The little-known dark side of Ender’s Game

Summary: The trailer for “Ender’s Game” brings this interesting book to the attention of a wider audience. Rightly so, as it’s themes are important to today’s America. Dark themes, evoking aspects of ourselves we prefer to hide (as popular art so often does). This is a revised and expanded version of the original post.

Ender's Game



  1. Background on the author
  2. Why is Ender’s Game popular?
  3. Its powerful, weird dynamics
  4. Ender as an appealing Hitler-like figure
  5. The narrative structure of Ender’s Game: porn
  6. Why generals like Ender’s Game
  7. For More information — & link to free copy of the story
  8. Trailer for Ender’s Game

(1) Background on the author

Orson Scott Card has become the latest pawn in the culture war. DC Comics hired Card to write Superman comics. The Left protested Card’s right-wing views (especially his anti-gay stance). DC fired Card (i.e., put the project on indefinite hold). For details see “What happened to Orson Scott Card?” at Salon. Now Card has another shot at influencing the wider Audience of Americans — and the world (it will be interesting to see the film’s reception in foreign markets).

My nickel review: the short story is brilliant, fascinating, well worth reading. I found the book to be unreadable. If you have not read the short story or book, before continuing either scroll to section 7, or read this free post of the short story.

(2) Why is Ender’s Game popular?

One aspect of its mass appeal: it tells the story of modern America. The world’s superpower — bigger, richer, stronger than any other nation — but we see ourselves as victims. We are forced to invade our Latin neighbors, repeatedly, to see that our businessmen get a fair deal. Attacked on 12/41, 8/64, and 9/11 — forcing us to bomb nations into oblivion (the total weight of bombs dropped on Vietnam was 3x what we used in WWII). But we remain unsullied in our own eyes because our motives are pure.

Others see the story’s appeal in the personal history of its readers: “Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality“, John Kessel, update of an article originally published in Foundation – the International Review of Science Fiction, Spring 2004 — Excerpt:

Ender gets to strike out at his enemies and still remain morally clean. Nothing is his fault. Stilson already lies defeated on the ground, yet Ender can kick him in the face until he dies, and still remain the good guy. Ender can drive bone fragments into Bonzo’s brain and then kick his dying body in the crotch, yet the entire focus is on Ender’s suffering. For an adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity, who feels himself abused (and what adolescent doesn’t?), what’s not to like about this scenario?

An even more pointed answer comes from “Ender’s Game: fascist revenge fantasy? Nah, geek revenge fantasy.“, posted at Wax Banks, 21 August 2006:

Soft, fun, misleading cover for the book

Needless to say most of the people I know who Really Love the book aren’t soldiers, they’re socially-malformed geeks who’re attracted to the ‘meritocratic’ vision of the genius freak, ‘precociously’ outwitting everyone around him, morally pure though his thoughts are bloody and selfish, who wins battles with his brain but secretly is almost superhumanly effective at physical tasks – which you’d never guess to look at him.

Card’s writing comes, I think, from a more plainly geeky wish-fulfillment urge, and is a way of placing the misunderstood genius/asshole at the center of the moral universe. It’s no wonder that Ender spends most of his time lecturing his peers (moral/intellectual inferiors) and playing video games, and it’s no wonder so many people at (e.g.) MIT, where Ender’s Game is a kind of shared keystone text, live identical or very similarly narcissistic lives. The dominant social pathologies at MIT line up neatly with Ender’s own.

For such people, I think, the military side of the story functions on several levels: at once you (as Ender) can outwit the System, freak out the guys in uniform, and yet vicariously live through the quasi-military exploits of Battle School. The appeal of the book is then partly the faux-countercultural appeal of sticking it to the Man by listening to loud rock music while you work 60-hour weeks at the office, being cool rather than doing anything cool, or anything at all. Ender’s moral purity has nothing to do with his actions; it’s adversity that has blessed him.

