Ender’s Game-unimpressed

Once more I’m left going “bwuh??” at a book that has been so hyped – and, I learn this morning, will be made into a film next year. I think I must be out of synch with the world in general. Heh, that’s actually not any kind of revelation.

I don’t get it. I don’t see the attraction, I don’t like Ender, and don’t like one of the protagonists. I have no sympathy for Ender who whines almost constantly either in his own head, or breaks down into hysterics (even though he “never cries”) on a regular basis.

I can—possibly—see what the book was supposed to be. A rehashing of the vastly superior “Space Cadet” by Heinlein, a hi-tech version of “Lord of the Flies” with the twist being that the children are infinitely influenced rather than having no influences whatsoever—but it doesn’t compare to either of those books, and frankly, I had to push myself to read more than ten pages at a time because I found it so bloody dull.

Precocious children are not my thing, and how a book about a frankly unlikeable little snot who needs a good walloping with a slipper got to be such a sci-fi classic. I don’t see how tactical genius is revealed by zero-gravity paintball, but perhaps (were I to read the other books, which I am not going to, as I’ve had enough of Megalomaniac children to last me a lifetime) I might discover.

As for his brother and sister—that was simply laughable. It was interesting that the “nets” and the whole “an anonymous person can influence the world” thing came out (although I’ve read this morning that he rewrote the book to bring it up to date) because we’ve all seen how people who probably didn’t exist—people like Riverbend and others—who have created fake personas and have got huge reading figures.

I don’t like Gary Stus. And all three of the Wiggins are Gary Stus.  I wonder if Chief Wiggins and Ralph from the Simpsons were a deliberate “here are some thick Wiggineses”).It might be that Ender and Val and Peter get their come-uppance, or they might all be sitting on Emperor’s thrones by the time they are 14, or something, but I don’t really care. Kids (I mean, Ender is SIX at the beginning and capable of killing a bully) who just float through life and whose every single action is the right one isn’t anything like interesting to me. Others probably say that what Ender goes through is conflict enough but it was all so bland. I didn’t find either his mental trials or the battles at all interesting or exciting. I found it boring. The violence didn’t bother me—can’t see why people have thrown their hands up in horror about that, kids are violent, although killing with bare hands at six? Hmm.

But as for the whole rewriting to bring it up to date—can’t say I’m that impressed with that, either. It’s hardly sci-fi if one feels one has to do that. Heinlein didn’t constantly rework his books to reflect what was going on, when his facts proved not to be wrong, they stand to be judged as they are. (Although one of his most chilling, for me, does seem to be proving very correct “If This Goes On”…)

It’s probably because I dislike children, perhaps people who have children would see this in a different light, and goodness knows, people do seem to have liked it, but I’m not one of them. I feel like I need a shower just having been in the same room as the little snot, Ender—and I sincerely hope that someone blows him to bits in a future book. I’d be queuing up behind all the people who hate him to give him that much deserved whacking. That’s what he needs, a few years at Eton.

© Copyright 2012 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes
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