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ENDERS SHADOW (POKE)"You think you've found somebody, so suddenly my program gets the ax?""It's not about this kid that Graff found. Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Orson Scott Card's science fiction novel Ender's Shadow, companion novel to the sci-fi classic Ender's Game and the book that launched the bestselling Ender's Shadow seriesa€”available for the first time as an unabridged CD or digital audiobook. Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and it's many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Long time blog readers know that I’m a fan of the Ender’s Game series of books by Orson Scott Card. The two best books in the series are the original novel, Ender’s Game, and its parallel novel, Ender’s Shadow, which follows the events of the original novel from Bean’s perspective. According to what Card said a few years ago, the movie was going to be a fusion of these two books, so I’ve been really looking forward it.
I have a good bit to say about it, so I’m going to structure this review in a way that won’t bore people who are new to Ender’s Game and that won’t spoil people who don’t want to be spoiled on what happens. Here’s the basic premise: It is set in the future, and mankind has been invaded by an insect-like alien race. To find that genius, the world government is testing children to find those with military potential and train them.
They hope that they’ve found the child they are looking for in a young man named Andrew “Ender” Wiggin.
If that’s all you know about the movie, if you’ve never read the book, then I think you’ll find it an enjoyable science fiction outing. I don’t think, though, that you’ll rave about the movie the way long-time fans rave about the book. No movie can capture every aspect of what a fan likes about the book, and depending on which elements you are most fond of, your experience of the movie will vary. Sure, things may not be exactly the way you imagined them, but if you’re going to obsess about that kind of thing, then you’d better stay home.
It felt rushed, the danger wasn’t set up fully, and—most importantly—Ender himself doesn’t come across the way he does in the book.
At the end of the audiobook adaptations of the Ender’s Game books, Orson Scott Card has some afterwords in which he discusses the prospects for a movie, which was then years in the future. Early on, he wrote some drafts of a screenplay for the movie himself, and he quickly identified a problem with them.
If his test reader knew the book, they thought the screenplay was fine, but if they hadn’t read the book, they didn’t find it emotionally satisfying. The solution to this problem came, he said, when he was told he should fuse Ender’s Game with Ender’s Shadow, so we could feel Ender’s emotions through Bean. Card said he realized this was exactly what was needed, and so he wrote a draft that way and it was vastly better.
Unfortunately, Card explained, Hollywood would never trust a never-before-screenwriter like him with the screenplay, and so he expected that someone else would do the filmed version. It’s abbreviated, but we’ve got the monitor, the fight with Stilson, the scene at home with Valentine and Peter, Peter making Ender play buggers and astronauts with him, the parents’ reactions to Ender being taken away by Graff, etc.
In my amazement at their including all this, I found myself thinking, “What are you going to cut?
That means we’re staring the problem that Card identified early on right in the face: The movie cannot capture the power of the book because Ender has no way of showing us his emotions without the relationship with Bean. Ender is still playing vulnerable kid up until the point he becomes commander of Dragon Army. We also only get a faint glimmer of the other students warming up to him—and then for very little reason. They make gestures at this, but they’ve spent so much time on other things that they basically rush through this part of the novel, and that’s bad, because it’s the necessary emotional set-up for the climax. We have to believe that Ender is a genius, that he’s a born leader, and that he’s emotionally anguished for the ending to have the needed payoff.
What I need to say next depends on major spoilers, so bail now if you don’t want to be majorly spoiled. One of the things that takes the punch out of the movie is the way it tones down certain events. For example, there’s the bit in the book where Ender sends the desk message from “God.” There’s a version of that in the movie, but the messages that are sent are different, and Ender’s isn’t signed “God,” which deprives the officer present of the ability to do the clever smackdown that happens in the book.
These are crucial points of character development, since they reveal just how committed to winning Ender is. But at the same time, these scenes establish Ender’s vulnerability: Although he kills these characters, he doesn’t know that this is what he has done and could not bear it emotionally if he knew, consciously, that he had done so.
