing through it. However, the film has probably spoiled (and flubbed) the ending so that the big tragic reveal at the end won’t come as a knife through the heart.

    The central theme of the book is about two species profoundly misunderstanding each other, and how that misunderstanding leads to conflict that – once they do come to understand each other – both parties experience profound and cruAhing guilt for all the bloodshed. In fact, most of the rest of the Ender series are about him coping and atoning for what he did… there is *nothing* hoo-rah about the climax.

    Did they abandon/bungle the whole subplot with the artificially intelligent teaching computer, and Ender’s experiences in the virtual worlds it creates? Because that is how the big reveal is set up throughout the book. On one hand you have clever Ender figuring out how to win at all these games, but then on the other hand you have Ender learning the real cost of war. And when the two collide and he realizes what he’s done…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah, you pretty much summed up the book here.

  • Jurgan

    Wow, the fanboys are out in force on this one.

    Anyway, I only read this book a couple months ago, to see what all the fuss is. Yeah, it’s mildly inventive, but I couldn’t get over what a ridiculous Mary Sue Ender was. It’s a revenge fantasy for picked upon kids, where you can imagine they all hate you because they know you’re so much smarter than they are and some day you’ll show them all by being the best, smartest person ever. I imagine I might have dug it as a teenager, but at thirty years old it seems silly. Also, there’s a lot of gender essentialism and evo psych about how girls are naturally more nurturing and that’s why there’s only one girl in the whole school. And the whole thing about supposedly being empathetic and never showing it- yeah, definitely.

    That said, the book may have done some things a bit better. For one, it’s pretty well spelled out that they tried to communicate with the aliens but the two species were so different that it was impossible. Also, the ending shows Ender regrets what he was tricked into doing. He hated the teachers all along for the way they mistreated the kids, and yet the book mostly seems to think it was justified because it won the war. There’s a lot that could be said about whether it works or not, so I’ll refer you to Will Wildman’s detailed deconstruction:

    http://somethingshortandsnappy.blogspot.com/search/label/Ender%27s%20Game

  • LiberalsREasy

    “Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld will love this flick; it’s a gung-ho endorsement of their decision to invade Iraq.”

    Never mind that most of the Democratic Party voted for that invasion so I guess they will like it too. Never mind Al Gore raving circa 1990 about George H. W. Bush’s failure to fully invade Iraq to search and destroy all of Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction.” This begs the question, if you are so biased in your politics to confuse “bumper sticker slogans” with reality why would we depend on you to make sense of kids movie? That twitching of your intellect must be dementia.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I was just about to link to Short and Snappy. Like, the link is literally in my clipboard right now. :D

    Instead, let me leave something a bit more academic regarding Card’s intent-based morality in Ender’s Game – Creating the Innocent Killer:
    http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

  • LiberalsREasy

    ETA: Defenders of homo-sexuality rival Scientology

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Dafuq did I just read??

  • Jurgan

    I was intending to ignore this, as I don’t want to get in a debate about something completely irrelevant, but I have to rebut the factual error in your first sentence: http://mediamatters.org/research/2008/05/29/defending-medias-war-coverage-nbcs-gregory-aske/143596

  • LiberalsREasy

    From Media Matters hahahahaha. Why not just go through Micheal Moore’s stool like an owl pellet to divine your rebuttal?

  • Jurgan

    When you get caught making a mistake, attack the source as biased. Classic. Would you prefer wikipedia?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_Against_Iraq_Resolution_of_2002#Passage

  • LiberalsREasy

    Al Gore, patron saint of the internet demanding an invasion of Iraq http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JE48XHKG64&noredirect=1

  • LiberalsREasy

    It says from your own source: “58% of Democratic senators (29 of 50) voted for the resolution.” Why are you supporting my argument. I owe you 10 carbon credits. One good turn …

  • Kevin O’Neill

    On the recommendations here I read the review of Ender’s Game (the book) at Something Short and Snappy. The review is a major fail. The failure is one of simply not understanding what empathy means.

    Col. Graff tells Ender, “We had to have a commander with so much empathy that he would think like the buggers, understand them and anticipate them.”

    SS&S follows this by saying, “I don’t know what to say to this that I haven’t said before. Ender’s big thing at Eros has been lack of compassion, has been his refusal to be any kinder to his subordinates than Mazer has been to him.”

    Notice, SS&S says lack of ‘compassion’ – not ‘empathy.’ Confusing these qualities is the root of his disappointment. The ability to understand someone DOES NOT mean you automatically treat them kindly. Con men and manipulators need to understand their victims, to play upon their fears, greed, etc. Ender’s skill is in understanding both his enemies and his friends. He treats them kindly ONLY when it’s necessary; and he knows when it’s necessary because of his empathy.

    I’ve always considered the book to be unfilmable. There’s too much inner dialogue that’s necessary for the story to work, but usually gets short shrift in a movie. Despite being a huge fan of the book, I’m not terribly excited by the movie’s release because it almost has to be disappointing.

    P.S. The revenge fantasy notion is a very simplistic reading of the book. Each incident is depicted not to show a picked on kid ‘winning’ – but to display Ender’s tactical ability even in the face of long odds. Each of these incidents is also designed to make sure that Ender is alone, isolated, with no authority to turn to for protection. It is also instructive to remember that he is intentionally placed in these situations – and Graff is court-martialed for doing so.

  • RogerBW

    The original novella (1977) was OK. When it was expanded into the bloated book, and the even more bloated sequels, it lost whatever edge had originally made it interesting.

  • Jurgan

    Sigh… It also says 82 Dems in the House, out of 208. (82+29)/(50+208) = 43% < 50%. Still a higher number than I'd like, but not "most." Now either admit you were wrong or don't, but you can't argue with facts.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    My problems with the movie cannot by solved by reading the book.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    There is no AI teaching computer in the film. There is a “mind game” that sounds a bit like what you’re talking about, but in the end it makes no sense whatsoever.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    What does this mean?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    It was the administration war hawks that decided to hit *someone* just to show off how badass the US is. I don’t deny that the Democrats — and much of the American public — went along with it, but they had to be lied to in order to convince them that Iraq was actually a danger, when it was not.

    No one is forcing you to depend on me for anything. You are welcome to go elsewhere for your movie reviews.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    patron saint of the internet

    What was that you were saying about bumper stickers?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    This is the place to discuss someone else’s review of the book. You should be posting comments like this at that other site.

  • LiberalsREasy

    You were there? You really think somebody makes a decision that will result in thousands of people dying just to show “how bad ass we are.” You realize those Democratic members of congress were shown the same intelligence Bush was given and voted “yes.” I am not disappointed in you (your soul that needs kids movies to be stirred) for being this naive about foreign policy or the military but disappointed in that “twitchy” intellect of your which appears to have fulfilled its suicide pact with Micheal Moore’s “twitchy” intellect (where you get your worldview from) without having the decency to let you know.

    No MaryAnn Johanson. I am going to haunt your movie reviews for your benefit. And like the thousands of Iraqi’s who have a better life thanks to the courage of George W Bush hopefully you will come out better in the end; a less “twitchy” writer with all of my corrections.

  • Emil Hyde

    Well, if they got that wriong or failed to come up with something more cinematic to replace it, the movie would have to be a rather hollow exercise.

  • Travis Else

    Fair enough. The book can’t fix problems in the movie, but I guess what I’m saying is that the book may simply enhance your understanding of things that maybe weren’t explained well enough. I’m also saying you should read it regardless since it’s just an amazing book! I’ll find out myself this weekend how the movie compares.

  • LaSargenta

    Wow. You must have a lot of time on your hands. If you are out to change hearts and minds, maybe you should choose a more tempered user name.

  • Bluejay

    No MaryAnn Johanson. I am going to haunt your movie reviews for your benefit. … hopefully you will come out better in the end; a less “twitchy” writer with all of my corrections.

    Sounds like a cyberstalking threat, MaryAnn. You don’t need this crap. I nominate this guy as the perfect candidate for kittening.

  • http://www.rogue-penguin.com TempestDash

    I read the book as a teenager and loved, it but I wonder why, now that I’m looking back. I think most young sci-fi nerds like a book where the intelligent underdog gets to lord his superior strategy over his enemies.

    In my opinion, they should have tried to pair this story with ‘Speaker for the Dead’ and merge the story lines. Ender isn’t very sympathetic, in my opinion, until we see what he does with his life after the war. He essentially spends the first 10 years of his life learning to sharpen his hate into a blade then the rest of his life filled with guilt over what he has done and trying to use his considerable influence to advocate for pacifism.

    I still hope to see this movie, but this review is exactly what I expected to hear.

