Monday, March 25, 2013

Am I The Only Sci-Fi Fan Who Hated Ender's Game?

I ask on the occasion of finding out that there's going to be a movie.

I didn't realize until pretty recently that it's a real phenomenon--apparently everybody but me loves it.

I know I read the short story, and I believe I might have read the book as well. Really hated it/them. Thought they were crap.

Recent experience makes me think I may be way, way in the minority here, though...

Read the stuff so long ago, though, that I can barely even remember why I hated it. Aren't they, like, little kids? Obnoxious little kids? And don't they, like, get some tactical training...and they're then basically given strategic command of, like, Star Fleet?'s starting to come back to me why I hated it...


Blogger Carolyn said...

I think most of the people who love it read it when they were kids, and identified with Ender and have residual affection based on that. There's a reason that most kid-friendly genre novels explicitly flatter the intellect of children.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't finish it. It's been a while since I tried, so I've forgotten what I disliked about it, but I just couldn't make myself read it all the way through.


1:28 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Whew. Well, you guys may be weird, too, but at least I'm not entirely alone...

7:30 AM  
Blogger Aa said...

Okay, fine, I really enjoyed it. The plot was unusual, and there were some twists and turns I didn't predict...and that's rare when I read a sci fi or fantasy novel.

But then again, I may just be odd. I didn't really like Dune all that much (though I did admire some of the plot twists), and enjoyed Starship Troopers for about half of it...the opening was incredible, Then it seemed to fall apart, in my mind, into a standard military novel. Not much new, story should have ended much sooner.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Pete Mack said...

I liked it as a teenager, but it does not age well.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Aaron Boyden said...

Liked it when I was a kid, now consider it to have been deeply flawed and file it with many other examples of "wow, sometimes kid-me had really questionable taste." Honestly, it had been my impression that this view of Ender's Game is pretty widespread.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hated it too. I just read it today based on my best friend's recommendation (and a couple of other people) and I'm writing in the middle of the night (my local time) just to express this.
Here is why:
- flat characters. Flat, flat, flat. I read a review earlier, they were pointing out this exact problem: each character cannot be described with more than 1 or 2 adjectives (from a psychological standpoint, not exterior traits like age, hair color, etc)
- they call it psychologically insightful. Really? All through the book each character's mind stream remains the same, chapter by chapter. Changing syntax and using synonyms (I'm exaggerating here of course) doesn't create depth. It's just repetition in another form
- sci-fi ideas - seriously? if these ideas are innovative, I wonder how H.G. Wells was 100 years ago
- lack of details - I don't find it descriptive enough where it should be more descriptive, e.g. the last battle with the bugs (details make sci-fi ideas stand out and take shape)
And most of all, as you were pointing out that feel of "obnoxious" kids ... I have an opinion about this - all main characters (the kids, and mostly Ender) are so overinflated.. They are the best at everything they aim to do all the time, coz they're geniuses and... Oh that's where the argument ends. They're just geniuses and that's it. And that's why you need to walk through their megalomania-filled minds all the time.
I wonder if real geniuses like Newton for example were so obnoxious on the inside. Somehow, being moderately intelligent, I believe the author could not emulate the mind processes typical to a genius.
He just took the approach of the regular folk (and honestly I think of mostly kids and teenagers which is not a compliment) put in such a situation (OMG! look at my big brains - how awesome am I?). And just a sidenote, I didn’t find “Limitless” the movie obnoxious.
So basically I'm saying the overinflated ego of the author comes out through his characters (also, notable to me was Ender's easy approach to being cruel and bossy just coz "he's a genius" sometimes bestowing the honor of making a joke with his teams, while of course all his teams laugh due to his "brilliancy" in humor apparently too).
Anyway, this was lengthy (at least I ventilated enough to explain this in a milder manner to my best friend, apologies for that), but all and all this novel is an overinflated eulogy to a regular boring boy's ego. And also in my opinion, the author's character traits and ideas jump out through the pages (may they be misogynistic, morally dubious, dare I say imbecile when it comes to what a genius would be thinking, etc). And I am not talking about the general idea of sacrificing oneself for the greater good.
To use a quote “vanity is my favorite sin” - this novel spills over with this trait in my opinion.
Anyway, sorry for the rambling.

P.s. I'm a sci-fi fan too, the Foundation series and 1984 stand amongst my favorites.

7:24 PM  

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