Ender unknowingly killing Stilson and Bonzo is what sets us up for the climax of the story, when Ender unknowingly kills all of the buggers. But the edge is taken completely off of that in the movie, because neither Stilson nor Bonzo is established to be dead! Indeed, we see an autodoc working on Bonzo—still alive—after the fight, and Ender later states he’s been spending time by Bonzo’s bed on earth, hoping he will wake up. I guess that they took the edge off these things because they thought it would be too dark if Ender actually killed other children, but this just sucks the drama—the fact that Ender is able to unknowingly kill people—right out of the situation. We’ve actually got them “surrounded” in their home system, but Graff is determined to have Ender proceed to “train” to kill them all. Ender doesn’t seem to have much of a problem with this, but the long time fan is going to be going, “Wait a minute!
There are actually two moments in the movie where I was thoroughly confused: One was when Ender, instead of being taken to Command School on Eros, is taken to a planet near the buggers’ home world!
At this point I thought they were going to completely re-write the final act of the movie, but they didn’t.
Now it’s just that Command School is on a planet near the buggers’ home, and the story proceeds more or less as you’d expect.
But for a long time fan, this is a deeply confusing moment, as the lightspeed barrier and the secret existence of the ansible were major factors in the books. They were, in fact, the key things preventing Ender from realizing that he was really commanding a fleet. But then it becomes clear that it was just a special effect and the planet is still there and needs to be destroyed. He’s positive going into the fight, and at the end of the simulation, he and the other members of his jeesh are jubilant. Then they show the children an ansible connection revealing the devastation of the bugger homeworld (which hasn’t actually blown up, just become uninhabitable). And Ender immediately leaps to the fact that he’s going to go down in history as a xenocide. We don’t get anything about joyful masses on earth realizing they are finally free of the bugger threat.

Instead, Ender has a fight with Graff, stalks off, and is then drugged and put to bed for no apparent reason.
The final part of the movie does result in Ender getting the hive queen’s egg, and it does so in a way that I thought was okay. I was disappointed, though, that Val doesn’t end up going into space with Ender at the end. He goes alone, promising to come back to her (apparently possible due to FTL space flight). If there are future movies in this series, it is hard to see how they will resemble the later volumes Card wrote.
It’s also hard to see how they could make books like those of the Bean arc, since Bean has not been established as a significant character in this movie. If they were going to try to be as faithful as they were to the original book then they should have done to this what they did to Lord of the Rings. The audiobook version of Ender’s Game is 12 hours long, and they should have made three multi-hour films out of this. That would give them the space they need to flesh out Ender’s character and emotional situation, and show us his brilliance and leadership rather than just telling us he had them.
If they didn’t have funding for a multi-movie project then they should have lengthened this one to two and a half hours and been less faithful to the book, cutting out everything not necessary. In either case, they should have used the solution of making the movie almost as much about Bean as about Ender. The dynamic between the two would be the best way of pulling Ender out of himself and letting the audience experience the emotions of the two characters.
I enjoyed seeing a visualization of a favorite story of mine, one that I have read many times.
However, I felt it was a profoundly flawed adaptation, because it was faithful when it shouldn’t have been and also unfaithful when it shouldn’t have been. The situations may be much more like what we have in the book, but the main character is not the same person—not by a long shot.
If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info! I’m pretty sure the humans were the bad guys in the book, too—or at least not the good guys.
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. This week for Book Series Wednesday I’m covering a book I read back in my freshman year of High School.
I also think that?Starters did not get the love it deserved when it first came out, so I am hoping this sequel revives some interest in what is a great, under the radar sort of book. Callie is such a self-sacrificing bad ass, I can’t wait to see what is next for her life.
Waiting On? Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by?Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. Enter your email address to subscribe to Good Books And Good Wine and receive notifications of new posts by email. If you’ve never read a young adult science fiction book, jumping in can be intimidating. Fortunately the folks at io9 came up with a guide to help us figure out Where to Start with Young Adult Science Fiction. Why you should read it:You can pair it with the Tom Cruise movie from a few years ago (before he went crazy). Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Zachary Grey, the troubled and reckless boy Vicky met last summer, wants her all to himself as he grieves the loss of his mother.
Why you should read it: This book would work particularly well with girls because of the love interests and overall light nature of the book. For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon – a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. Why you should read it: Tough choices and a coming of age story meet a world obsessed with beauty. Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Why you should read it: Suspense and action combine in this book to create a riveting story.
Why you should read it: Kids fight to find a way out of a labyrinthine maze, while trying to stay alive and find out why they were put there.
