“Ender’s Game” is a horror movie, showing us our dark side. No worries; we’ll forget faster than we eat the popcorn.

Summary:  Reader’s have requested revisits to the posts about “Ender’s Game”. As the poster below shows, it holds a mirror to show us aspects of today’s America.  Dark themes, evoking aspects of ourselves we prefer to hide (as popular art so often does).  Our fear, even paranoia. And our willingness to kill as a first recourse (seen this year in Obama’s eagerness to bomb Syria). This was originally posted in September 2010.

It's them or us

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Contents

  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

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(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 American public — 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 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:

{Click here to read the rest of post, going to the September 2010 post}

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