  • http://www.rogue-penguin.com TempestDash

    The virtual worlds in Ender’s Game play out similar to the VR machine in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, in my opinion. If you’ve read the original Dick novel, then you can probably guess what Card was trying to do.

  • RogerBW

    I think that reading the book as “revenge of the nerds” is missing one of the other arguments Card makes: that it is necessary to break people and render them entirely unfit for civilian life in order to make them effective soldiers.

  • Jonathan Roth

    I’m probably out of the loop, but this was the first time I realized they changed the derogatory nickname for the enemy in the film.

  • GokouZWAR

    Yeah i was a little upset that they removed “buggers” from the movie. In the books they didn’t start calling them “formics” until after the hive queen and the Hegemon was published. Really they didn’t start calling them formics until Ender resurrected the last hive queen in the speaker for the dead. I think they should have left the derogatory name in this movie because it shows just how much loathing the human race had for the buggers. Astronauts and buggers rolls off the tongue better than Astronauts and formics….

  • GokouZWAR

    For those reading the review who haven’t read the book yet, Don’t read the book till after you see the movie, then go read the book and then see it again. You’ll probably get it better. I did this with the harry potter series and the books complimented the movie experience I had and made me understand the movie a lot more and what was going on. I made the mistake of reading the 3rd harry potter book in the series before seeing the movie and ended up hating that movie because of all the stuff they took out and changed. The book does a much better job by allowing you to know what ender was thinking when he was fighting the buggers. He never wanted to kill or hurt anyone, but he knew that it was just a game so he acted against his own desires. Then you have to look at the Stilson and Bonzo fights and know in his head, the only reason he fought was so that he wouldn’t have to fight again. He stood up against those bullies and destroyed them so they couldn’t come at him anymore. I’m not sure if the movie really portray those aspects well enough. His view of the buggers are the same thing. He never wanted to fight them either, he just didn’t want them to come back to earth and destroy valentine. I think if the author had the ability to make this into a 4 hour movie, they could have properly conveyed these aspects, but the only got 114 minutes. : Since the reviewer hasn’t read the book it makes this review more along the line of the movie’s own standings which might make this review pretty legit since the views of the movie aren’t based on the book’s storyline. They took out all the stuff about peter and valentine from the movie to help compress time which were actually pretty key elements in the book since peter as “locke” is what made it so that ender wouldn’t return to earth after the war. This also drove valentine to join ender in space and have them go found the first colonies.

    Also one other aspect that’s missed is graff’s humanity. Graff’s whole reason for having the war was so that the world wouldn’t be so “isolated” in one place. The war and the impending victory over the buggers allowed humanity to focus resources on getting off earth so we couldn’t be eliminated so easily by one alien race who wanted our planet. If we lose earth, we lose every human everywhere…we as a race would be destroyed if we lose earth. By funding the war we get that space program that graff needed to get humans off earth and expand our race as a whole. Again, i’m not sure how well the movie portray this as it hasn’t been released here in the US yet. From your review it seems they didn’t do a good job of that…:

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    You threatened me, and now you’re gone. You are not welcome here. Do not attempt to post any more comments at this site.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    He’s gone. I won’t tolerate that kind of treatment.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    The book never appealed to me before, and this film — which comes with Card’s stamp of approval — doesn’t help. If I run out of books to read, I’ll give it a try. But I’m not anticipating that scenario.

  • LaSargenta

    Ok. I got nuttin’ here. What’s ‘kittening’?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it many times more: If you need to read the book to get the movie, the movie has failed.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    There are references in the film to the aliens as Buggers. But they’re not called that exclusively.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1186107134 MarkyD

    I read the book for the first time about 10 years ago, and I think I was too old and jaded to enjoy it(I’m 39 now). Perhaps if I had read it when I was 14 or so I might have like it. I couldn’t stand that Ender was a 10 year old kid who does all the things he does. I also hated the anti-climactic ending. Ugh.
    Because I didn’t like the book much, I have very little interest in the movie. I’m so sick of seeing the trailers for it. It just doesn’t look good at all. Too much emphasis on SFX. Plus, Harrison Ford just sounds old and grumpy in every role he plays nowadays.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    It’s something John Scalzi and the Bloggess do to obnoxious commenters at their blogs:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/01/21/the-kitten-setting/

  • Bluejay

    Isn’t “bugger” also an insult referring to gays and gay sex? Given Card’s public homophobia and the PR headaches it caused the filmmakers, I would have expected them to strip all such references from the film to avoid any further backlash. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t.

  • GokouZWAR

    omg go troll someone else… the term “bugger” refers to the fact that the formics are ANT-Like aliens aka “bugs”. When the book came out in 1985 gay rights weren’t even a thing. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was the big thing then. Even if today the term bugger means anything else other than what I explained above, it has nothing to do with any of his anti-gay views. The gay community is looking for extra funding to keep their movement going and they’re playing off card’s anti-gay views to get it and they’re leeching this film as a way to get it. Open your eyes to the bigger picture here…

  • Jonathan Roth

    My thoughts exactly.

  • MaryAnnHack

    This is quite the little fiefdom you are running here. You the queen of metaphysical drek ” my heart … my mind …. my soul.” It’s not your twitchy mind that wants me gone but my affront to your self-image which I crushed by pointing out how ridiculous your myopic, misinformed view of history was.

  • Danielm80

    I thought Bluejay was planning to send adorable kittens to LiberalsREasy to help calm him down. He seems to have a lot of pent-up anger.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Whine and cheese, my favorite.

    Yes, a derogatory name for insect aliens that references anal sex made sense at the time the book was written.

    The MOVIE came out in 2013 when public sentiment is clearly for acceptance of gay rights, and OSC is an outspoken opponent. Hanging onto that in the face of change is just calling attention to it.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Shorter GokouZWAR: My childhood memories are more important than the feelings of gay people.

  • GokouZWAR

    If thats the case, all the harry potter movies failed IMO. The deathly hallows were explained much better in the book and why the importance of them were key to harry’s victory over voldemort. The fact that harry had the first deathly hallow in the first book (the invisibility cloak) was entirely pawned off as an Heirloom from his father. The other fact that the wand didn’t work for voldemort was another aspect they didn’t really portray well. It was an off message and quite dropped at the end of the movie as a non-issue. For those that didn’t know or catch it, In order for you to be able to use the wand you must kill the person who had it first. This was assumed by all, but the mere fact that the wand had to be “disarmed” from the person was all that was needed was entirely blown off. The “part 1″ of the final movie was totally un-needed and entirely to line the producer’s pockets. They ran around, did a lot of dancing, and they never really understood what the cruxes were. That’s what they should have been talking about instead of using the clearly unlimited budget they built up from the first 6 movies. The fact that voldemort split his soul 7 times and put it into the cruxes to keep himself alive even after death wasn’t even mentioned in the movies.

    Don’t even get me started with all the stuff they left out in the hunger games books in their movie. Sure it “works” on film, but you miss all of the key elements of the books if you only see the movies of these series.

    Most of this movie takes place inside ender’s head and even the author said it was impossible to film this movie effectively. You even mention this in your review. Clearly you did some research on the book or you wouldn’t have found the quotes from the author stating the book was unfilmable. I think the fact that the author resigned himself to that fact should tell you something. Hood wanted to make the movie, Card was more than happy to let him try, but he already knew it wouldn’t work, but maybe the movie would bolster his book sales…lol. I’m sure that’s what was going through his head in the end. Card is a writer, not a film maker. He wants to write books not make movies. He even told people that read the book and told him Ender’s game should be a movie said “You just saw the movie in your mind. What can be better than that?” In the end, I think this movie was allowed to make it to the screen to bolster the book’s sales, and maybe if it does then that funding can go toward trying to do the next movie. I’m not holding my breath tho.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, the way Card subjects homosexual characters to horrific deaths is indicative of his anti-gay views. His choice of epithets for his inhuman characters just indicates that either he considers his audience to be pretty stupid, or that he lacks self-awareness on a xenocidal scale.

  • GokouZWAR

    As much fun as anal sex is…Vomit…has this term been around for 28 years? Maybe only the gays knew about it…I sure didn’t. Thanks for opening my eyes to things I have no interest in learning about.

