Ender vs Bean

Discuss all things pertaining to the EnderVerse milieu.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby UnnDunn » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:58 am

Tiny genius wrote:
wigginboy wrote:I agree that Ender's abilities were natural and borne of his environment and training while Bean's abilities were the result of laboratory fabrication, not natural at all.


Really wigginboy? Do you forget certain passages from ES that easily? Note here my quotations might not be accurate because I'm drawing from memory and not relistening to the book.

Graff said: "Some day he [Nicolei] will be ready for command school"
Sister Carlota thought: "Of course any true sibling of Bean's would have exactly those abilities that would attract the attention of the IF. Bean's alteration simply gave him a far sharper intelligence to bear on abilities he already had".

So Bean was smarter for his genetic alteration yes but his abilities weren't part of that. If Nicolei could go to command school without the alteration then so could have Bean. Bean's abilities are just as natural as Ender's, only his intelligence is enhanced.

I have great admiration for Bean and to hell with the fact that he was genetically altered. I love and look up to him because his intelligence far outstrips mine whereas, however arrogant this might sound, I believe that Ender and I are on nearly equal ground.


Except Nikolai, by his own admission, couldn't go to Command School. He wasn't smart enough, and he knew it. Graff saw what he saw only because Nikolai was getting lots of help from Bean.

Nikolai definitely had the traits to get into Battle School, but then so did a lot of other kids including dolts like Bonzo Madrid.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:04 pm

Nikolai BELIEVED that he wasn't ready for CS. Graff no doubt knew of Bean's help and factored it in. The Fantasy Game was a much better analyst of a kid's personality than the kid and the teachers had access to the results even though they were unclear at times.

Plus Bean only helped with classwork, he couldn't help (or couldn't help much) in the development of Nikolai's personality that would make him suitable for CS. And I think that Bean would be smart enough to only help in ways that wouldn't drastically affect the way the teacher saw the student. He's a good enough analyst for that.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Sat May 26, 2012 8:55 am

So I posted this at my Star Wars website, and I just can't get enough of a discussion going on the topic. I'm posting it almost word-for-word, with some alteration for clarity (mostly with relation to popular abbreviations). Just be aware that the culture of that forum is part of my comment, so portions of that post reveal that Star Wars fans were the intended audience. Forgive the style, and it isn't meant to be harsh or critical of anyone else's opinion. It's just my take.

"So as I mentioned elsewhere, I've been reading the Ender's Game series again. I finished Game for the fourth time, the short story precursor to the novel for the second time, I read A War of Gifts for the first time, and now I'm about halfway through Ender's Shadow [for the third time]. Here are my thoughts on the latter, and it will make sense why I posted it in this thread in the end instead of the "What are you reading?" thread.

*Warning, there are spoilers ahead: proceed at your own peril*

Orson Scott Card did an excellent job blending this story into the mesh of the other. He wrote Ender's Game in 1985, and Ender's Shadow, a parallel story in 1999. Shadow centered around mostly the same events and the same timeframe, but from a different character's perspective. The reader is supposed to be able to read either story first or second and gain just as much enjoyment either way, as they are independent tales, and his experiment worked! I can't imagine the limits one imposes on oneself when writing stories in this manner. We see how it limited [George Lucas] when creating the Star Wars [Prequel Trilogy]. But Card deftly pulled the whole thing off.

And while it's a good story, I have to hold it to a lower level of canonicity in my mind, much as I do with [Star Wars Expanded Universe] lore. You see, I read Ender's Game in 2000, and I'd heard of Shadow, but instead followed the Ender storyline (which admittedly got pretty weird by the third and fourth books). I loved Ender's character, as is obvious by my handle. I was much younger then, and I related well to Ender, who is an extremely intelligent boy, far brighter than the other characters, and of the sort I hoped to be (I now find myself falling only slightly short of that mark ;). During that story, there is a character named Bean, and if you read only that story, you gain a perception of Bean, even with two brief portions where the third-person narrative follows his train of thought, though only briefly. But the glimpse you get of him is that he is bright, similar to Ender, but not quite as bright. He tells Ender, "You're the best." He reveals that he is still a child, though the story puts children in very adult situations... He gets excited about things in a childlike manner. He gets emotional in parts. He shows some shortcomings in his estimation and perception. He shows limits to his creativity.