(3) The powerful and often weird aspects of Ender’s Game

From the best analysis of the book, a chapter in Science fiction in the real world by Norman Spinrad (1990) — {A reader notes that Spinrad gets a name wrong: the name of Ender’s brother is Peter, not Paul}

{Card} writes a terse, well-paced, transparent line of prose that expertly moves the reader through the story without calling attention to itself, which is the stylistic ideal of the pulp tradition. It is not surprising, therefore, that Ender’s Game would be a successful work of commercial sci-fi. But it ended up winning both the Hugo and the Nebula and, indeed, made Card’s commercial career. Yet from the plot-summary, it is not so easy to see why such a work should stand out from the pack.

Something must be going on at a deeper level. Something certainly is. For one thing, there is a truly bizarre subplot, in which Ender’s brother Paul and sister Valentine take over political leadership of the Earth while still in their teens. They do this by creating pseudonymous letterhack personas who debate each other on a worldwide computernetwork bulletin board. I kid you not, you could look it up. {Bloggers rule the world!}

For another thing, Ender, Valentine, and Paul simply do not come off as the young children Card tells us they are. Their speech patterns, their level of intellection, the style of their interaction with their peers, what they say, and what they do all mark them as adolescents.

Except for one factor. Superficially, at least, sex never rears its head. What Card gives us in the guise of young children are desexualized adolescents. Well, not exactly, for beneath the surface there certainly is a strong sexual subtext in Ender’s Game. Paul and Ender compete throughout the novel for the affections of sister Valentine, and in the denouement, Ender, the hero, gets the girl. Valentine goes off with Ender to colonize the home planet of the aliens in a complex, hurried, over-dense final chapter that reads like an outline for a whole other novel, while poor Paul must content himself with being ruler of the solar system.

Why has this novel struck such a strong chord with SF readers? The main plot would seem to be a rather ordinary variation on the standard plot skeleton. Card’s realization of his future civilization is narrowly confined to a few self-contained locales and game-realities, the subplot is entirely unbelievable, and the main character relationship is a thinly sublimated incestuous love triangle.

No, the strength of Ender’s Game as a piece of sci-fi can’t rest on the plot, or the uniqueness of the speculation, or the world building, all of which, while certainly craftsmanlike, are no stronger than similar jobs of work in hundreds of novels. But when we compare the psychic profile of the typical sci-fi fan to the characters Card has created as reader- identification figures, we see at once why Ender’s Game does such a world-class job of pushing the buttons of the targeted audience.

Talk about sympathetic heroes with whom the reader can identify! How about a sexually arrested adolescent who becomes the savior of the human race through his prowess at war-sports and video games? How about two other sexually arrested adolescents who take over the world as electronic fanzine letterhacks? This is as close as identification of the audience with the hero can get — the identification figures are the audience’s fantasy images of themselves.

… It is difficult to believe that such a writer would name the central figure in his incestuous love triangle Valentine (as in Be My Valentine) were he not deliberately pointing to the nature of the relationship.

Even more difficult to believe that he was unaware of the obvious sexual connotations when he named his aliens the “Buggers.” That’s right, the insectoid aliens who are never really described, aren’t called “Bugs” or “Bug-Eyed Monsters,” but Buggers throughout the whole novel. The little boys and girls, the desexualized adolescents, are trained by the adults to go out and fight buggers, and Ender, the hero, wins his Valentine, at least in plot terms, when he exterminates Buggery.

What is Card actually addressing in this subtext? He’s certainly playing with powerful symbology! Incest, buggery, genocide, and power fantasies lurking darkly below the surface of his supposedly desexualized adolescents, and in the context of a militaristic milieu that seems to indicate that he is groping toward some libidinal equation between military power fantasies, war games, and the sublimated sexual dynamic. Alas, all this powerfully evoked psychosexual subtext never coheres into a comprehensible thematic statement, nor does it really seem to mesh with the overt storyline in a way that adds resonance.

