This was Orson Scott Card’s first sf and wow, what a debut. Ender’s Game puts Card in the same league as George Orwell, H G Wells and Philip K Dick. This guy was writing about people using UI (Minority Report interface, what you use on iPhone and Android) in 1977, and had kids dumping their homework from their school desk to their home computer. This was when computers used to fill an entire room! He refers to something called ‘the nets’ were people log onto forums and make comments about stuff that’s happening in politics, etc. I remember going to a library in 1992 to go and check out this thing called the internet and somehow ended up in a Yahoo chat room for half an hour (that’s how long it took to post one comment). He has videogames like Starcraft and Command and Conquer when the best they had then was two lines playing tennis with a fat pixel. He has the military using simulators and video games to train their soldiers and officers. How ahead of his time was this guy?
The story is fairly simple. It follows a child genius, who is born a Third when the Hegemony only allows people to have a maximum of two. At six he is recruited by the IFL and taken to Battle School, where they use emotional and psychological torture to make him into humanities only hope of survival. There are obvious influences from Le Guin and Orwell, but this book is so well written that you rarely even notice the sentences or the descriptions. I read most of it in one night and then the rest of it the following night. It is the most unputdownable book I’ve read in ages.
I highly recommend it to all SF fans and anyone who is planning on or already writing genre fiction. 5/5
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