In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more... read more
First book in the Ender Series.
In the novel's opening, the government selects Andrew "Ender" Wiggin for training at the elite Battle School. Ender is a third child - a rarity. His two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, were also considered for a position at Battle School, but... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
First book in the Ender Series.
In the novel's opening, the government selects Andrew "Ender" Wiggin for training at the elite Battle School. Ender is a third child - a rarity. His two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, were also considered for a position at Battle School, but neither fit the criteria perfectly. Ender's birth was allowed by the government to create a perfect candidate.
At Battle School, the commander Hyrum Graff publicly recognizes Ender as the most intelligent attendee. This acknowledgment causes other students to resent Ender, isolating him from most of the other children. Ender soon ranks among the school's elite child soldiers, eventually achieving the school's top rank. Even after his success the other children continue to ostracize him. Ender attempts to escape his isolation and frustration in various ways, but experiences little comfort until he receives a letter from his older sister Valentine, reminding him of his reasons for attending Battle School in the first place.
The Battle School brass soon promote him to commander of a new army in the school's zero-gravity wargame league. He molds his young soldiers into an undefeated team, despite working with an inexperienced army. Ender's army implements innovative tactics, abolishing old methods like the use of formations in the battle room.
The Battle School administration promotes Ender to Command School ahead of schedule. In command school, and under the tutelage of Mazer Rackham, the legendary hero of the Formic wars, Ender plays a game very similar to the Battle Room, where he commands ships in a 3-D space battle simulator. His subordinate officers are fellow students advanced early from the battle school who later become known as "Ender's jeesh." Each day the games become increasingly grueling, and Ender is slowly worn down to exhaustion. Waking and sleeping blend together as Ender nearly loses his sanity, though still maintaining his military innovation and leadership.
Ender's "final exam" consists of a scenario where bugger ships outnumber Ender's fleet a thousand to one near a planetary mass. Ender orders the use of a special weapon, the Molecular Disruption Device, against the planet itself, destroying the simulated planet and all ships in orbit. Ender makes this decision knowing that it is expressly against the respectable rules of the game, hoping that his teachers will find his ruthlessness unacceptable, remove him from command, and allow him to return home.
Soon after Ender's destruction of the "simulated" Formic fleet, Rackham tells him that all the simulations were real battles taking place in Formic space. After Ender realizes that he is responsible for the destruction of an entire race, the guilt of the genocide sends him into a coma.
Lead in to the rest of the Ender Series:
When Ender recovers, his sister Valentine explains that he will not be allowed to return to earth because his special skills are too dangerous to fall under the control of his feared brother Peter. He is made Governor of the first human colony on a Bugger world and they leave together on the first colony ship. While scouting out locations for future cities, Ender discovers a message from the Formics—expressed in the form of terrain matching that of the key fantasy game Ender played while in school—that leads him to an unborn Formic queen who can communicate with him through a psychic link. She explains that her race was initially unaware that humans were sentient creatures. The Formic defeat in the Second Invasion awakened them to humanity's true nature, and they resolved not to attack Earth again. With direct communication impossible between the species, the only connection they were able make was with Ender's dreaming mind, but he did not know he was fighting a war.
Ender realizes that the Formics sacrificed their lives to the humans to pay for their crime but left this one Queen for Ender to find, forgive and take to a new home. Leaving out the fact that one 'Bugger' still lives, Ender writes a book in the Queens voice under the pseudonym "Speaker for the Dead" entitled The Hive Queen, wherein he tells the story of the Formic race.
There is also a newer tangent of the series written from the eyes of Bean and the other characters who remain on Earth starting with the book Ender's Shadow.
“Not bad for two kids who've only got about eight pubic hairs between them.”Peter Wiggin
“We'll have the asteroid belt, but they'll have Earth and you run out of raisins and celery kind of fast out there, without Earth.”Peter Wiggin
“Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“There's only one thing that will make them stop hating you. And that's being so good at what you do that they can't ignore you.”Colonel Graff
“Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.”Colonel Graff
“There was no doubt in Ender's mind. There was no help for him. Whatever he faced, now and forever, no one would save him from it. Peter might be scum, but Peter had been right, always right; the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”Valentine Wiggin
“We may be young, but we're not powerless. We play by their rules long enough and it becomes our game.”Valentine Wiggin
“-"In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them-"-"You beat them."”Ender and Valentine
“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf. Survival first, then happiness as we can manage it.”Mazer Rackham
“I don't care if I pass your test, I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly - I'll beat you unfairly first.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Welcome to the human race. Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to be controlled by good people, by people who love you.”Valentine Wiggin
“I've lived too long with pain. I wont know who I am without it.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Cover your butt. Bernard is watching.”"God" (as Ender)
“Isolation is---the optimum environment for creativity.”
“He thought of a half dozen ideas before he went to sleep. Ender would be pleased--every one of them was stupid.”Bean
“In fact, you will get pushed around. And when you do, don't come crying to me. Got it? This is Battle School, not nursery school.”Captain Dap
“This would not have a happy ending. So Ender decided he'd rather not be the unhappiest at the end.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Just one more example of the stupidity of the military. If you had any brains, you'd be in a real career, like selling life insurance.”unknown to Colonel Graff
“I am what I remember”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Listen, Ender, commanders have just as much authority as you let them have. The more you obey, the more power they have over you.”Dink Meeker
“If you try and lose then it isn't your fault. But if you don't try and we lose, then it's all your fault.”
“"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man stupid and blind in the eyes"”Mazer Rackham
“"it was Mazer Rackham, a little-known, twice-court-martialled, half-Maori New Zealander whose Strike Force broke up and finally destroyed the bugger fleet in the action around Saturn."”Rose the Nose of Rat Army to Ender Wiggin
“For now that they could not be together, they must be infinitely apart, and what had been sure and unshakeable was now fragile and insubstantial; from the moment we are not together, Alai is a stranger, for he has a life now that will be no part of mine, and that means that when I see him we will not know each other.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
“Remember the words. If you ever want to make your enemy crazy, shout that kind of stuff at them. It makes them do dumb things, to be mad. But we don't get mad.”Andrew Wiggin (aka Ender)
Followed by Speaker for the Dead.
No sexual themes. No realistic gruesome violence. Strong elements of heroism. This book was not originally intended for children. The violence is, at times, quite brutal, children kill other children, though unintentionally, and the main character is admired for his ruthlessly efficient violence, though he himself is disturbed by it. There are many reasons for these happenings of how the IF kids deal with all of their problems. Ender is a peaceful boy, but is drawn to brawl with other IF children a few times.
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