… The bulk of the novel is something of a guiltless military masturbation fantasy, nicely epitomized by the fact that all the action takes place in war-games frameworks. Only when Ender is consumed by guilt after he learns that the final game was real does Card turn the moral tables and make a perfunctory anti-war statement, a thematic turnaround that, in plot terms, seems to come from deep left field.

(4) Ender as an appealing Hitler-like figure

This isn’t surprising, considering Card’s extreme right-wing views. As you read this, remember that millions of Americans share Card’s views. Many well-armed and alienated from the mainstream of our society. Many are in the police and military. “Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman“, Elaine Radford, update to a book review in Fantasy Review originally published June 1987, 26 March 2007 — Excerpt:

Let me tell you about a book I just read. It’s the story of a young boy who was dreadfully abused by the grown-ups who wanted to mold him into an exemplary citizen. Forced to suppress his own emotions in order to avoid being paralyzed by trauma, he directed his energy into duty rather than sex or love. In time, he came to believe that his primary duty was to wipe out a species of gifted but incomprehensible aliens who had devastated his kind in a previous war. He found the idea of exterminating an entire race distasteful, of course. But since he believed it was required to save the people he defined as human, he put the entire weight of his formidable energy behind the effort to wipe out the aliens.

You’ve read it, you say? It’s Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, right? Wrong. The aliens I’m talking about were the European Jews, blamed by many Germans for gearing up World War I for their own profit. The book is Robert G. L. Waite’s The Psychopathic God: Adolf Hilter.

… Hitler, like Ender, spent his formative years as the third of three children. Like Ender, he eventually grew away from all of his family except his older sister. The main difference is that it was her daughter, and not Angela herself, with whom he engaged in a chaste but emotionally compelling love affair. … Similarly, both children’s lives were deformed by physical and emotional abuse. Ender escapes the abuse of his peers to join the Battle School — where he is, of course, abused by adults. Hitler was literally treated like a dog by his father, who expected him to answer to his whistle and accept vicious beatings …

Ender’s chastity until his marriage at the age of 37 is puzzling. But, again, when we look at the Hitler connection, all becomes clear. Probably because of his childhood trauma, Hitler remained chaste for an unusually long time. He isn’t known to have felt love for any woman until — are you ahead of me here? — age 37.

Another bizarre element is the fact that Ender chooses a bitter, self-destructive woman for his mate. Why? I presume it’s to remind us that Hitler too chose self-destructive women. Of the seven close to him, six killed themselves or made serious attempts to do so.

(5) The narrative structure of Ender’s Game: like that of pornography

It’s like porn. Geek revenge porn. Excerpt from “Ender’s Game as Pornography“, Stephen Bond, 25 July 2008:

Ender’s Game … purports to be a classic sci-fi novel, but is actually a work of pornography. Some readers might be deceived by the book’s scrupulous avoidance of sexual content, but it just happens that sex is not the particular fetish of Ender’s Game: it finds its gratification elsewhere.

The book in fact caters towards two related fetishes. The most obvious of these is geek wish-fulfillment. Ender Wiggin, the protagonist of the book, is a classic Mary Sue — a pre-pubescent boy genius who is simply the best at everything. Compared to his peers at the space battle school for gifted kids, Ender is wiser, more intelligent, more sensitive and loving, better at his studies, a better hacker, a better fighter, a better leader. He is better than all of them, and they hate him for it. They all hate him for it — all except the girls, of course — and they never let him forget it.

… the other is self-pity, the lonely self-pity of the truly gifted and persecuted. Ender, you see, doesn’t want to keep beating and humiliating and killing people. He is always forced into these actions, against his will, by the school governors who keep pushing him to succeed, and by his victims themselves, who just won’t accept that he is the best. “Why wouldn’t he leave me alone?” he wonders as he kills another bully. After every victory comes an equally cathartic bout of self-pity, as Ender wracks his soul in ecstatic remorse over his situation. Even in this area, he excels. No one can self-pity like Ender!

