Ender: too much of a good thing?

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

  1. fungi from Yuggoth

    fungi from Yuggoth bzzzzbzzzz

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    I enjoyed Ender's Game and its excellent sequel Speaker for the Dead but haven't read much more than that. I heard that much of the rest of his Ender series barring Ender's Shadow went rapidly downhill.

    BTW someone mentioned the Earthsea series. This was written by Ursula LeGuin not OSC.
     
  2. Chrischa

    Chrischa New Member

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    I read all the Ender books, I thought the first three books were very good and felt very much like the original series while the rest is too much of a cash-in when OSC ran out of ideas. Especially Children of the Mind is more a sound-board for Card's philosophical idea's then a follow-up, and the Bean series turns into a summary for warfare strategy. (yawn!)

    But Card seems to have that tendency of writing good stories when they are about children but having difficulties with the characters once they grow up. Alvin Maker being the prime example, who as said turns into a holy-bean superhuman, but I also found Ender's adult version not complete, nor Ansset from Songmaster.
    That being said, he does come up with the best alien species I've ever heard of. Maybe they should employ him as a writer in Star Trek. :)
     
  3. Michael

    Michael The Defiler's Rule

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    I loved the entire series. Couldn't get enough of it.
     
  4. cyborg_cinema

    cyborg_cinema Well-Known Member

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    ...a thought: perhaps the publisher knew they had a hot ticket and encouraged Card write more.
     
  5. Tim Bond

    Tim Bond Mendlebra

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    I liked Enders-Game. A very fun and even at times inspiring read.

    I have not felt motivated yet to read these sequels and appreciate the tips about the merit you assert they possess.

    If properly attuned to the environment and given a fair opportunity to engage with it - socially as adults are supposed to (but, many cannot) - often children will surprise you with their ability to adapt, and even ability to comprehend implications we automatically assume they would not understand due to our false equation that since they do not make a decision on something that they cannot understand many of the interrelated patterns in what goes on.

    Sometimes they understand - sometimes they do not.

    Some kids can attain a very high degree of very real maturity at early age. These types can always somehow manage - even with a poor education working against the prospects for adulthood.

    Some kids develop academic skill and are classified as 'intelligent' for sake of clear speech and good grades, yet - miss real-life integration with reality and lack maturity or ability to fend for themselves - yet.

    Other kids need to wait for maturity and are not even sufficiently educated. Adults should let them enjoy childhood - but, could spend more 'quality' time with them administering to bringing about quality questions in the kid, that the child can pursue out of interest for his improvement. A good inspiring role-model serves very well for this.

    Many, and I mean many adults never grow up (they are simply children that look like mature adults) - even possibly have a kid (which they usually neglect or abuse) and house and maybe some work on their side (if lucky) - they remain irresponsible and unthinking and expect little ramification to the actions they take beyond the immediate and are concerned with only consuming the next entertainment. A good six year old can 'know' better than these types.

    His story was about kids that were genius or borderline genius. Every genius is different /unique - the thought process very much their own and individual and not secluded to the merely mathematical-linguistic. These kids were also both competitive and would have major issues of maturity to come up with in such a program to avoid 'flaws' at a later stage. Children still need role-models and shaping - not through authority, but, through love and a real interest in them and their interests.

    I saw nothing relating to genius or quality shaping of young minds - allot of it instead was dealing with relatively simple authority and group-pack dynamics and leadership. Monkeys have these issues within their groups - dogs do to - this is nothing. A genius is not threatened by any authority (for the merely 'intellegent' - this does not follow) - if they want to disappear - they are gone (dumb can be 'invisible') and if they take action it will be beyond mammal territorial concerns (though they can implicate or involve the use of such) - and can induce fear by the ramifications of what they 'could' do and may acknowledge this to themselves and so optionally may 'trivialize' their activities to any superficial observer. Why would someone who has superior concerns grapple with the goings on of a mob of primates and the extensions of it's leadership?

    The book lacked real integration of any strategic thought - it could have used at least some quality in this direction. As for the tactics - they were irrelevant even to the unique environment of 3D zero-gravity - success here would likely look more like modern air warfare than roman formations.

    It seemed to me he got his inspiration from pondering his next work over a three teir chessboard with some kid as an opponent and then flipping through a manual on strategy and thinking 'gee' could I bring up the concept of developing superior young minds not bound by conventions in an envisioned possibility of space warfare.

    A great idea.

    An actual strategist could illuminate many of the dimensions left out in this work, but good strategists are usually most often concernd with the use of strategy in real life (they get busy) than with games or novels.

    He is a great writer - I would read it again. He is positive about the potential of relatively typical children in our society and he inspires the emotions and connects with an adult’s maybe forgotten childhood very well. He is a very professional and talented writer and lack of any knowledge on a subject did not preclude excellent entertainment and ability to transmit strong feelings. I will likely read it again for the fun of it - the rest of the books I am not too sure - but, it remains a possibility.

    He seems sincere and honest and that goes a long way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2005
  6. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Super Moderator

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    Tim...you said a lot of interesting things in your analysis of Ender's Game, but what you said about authority and group dynamics really struck me. I think a key here is that Card belongs to a religion that, for better or worse, is very oriented towards obeying authority and fitting into the group, often at the expense of the development of the individual's uniqueness. It also has often not been very tolerant of the individual who is more intelligent than the norm. So, I think what Card wrote probably reflects what he accepts and what he has problems with within that structure that is very important to his own belief system.

    Of course, I could be completely off base in this assessment, but this is how it has seemed to me in multiple readings of Ender's Game.
     
  7. Tim Bond

    Tim Bond Mendlebra

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    LOL...