But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret–one that could change their society . Why you should read it: A powerful Jane Austen retelling with tons of heart and a healthy dose of futuristic fun. Some of the later books following Ender become unbearably tedious, but the original is very good, and the books following Ender’s buddy Bean are good as well. If humanity has a hope of survival, we need to find a genius strategist on the order of Alexander the Great. That is, after all, why a fan of the book would want to go see the movie in the first place. Card writes heavily introspective novels, but we can’t get inside Ender’s head in a movie the way we can in a book, and so the intense emotions Ender was feeling weren’t coming across through the screenplay. The Ender-Bean relationship became the crux of the movie and it turned into a sort of buddy picture, where Ender could be drawn out of himself and show his emotions to Bean. The opening sequence of the movie plays out very much the same way that the opening of the book does. The movie still hinges on Ender being the greatest commander since Alexander the Great, and we have characters in the movie telling us this. We have to be shown that they have this attribute, not merely informed of it, in order for it to feel emotionally real.
We don’t see almost any of his brilliance (though we do get a flash of it in the climactic Battle Room game). I’m sorry, but when insect-like aliens have killed millions of humans, it’s okay to call them “buggers.” In fact, that’s what we’d do.
At a certain point in the film, we start getting indications that the buggers aren’t hostile now.
Device and, for the sake of a cool special effect (apparently blowing up a bunch of rocks around the planet that aren’t in the book), it looks like they just destroyed the bugger home world. Graff come up to Ender jubilantly telling him he’s a hero—after this weird silence of the adults.

They may take elements from them, but they could not be as faithful to them as this movie was to its original. The establishment of a human forward base in the asteroid Eros led to two wars between the species. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations?Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth.
Starters is SO under-appreciated and yesss, we have been waiting for this sequel forever!!!! They list a ton of classics for YA sci-fi newbies, which is definitely a good place to start. Beginning with a series of strange flashes in the distant night sky, the Martian attack initially causes little concern on Earth. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. He’s very sick, and watching his condition deteriorate as the summer passes is almost more than Vicky can bear. Leo Rodney has been just a friend for years, but the tragic loss of his father causes him to turn to Vicky for comfort—and romance. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love.
Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby. As Earth prepares to defend itself from total destruction at the hands of an inscrutable enemy, all focus is on the development of military geniuses who can fight such a war, and win.
We’re starting to lose part of the dynamic of the book, but neither of these makes a crucial difference. Graff tells us Ender is “perfect” over and over, but that’s the problem: We’re being told, not being shown.
He isn’t rescued from cluelessness at the last moment by Bean’s remark that the enemy’s gate is down.
Despite political conflict on Earth between three ruling parties (the Hegemon, Polemarch, and Strategos), a peace was established and an International Fleet (IF) formed against the Buggers. Much more can’t be said without spoiling, but I enjoyed most of the characters and hated those you were supposed to hate.
Then the destruction erupts—ten massive aliens roam England and destroy with heat rays everything in their path.
1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish.
Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. To complicate matters, she finds herself as the center of attention for three very different boys. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires.
When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty.
The long distances of interstellar space have given hope to the defenders of Earth--they have time to train these future commanders up from childhood, forging them into an irresistible force in the high orbital facility called the Battle School.
But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. I cannot wait to finally see Enders on the shelf next to Starters…and then quickly snag my copy! Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all.
When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse enclosed by stone walls.
And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin was not the only child in the Battle School; he was just the best of the best. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In Ender's Shadow, Card tells the story of another of those precocious generals, the one they called Bean--the one who became Ender's right hand, part of his team, in the final battle against the Buggers. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University.He is the author many sf and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), There are also stand-alone science fiction and fantasy novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. Having the chip removed could save her life?but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. His success brought him to the attention of the Battle School's recruiters, those people scouring the planet for leaders, tacticians, and generals to save Earth from the threat of alien invasion. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's recent work includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old. Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.Scott Brick has performed on film, television and radio.
He appeared on stage throughout the United States in productions of Cyrano, Hamlet, Macbeth and other plays. In addition to his acting work, Scott choreographs fight sequences, and was a combatant in films including Romeo and Juliet, The Fantasticks and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

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