    When I read the book back in 1986 and the past 5 years since the possibility of it coming to movie peaked my interest in the books again, I saw no references to anal sex anywhere in the 11 book series. There was one reference to Valentine being too sick to go to school and peter taunted her saying “What is it an oral exam?” (straight people do this a lot…) “You should relax and enjoy it. It could be worse. It could be an anal exam.” I can speak from personal experience these are not enjoyable at all…If the author intended this to be a flaming comment to all gays out there and to say that he hates gays and all that is being said, he really did a good job hiding it. I think he did better at the councils he was on rather than the book. The fact that he has resigned to the fact that gays can do what they want and he has nothing else to say against it should be enough for people to get over his anti-gay views. He’s no longer on these anti-gay councils and hasn’t been in over 10 years. When the laws passed for things he didn’t believe in, he gave in and let them go. He removed himself from those councils that failed in their tasks, and now people are beating him over the head with crap he did a long time ago that he no longer supports. I’m sure you’ve done stuff in your life you probably regret now. How would you like it if someone dug up all those things and made you answer for them? His right to express his opinion is his american right as much as it is the gays to express theirs. They won, he got over it, he moved on. The gays are the ones who are picking at it and being judgmental about it now. Who’s better? Them or him?

  • GokouZWAR

    Actually now you’re being a troll…The only reason I want it in there is to portray the book more closely in the movie. Its your shortsightedness that makes everything about you…

  • GokouZWAR

    Can you provide some examples from his books where his characters are homosexuals and die horrific deaths…cuz i’m not seeing it anywhere in any of the ender series books…

    Bonzo wasn’t gay…stilson wasn’t gay…the formics weren’t gay…pipo wasn’t gay, libo wasn’t gay…miro wasn’t gay…(course technically he didn’t die he transferred himself to a new body) Marcos Heberia wasn’t gay…ender may have been gay since he never bothered to have sex with any female (least it wasn’t noted in the books anywhere)…but then again he never “died” either. He transferred with the young valentine into the new peter wiggin in the last book…

    Maybe this is from a book I haven’t read yet…

  • LaSargenta

    I beg your pardon! Your knowledge of LGBT history is rather muddled.

    1) In 1985 gay rights certainly were a “thing”. In fact, I find it really interesting that in the 1985 re-telling of a short story he published in 1977 he renamed the enemy (who had no name) as “buggers”, a word that in the English language has historically referred to people engaging in a particular sexual practice (which is not the same as all self-identified same-sex loving people). Perhaps in his mind gay rights had become too much of a “thing”.

    2) “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is the nickname of a DOD directive issued in 1993. No one used that term in 1985 in that context as an official policy.

  • bronxbee

    i’m a little disappointed not to know what “dafuq” LiberalsREasy wrote to evoke the reaction from Dr. R and our hostess.

  • LaSargenta

    As much fun as anal sex is…Vomit…has this term been around for 28 years? Maybe only the gays knew about it…I sure didn’t.

    The OED, a venerable and generally reliable source, give its earliest usage in this sense as 1555.

  • Jurgan

    Some one-liner about Scientology. You didn’t miss much.

  • Jurgan

    HAH!

  • AnneMarie Dickey

    Her site…her rules. If you do not like it, by means, please post somewhere else.

  • LaSargenta

    Ah. Thank you. Seems like a lot of work, but effective.

  • Jurgan

    Wait, they took out “Locke?” So I don’t get to see teenagers conquer the world through blogging?

  • bronxbee

    yes, and from some of the responses to his other deleted comments, i’ve changed my mind, anyway.

  • Jurgan

    I was the first one to respond to the troll- perhaps I made a mistake by encouraging him. Well, he’s gone now, and good riddance.

  • AnneMarie Dickey

    ” It’s a revenge fantasy for picked upon kids, where you can imagine they
    all hate you because they know you’re so much smarter than they are and
    some day you’ll show them all by being the best, smartest person ever”

    Yep. You also see some of his revenge (and the not so convincing internal monologue contrition) when he summarily kills one of the bullies. All the emotional satisfaction of Columbine without the messy need to commit suicide before the police come in to get you!

    I also agree with MaryAnn that the navel tactics and use of weapons were not at all revolutionary (you can do as well for yourself playing BattleFleet Gothic from Games Workshop, or Full Thrust…or Star Fleet Battles. many good table top space fight games out there that would allow you to try these things for yourself without the fancy orbital fascist school.)

  • Bluejay

    This guy below, “MaryAnnHack,” seems to be the same person. Needs more kittens.

  • 83_Dawg

    wow! This jaded critic can only enjoy movies that neatly fit her political and social agenda.

  • LaSargenta

    To my best recollection, he generally writes some pretty horrific stuff for anyone who is not a ‘normal human’, outside of the rather extraordinary (in light of his other work) Songmaster. Of course, I haven’t read everything of his. I disliked enough works that I had little interest in reading the rest.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Aaaaaaand now you’re just trolling.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Full disclosure, after being far less than impressed with Ender’s Game, I never read anything else in that series. I later found out what a raging asshole Card is, which solidified that decision. Life’s short and all that.

    Haven’t decided if I’m gonna see the movie or not.

  • GokouZWAR

    I noted you didn’t deny the fact that LGBT is attempting to exploit this film to gain more funding for their projects, but thanks for the info. I was only 13 years old when i read this book the first time and my view of the world at the time was quite sheltered and my information may be off. As far as *I* knew at the time gays and lesbians didn’t even exist because the concept was beyond me (still is in some way)…i mean when you get right down to it, lesbianism and gays just don’t make sense in the long run…the human race won’t reproduce with that mentality and eventually we’d all die off if we followed that line of thought. The way I see it, eventually they’ll all die off anyway in a futile attempt to reproduce, because you can’t do it physically and in the end, the straight people will win cuz we’ll reproduce…and they won’t. To me being gay or lesbian is more of a fad these days. Fads come and go. This one will too. Feel free to quote me on that because really its the bottom line facts. Gays and lesbians won’t last long because their “disease,” as some put it, will eventually die off because of the fact that it has no way to reproduce. This is a key survival factor in any life form. In the end, those that decide to follow those lines will answer to self destruction from diseases they contract from unclean actions and die off and those that don’t believe in life after death obviously will just die off…those that do will not get far past the pearly gates so to speak because the ultimate judgement waits for them there as well. I don’t see how anyone wins in this so enjoy your life here while it lasts I guess. In the end those that aren’t gay or lesbian will get the victory.

    The fact that OSC has removed himself from these anti-gay councils he was on, means he’s taken the same view as I do. Let em destroy themselves. He is no longer following those things. The supporters of LGBT love to continue to point at him and say all these things that he himself has since renounced and rejected, the only reason they’re doing that is because he’s done this stuff in the past and they’re trying to exploit his fame to get funding to support their projects. Its just like any other major business venture. They need money to do business and this venture gets money through supporters and donors. So, they come up with wild accusations that the LGBT has brainwashed them with…like these things that people who are gay are killed off in horrific events in his books when in actuality none of this happened. Bonzo, and stilson were BULLIES, not gays. They died a horrific death because someone stood up to them and didn’t take their crap. Bonzo didn’t die because he was spanish, or short, or male, he died because he hated Ender. Stilson was american…he died because he tried to bully Ender as well (not sure if they kept that in the movie or not, early scripts that i read cut the stilson fight out), The formics died because they attacked humans, we couldn’t talk to them because we didn’t understand them so we decided to attack them first and treat them like bullies. This whole movie is about dealing with bullies and standing up to them. This movie is about adults who abuse their power an manipulate children to do what they want. Really when you get down to it I could say that LGBT supporters are just like Graff manipulating children into thinking that being gay is ok by feeding them BS like this.

    In the end though, the movie has nothing to do with gays and whether or not they can get married or stick their god knows what in other people’s god knows what or men kissing men or women kissing women…

    The fact remains, the laws passed, OSC got over it and the LGBT supporters continue to browbeat him over and over again in an attempt to get more interest in LGBT and their projects to get funding. Maybe the subtleties are are just too subtle for me to grasp, but taking the book at face value and the content of it as what he says he means not what he implies is what he means or what you think he’s trying to imply he means, the LGBT supporters are all just full of hate for the man for no reason except for the fact his views don’t line up with theirs. Just seems to me that they’re trying to use this film’s fame and the long history of Ender’s Games fans of the books to bring more interest in these views and its kinda low down. The LGBT supporters are the ones who aren’t being tolerant of those that don’t have the same views as them. They’re just as bad as OSC was. Who’s the bigger person here? He’s just a guy who wants to provide for his family like anyone else. You do that by having a job and making money. His job is writing books. Leave the man be and if you don’t like it, don’t buy his books or see his movie. There’s no need to make a national issue out of THIS movie because its not about gays in anyway shape or form. When you get right down to it, he could make Ender gay because he never takes interest in any girls (except maybe the one in Ender in exile who he def wanted to know what was under that girl’s clothes who was trying to seduce him and he did show “gentleman’s restraint” on the matter but was clearly aroused in some form…) Wouldn’t it be interesting if after all this crap, he makes Ender gay and the Hero of the story? Wouldn’t they just eat their words then about his views on gays then. I’d lol my ass off.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    I suggest you educate yourself on the gay rights movement before you start calling my other commenters trolls.

