Ender: too much of a good thing?

Discussion in 'Orson Scott Card' started by Brian G Turner, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    I didn't enjoy Ender's Game, but I was glad I read it (you'll know why if you've read it :) ).

    However, there are a number of "sequels" to the novel.

    From what I hear of the other novels, though, they continue certain arcs and threadlines raised in the original story.

    My predicament is a certain cynicism - the story is told, the end. Therefore why erad the others?

    Or, perhaps, more pointedly - the sequels as cash-ins on a theme. After all, if OSC really considers Ender's Game to have been so incomplete and so requiring the exploration of the other character viewpoints from such an extent, then why not simply rewrit the works into a single new version of Ender's Game?

    Or is that too simplistic?

    I can appreciate the familiarity of the world must provide an appealing stage for Orson Scott Card to live out his philosophies and ideologies. However, I can't help but wonder if perhaps he shouldn't be looking to do more expansive world building to explore these concepts, rather than focus so much on rehashing a tale that was properly told?

    Thoughts invited...
     
  2. dwndrgn

    dwndrgn Fierce Vowelless One Staff Member

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    I haven't read any of the books you are talking about but I wanted to put in my two cents just for the fun of it.

    I'd say you are being too simplistic - you begin by saying that you didn't like the book Ender's Game and then wonder if all of the offshoots and extra stories are superfluous. Ask someone who has enjoyed a book so much that they didn't want it to end. Not only is it great for his readers, but the author can use a tried and true 'world' to move off into different directions without having to complicate things by creating a whole new world. Or, if while writing Ender's Game he introduced characters that seemed to have more to say but couldn't fit into the plotline of that book, it is great for authors to create a new book just to explore that one character and his/her/it's life.

    Yes, sometimes, enough is enough. Usually when the avid fans stop buying them then the authors will stop writing them. Until then, why stop?
     
  3. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Super Moderator

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    I think it all depends on which sequels you are considering, Brian. There are actually two threads of sequels that branch off from "Ender's Game". One thread consists of the follow-ups to Ender's story. Because Ender never goes back to earth, but ends up travelling the universe using faster-than-light travel, this thread covers millennia in earth time in several locations. The other thread is the alternate "Bean" series, which begins with "Ender's Shadow", which tells essentially the same story as "Ender's Game", only from the perspective of Bean, a character who shows up partway through "Ender's Game". After that, the "Bean" series tells a different story, that of Earth in the years after the final victory that is shown in "Ender's Shadow".

    I have read all of these books, and I found the Ender thread of sequels much more satisfying than the "Bean" sequels, although with the exception of the most recent "Bean" book ("Shadow Puppets", which seemed to be quite superficial) I did enjoy them.

    The original sequels, the books that follow Ender, are "Speaker for the Dead", "Xenocide", and "Children of the Mind". As far as I am concerned, these books have much more substance to them than the "Bean" sequels. They are not concerned with the immediate aftermath of the war, but set Ender on a path to redeem himself from his near-destruction of an entire race - something he has taken blame for back on Earth, partly through something Ender himself wrote that brought a more complete understanding of the enemy aliens to the people of Earth - and something he blames himself for. I won't go into detail here, as I wouldn't want to spoil those books for anyone who might still read them. I will say that Ender's story functions in these sequels as more of a background in front of which other stories of other colonists and other alien groups are told rather than as the main focus of the story.

    I doubt that you would much like the "Bean" sequels, Brian, based on how you feel about "Ender's Game". They are much more similar to the first book than are the original sequels to that book, and much more of a cynical attempt to cash in on the franchise. However, I think you might like the original sequels more. According to Card, based on author's notes of his that I've read, "Ender's Game" was sort of a preface to allow the telling of the stories in the original sequels, which are much more philsophical in nature than the original novel or the "Bean" sequels.
     
  4. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Of course I am - I am pushing for discussion. :)
     
  5. vox

    vox Member

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    I've read all of OSC's books in this series, and I enjoyed them. They were fun to read. Sometimes, books are just meant to be a fun read - no serious message is intended or needed. Certainly, Ender's Game does bring up some serious topics regarding military culture, education, child-rearing, etc., but the Bean books seem kind of just fun-type books.