(6) Why generals Like Ender’s Game

Summary of Generals read “Ender’s Game” and see their vision of the future Marine Corps :

The USMC professional reading program includes Ender’s Game, perhaps science fiction writer Orson Scott Card’s greatest work. It contains a powerful dramatization of current Corps doctrine, but it also holds a hidden vision for many Generals. They would like to be Ender, directing distant battles from their desks. Commanding ships with a keyboard, instantly seeing “every enemy ship and weapons it carried.” Perfect information in the hands of a brilliant chessmaster, supported by his brilliant staff sitting before their screens — moving drones at the other end of the wire. Logic, order, planning, victory. The opposite of real war. The opposite of the leadership that wins wars.

Scharnhorst, Clausewitz, or von Moltke (either one) would laugh at such folly.

(7) For More information

(a)  Excellent background articles about Ender’s Game:

  1. About the author: “What happened to Orson Scott Card?“, Salon, 7 March 2013 — “For loyal science fiction fans, the author’s slow descent into poisonous politics has been nothing short of tragic.”
  2. Sample of Card’s right-wing madness: “Unlikely Events“, Orson Scott Card, originally posted at Rhino Times, 16 May 2013
  3. The full text of the original short story, Analog, August 1977.
  4. See Wikipedia for a summary of the book version, published in 1985; won the Nebula and Hugo awards.
  5. The Real Revolution in Military Affairs (it’s not what you think), 14 November 2013 — Child soldiers wage many wars today. Not as fun as in Ender’s Game.

(b)  Excellent reviews of the books and films:

  1. The twisted mind of Ender’s Game”, Laura Miller, Salon, 30 October 2013 — “Orson Scott Card’s bestseller is supposed to be an antiwar novel, but its real subject is closer to home.”
  2. Ender’s Game: Playing at Shock and Awe“, Locke Peterseim, Open Letters Monthly, 6 November 2013

(c)  Timely, powerful essays by Tom Engelhardt. Very relevant to our world — and to the future world of Ender’s Game:

  1. The Secret History of G.I. Joe: Barbie, Joe, Darth Vader, and Making War in Children’s Culture“, 13 August 2013
  2. Teenagers in Space: Star Wars, G.I. Joe, Rambo, Red Dawn, and How a Tale of American Triumphalism Was Returned to the Child’s World“, 15 August 2013

(8) Trailer for Ender’s Game


26 thoughts on “The little-known dark side of Ender’s Game”

  1. roberto buffagni

    May I suggest reading this analysis of American – better: “Americanist” psychology by a Belgian writer, Philippe Grasset?
    Title: “L’“inculpabilité” comme fondement de la psychologie americaniste”. “Inculpabilité” means “being incapable to think oneself as guilty”.

    An excerpt:

    “Il n’y a pas de machiavélisme, ou d’autres sentiments aussi élaborés où la contradiction est instrumentée, — goût de la provocation, goût du paradoxe absurde, etc., — chez les Américains lorsqu’ils procèdent dans leurs actes de politique extérieure, et, particulièrement, dans le cas décrit ici. Les contradictions ou les absurdités, les soi-disant hypocrisies, trop énormes pour être de l’hypocrisie qui par définition se dissimule, ne sont pas le fruit d’un calcul ; elles ne sont qu’en apparence, pour nous, des “contradictions ou [des] absurdités, [des] soi-disant hypocrisies, trop énormes pour être de l’hypocrisie…”.
    La puissance d’influence considérable de l’américanisme est fondée sur sa sincérité, souvent décrite et/ou expliquée, à tort nous semble-t-il, comme “naïveté”, comme “infantilisme”, etc.”

  2. Is Enders Game popular? Lots of Sci-Fi fans have read it, but I couldn’t say its popular, or even that well liked.

    The Battle school elements were excellent, and powerful when I read it as a teenager. But it would be unwise to overestimate its wider cultural influence. There is no typical sci-fi fan, we are not all rage filled nerds.