    This is your one warning. If you cannot participate in the grownup conversation here, don’t.

  • GokouZWAR

    so what you’re saying is basically you have no proof as to your accusation because you never read any of Card’s other works. So your only frame of reference is Ender’s game and whatever other people say to you. That’s kind of ignorant of you don’t you think?

  • GokouZWAR

    no they took it out cuz how would you show that on a movie? Endless scenes of kids at computers typing? That’s not interesting. So they took it out. Yeah it was a key thing in the book. I’m not too happy bout it myself. This was revealed in an interview with Hood…I died a little inside :(

  • GokouZWAR

    I really have no interest in patronizing their sites and giving them hits. I don’t want to support their movement at all as I do not believe in their views. I have a right to my own views and I am not directly attacking anyone in my comments outside of the obvious attempt at LGBT supporters to hijack your review to suit their needs as they have done with their movie boycott sites.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, what I’m saying is that my information is second, not first hand. So, you’re right, I should probably source it. Here’s one: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/articles/Boninessay.htm

    I save you the trouble of going into a refutation and concede that there is some interpretation going on here. Card is not so stupid or crude as to have Big Gay Al die by shoving a vial of sulphuric acid up his ass. Suffice to say the idea that Card’s homophobia comes through in his fiction is not a novel one. Any further analysis of someone else’s critique of another medium is inappropriate for this blog.

  • GokouZWAR

    So the term “bugger” in the sense of anal sex was created in 1555 according to you and therefore 450 years before Card wrote his book. So obviously it wasn’t his idea…did it ever occur to you that maybe it was a coincidence that the ant like “bug” race termed “buggers” have nothing to do with anal sex and people are just over thinking this way too much for fuel for their business ventures and gaining funding for their projects? The way I read the book, OSC was trying to write a Sci-fi novel that went with the original story he wanted to tell in speaker for the dead, but because he was using “trees” instead of “rivits” the publishers said “hey, this isn’t sci-fi this is fantasy” so he wrote a book that would complement that idea based on his 1977 novellete called “Dragon army” that he wanted to be a “sci-fi” book and used the ideas from that story in one he could use in his final version (the remaining 3 connected books in the ender quintet) to open that story up?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    If it were an author other than Orson Scott Card, one could dismiss it. But being that it is Card, the question becomes, why is he being so obvious about it? It’s not like “bugger” for insectoids is all that clever on its own.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Bugger is more common in Britain than the US, but you would have to be pretty sheltered to never have heard it. “Bugger” was the swear word of choice for Hugh Grant in “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, for instance.

  • Jonathan Roth

    That’s foolish.

    It’s impossible to include everything in an adaptation, and slavishly trying to mimic a book without regard for the conventions and restrictions of film is a recipe for failure. Parts are going to be added, removed and altered all the time.

    Old science fiction also needs to be adapted to take into account advances in science and technology since they were originally written.

    If a book reflects an author’s casual racism, should the adaptation maintain that racism without comment or reflection? Are people drawn to Lovecraft’s writing for Cthulhu or for the racist depictions of black people?

    Arguing that the name SHOULD be kept is an argument that it’s WORTH keeping.

  • LaSargenta

    ” the straight people will win cuz we’ll reproduce..”

    Where do you think all those gay people come from? The STRAIGHT PEOPLE birth them!

    And, no, I “didn’t deny the fact that LGBT is attempting to exploit this film to gain more funding for their projects” because there is no Homosexual Conspiracy, no Gay Agenda. There is no Secret Gay Star Chamber Out To Raise Money For Nefarious Purposes. There’s no secret handshake.

    I didn’t respond to that completely bizarre claim of yours because I usually avoid magical thinking.

  • LaSargenta

    “So obviously it wasn’t his idea”

    There is this thing called language. It is a mutually agreed-upon set of sounds and signs that communicate a concept between minds. In a given culture, we use the agreed-upon communication method. There are geographical differences in widely-dispersed but historically-related cultural groups that are accounted for by recent history; however, when one uses a unit of language, unless one is coining a completely new term, each unit of language comes with meaning. This word already had and has a meaning prior to 1985. Using that word was his idea.

  • GokouZWAR

    Very interesting read and yes i can see where they reference a lot of comments that OSC’s own views might be able to be interpreted as “gay” or “homosexual views” in the sense that maybe he himself is a homosexual just based on the references they depict from his writings.

    He does have a lot of nude boys and such, but I think his reasoning might be two fold. One, naked boys he can reference because he is a male and therefore knows more about the male body. He appreciates the male body (albeit a bit too much for my own taste) in the sense that it is a work of art made by God. The second is perhaps he was attempting to stay away from the female body to dispel arousal in male readers. He’s not out to write a porn and it would be just as bad if people read it to be turned on by the mental image of young girls naked. I suppose the fact that he used a lot of male references kind of makes it arousal for female or gay readers, maybe he was trying to appeal to the gay community in that regard. Who knows what the man is thinking. The fact that people have the “complete” image of naked boys in their mind while reading it when the text never makes direct actual references just shows that your own mind is perverted to think such things to begin with. The book itself provides no details in any of the text of any of this. I haven’t personally seen the comic book rendition so I don’t know how marvel depicted these scenes so I cannot comment on those.

    As it was several schools banned the book for its own right on these very comments that your site sources. I entirely agree with their views on the sense that this is NOT a children’s book and should not be distributed to children as the topics are way beyond those of what children should be reading in a school setting.

    The fact that there are no homosexual references in the book – referencing naked boys – he never focuses on “sexual” things such as genitals or anal actions or other such things. None of these boys engage in any homosexual activities or “mentally undressing them”. He merely depicts the scene as it was, they were naked, they were soapy and wet from his shower, they were attractive boys, etc. He mentions that the boys in this book are beautiful and therefore worthy of leadership in the sense that they are charismatic. The way he chooses to convey that is by saying things like “I would see as these eyes see”. I see nothing else beyond that on my own that would suggest these people were in any way a homosexual and therefore I see no reason to believe that he “kills them because they’re gay” in which you imply. You need to also consider the source you are reading from. They’re a gay supporting site so therefore the view they will give is one from a gay supporter and clearly they read into these scenes far more than they should which perverts their view of the scene itself because of the mental image they have of a fully naked boy dripping with water and soap which clearly arouses sexual desires in their minds.

  • GokouZWAR

    I believe the link was referenced below. If anything it merely supports that OSC is gay himself, not anti-gay. He does have a lot of references to naked males bodies which until was pointed out to me really didn’t bother me much except to set the scene, but I already commented on that below. No need to rehash.

    Thanks for sensoring my posts by the way. Not sure which one was deleted, but I don’t think anything i’ve said thus far is outside the guidelines of the forum. Feel free to email me references moderator to which were violations of your TOS. My email is in all my posts.

  • Bluejay

    I am not directly attacking anyone in my comments outside of the obvious attempt at LGBT supporters to hijack your review to suit their needs

    Yes, I’m an LGBT supporter. So what? Both Jonathan Roth and I are frequent, regular commenters on this site, and it’s perfectly valid to discuss the movie in the context of the author’s well-known views and how the movie does or does not distance itself from them.

    If anything, you’re the one hijacking this thread to spew your anti-LGBT views, including this super-long screed to LaSargenta. If you don’t want people to “hijack” this thread to talk about gays, you could set an example and stop talking about them yourself.

  • Jurgan

    Acually, I was being sarcatic- I considered that to be one of the dumbest things I’d ever read. Required link: http://xkcd.com/635/

  • Jurgan

    Actually, the ending was the only part I did like- there’s a somewhat clever twist, and then Ender has to atone for his acts against his own conscience. What I couldn’t stand was the fact that he won EVERY SINGLE GAME. What, he couldn’t occasionally lose and be encouraged to keep going by his friends? No, that would make him less “special.”

  • Jurgan

    If he is gay, he’s extremely self-hating and deep in the closet, because he’s publicly said some very negative things about gay people.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    If you are unwilling to educate yourself on a topic, you cannot expect to discuss it intelligently.

    You have a right to your own opinions. You do not have a right to your own facts.

    You got your one warning, and now you’re gone.

  • InertialBarrier

    That was the point he couldn’t lose a game. Overall losing a game meant death. And he eventually pieces together that losing just one game could mean the death of the human race and the death of valentine. Also when he is a launchy he does lose games, they even state that death meant a cute death. Also he lost many times in the “fantasy game” in those cases he just got to come back.