    I think your assessment and depth of reflection is not one millimeter off. Like I said though, he seems nice and produces excellent work. I was not aware of a religion - but then, everyone believes in something. Even so-called disbelief requires a belief in the ability for untested/unverified denial of validity. Suspended judgment is however much different from disbelief. Knowing is superior to a belief. Some things absolutely do not exist in the format imagined that they do by some belief systems. If you Know and truely deny validity, you do so by not engaging with imaginings.
     
  8. cyborg_cinema

    cyborg_cinema Well-Known Member

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    ...so far, Speaker for the Dead is interesting—the first person shooter gameroom has been replaced by a colonized planet. The narration feels more mature than Ender's.
     
  9. Tim Bond

    Tim Bond Mendlebra

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    I will look it up.

    It sounds cool - Speaker for Dead.

    LOL - thank you.
     
  10. cyborg_cinema

    cyborg_cinema Well-Known Member

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    ...I'm about halfway done, and think, if you liked Ender's you will like Speaker more.
     
  11. cyborg_cinema

    cyborg_cinema Well-Known Member

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    ...as characters, Speaker of the Dead has:
    • a protagonist who has existed for 3000 years because he galaxy hops at the speed of light
    • an unemerged hive queen who communicates telepathically from a cocoon
    • a sentient AI who communicates with the protagonist through:
      1. holographic computer terminals
      2. a jewel in the protagonist's ear​
    • primitive alien creatures who learned to speak a form of English
     
  12. Jives

    Jives Well-Known Member

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    lol. Great, just great. On my third post I get to disagree, (most respecfully) with the board's "power-that -is"

    For some reason, I just can't get enough of the Ender's Game thread. We read this book in my reading classes and in my night school classes and it never gets old. I enjoyed "Ender's Shadow" just as much if not more than the original.

    The "Xenocide" thread, however, left a bad taste in my mouth. Sorry, but I found it dry and confusing. I just couldn't get into it.
     
  13. alicebandassassin

    alicebandassassin Well-Known Member

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    Well i have to say the first book i read was enders shadow and from there i then went sideways and backward but if i had not enjoyed that book that would have been as far as i went.Some itmes it can be easy to wont to pick a book apart but somtimes its just as simple as being a good story that hold your attention.
     
  14. CarlottaVonUberwald

    CarlottaVonUberwald Just Julie

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    the different stories are immense..i win ...end of :p
     
  15. aslanbagginskywalker

    aslanbagginskywalker New Member

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    Ender's Game seemed like a "stand alone" to me. Similar to the Matrix, it was so well done that I could enjoy it over and over again. However, when I learned it was a series, I eagerly asked for the sequel for Christmas. Like with Matrix Reloaded, I was severely disappointed. "Speaker for the Dead" is sub-par and morbid at best, dogmatic and masochistic at worst. In particular, the Catholic bashing got old, and I put the book down, never wanting to look at another Orson Scott Card book again. Card should have quit while he was ahead...or at least not been so heavy-handed with the moral relativism and put a little sunshine among the clouds once in a while. At any rate, the first book was amazing.
     
  16. Leonardo

    Leonardo Child of the Internet

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    Aslan - I think you should try reading the shadow series - They're much more similar to the original book in their construction. I've only just started on Speaker for the Dead, but I've read the shadow series and found them very entertaining, if nothing else. I wouldn't say they're shallow, but they're definately not that deep. They rely heavily on dialogue and character interaction. Action Sci-Fi, so to speak.

    If you loved Enders Game and didn't like Speaker for the Dead, Enders Shadow is definitely worth giving a try.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2007
  17. Marvolo

    Marvolo Medium Rare

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    Ender's game was good, maybe a little better than good. But honestly, the best thing about Ender's Game is that it set up Speaker for the Dead. Speaker is probably my favorite all time book. I LOVED it. After Speaker, it sort of lost my interest. Xenocide was good, not great. I never finished Children of the Mind.

    As for the shadow series, who cares? Ender's story is what we cared about, and to a lesser extent Bean had a good story to tell. Bean was an interesting character in Ender's Game. But every time I tried to read some of the Shadow books, bleh blah gah.

    Ender's Game = Good. Speaker for the Dead = Amazing. The rest... well... bleh blah gah, with a little ugh thrown in.
     
  18. Mulcebar

    Mulcebar New Member

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    Orson Scott card originally wrote Enders game as a short story in a sci fi magazine, later on he was working on a new novel called speaker for the dead and was under contract to complete it. during his creative process he found that using Ender as the main character worked well and so he went back and wrote the novel Enders game almost as a way to lead people into the real story that was speaker for the dead. Ender's game became (arguably) the more popular novel probably due to its accessibility and its suitability for younger audiences. being about kids growing up in space etc. All the books in the ender quartet are quite different and allow OSC to discuss many of his ideas. Having set up solid characters and an underlying logic to the world. Ie: ansible communication etc. he can explore things much more effectively than if he had to create a whole new fictional world from scratch. The decision to write the shadow series starting with bean's "parallel" story, I thought, was an interesting literary challenge. when I began reading I wasnt sure if it would work, whether it would still be interesting reading the parallel story, but it is and it works extremely well. I read bean's story first and I have enjoyed the shadow series but always in the back of my mind I find myself thinking that perhaps OSC's message is a little too preachy, both from a religious perspective and a political one. I kind of wish I didnt find out he was a devout Mormon and supporter of many right wing political ideas. despite that I find his books very enjoyable and he is clearly an intelligent writer with a dual view of most of the controversial ideas explored in his fiction.
     
  19. bobbo19

    bobbo19 Well-Known Member

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  20. hormone

    hormone Member

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    Hi Mulcebar. Thanks for the info. Although I am not Mormon or far to right, I think it is great to read good fiction from anyone that is not hateful. We can learn from the "Left" and the "Right".
     
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