Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my HUGO WINNERS list.
This is the reading list that follows the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I loved reading the Locus Sci-Fi Award winners so I'm going to crack on with the Hugo winners next (but only the post-1980 winners, I'll follow up with pre-1980 another time).
According to Goodreads, Ender’s Game is the book most frequently shelved as ‘science-fiction’ or ‘sci-fi’. Since I joined Goodreads, Ender’s Game is the book most frequently recommended to me by friends here. Thank-you, Goodreads and co, for your part in introducing me to Ender’s Game; we got along splendidly.
You know that feeling: when a book just feels right? When you instantly feel at home in this world? When you get annoyed with the real world for introducing upon your time together? When you want to start all over again the moment you hit ‘the end’? When you want to bounce up and press the book into someone else’s hands so they might feel the way you do? Yeah? Like that.
Oddly enough, I started with book two in Ender’s Saga – Speaker for the Dead – which is a very, very different book. I’ve given them both 5-stars, and I’m pretty excited to see what other twists and turns the story takes. I’ve seen some complaints that the series gets weaker as it goes along, but I’ve also seen people complain about the first two, and for me they were flawless victories – so I’m disregarding all naysayers and holding strong to my own opinion as shameless fanboy so far.
Quite simply, Ender is awesome. The scenario he faces is awesome. The challenges he overcomes are awesome. The climax is awesome. The fallout is awesome. The only thing that wasn’t awesome was the slightly contrived way the Hive Queen is delivered to Ender – that felt clunky – but by then there was so much momentum on this wave of awesome-sauce that I was in a forgiving mood.
I don’t have much to say in terms of critical discussion – I totally threw my analytical hat away about three pages into Ender’s Game and just immersed myself in the story. And I had a great time! It’s... extremely accessibly sci-fi. Super-smart, heart-of-gold kid, smacks down the bullies, teaches himself to be a military genius, shoulders the pressure and responsibility of the world, then saves mankind by kicking-ass at videogames. Hell yeah!
The zero-gee battle games (which make up a big part of the story) are a bit a childhood fantasy for me. It’s basically zero-gee laser-quest. It talks directly to my ten-year-old inner child. I had dodgy knees as a child and struggled to run in team games – but I dreamt about zero-gee. This next sentence should be written in giant, flashing capital letters but I’m going to exercise all the restraint I have: I want to play!
I understand that Orson Scott Card has publicly said some reprehensible things and that’s massively pissed some people off. Fine: the guy is a douche and I won’t recommend him as a dinner-party guest. But his work is superb and I would whole-heartedly recommend Ender’s Game to anyone with any interest (at all) in sci-fi!
Wiggin FTW! Woo!
After this I read: Sanctus