  • Jurgan

    How does “losing a game mean death?” In the final campaign, maybe, but he could lose a practice match. Hell, I don’t care if you’re the greatest general of all time, you will sometimes lose- that’s how you learn. Napoleon, Patton, Washington, and Alexander the Great all lost battles, so I don’t believe it would be the end of the world if the great Wiggin lost one or two practice matches.

  • writerthinker

    “Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld will love this flick; it’s a gung-ho endorsement of their decision to invade Iraq.”

    Unless this movie is a complete botch job….and I allow that’s not impossible…you’ve entirely missed the point

    The wholesale destruction of the Formics is not supposed to be laudable. At all. We’re presented with a morally difficult situation–how to respond to a horrible, unprovoked attack. Even though we’re never told whether the Formics would have attacked again, which is a real possibility, the ending was meant to be tragic. Enders great gift for empathy being used for destruction is tragic. This is why [spoiler alert] he is ultimately given the opportunity to save them at the end. In the later books, we even find that earth’s history has remembered Ender as a monster rather than a hero…given the circumstances, also tragic..

    It seems that you have taken your own responses to Card’s gay comments, and used them to turn this particular work into some kind of caricature of how you believe all “right-wingers” think.

    I will be interested to see how accurate your interpretation is once I see the film.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    it was weirdly nonsensical. It was obviously trying to troll me, but it was some sort of surrealist troll.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    As noted in my review, Ender’s supposed great gift for empathy is almost entirely absent from the film. And so the ending does not come across as tragic, except, possibly, for Ender himself, because he was tricked.

    I promise you, my review is based on what I saw in the film, and not anything Card has said.

  • Danielm80

    I think he was trying to say: People who support gay rights are as crazy as Scientologists. But he said it without the use of grammar or, really, any rules of sentence construction at all.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Either this review is ridiculous way off , or the production did a horrifyingly bad job at adaptation if a blatantly anti war and anti military book such that is Ender’s Game could ever be considered pleasing to the likes of warhawks.

    I guess I wait for more reviews or watch the movie myself to see how reliable as reviewer this author is.

  • RogerBW

    Don’t worry, there are plenty of people who view the book as a pro-military screed too.

  • Michael Thompson

    Actually, Alexander of Macedonia never lost a battle despite being significantly disadvantaged in almost every one by the standards of the time. That is why he is almost universally considered the greatest military commander of all time.

  • Scott Mortensen

    There are some serious homoerotic scenes in nearly every book of his I’ve read. But he is a devout mormon. I’d rate it as some serious repression. He’s homophobic in the true sense of the word. He fears something inside himself.

  • Jurgan

    Yes, when Ender sits watching Bean spin naked through the air for fifteen minutes, I found myself baffled that Card didn’t seem to realize how it came across.

  • Jurgan

    Maybe not, but even he had to learn somehow. If I imagine Alexander as being parallel to Ender, that would mean he never even lost in a training exercise or sparring match, even as a child, and I find that too outlandish to believe.

  • Scott Mortensen

    Or his strategy for fighting Bonzo naked in the shower is to soap up so that he gets all slippery.
    I think, that because he got flack from his church for ‘Songmaster’ actually promoting homosexuality, he’s been overcompensating ever since. I think there are a lot of overt homophobes that are visibly cruel to gay people because they are uncomforable with their own sexuality.
    Hopefully at his funeral he’ll have an actual ‘Speaker for the Dead’ that can address it. I’d kind of like to have one at my funeral. That and a make-your-own-taco bar and punch spiked with LSD. It’ll be the best funeral ever.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Given that the military was portrayed extremely negatively in the book,I wonder which warped up version of the book those people read to arrive at that conclusion.But then again some people thought that “Mary Had A Little Lamb” is an allegory the cruel nature of animal husbandry and the perversion of the beast’s natural instinct, so I guess people can see anything if the squint hard enough.

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    I”m curious, in what way was it “the Twilight of the 1980s?”

    I totally appreciate the perspective of evaluating the work and the author separately, mostly because any one person can be so many things at once, and we will miss out on the instructive stuff by such censor. I also agree that many of OSCs comments about gays are terribly close-minded.

  • pisher

    You nailed it–people just didn’t want to see that they’d overrated the book because it catered to the old “You are the most special one of all” fantasy. Not to mention the fantasy of empowerment–”You can wipe out an entire species–and kick the ass of that kid who bullied you in school! But none of this makes you a bad person!”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The military in Ender’s Game isn’t portrayed negatively because they/re wrong, they’re portrayed negatively because they are mean to Ender. And the thing is, if Card’s intention morality, which he uses to justify Ender’s behavior, is extended beyond Ender, then the military isn’t wrong at all.

  • pisher

    It won the Hugo and Nebula because the people voting for those awards were thrilled that a ‘hard’ science fiction novel became a best-seller.

    Card hasn’t won either award since the 80′s.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That comment was so good, Disqus posted it twice. >.<

  • pisher

    The book is about endorsing violence as a sad (but thrilling) necessity, AND disclaiming responsibility for that violence. It’s not your fault. They made you do it.

  • David Moses

    Indeed, it’s sad that the movie failed to show why there was “no attempt to even communicate with the Formics”. The Formics had no discernible method of communication even between each other, and when they invaded they treated humans as irrelevant biota. The point is that when communication between two vastly different sentient races is impossible, war and xenocide are the only possible outcomes.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    No ,the military was portrayed negatively because the entire war was an unnecessary farce based on lies and misinformation(too many known unknown and unknown unknown)

    A century(book’s time frame instead of the movie) of tranny, oppression,liberty crushed, generations of children and family broken and tossed away , countless human lives lost on the war effort and resource wasted just because the military would rather focus on a needless pre-emptive strike rather than tried to understand the aliens and sue for peace(which the Formics would gladly accept)

    Ender wasn’t just the victim of the military’s heavy handed, the entire human race and civilization (and the Formic further down the line) was.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    I think the book and (especially) its immediate sequel goes out of its way to to make it clear that both Ender(his whole penitence trip) and the military’s choice and action during the war was apparently in the wrong.

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    His “gift of empathy” is pretty much absent from the book, too, in my opinion.

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    Ecclesiastes 9:11 “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (KJV)

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    I honestly believe that the book only got as popular as it did by appealing to people’s nastier instincts (the whole “I’m better than everyone else, why do they make me hurt them, it’s such a burden being so superior” thing). Well, that and the style of writing was easy to just breeze right on through.

    Like, you could say that it was written from the heart, in the same sense that a 13-year-old’s erotic Sonic The Hedgehog hurt/comfort fanfiction was, if nothing else, written with the utmost sincerity. Ender’s Game was so sincere in its narcissistic paranoia that it was creepy. But as far as “no heart” goes, well, most of the protagonists (in EG anyway, haven’t read the other books) were unengaging at best and loathsome (and not in a fun way) at worst. Maybe that’s where the problem is.

    [SPOILERS]

    Politically, the book was a bit muddled. But from the ending (which incidentally is the only part of the book I really liked) I got the impression that the Formics would never have attacked the humans again now that they knew that the humans were each individual beings, so in that sense the whole pre-emptive strike thing was just wrong on the part of Earth’s military. They could have turned that military academy into a space acrobat camp and it would have been just as well. So I wouldn’t say that the book is pro-war, necessarily. I’m not sure if that was in the movie or not but it’s my interpretation of the book. Worth noting that the book is on the USMC’s reading list.

    [/SPOILERS]

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    None of that is presented in a way to indicate that it’s wrong. On the contrary, the characters in the book take the position that it is all vitally necessary. the book only offers two perspectives: the military, who feel fully justified in everything they do, even (as in Graff’s case) when they claim not to like it; and Ender, the borderline sociopath is oh-so-sad that he’s so much better than everyone and has to kill anyone who looks at him funny.

    Also, this isn’t any sort of “warped” view of the book. It’s a fairly common interpretation. There are several links in this thread to back that up.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s very much the failure mode of “show-don’t-tell” in that regard. Or at least, that OSC doesn’t actually know what empathy is. He has Ender describe at length why his “enemies” hate him and act they way they do. But he then always has Ender use that information to justify his violence against those “enemies”.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    The antiwar and promoting tolerance message interpretation of the book is far more common than (there are far more links to back it up as well,if yo do a simple search that is) than the “warped” violence glorifying ones ,it seems

    The last few chapters (and its entire sequel) invalidates entirely what the military believes.I failed to see anyone who have read the last chapter to see everything the ruling Earth military have done for the last 100 hundred years as anything but pointless and futile.

