A few weeks ago, JP and I were out to dinner with a good friend who is very into science fiction; we spent a good 20 minutes of the meal discussing our favorite characters in Battlestar Galactica. Please keep the judgment to a minimum.
He couldn't believe that I'd read Philip K. Dick, watched BSG, seen Star Wars, but hadn't read Ender's Game. JP just finished it in record time, and the two of them bullied me into reading Orson Scott Card's YA novel, originally published in 1985.
Ender is the youngest of three children, growing up in a home with a sadistic older brother and middle sister who protects Ender from his attacks. When he's 6 years old, a general from the military plucks him from his home, and brings him to a battle school to prepare for a war against a race of hostile aliens. During his years in the battle school, where he is pitted against other young soldiers in the training 'battle room,' Ender is physically and psychologically tested. Can we entrust the fate of humanity to an 11-year old boy? And can he handle the pressure?
Ok, ok, JP's magic words for getting me to read this book were, "It's kind of like The Hunger Games." Yes, there are children fighting against each other, and somehow an awful lot of expectation being put upon people who are pre-teenaged. This doesn't have the same inter-personal relationships I've come to expect from young adult works; Ender is in his own head a lot, and has interactions with non-military members only occasionally. It's difficult, then, to connect with any of the characters outside of Ender, although I'm sure some readers will disagree with that opinion. This is definitely a novel I would recommend to budding sci-fi fans, as well as teen guys.