As it turns out, I can't find my copy of Ender's Game. That's all right - it's probably the most famous "accessible" science fiction novel (as opposed to famous SF books written by people clearly more interested in physics and engineering than in garnering a large readership), so I don’t need to say much about it.
I do, however, have Ender's Shadow in front of me - in print, no less. I'm the only person I know who prefers Ender's Shadow to Ender's Game. Still, I (and many millions of readers) think they're both great books.
Now that The Hunger Games has managed to put kids killing kids on the big screen and get a PG-13 rating, maybe we'll finally see an Ender's Game movie. Though as far as I know, Orson Scott Card didn't intend Ender's Game to be MG or YA. It ended up being marketed as such because of his writing style and the age of the protagonist.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Genre: science fiction
Ender's Game doesn't need much introduction, but I'll give it a shot: Earth has been warring with a hostile alien race for about a hundred years, and needs to decisively end the conflict before the aliens come back and wipe out the population. As part of the plan, the smartest kids on the planet are selected for Battle School (in a ship orbiting the earth - though I guess it's technically a satellite if it's permanently in orbit? Wow, this is hard to do when I can't just flip through the book).
Ender is the smartest of those kids, but he's also among the youngest and smallest, making him an easy target for bullying. And while he's up there playing battle games and figuring out how to save everyone, his older brother and sister (also very young and ridiculously smart) are back home, setting themselves up to take over the world.
Ugh. That's the last time I sum up a book I can't look through to refresh my memory.
Fortunately! I also have
Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
Genre: science fiction
Maybe I liked this book better because I read it right after reading Ender's Game, when it was in fact written over a decade later. I felt like it filled in and fleshed out all sorts of things that were just alluded to in Ender's Game. The two books cover the same time period, but...
General premise Bean, an orphan surviving by his wits on the streets of Rotterdam, is discovered by a recruiter and selected to be part of Earth's plan to defend itself from enemyaliens. Bean is easily the most brilliant student at Battle School. Too brilliant to be trusted to follow the rules and toe the line the way most of the other kids are doing.
While Ender is more preoccupied with his personal and philosophical struggles, Bean wants to know why they're all there and what the adults are hiding from them. And unlike Ender, Bean knows how to look for the truth, because he's already spent most of his life fighting for survival.
I paused to get details from the book, and now I’m 124 pages into Ender’s Shadow. Must…resist…temptation…