    Ender is a s much as a psychopath as anyone trapped in a zero sum game of survival is.Given a choice Ender would have chosen a peace. Throughout the book that choice was hidden from him and he was to believe(the military wants someone who wouldn’t pull punches, so so they shape him to be just that )that there is only one path to take.Not to say he’s faultless in his crimes,but Ender himself accepted that in his penance.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    I respectfully disagree with Lenina’s opinion.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Implausible doesn’t mean impossible.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Not entirely true.Most people whom I spoke to who loves the book attributes to it speaking out to them on the alienation they they felt at some point :the bullying, ostracised for being different, being the underdog, .They felt solace with Ender’s character ,cheered for his empowerment bereavement for his inevitable downfall.I don’t felt a tinge or the superiority smudge you mentioned.The book seems to be quite popular among the outcast and the fringe element of the young adults community, even among the LBGT spectrum.

    As for me, I read the book as an adult not very long ago.I would have dismissed the book as some teenage wish fulfilment if it isn’t for the ending.It made me re-examined the entire book(even rereading it anew),it managed to completely elevates the book’s status(I would peg the book as an epic tragedy rather than teen adventure) .

    BTW, The USMC valued the book because of its team building element and team leadership display while a friend of mine from the army(not marine ) said that some of the events the commanders put Ender through to foster his leadership potential was spot on.

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    “Underdog”? Are you referring to Ender Wiggin, a kid who quite literally gets away with murder? The one who is better than everyone at everything without hardly even having to try because that’s how inherently talented he is? A kid who quite literally gets away with murder TWICE? Him? An underdog?

    I’m being facetious (sort of). But, well, I still think that Ender’s Game appeals to a very resentful sort of urge, the urge to say to oneself, “they only pick on me because they’re jealous” and SHOW THEM ALL. It may not feel that way, but I believe that’s what draws people to the book. Ender Wiggin is not just picked on. He is picked on for being better than everybody. (Although I liked the ending a lot, too).

    It may have been primarily for the team-building stuff, but if it were an entirely anti-war/anti-military novel I very much doubt the USMC would have recommended it no matter how accurate it may have been. And, incidentally, I may not be an expert, but do real-life militaries really specifically train you to mistrust your superior officers? That aspect of the novel struck me as quite odd indeed when reading it.

  • LaSargenta

    I like this: “Like, you could say that it was written from the heart, in the same sense that a 13-year-old’s erotic Sonic The Hedgehog hurt/comfort fanfiction was, if nothing else, written with the utmost sincerity.” I agree with your take on this book.

    Interesting to note that The Red Badge of Courage, though, is also on the USMC reading list. So is the Constitution, Grossman’s On Killing, and Achilles in Vietnam (an interesting book about PTSD).

  • Jurgan

    In this case, it was so implausible that it killed the story for me. I could not relate to the character because he was ridiculously perfect.

  • Jurgan

    What is the relevance of that quote? Ecclesiastes there states that the most skilled person doesn’t always win, yet Ender always wins because he is supposedly so much better. If anything, that quote supports my claim that it’s impossible to believe anyone would always win even if he is more talented.

  • Bluejay

    Given Lenina Crowne’s other comments here, I suspect she quoted Ecclesiastes in support of your position.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Everything that I said was fairly represented in the book,albeit less observant or more casual readers could easily missed those.

    I’m not saying it’s not, but I am saying I disagree with your interpretations. Your snide condescension is noted.

    The antiwar and promoting tolerance message interpretation of the book is far more common

    I acknowledge that mine may be a minority view. I also don’t care. I think the majority view is wrong, and I also see the overall consensus shifting in my direction.

    The last few chapters (and its entire sequel) invalidates entirely what the military believes.

    The thing about the last few chapters: since the novel of Ender’s Game is based on the shorter, earlier version, I suspect Card felt he needed a new twist ending to go along with the one that featured in the original. He may have felt that without one, the original twist would have appeared lazy. Also, there is a difference between “futile” and “wrong”. Sometimes, the right thing is futile, and sometimes the wrong thing is effective. Ender’s Game doesn’t condemn humanities actions as wrong. The sequels do, but mostly because Ender says so, and Ender knows best, because Card says so.

    I didn’t say psychopath, I said borderline sociopath. There is a difference. And Ender is sociopathic even by the standards of his society. End does have choices: he always chooses violence, the utter destruction of his enemy, to the astonishment of the adults in the story. It’s not until all the threats are gone that he seeks “penance”, which in his case is largely self-pitying, self-serving self-flagellation.

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    I was agreeing with you!

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Ahh, quotes….how do you do them ?No seriously tell me,how do you make quotes here..

    We have to agree to disagree on each other ‘s interpretation then.

    As for the consensus shifting in your direction,It still isn’t happening in this reality (I invite all reader to do check this yourselves, even simple google search would do.).The consensus is still that your interpretation is in the fringe.

    Orson Scott Card specifically said that he only wrote Ender’s Game as a background prequel so he could tell the more dear story(which he pitched even before Ender’s Game) to him(Speaker For The dead).Despite your suspicions, the message portrayed in the second books and the last chapters is pertinent and was always the end product.

    In this case “futile” and “wrong” pretty much the same. I don’t see a futile and pointless war (considering the cost) is anything but wrong.I don’t get your other point.Are you saying that the Ender’s opinion are wrong because they are Card’s opinion?The just allowing prejudice against the author to cloud judgements.

    As for borderline sociopath, do you know that acts of extreme altruism and heroics share the same characteristics as psycopath(surprising ,ain’t it?).

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Ender did lose some “sparring matches”,his rank drops in the battle school for a time (implying losses) an he was initially beaten when he ,as as a launchie challenged one of the older cadets very early on.
    Ender was anything but perfect.He is one, an extremely flawed and damaged character (more alarming considering his age).There is a good reason why someone might interpret him as borderline psychopathic(ironically, a label once used on him until quite recently).

  • Jon Zuck

    Sure, but it’s British usage, and I think when Card wrote the original short story in 1977, he was just thinking of an insult for buglike aliens.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    http://webdesign.about.com/od/htmltags/p/blockquote-tag.htm

    It still isn’t happening in this reality.

    Oh really?

    You can’t think of a possible reason to fight a futile war? Of course, in Ender’s Game, the humans won the war, so maybe “futile” isn’t the word you’re looking for?

    Ender’s greatness is something that exists largely through authorial fiat. Card want’s Ender to be a great strategist, so he tells us Ender is a great strategist. Card wants Ender to have almost preternatural empathy, so he tells us Ender has almost preternatural empathy. However, what Card shows us doesn’t match up, and sometimes even contradicts.

    Let’s not get into a debate about separating the art from the artist. It varies from person to person and from work to work. And if you try to tell me that you always can, I’m going to tell you that I think you’re lying.

    As for borderline sociopath, do you know that acts of extreme altruism and heroics share the same characteristics as psycopath(surprising ,ain’t it?).

    And? Also, sociopathy and psychopathy – still not the same thing.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    As mentioned elsewhere, that would be reasonable if we were talking about someone other than Orson Scott Card.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Lets see if I get this quote thing right

    Oh really?

    ROLFLMAO!!The author of that particular dribble has either never heard of Occam’s Razor or chose to ignore the concept in his reasoning(sometimes a cigar is just a cigar).You can seriously link such a weak source as your material.Check on more prominent boards and sites discussing Ender’s game(TVtropes and Goodreads etc), your interpretation is still no getting the footing you crediting .

    You can’t think of a possible reason to fight a futile war? Of course, in Ender’s Game, the humans wonthe war, so maybe “futile” isn’t the word you’re looking for?

    Sometimes the outcomes doesn’t justify the means, as the the book aptly demonstrates.

    You know the fastest way to win against the Formics in all the books(even the suckier new ones)?Talking to them, the war was futile because peace could have been achieved without the sacrifices ,lost of lives and more importantly genocide(the Formics would be such a useful ally to mankind)

    Ender’s greatness is something that exists largely through authorial fiat. Card want’s Ender to be a great strategist, so he tells us Ender is a great strategist. Card wants Ender to have almost preternatural empathy, so he tells us Ender has almost preternatural empathy. However, what Card shows us doesn’t match up, and sometimes even contradicts.

    So we should glossed over all those chapter which he shown brilliance beyond his age or all the times he expressly felt horrible for the bad things he did to people ,then.

    And? Also, sociopathy and psychopathy – still not the same thing.

    If your description is based on this

    http://voices.yahoo.com/sociopath-vs-psychopath-there-difference-1906224.html

    Then Ender pretty much doens’t fit most of the description far from borderline sociopath

    Let’s not get into a debate about separating the art from the artist. It varies from person to person and from work to work. And if you try to tell me that youalways can, I’m going to tell you that I think you’re lying.