    1. Is Ender’s Game popular? Well-liked? The evidence is overwhelming that the answer is yes, to both.

      The book sold millions of copies; the short story has been reprinted in many anthologies.
      It has been translated into 29 languages.
      It generated 11 sequels (follow-up novels). IMO this and sales are the most definitive answers.
      Being on the USMC’s suggested reading list brought it to people who seldom or never read science fiction.
      The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985 and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986 (the two most prestigious awards in science fiction).
      In 2008 Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, won the Margaret A. Edwards Award for young adult literature.
      In 1999 it placed #59 on the reader’s list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels. It was put on American Library Association’s “100 Best Books for Teens.” It was in Damien Broderick’s book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010.

  3. Let me give a shot at an English translation of that French excerpt:

    “When dealing with Americans in the way they make foreign policy, and particularly int he case described here, there is question of Machiavellianism, or any equally developed sensibility involving a contradiction twixt carefully modulated feelings. Instead we encounter contradictions and absurdities, hypocrisy (so-called) but too huge to be a proper hypocrisy and by defintion hidden from American themselves — and these things are not the result of calculations by the AMericas, and are in fact only so in appearance, The considerable power of the influence of Americanism throughout the world is based on its sincerity, often mistakenly and wrongly described as “naive” or “childish”…

    In short, the French fellow seems to be saying much the same thing that FM has been saying about America. Namely, that American culture boasts about our virtue while we blunder about the world committing various war crimes while telling ourselves anything we’re doing to other nations is done for a good cause, in the name of justice and peace, and that even if some “mistakes were made” the purity of our motives washes away any culpability, and so forth.

    FM has made the case that America’s elites (the 1%, as he puts it) engineer U.S. media and political culture by means of intensive propaganda to create an environment conducive to the alleged social darwinist neo-confederate aims of the America top 1%. The problem with this analysis is that it presumes the American elite is a monolithic entity. In reality, it’s probably more likely that the American top 1% consists of a variety of different factions with opposing social and economic interests. As a result, visions of American society as a mass of propagandized cattle directed by an tiny coterie of wealthy elites in a smoke-filled back room seem unconvincing.

    On the other hand, quite a few intense campaigns (by Pete Petersen, the Kock brothers, Mitt Romney’s entire campaign, the tens of millions poured into Newt Gingrich’s cnadidacy by a single wealthy backer) do suggest that America currently exhibits more than a few traits of a plutocracy.

    Perhaps the reality is that much of bizarre behavior and counterfactual attitudes of Americans result from our strange American culture. If you look at graphs of assults in America, you find that we’re off the charts with respect to all the other developed nations in terms of violence. At the same time, American puritanism and our bizarre hatred and fear of sexuality combined with our adoration of sadistic punishment and brutality makes America a remarkable outlier, culturally speaking, when compared with the rest of the developed world.

    To give just a few striking statistics to illustrate the strangeness of American culture:

    * The entire German federal police force fired 88 bullets last year. Compare this with the 50 shots fired by police officers in a single incident in New York, th Sean Bell shooting in which an innocent man driving to his wedding was gunned down in a hail of bullets in a case of mistaken identity.

    * America has more than one quarter of all the people in prison on earth, more people on parole or probation or in prison than were incarcerated under Stalin at the height of the gulag system.

    * One out of every three women in the U.S. is raped by American soldiers. Rape is endemic American prisons, to the point where our pundits make jokes about prison rape.

    * The American tradition of using torture during wartime goes back more than 100 years. Waterboarding was first systematically used by the U.S. army in the Filipino insurrection, and torture was continued as a standard institutionalized practice in Vietnam and in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Nice Turse’s recent book on the Vietnam war, Kill Anything Tha Moves</I. uses recently declassified documents from Vietnam-era investigations into war crime allegations to show that My Lai, far from being an exception, was the norm during the VIetnam war.

    * America's fanatical puritanism has been revealed by recent psychology experiments, even as debate rages over whether to allow underaged girls to get HPV vaccinations which would prevent cervical cancer because it might give them permission to have sex. (In other words, AMerican political and osical leaders judge it better for their children to die screaming from ovarian cancer than to admit that they have sex.)

