A Slice of Fried Gold

Book Bonanza

Thursday, March 12, 2009

One of my New Year's Resolutions (and last years) was to read 52 books in the calendar year. It's a rather difficult task to follow through on, as that's a lot of freaking reading. However, I'm doing okay so far. I just wrapped up three books recently, and I wanted to write about them. However, that's a lot of writing, and if I'm going to read 52 books, I better not write so much!

This is how I reason to myself at least. Really, I've already written about one and the other one I don't have a ton of interest in writing about. No less, here they are.

#4 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
#5 - Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

#6 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

I've always heard from people that Ender's Game is just an amazing book. I've known a lot of people who are into sci-fi books (I'm a dork...is it that surprising that I know other dorky people?) and people consistently rave about this book. Yet I never ended up reading it, regardless of how much admiration was showered upon the story.

Hilariously enough, it took a comic book.

Recently, Marvel Comics started releasing comic book adaptations (and elaborations) of Orson Scott Card's book, and I picked them up (because, as many local comic shop employees point out regularly, what don't I pick up) and enjoyed them greatly. So for Christmas my sister picked me up a collection of four of the books from the series, and over the last week I absolutely tore through the book whenever I had the opportunity. I'd read before bed, I'd read during lunch, I'd read while exercising.

To say I appreciated this story is quite the understatement.

I was completely and utterly blown away by the story of Ender Wiggin, a small boy who may be humanity's last hope against the formidable bugger forces. After humanity was nearly eradicated before and only saved by a particularly savvy commander of a small fleet, the powers that be realized that they would need a new champion for the next time the buggers were to be confronted. From then on, they studied children and developed them from the age of six at a Battle School, learning tactics and everything it would take to lead their forces.

Except Ender was the only one that really mattered, and this was all about what it took the turn him into a military leader that could save the world, all before puberty.

It's a remarkable story, told in a spare and agile tone. This is not a book that looks to bog down it's pages in style, it's all about filling the pages with real characters, taut situations, and continuous development in as believable and true a fashion as such a story could possibly be rendered. Card uses an economy of words to bring out the tension in the story, in a story where you never really think this brilliant child could lose. It's all very engrossing, from Ender's development to the intensely visual Battle Room sequences, from the Giant's Drink to the Speaker of the Dead, it all connects in a very visceral way. Everything about this book feels right.

Also, I do have to point out that for a book written in 1985, Card had an incredible grasp on what the Internet would develop into. The chapters that highlighted Locke and Demosthenes, two characters (I won't reveal who they are) that use the "nets" to spread fear and gain power, are prescient and remarkable into their insight on what the power of such a then unrealized technology could be.

Quite often sci-fi gets pigeon holed as just sci-fi. As in, it's not worth any true literary consideration because it's sci-fi. However, like sci-fi's more visually oriented cousin (you know...comics), it's a genre that is quite literary and thought provoking in its' own right. Ender's Game is a perfect example of this, and I'm very excited about diving off into the rest of the series soon (although I've heard from the same people who recommended this book that the rest of the series is not nearly as good).

Ender's Game: A


Bobbie said...

I'm very happy you enjoyed the first book. Hopefully, the other three will be just as good.

Patty said...

Check out Robert Heinlein, a visionary before his time. Hello from Shreveport, Louisana.

Matt Dimassi said...

The Ender's series definitely was one of my favorite.

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