The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The novella version of Enders Game (1977) was Orson Scott Cards first published science-fiction story. The tale of Ender Wiggin, a child being trained to lead Earths space fleet in a war against the alien Buggers, quickly became one of the most popular Analog novellas of all time. Several years later, while Card was working on Speaker for the Dead (1986), he discovered that the novels extensive background could best be established by revising Enders Game as a novel and developing Enders character as the adult speaker. Xenocide (1991) continues the story, developing both the characters and the themes introduced in Speaker for the Dead. A fourth Ender novel, Children of the Mind, was in progress in 1995.

Enders Game tells how Earth barely defeats a fleet of alien Bugger ships that attacks without warning or provocation. A generation later, Earth believes that the Buggers will return in strength, intent upon destroying humankind. Military intelligence frantically tries to identify a genius to lead a successful military defense. Ender Wiggin is bred to be that leader. As a child of six he is sent to a space Battle School where, for five years, he engages in a series of war and strategy games designed to prepare him for the anticipated war. Mazer Rackham, who orchestrated the first military victory against the Buggers and who has been kept alive via relative space travel, supervises the childs final training. To Enders surprise, he discovers that he was not playing games; he actually was directing Earths offensive against the Buggers, resulting in their complete destruction. The story ends years later, when Ender discovers a message and a queen pupa left to...

(The entire section is 709 words.)