Guest post by Joseph, 12 year old dedicated unschooler (not really but he doesn't go to school and is incredibly hard to teach, so I don't really homeschool him, he just kind of learns.)
Ender"s Game by Orson Scott Card is placed in the future where the earth is in war with aliens known as buggers. The government is searching for a person to lead the army into battle to destroy the buggers. They put children through a series of tests starting from infancy, viewing their actions through a monitor placed in their neck. If they pass these tests they are put into Battle School where they learn to fight. Ender is chosen to go to Battle School and the government thinks he may be the one who can lead the entire army. He goes through various trials in Battle School to determine if he is right for the job.
I liked many things about this book. A few of the things I liked were that Ender was very young and then it progressed through his childhood. I thought the story teller was very good at making you feel like you were there. And I thought the whole idea of an alien invasion where the aliens have a different “mind set” than humans was a very interesting idea too.
What I liked most was the description of Battle School. I liked the idea of how all of the kids were in armies and lived together in dormitories. I also liked the mind games the children played on their "desks' that were really like advanced computers. The mind game collected from your personal experiences and built a structure that would suit you. The format of the war games that the children played were fascinating because they used different strategies to win, always trying to be more athletic and also smarter. I thought it was interesting that the kids didn’t really care about their schoolwork and neither did any of the teachers. All that mattered was that the children learned enough to succeed in the war games, because that is how the earth would be saved.
I recommend Ender's Game to anyone interested in science fiction or action stories.
Mom says: Surprising to me, I really enjoyed this story despite the action filled, sciency portions that I admittedly skimmed. Card's remarkable psychological perspective gives the reader just as great an opportunity to reflect on human thought patterns and behavior as on space travel and technological advancement (yawn).
The writing is also spectacularly engaging in that it is straightforward and consumable for younger, fast paced minds, without compromising on quality of dialogue or internal musings. This passage between Ender and his sister, who have been separated for years while Ender's life was consumed with the rigors of Battle School, is a particularly compelling example:
"You're bigger than I remembered," she said stupidly.
"You too," he said. "I also remembered that you were beautiful."
"Memory does play tricks on us."
"No. Your face is the same, but I don't remember what beautiful means anymore."
And POW! Doesn't that hit ya!
Ender's Game, in all its dystopian evilness masked behind the "For the Good of Mankind" especially lends itself to worthy discussion between parent and child. Here are a few bullet points that parents should be prepared to discuss, as you can see, mainly surrounding the fact that the governments of the earth have decided that all rights are useless unless humanity can be saved from the buggers:
- Individual freedom and privacy vs. fate of humanity (government spying on children from within their minds in order to find the right soldiers to save mankind)
- Age of reason for children, particularly when making decisions that will control the rest of their lives (Ender is asked whether he will forfeit his life to the govenment at the age of 6)
- Government restrictions on religion and family size
- Ends justifying the means (lies and secrecy on the part of the government in order to manipulate individuals to save mankind)
- Genetic engineering of humans is alluded to, again, in order to create the perfect individual who will act as savior
- Deprivation of affection in order to achieve results
- At what point are the vile means a government takes for self preservation no longer worth the survival of humanity?
Thanks to Housewife Spice for hosting! Go check out what every one else is reading!