Monday, October 31, 2005

Science Fiction - "Ender's Shadow"

This book is a co-sequel to the well known "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. It's a "co-sequel", because it tells the same story as "Ender's Game", but through the eyes of another character - Bean. At the start of the book Bean is a tiny street rat barely surviving on the streets of Rotterdam. However, he appears to be extremely smart - he learns to read by age 3.

Eventually Bean winds up in Battle School, where he is trained along with other children to be future commanders of the Earth's space fleet in the upcoming war with the Buggers. Buggers are hive-insect beings that have once attempted to attack Earth, but weremiracously defeated.

In any case, Bean becomes one of Ender's most capable and trusted lieutenents. And, they both go on to lead the Earth's fleet to defeat the Buggers. However, whereas Ender thinks the entire campain is just a simulation - Bean early on figures out that in the children are not playing games, but fighting the actual war.

"Ender's Shadow" stands on its own. You can enjoy it without having read "Ender's Game". However, for me it was fun to go back to the original book and re-read some of the sections that covered the same events. I've read "Ender's Game" several times by now.

Besides these two books, there are number of other Ender books and my favorite is the direct sequel to "Ender's Game", the book titled "The Speaker for the Dead". However, I must say that "Ender's Shadow" comes in a close second.


At 7:18 PM, Anonymous Leonid Tomilchik said...

Ender's Shadow is indeed a fun book. I don't really know if it would be okay to read it without first reading Ender's Game, since I read them in the "correct" order, but it is definitely a book on its own. It felt like Orson Scott Card was less constrained by the "goodness" of his hero, Bean, in Shadow, than Ender himself in Game, in the whole Bean-centered part of the (what's the word for a series of seven books - septology?) series - Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets - and that's what gives these books a little bit more edge. Overall, the further into the series (especially, this is evident in the Ender part), the more Card becomes preach'y, with religious ideas firmly coming to the fore, which makes it somewhat not-so-easy read for an atheist like me.

Nevertheless - excellent series! Will get back to re-reading it in a couple of years.

At 4:22 AM, Blogger richieb said...

In the Ender series, I read "Xenocide" but never could get into "Ender's Children". "Xenocide" was only borderline interesting. Maybe I should try some of the "Shadow" series.


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