BenBella, 2013 (a review copy was gently provided to me by BenBella Books)
Size: Short (my paperback copy has 282 pages)
Theme: Multi-author essay about the Ender’s Game universe
Recommended minimum age: Adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: N/A
This is a collection of short essays about the universe portrayed in the sci-fi classic “Ender’s Game”, much similarly to the concept of “the science of Dune” (edited by Kevin Grazier), which I have reviewed before. The idea is to have the reader revisit the story of Ender’s Game, and in part some of its sequels, giving a fresh perspective on some of Orson Scott Card’s motivations, reasoning, and insights into some of his characters. The book compiles 14 essays, and includes several tidbits from Card in the form of answers to questions posed by fans.
I started reading the book eager to see more about the concepts and the myriad of technology that is featured in Ender’s Game, one of my all-time favorite sci-fi novels. I was expecting a similar approach to that of “the science of Dune”. However, I quickly discovered that among the “fresh perspectives”, almost nothing is about science or technology. The book should have been labeled “fresh psychological perspectives”; contributions are focused on how the characters acted and interacted, how the book has been used in high school education in the USA, and how Card supposedly captured and influenced contemporary military warfare strategy. While I found some of the info on this last topic interesting and novel to me, the rest really did not appear to me. Most of the chapters were on how Ender’s Game influenced that chapter’s author(s). In fact, a couple of authors hardly talk about the story but only about themselves.
Maybe the book can be an interesting read for some die-hard Ender’s Game fans, particularly those wishing to see how other people enjoyed it or what they took from it. I still consider Ender’s Game one of the best books I ever read, but this collection of essays falls short from providing either entertainment or insightful information.