    An objective observer might be forgiven for regarding America as a toxic witches’ brew of sadism, pathology, violence, love of suffering and fear of the human body, combined with frenzied hyperamygdaloid aggression and social darwinism, rather than a nation proper. This would tend to the more bizarre aspects of American naivete combined with global hyperaggression while maintaining the total purity of their motives even as they murder women and children in wedding parties with drone strikes and rain white phosphorus on the inhabitatnts of some of the world’s poorest cities, like Fallujah.

    1. More,

      “alleged social darwinist neo-confederate aims of the America top 1%.”

      I would like to see some support for that statement. It seems unlikely to me. They want wealth and power, and believe they are best suited to lead America. These are commonplaces of history.

      To state that the 1% have such specific and extreme ideological beliefs, outside the US mainstream, is an extreme statement requiring a high degree of evidence before taking it seriously.

      “The problem with this analysis is that it presumes the American elite is a monolithic entity. In reality, it’s probably more likely that the American top 1% consists of a variety of different factions with opposing social and economic interests.”

      How odd to so firmly believe that such a small group, tightly linked socially, with so much in common (economic variables are among the most socially powerful) will not have similar political and economic goals. But this is an important aspect of our problem: Americans refuse to see the most obvious aspects of our situation, and ominous trends.

      No matter what the problem, hordes leap to say not that it isn’t a problem, but that the trend does not exist. Our wars are going fine! The NSA is not massively gathering information! The 1% is not acting to gather economic and political power! The world has not been warming for 2 centuries!

    2. “FM has made the case that America’s elites (the 1%, as he puts it) engineer U.S. media and political culture by means of intensive propaganda to create an environment conducive to the… aims of the America[n] top 1%.”

      This looks a lot like what the late Joe Bageant described in Escape from the Zombie Food Court as The Hologram–a corporate-controlled media projection of reality that substitutes for the real thing and which has Americans in its thrall. He also calls America “a theater state” suffering under “a mass national hallucination.” I checked to see if he has ever been mentioned here; the answer appears to be no.

    3. To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “America is not the kind of country which tortures prisoners, and the fact that we do torture prisoners in no way implies that we are the kind of country which does that.”

  4. I am reminded of a 60 Minutes story I saw decades ago. It was about the syphilis experiments done on the Tuskegee blacks over a period of 40 years, well after a cure for syphilis was in use. The interviewer compared the study to experiments done by the Nazis on prisoners of war. The person being interviewed, a health official, looked offended. “But we are Americans,” he said. Obviously we are incapable of doing anything approaching what the Nazis did.

    This should probably be included in the self-delusion of American Exceptionalism. We are genetically incapable of doing wrong on any scale. Not against other nations, not against ourselves and not against the planet we live on.


    1. Jon,

      Sad but true. It is a long pattern.

      “White Doctors, Black Subjects: Abuse Disguised as Research”, NYT, 23 January 2007

      “Documentary on Early U.S. Radiation Experiments on Black Children (w/Video)”, FDL, 25 May 2011

      “Medical Scandal! How The US Government Used Black People As Guinea Pigs”, NewAfrican, 1 October 2012

      There is a reason why African-Americans do not like to go to their doctors or even to hospital. Many fear that they will be probed, prodded, and experimented upon without their consent, and return home sicker than when they left – or may not return home at all. It is because throughout their long history in the USA, African-Americans have been secretly used as guinea pigs for medical experimentation by various American governments. Leslie Goffe reports from Washington DC.

  5. “[W]hen he exterminates Buggery”

    Good Lord. In hindsight, that’s even more transparent than L. Ron Hubbard naming the hostile alien species in “Battlefield Earth” the Psychlos to personify his view of psychiatry. Spinrad and Bond were right to call “Ender’s Game” a work of wish fulfillment, not just for the readers but for the author, too. That the story earned all the awards that it has more dangerous.

