Saturday Spotlight is a weekly feature in which I honour a book, character, or author that has consumed my mind and may be the cause of future therapy sessions.
Is there anything better than a really well-written, thought-provoking, feels-generating
sci-fi book? I think not.
Of course, it’s pretty difficult to find a book that will fulfil my high expectations, let alone one that’s complicated by aliens, hardcore technological advances, and a potential space war. Illuminae was probably the first, and the only, sci-fi book I’d ever fallen in love with. Well, until now.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is brilliant. Granted, I’m only halfway through it, but I’m already dreading that moment when I turn the last page and am confronted by enough feels to drown a small army.
Unlike most people, I didn’t watch the movie when it came out. (I have this weird thing about not watching film adaptations before I read the book on which they were based.) But if you also haven’t ever heard of Ender’s Game, all you need to know is that it’s about a six-year-old boy that’s recruited to join a child army. The children are trained in outer space, playing war games in the hopes that they will eventually partake in a battle against the “buggers” (or aliens). Ender is special, part of a bigger plan to save mankind. But will the people shaping him end up creating a hero, or a monster?
There’s something haunting about Card’s writing, something that sends shards of ice through my veins but also draws me in. I feel like I want nothing more than to turn away as I watch Ender’s story unfold, because the promise of his demise is steadily growing stronger. But I can’t shift my gaze. Not for a second.
Even as I write this, I’m experiencing what I’ve dubbed Ender Withdrawal. I just want to read it ALL THE TIME. Sadly, though, I know I’ll regret rushing through it, so I’m taking it super slowly. It’s killing me.
Also, I feel like Card is building up this really intense commentary on humanity just below the surface of his story, which is AWESOME. Have I ever told you how much I love books that have a secret deeper meaning about how stupid people are? If I haven’t, here’s the answer: INFINITELY.
If you haven’t read this book yet, go do it now. If you have, how are you still alive? Did it end well? Am I getting worked up over nothing? Actually, don’t answer that. I’m going to go finish it right now, and nobody can stop me. I’ll update you on how much I cried.
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About the Author
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools. Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy(Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker (beginning with Seventh Son), poetry (An Open Book), and many plays and scripts.
Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays. He recently began a longterm position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.
Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.
Yay! I’m really happy someone else in the book community is talking about this story!!! I actually read Ender’s Gane first, and right now I’m in the middle of Illuminae. (Mirror-book-twins?) I love the way you describe reading this book-the haunting quality of Card’s writing, the point at which you go into Ender Withdrawal. All of this sounds so similar to my own experience with this book. Mmm, I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I cried after finishing this book. Tell me when you finish the book and then we can reminisce, cry, probably cry some more, and appreciate the beauty of this little gem.
P.S.-This is my review for Ender’s Game, if you’ve finished it already https://printquest.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/book-review-enders-game/
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Thank you so much for such a sweet comment! And I’m so glad you’re reading Illuminae right now, because it’s the only other SciFi book I’ve read that even came close to Ender’s Game. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
I love your review. It expresses everything I felt after finishing Ender’s Game. I’ll admit I cried A LOT at the end, and might need some therapy to get over my love for some of the characters…
– Amy x