Review: “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

Thumbs up for Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Science fiction.

Years ago, I read the original short story on which this book was based, and I wasn’t all that impressed with it, given that I figured out the twist at the end far too early. But at last I was in the mood to dip into the real deal, and I’m glad I did. (Or maybe not glad, exactly – I stayed up late reading a couple of nights in a row and am still recovering.) Some think this is the greatest science fiction book ever written, and I think that’s taking it a bit far. But it certainly deserved the Hugo and the Nebula Awards with which it was honored, as well as its presence on umpteen school reading lists. So very much better than the original.

Alai suddenly kissed Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear, “Salaam.” Then, red-faced, he turned away and walked to his own bed at the back of the barracks. Ender guessed that the kiss and the word were somehow forbidden. A suppressed religion, perhaps. Or maybe the word had some private and powerful meaning for Alai alone. Whatever it meant to Alai, Ender knew that it was sacred; that he had uncovered himself for Ender, as once Ender’s mother had done, when he was very young, before they put the monitor in his neck, and she had put her hands on his head when she thought he was asleep, and prayed over him. Ender had never spoken of that to anyone, not even to Mother, but had kept it as a memory of holiness, of how his mother loved him when she thought that no one, not even he, could see or here. That was what Alai had given him; a gift so sacred that even Ender could not be allowed to understand what it meant.

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