    At least “Battlefield Earth” is widely recognized as schlock. Then again, so is “Atlas Shrugged,” another work of wish fulfillment for author and reader, but that hasn’t stood in the way of it becoming influential.

    Objectivism and Scientology: a sublime to the ridiculous comparison

  6. I’d take more stock in this article if the author got the names of characters right. Ender’s brother is PETER not PAUL…

    1. Hashmaster9000,

      I initially thought that *I* got Peter’s name wrong. Fortunately it was Spinrad, not me! I posted an inline note on the post about the wrong name, citing your correction.

      Spinrad’s points are, however, still valid. Many reviewers of the film made similar observations.

  7. I have no problem with movies based on books if they are done well.

    For me, doing them badly involves quoting a couple of pages near verbatim then tearing out and ignoring the next twenty. In my view, this is what has been done in adapting Ender’s Game, the remnants have been stacked together as a bunch of sound-bites and run at fast forward speed, leaving no time for character progression and the growth of friendships that is the mainstay to the original story.

    It may be that, like Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy, this was an unmakeable film so we should perhaps thank them for their brave effort that didn’t quite make it.

    In failing, the film is a testament to the writing of Card that he could cram so much story into just 350 paperback pages that it couldn’t been captured in 2 hours on the screen.

    And finally, Ben Kingsley’s performance, what a shocker! Think we’ll see more of Asa Butterfield though. More about Harrison Ford you can find it here

    1. Carcotas,

      I agree. They left out most of the interest material about the Battle School.

      But that is usual. The Lord of the Rings films left out most of the interesting scenes, leaving mostly fight scenes. Perhaps they know what their audience wants.

  8. Also, it is hardly an accurate comparison to compare ender to hitler, as ender feels great remorse as result of his actions, and later on in the series brings back the bugger race, in an attempt to atone for his actions.

  9. Pingback: Teaser – Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card | Pear Reviews

  10. I am sorry but I have to completely disagree with the criticisms made in this article. Scott paints Ender as an abused kid who is effectively used as a tool by every adult in his life. The adults in his life have consciously crafted him down to his genetics, and his social relationships. He is being watched by manipulative adults from his first moment to till his last. Every person he loves is used to turn him into a weapon.

    He is a power fantasy if you project on to him, but Scott goes through a lot of trouble to show you why he is utterly powerless. Is a person powerful if they are told nothing. Are they powerful if they are not allowed to choose the course they want to take and be with the people they want to be with. Are they powerful when every aspect of their life is presented as a ‘test’, and they are told that their feeling are an inconvenience to be ignored. Are they powerful if their childhood is taken away from them and they are forced to live like a soldier in isolation to the point that they literally stop caring about humanity. Ender is a survivor. Someone who has been utterly morally compromised, and abused, but someone who manages to eventually take some control over his life and becomes an empathetic person who does what little he can to find some semblance of redemption.

    The criticism in the article is so unbelievably surface level. Reads that turn Ender’s only state family relationship into an incestous one, reads that turn a 11 year old manipulated kid into hitler, and a power fantasy, that liken his very understandable trauma to stupid self pity, and have the gall to suggest that people like the story because they are ‘socially malformed’ creatures looking for an outlet.

    These aren’t clever reads they are shallow, misanthropic jabs you would expect from edge lords who think that people are stupid.

    1. Rukn,

      I don’t understand your rebuttal. This post gives four perspectives on Ender’s Game, by four authors.

      1. Why is Ender’s Game popular?
      2. Its powerful, weird dynamics.
      3. Ender as an appealing Hitler-like figure.
      4. The narrative structure of Ender’s Game: like porn.
      5. Why generals like Ender’s Game

      To which one are you objecting? Your comment does not, so far as I see, reply to any of them.

  11. Andrew ...thus...Ender? Lol

    Wow. Reading for enjoyment must be pretty miserable for you. You take the most minuscule things, not even accurately, and determine them to be outrageous. Sorry for your self pitying misery.

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