    I must confess that sometimes I am a bit slow, and I have to read books several times before it sinks in. I've only read the Bean books once thought, but I don't remember noticing any serious overtones to any of them.

    They were still good. :cool: OSC rocks!
     
  6. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    Firstly, I must state that I hate Sci Fi. Yes the odd film has entertained me, though this is mainly due to special effects and glitz. I hate the connection between fantasy and sci fi. Why? Why do we have to rub shoulders with those number loving space creeps? If I picked up my weapons of choice, an axe and hammer, and went toe to toe with some of you space marines/wolves with your mini guns then I know who would win. Nine times out of ten I would send you to an early grave! We don't mix. The genres are polarised. Granted we are all dreamy nerds, who have simply wandered down different paths, but still... Ender Rant. You people obviously have read Ender's Game and so I will turn to you with my questions. Is it the best science fiction book out there? I've read reviews and the odd synopsis and it sounds pretty interesting. Is it worth crossing the aisle in Waterstones for? Is it anything like Soldier starring Kurt Russell? Sorry I just love dropping the title of the odd B flick when I get the opportunity. I did enjoy Soldier, sans glitz and special effects, and would recommend it to you Sci Fi losers. Harmless pokery, I promise you. :)
     
  7. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    What SF have you read, Lacedaemonian? I do respect your right to a personal opnion, but I'd say your dismissal of the entire genre seems a bit heavy-handed.
     
  8. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    Ah Knivesout, what a name by the way, I am always rash and blunted in thought and speech. I have always hated science fiction in equal proportion to my love of fantasy. I am hoping to salve this burning hatred of mine, by reading the best that science fiction can offer. I have read some science fiction though my mind is loathe to recall. I have read the Star Wars rubbish, and I delved into some of William Gibsons works which were good and bad. I read Dune when I was fairly young and can not pass fair judgement. I also read The Short Circuit, which I believe was later made into a film about a robot. I made that last one up.
     
  9. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Well, I see from your comments elsewhere that your problem is with SF that delves on scientific speculation or gadgetry without dealing with real human issues, a sentiment I can identify with. I'm a bit rushed at the moment but I'd be glad to point you to some works that you may enjoy, if you are at all interested.


    I must say I was a bit offended by your remarks because I am rather passionate about SF - if I may pontificate a bit, I'd just request you to be a bit considered about these remarks because people with diverse opinions frequent these boards, and it would be a pity if things got unfriendly. I know I have unwittingly stepped on toes in the past, and I find that respecting other people's tastes works better.

    cheers and sorry for the lecture, I didn't mean to ramble on so much. ;)
     
  10. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    I don't mean to offend. I was hoping that perhaps people who were passionate about SF could show me the error of my ways. If people named works that blew my words to dust than I would be much pleased, as my eyes would be open to new possibility. How best to stoke passion then step on a few toes? You're right of course, but a bit friendly banter is always welcome in the house of the Lake Daemon. Fantasy is essentially based on peoples and events in history, and is sometimes considered to be an ode to the unwritten history of man. SF is based on concepts of the future. What can I say I am a pessimist, the future holds nothing for me. I see mankind as being vile, and becoming viler at an uncanny rate. Fantasy offers the promise of an end to such matters. The Once and Future king and all that. SF does offer warnings....
     
  11. Hypes

    Hypes Emperor!

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    Fantasy is but reverie of what might have been. Science fiction is the exploration of what we might become, but also a vessel for more intricate philosophical hypothesis.

    The most prominent example of this is Philip K. Dick, who, through his SF writing presented his ideas and musings. Orson Scott Card has also done the same along with quite a few other authors to varying extent.

    Please do not make the error of thinking Hollywood's version of what Sci-Fi is correct. It is often far removed from the actuality of the literary genrè.

    Your statements amount to the equivalent of claiming the entire fantasy genrè is exactly like Tolkien. There are equally many opposites in both genrès- I'd even go as far as to say SF is more diverse than fantasy.

