Jun 16, 2010

Shadow of the Game

In case anyone doesn't know, my favorite book ever is Ender's Game. I have read it 6 or 7 times in the past 4 and a half years. We read it for class earlier this year, actually, and I had read it more times that the teacher had. I know the story front to back, and I could probably tell you every detail about it, if you asked. I have a hard back copy of it which I've underlined things in it and boxed off passages of it. It's (probably more than) a little crazy of me.

Regardless, Ender's Game has a parallel novel- Ender's Shadow. And Ender's Shadow has it's own little series, which I've been reading for the past few weeks.

So, that being said, this post will make more sense if you've read the Shadow Series, and if you haven't, there are slight spoilers, because this post is about why I don't really like the series.

I mean, I think the story line is alright, but I wouldn't read any of these books again. I really didn't like how Bean will be sitting there thinking about possible solutions to a problem or something, and he'll get a random and stupid idea that he'll tell himself can't possibly be true, but deep down he knows it's right. And it is. And this all happens fairly instantaneously. I know he's a super-genius and whatever, but it still seems lame.

But I think the thing I like least about this story line is that it was written years after Ender's Game was, and when Card wrote Ender's Game, he didn't really plan to have a parallel novel and series to go with it. So in Ender's Game, Bean is just a little kid, who is also smart. And Peter didn't get into Battle school because he was too dangerous and aggressive. And Ender's parents didn't have any idea that Valentine and Peter were actually Demosthenes and Locke (although I think that's unlikely, that they'd have no idea).

[[these are my slight spoilers]]
That's how the story actually goes, the end. But in the parallel series, Bean is actually genetically altered, and his condition is going to make him a giant someday. And Peter didn't get accepted because he's not lovable. And the Wiggin parents knew everything all along, they just didn't want to hinder the progressions that Peter and Valentine were making with the world.

I think that if you want to write sequels to your books, that's fine and I hope they do well, but I firmly disagree with altering the original story so you can have your sequels still fit in well with the story. Maybe if you had to change it so much, you should've just written a different story.

And you could argue that there's premises that are vital enough to each story, that Card could've have written the both and not have them come from the same original story, so in effect, Ender's Shadow is the "different story" for Ender's Game. But if that's the case, then I think it was stretching it a little too far to say that Peter wasn't too aggressive for Battle school, since that's actually a really important detail in Ender's Game.

Mmm. Maybe it's just me.


Shinobi said...

I mostly agree. He definitely down plays how dangerous and horrible peter is, and makes the parents too smart. I don't think they should have known so much about what they're kids are doing, otherwise it kind of takes a lot away from peter and valentine. Also, bean is completely and horribly annoying in the first book, when they're trying to show off how he could be better than ender if he cared, but doesn't care so he'll just sit back and let ender be the hero. That's what I don't like about him. the genetically engineered thing doesn't really bug me, just the look how smart I am but don't care if I'm smarter than other people and could totally do what they're doing with half the effort they're using to do it, thing.

Carolyn said...

i've only ever read enders game and only once... maybe I'll read it again. :)

Samara said...

Yeah, that's true. I hadn't really thought of that. But it's totally right. It just really bothers me that he'll analyze a situation and if it doesn't quite make sense, or if it's a little off, he just thinks about it for a minute and suddenly knows exactly what's going on and why everyone is doing what they're doing. It's not like it took him a week of pondering. Just a few seconds.

But Carolyn, I would approve of that decision :D

TheWizard said...

I disagree, mostly. I think that the parallel novels are telling the story from a different perspective and providing details about characters that weren't important in the initial Ender's Game.

Not on topic, but I think the best book that Card has written is Pastwatch, the Redemption of Christopher Columbus. I've reread that one several times.

Jason said...

I loved Ender's Game, and I've read it a few times.

I only made it a couple chapters into Ender's Shadow before deciding that the book was stupid and putting it down.

Samara said...

In the end, I liked the book series enough that I don't really regret reading it, but not enough that I'd try to convince you to read it.

Samara said...

I Write Like Cory Doctorow