    I have praised and promoted works from authors, creators,directors, actors etc(people in the creative industry)whose opinion not only I despises but also downright abhorrent and destructive.Some of them hates me due to my skin colour and creed even.I still heavily thrashes those individuals, but that doesn’t affect my opinion of any of the great works(that I enjoy) that they’ve done/participate in.

    So feel free to call me a liar .I’m can reply with tons of example of those classic works that I love from those douche bags along with why I don’t respect them as persons .

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It’s “drivel”, not “dribble”. Also, I linked to Slate, and you fire back with TVTropes and Goodreads? You’re kidding, right? You’re just trolling me now, yeah?What’s next, Youtube comments? GTFO…

    So we should glossed over all those chapter which he shown brilliance beyond his age or all the times he expressly felt horrible for the bad things he did to people ,then.

    We know that ender is brilliant because Card keeps telling us he’s brilliant, through Graff, not because anything he does is actually all that clever. Honestly, Card set himself up for that criticism. If you’re going to present your character as “World’s Greatest X“, be it singer, orator, swordsman, military leader, you’d better have a plan to show the audience that brilliance.

    Meanwhile, sure, Ender is always telling us how bad he feels after he hurts everyone. And then he just goes right on doing it. Ender’s bad feelings and $2 will buy you a cup of coffee.

    Then Ender pretty much doens’t fit most of the description far from borderline sociopath

    On your sociopath list I’ll check Ender off for: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12. And for psychopath for: 2, 4, 5, 8, 10. So, maybe more than borderline.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Underdog”? Him? An underdog?

    Yes , he is the underdog in every single one of his engagements.All his adversary (from his brother,fellow cadet to the Formics and the IF itself) can easily crushed him if he’d given him the chance.Tat is why he’s some endearing to the underdogs in all of us, the strengt to overcome adversities that we all yearn

    Are you referring to Ender Wiggin, a kid who quite literally gets away with murder? The one who is better than everyone at everything without hardly even having to try because that’s how inherently talented he is? A kid who quite literally gets away with murder TWICE?

    Those didn’t benefit him all.By robbing him the chance to learn the repercussion of his actions the IF effectively robbed him his only chances to make early amends and to temper course of actions accordingly.The IF wanted someone who would not pull punches when push comes to shove. This unbridled ruthlessness benefits them a lot the the Human-Formic War, much to the detriment of Ender.

    I’m being facetious (sort of). But, well, I still think that Ender’s Game appeals to a very resentful sort of urge, the urge to say to oneself, “they only pick on me because they’re jealous” and SHOW THEM ALL. It may not feel that way, but I believe that’s what draws people to the book

    The majority of opinion expressed on the countless discussion boards on line and offline rebutes that (rather insulting )conjecture .

    Ender Wiggin is not just picked on. He is picked on for being better than everybody. (Although I liked the ending a lot, too).

    Bullies project insecurities(among other things) unto others and gains satisfaction from domination of an ostensibly weaker subject
    He was picked on because the perps believed that they can get away with it(just as the case with all bullying real life).They are physically superior and they believes(correctly so) that he couldn’t/wouldn’t snitch or ask for assistance from another party.

    It may have been primarily for the team-building stuff, but if it were an entirely anti-war/anti-military novel I very much doubt the USMC would have recommended it no matter how accurate it may have been.

    There are a few arguably antiwar works in the USMC reading list

    And, incidentally, I may not be an expert, but do real-life militaries really specifically train you to mistrust your superior officers?

    Some of the original training methods(I’m not getting the terminology right here) are discourage d and discontinued for precisely that reason despite the positive effect it have on unit camaraderie and cohesion, as I was told by that Army guy(not sure if he’s fibbing me).

    As the for the current purpose the book on the of the listing The USMC lists “Ender’s Game” on its recommended reading for Privates First Class to Lance Corporals, due to its “lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics,”.That is the answer I Got from the USMC site and yes it doesn’t really answer anything unless we knew what those in the quotation refers to (which I don’t).

  • Nourjan Nanash

    It’s “drivel”, not “dribble”

    Its is something people around here calls a “pun”

    Also, I linked to Slate, and you fire back with TVTropes and Goodreads? You’re kidding, right? You’re just trolling me now, yeah?What’s next, Youtube comments?

    You do not notice the inherently stupidity of that article and the the ridiculous attempts to connect everything to a malicious undertones despite the simply obvious answers (maybe they’re called Buggers because the looked like BUGS!) ,?Maybe I should have apply Hanlons’ Razor instead to that author . Yes I guess most Youtube commenters are smarter that that writers ,obviously.
    Unlike you I have no prejudice to source and author , a stupid opinion such as from your beloved Slate is still a stupid opinion

    We know that ender is brilliant because Card keeps telling us he’s brilliant, through Graff, not because anything he does is actually all that clever. Honestly, Card set himself up for that criticism. If you’re going to present your character as “World’s Greatest X”, be it singer, orator, swordsman, military leader, you’d better have a plan to show the audience that brilliance.

    Perhaps you could point me any 6 year old that are capable of the thing he did or his level or reasoning and planning?Or are you saying you’re capable of doing all those when you’re 6?Again you ignoring all the event that happened in that book.

    Meanwhile, sure, Ender is always telling us how bad he feels after he hurts everyone. And then he just goes right on doing it

    Yes, people who believed they’re trapped in a zero sum game of survival always have the luxury of making convenient choice despite the unfavourable outcome.

    So do that you don’t make the same mistake with overzealous correction nonsense(Dribbling drivel,LOL), the sentence above is called sarcasm and so does most of my post here

    On your sociopath list I’ll check Ender off for: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12. And for psychopath for: 2, 4, 5, 8, 10.

    Lets see: Sociopath

    2-No , most of his interaction with his friends and are sincere

    3-he never believed he deserves happiness for what he did(Speaker For the Dead)

    4-Show me an example where he continuously lie

    6-So his feeling towards Valentine and his friends and colleagues are insincere now,

    7-Yep , he have nothing but hate for Valentine

    9-Oh wait,didn’t he had a nervous breakdown after he learned of his warcrimes .Yepp ,no empathy here.

    10-While he does believes in his superiority (to most) he was definitely concerned about what he did.

    12-His Penance trip(Speaker) most definitely exemplify this

    Psychopath

    2-True

    4-Again show me in Ender’s Game he ‘d lied continuously.What do I get the feeling you’re going to bring Speaker, despite his very those lies were designed to paint him in a bad light(how unpsychopathic )

    5-Speaker again

    8-This may actually be true

    10-Why he did have a rather unrealistic view(if he’s you and me), he managed to do most of the thing he thought he could could do,So they all turn to be rather realistic

    So you have half a hit on the sociopathic list and 2 and a half on the psycopathic list.Maybe a better dice could improve your guessing average.

    Then again I once argue that Ender was borderline Psycopathic, but wait! Lets google “psychopathic altruism” shall we.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Its is something people around here calls a “pun”

    Of course it was.

    Unlike you I have no prejudice to source and author

    Given that the author in question is Orson Scott Card, this is not to your credit.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Of course it was

    Still sore that I dismantled you so easily ,I see.Is this the best rebuttal you can muster, by chance?

    Given that the author in question is Orson Scott Card, this is not to your credit

    Ahh… So you’re finally admits that that you judged a book a by its author instead of its content, finally .

    Thank you for confirming our suspicion of your blind prejudice

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Yeah that’s totally it.

    Admit that I believe Card being a bigoted, homophobic, evil motherfucker casts a pall over every word he writes? And that you having your head so far up Card’s ass you can see Ogden makes this conversation far too little fun to continue? Sure, I’ll cop to that.

  • Scott Mortensen

    Thats not a good attitude to take onto the internet. Mostly, because the Internet doesn’t work that way.
    The guy is a total a-hole, but you can’t just get rid of everyone you disagree with and make your forum a support-group full of yes-men. It backfires. It backfired on the Penny-Arcade-rape-joke articles. Deleting desenting opinions became a full time job. But perhaps it gets page views.

  • Scott Mortensen

    Dude, take it easy. I want people to read “Speaker for the Dead” because it is essentially about empathy for a group of beings that are hard to understand.

    I think they need to read “Enders Game” first.
    Do you use this criteria on Lovecraft and Hemingway and Polinski too? Think of all the great art you ideological snobs would miss out on.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    Bien au contraire

    I know Orson Scott Card is a messed up human being who support some intolerant and off-puttingly despicable cause and goals.Unlike you however , I’ve accepted that he had produced some (two to be precise) seminal classics sci fi books that is immensely lauded and loved by millions worldwide.