    Star Wars is the unwanted stepchild of science fiction. As I said, it's Hollywood's version. George Lucas is a terrible writer, anyway. The Extended Universe do have some bright points, but they are generally doomed by the source material.

    William Gibson is cyberpunk, a very distinct sub-genrè of SF. It's a bit rash to pass judgement on the entirety of SF simply from reading him. He's at the far end of an immense spectrum. I do suggest you reread Dune and its first few sequels as it's very good SF.

    I can recommend to you David Zindell's work, starting with Neverness and ending with War in Heaven both of which I imagine would suit your liking well.

    The future holds everything. Pessimism is the worst vice of man as it is the unwillingness to change what's wrong. If you aknowledge there is something wrong, get off your rear and do something about it, instead of complaining.
     
  12. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Well put, mate! :)


    My head's a bit awry today and I wasn't up to the response this warranted, but you've filled the breach much beter than I would have.
     
  13. Hypes

    Hypes Emperor!

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    I despise that. Your entire head feels so dreadfully lethargic. Can't do much of anything. Awful, really.
     
  14. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Well it's my own fault for downing far too many beers last night. Not to mention that, when I got home, my roommate and a friend turned out to have this bottle of whiskey going around. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Hypes

    Hypes Emperor!

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    Hangovers will be the end of man.

    Or so is the conclusion of the first thought the morning after. The next one goes more along the lines of Who on earth is taking up all the space in be-drat.
     
  16. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    Lacedaemonian -

    Heh, the trouble with sf/f is that it's such a diverse genre - it really depends what you are seeking.

    You've tried Dune and didn't like it - so I'd probably suggest the complete other end of the character spectrum and recommend "2001: A Space Odyssey" by Arthur C Clarke, simply for the ideas.

    However, if sf just doesn't ting your bell, and thoughts of fur skin and blades makes you feel more alive, then perhaps it really is worth keeping away from the spacecraft until such point as a decent cross-over presents itself. :)
     
  17. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    Excellent points Hypes. I could not disagree with a single point (much to my dislike....). I would say that fantasy is not very diverse. There are good fantasy writers and there are poor fantasy writers, end of diversity. I think that the repetitive nature of fantasy is what draws most people. There is a sort of comfort in knowing what to expect. I have of course taken the hollywood judgement, as you recognised so perceptively. I'll read your recommendations, as you appear to know what you are talking about, and I won't hold it against you if I find any of them a bore. I am always on the look out for new works, as I am sure that you all are. Thanks for the pointers. I already had my eye on Enders Game, can anybody tell me if it is anything like the film Soldier starring Kurt Russell? If you find this question offensive, I do apologise...
     
  18. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    I have just bought Ender's Game, hopefully I will enjoy it.
     
  19. Lacedaemonian

    Lacedaemonian A Plume of Smoke

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    I am reading Ender's Game, I am enjoying it.
     
  20. dwndrgn

    dwndrgn Fierce Vowelless One Staff Member

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    OMG, were you struck by lightning?? Just kidding. Speaking as an avid fantasy fan and sometimes sf fan, I can see where you are going though. I have to take umbrage at your dismissal of fantasy as all the same, however. I, of course, haven't read it all (at least not yet :D ) but I would think it is fair to say that fantasies all have a similar base line but apart from that there are millions of different stories. For example, Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy is quite different from Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series. Both are fantasies. Both involve magic and pre-industrialized societies (nods to Ursula Le Guin) but that is about all they have in common. In the Farseer books you've got an illegitimate heir made into an assassin, ostracized for an ability to commune with animals, dragons that aren't and mysterious 'prophets' that refuse to acknowledge their prophesies. In the Spellsinger series you've got a modern college student, with a talent for singing who ends up living in a society based on animal groups as all the animals are as or more intelligent than their human counterparts. I'd say they are quite different. Now, there are those that are remarkably similar to others. But we won't get into that as you already like the genre, I'm just trying to prove a point.

    As far as science fiction goes, there are quite a few good books out there (ok there are lots but I'm not nearly as well read there as in fantasy). Some have already been mentioned. But if you'd like to ease into the genre try some that cross over. L.E. Modesitt has a series like that as well as Piers Anthony.
     
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