    Having views not blinded by hatred can give you that kind of clear objectivity .

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    1) Careful with that argument, it’s an antique.
    2) Lovecraft and Hemingway are dead. Polanski is 80, and so will be joining them soon enough.
    3) Too bad there isn’t more art made by men and women who aren’t raging assholes than I could possibly experience.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    So you’re saying you’ll appreciate Ender’s game and Speaker for the dead more if the Author is dead?

    Its pity isn’t it that far too many great works are produced by creators that a far from ever be considered a gem of a human being(to put it lightly).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No

  • Nourjan Nanash

    I see.

    Thank you for sharing your opinion (and the quote tip) despite revealing how abysmally bad you ability to properly judge and comprehend anything in a fair and truthful manner ,then.Hopefully you’ll manage to overcome this handicap in the future.

    Thank You.

  • Scott Mortensen

    So if people are allowed to read something that is only ideologically viable after they are dead, would it be taboo to read it beforehand? Don’t you see the power that gives anyone you attempt to censor, especially on the internet.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Who said you can’t read Card? Certainly not me. I have qualms about supporting Card. But those are personal qualms. I have no interest in dictating.

    And none of that has any bearing my analysis of Ender’s Game, which i thought was a fair-to-middling book when I read it years before finding out that Card was himself evil. I won’t pretend that knowing what I know now doesn’t worsen my opinion of the book, nor solidify my decision to skip the rest of the series.

  • Scott Mortensen

    Well, how are you going to read him without supporting him? I realize this is the internet, and thats a silly question.

    Man, I don’t even care about what you are saying. Who does care? I personally think ‘Speaker for the Dead’ is one of the best novels ever written, but it doesn’t make as much sense if you haven’t read ‘Enders Game’.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Uuuuuummmm… ok?

  • Scott Mortensen

    Well, I mean, most people would disagree. But I don’t think it should be because he is a homophobe. He’s clearly in the closet.

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    I think it’s perfectly obvious the comments on my site are NOT full of “yes-men.”

    This is not a democracy. No one has the right to say whatever they please here. This is my party, and I will throw out obnoxious guests and apologize to no one for it.

  • Jurgan

    D’oh! Seems obvious in hindsight.

  • Jurgan

    “Also, sociopathy and psychopathy – still not the same thing.”

    Not sure about that one. Those terms are maddeningly vague and ill-defined, and I’m not sure how a medical professional would feel about them. I’m open to hearing it explained, but I’ve never seen an authoritative distinction- it seems more of a “pop psychology” thing.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    By no means definative, and explicity says that the terms are confusing and oft interchangable, but:
    http://blogs.psychcentral.com/forensic-focus/2010/07/sociopathy-vs-psychopathy/

    in the mental health field there is some consensus that psychopathy is more of an innate phenomenon whereas sociopathy, which has a similar clinical presentation to psychopathy, is more the result of environmental factors (poverty, exposure to violence, permissive or neglectful parenting, etc.).

    On that basis, Ender is more likely sociopathic than psychopathic.

  • Ian

    MaryAnn,
    I think your review misses the theme of the story. It is about consequentialism vs deontological ethics, both in Ender’s personal conflicts, as well as the larger conflict that humanity is engaged in. They even spell that out in the final argument between Ender and Colonel Graff, with different language.

    It is hardly a simplistic debate. Philosophers have struggled with for centuries.

  • LaSargenta

    The enemy was never named in the original story. He only added a name in 1985 when he turned it into a novel. So, he chose a word for the name that came with centuries of baggage, thinking he was slick by using something from another english dialect.

  • Zaruthustran

    MaryAnn, I too disliked your two main gripes: the movie didn’t show his empathy for the Formics and didn’t show his cleverness. The big super weapon was the movie’s biggest fail. Of *course* you fire the chain reaction weapon at the largest mass, which is the planet.

    The book does a better job with the empathy, because it spends much more time on the mind game, and how Ender is able to win his fights with bullies by sympathizing so strongly with his foes that he understands their assumptions, motivations and fears, and exploits them. The film shows a bit of this via pre-fight dialogue, but it’s admittedly hard to show without using the VoiceOver-pre-fistfight technique from the Sherlock movies.

    The worse offense is the super weapon. It cheapens Ender’s innovative thinking–the whole point of using kids as commanders is that they have no dogma; they use new strategies because for them, everything is new. The super weapon scene also lessens the emotional impact of the book. In the book, Ender and his team are exhausted by the time of the final battle. They resent the relentless “training”, with mock battles at inconvenient and seemingly random hours. In the end, Ender can’t handle the pressure. He’s presented with the final battle and it is hideously, hilariously unfair. So he gives his assumed opponent, Mazer Rackham, a huge middle finger and dive bombs his guys into the planet. He essentially flips the chessboard. He throws a tantrum. Because he’s a CHILD. And that wins the war; that wipes out a sentient species.

    Ender’s Game is a tragedy.

    MaryAnn, I know the book can’t save the movie. But I think you’d enjoy reading the book. Because you’d enjoy thinking about why the movie producers made the changes they did. The movie is surprisingly more pro war, surprisingly less psychologically sophisticated. The movie hides the real human toll (the small ships are human-piloted fighters, not drones). Bonzo and the kicked bully both die from their wounds. Why were these changes/choices made?

  • http://www.flickfilosopher.com/ MaryAnn Johanson

    It may not be a simplistic debate. But it’s barely present in the film.

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    I saw the movie.

    As far as adaptations go, it reminded me a bit of the first two Harry Potter movies; a couple of changes here or there but mostly it hewed pretty close to the book and everything is pretty much how you imagined it when reading. I mean, aside from the Locke and Demosthenes thing not being there, but honestly I think that’s a very understandable change.

  • Typhoid Mary

    You need a job or a date. I would assume both.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The movie version’s biggest sin: it’s boring.

  • http://www.kingnewbs.com/ KingNewbs

    I disagree… found it thoroughly entertaining, if a bit rushed. Another 20 min would’ve been nice to let the story breathe a little. It’s been about twenty years since I read the book, so i can’t quite remember how faithful it was, though the interactions with Peter were much more interesting in the book version (I scanned through the first chapter again recently). Again, something some extra time (or a second film?) would’ve helped.

    But the action was fun and interesting, and I was really impressed with how much characterization they were able to cram in there, even if some of it was a little one-dimensional (source material issues?).

  • http://www.kingnewbs.com/ KingNewbs

    Hmm… I remember the Locke and Demosthenes stuff being more from the 2nd book?

  • http://savelin.tumblr.com/ Lenina Crowne

    I haven’t read Speaker for the Dead, it’s possible that there is more of an emphasis on the Locke and Demosthenes thing in that book, but it was definitely in the first book and had a fairly significant presence.

  • bmcd

    I decline to see this movie on the grounds that the author of the book it is based on is a rabid homophobe. I wont support a movie where he could profit from my attendance, even tangentially.

  • Nourjan Nanash

    He didn’t get any cut from this movie’s box office, he was paid upfront when he sold the rights for this movie.Boycott is pointless when your target didn’t even profit from it in the first place.

  • Bluejay

    Well, buying a ticket to this film means adding to its box office. If the film makes enough money, they’ll greenlight a sequel. That means Card gets to, at the very least, sell the rights to another one of his books. And it’s not impossible for him to cut a new deal that lets him directly profit from a sequel’s earnings. Also, a successful film will give the book more public exposure, which will increase book sales (it already has), which obviously directly benefits the author. So there’s lots of ways, directly and tangentially, that Card could profit from a hit film.

    So if a person feels really strongly about not supporting Card, it makes complete sense for her to boycott the film. And it sends a message, however small, to the filmmakers: “You based a film on the work of someone whose views I detest, and I personally won’t reward you for it.” That’s a perfectly valid statement to make.

    Whether a boycott would significantly impact this film is a moot point, since the film is already a hit. But there’s nothing wrong with someone refusing to see the film as an act of principle.

  • RogerBW

    Actually, probably not on the money — Card sold the rights to the whole series as a package. Though I don’t disagree with your other points.

  • Bluejay

    Ah, did he? I didn’t know that. Thanks for the info.

    Still, a successful film or series of films raises his profile and helps to sell more of his books (“From the Author of Ender’s Game!“).

  • J.T. Dawgzone

    Your homophobia is showing.

  • J.T. Dawgzone

    oh my god……. i can’t even

  • cptdondo

    I liked your review. It made me realize how much the movie missed. The book is a sad testament on the ‘might makes right’ mindset. Its a tragedy, not a call to arms but the exact opposite. Ender devotes the rest of his life to reestablishing the formic civilization, some thing that was apparently missed in the movie.

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