In 2002 I read Ender's Shadow for the first time. Suddenly, Bean is actually smarter than Ender, though it turns out he's been genetically manipulated to achieve this. In fact, he blows Ender's superhuman abilities away. Ender, who was manipulated by adults into doing things he did not wish to, who revealed self-perceptions of doubt and weakness, who felt the torture of adult-imposed social isolation, who did not even hold any ambition for greatness, but only the good of humanity, is topped by Bean who is calculating, limited in emotion (clearly not emotionless, but more controlled), rather being led by more pure logic, embracing social isolation, holding few weakness and therefore few self-doubts, and is actually ambitious to an extreme. Though perhaps his motives are also for the good of humanity, he aggressively sets out for leadership. Many of Ender's manipulations by the adults, it turns out in the end are manipulations by Bean. Many of Bean's comments of supposed adulation such as, "You're the best," turn out to be patronizing, as Bean knows he's the best. Much of the perspective we get of Bean before feels out of character, such as the childish side of Bean. And Bean's intelligence completely undercuts Ender's, as Ender foolishly believes Bean when he says, "You're the best," instead of recognizing that Bean is a faker. He recognizes Bean's creativity (which is actually de-emphasized, IMO, in favor of his calculative abilities in Shadow), but doesn't see him as hyperintelligent. He misses out on all of Bean's manipulations, and in the end, if you accept that version of Ender, you don't really believe he is so smart after all.

In the beginning Ender was selected because of his emotion, his ability to empathize, along with his mental capabilities. He is approximately equal in intelligence to his brother and sister, but his brother lacked the empathy to relate to his enemies and therefore was cruel, while his sister was too empathetic and therefore too soft. Those who recruited Ender found him to be the perfect medium. OSC missed the mark, I think, in Shadow, because at the end of the book, Bean admits that Ender is the right man (boy, really) for the job of Bombad General because of his empathy, his ability to persuade and create loyalty, his ability to truly lead, which Bean lacked. He had the brains, but not the leadership. But Ender's Game made a particular point to mention that Ender was also selected because his empathy allowed him to reach into the hearts of his enemies and anticipate their moves. Bean lacks this ability, but apparently, if memory serves (remember, I'm only halfway through and going just by my last reading on this point) doesn't recognize its value in Ender's perceptiveness. I guess I just feel that Card made a very intelligent character, and then made him look kinda dim in another book.

Characters who are vulnerable are most interesting. Bean is too invulnerable. He is too smart. Throughout the whole book, I want Ender to still prove that in some ways at least he is smarter than Bean, much as we hope that our Kasparovs of the world will outsmart the Deep Blues in spite of the superior processing power [of the latter]. More intuition. More empathy. More something. Ender is now weak. And I don't buy it. I read Ender's Shadow, enjoy in for its own story, and continue to call myself darth_ender, knowing that Ender is really the smartest and Bean is just a smart but obnoxious turd in the "real" Ender universe.

What does this all have to do with the film? OSC has apparently pushed for Bean's inclusion as much as possible in the actual film. The movie Ender's Game is actually somewhat of a hybrid, drawing some elements of Ender's Shadow into the script. I don't want Bean to undercut Ender. Ender is the better character, the vulnerable character, the character you want to win, but who really faces the overwhelming odds and still manages to come out on top. I hope there is moderation in this, as there are good qualities to the expanded Bean story, but if Bean starts making Ender look like a twit, I swear I'm gonna...start pulling weeds in my front yard or something.

Anyway, that's my rant. Go Ender!"

So that was my original post. I wanted to add to the original, but I forgot to mention that Bean has a more prominent role in the short story version of Ender's Game as Ender's confidant, somewhat in place of Alai. Though I know this isn't the canonical version of the story, it again reveals a weaker, more childlike Bean, gives you a sample of a different character. I know Shadow was written much later with a different version in mind, but considering what was revealed to us already, I don't feel the new Bean is the same guy as the old one. Retcons aren't always a bad thing, but in this case I do prefer the original perception better. That's not to say that Ender's Shadow is a bad story. On the contrary, in many ways it's better, considering the more mature style of writing, and the story is very interesting and surprisingly unique given it's nature as a parallax. But I prefer the view of the characters from the original story.

Sorry so long. Hope it's an enjoyable read for it's own merits.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Gravity Defier » Wed May 30, 2012 2:11 pm

I wanted to add to the original, but I forgot to mention that Bean has a more prominent role in the short story version of Ender's Game as Ender's confidant, somewhat in place of Alai. Though I know this isn't the canonical version of the story, it again reveals a weaker, more childlike Bean, gives you a sample of a different character. I know Shadow was written much later with a different version in mind, but considering what was revealed to us already, I don't feel the new Bean is the same guy as the old one. Retcons aren't always a bad thing, but in this case I do prefer the original perception better.
And I think this gets to the heart of my issue with the Ender vs Bean argument. Bean changed for me entirely in the Shadow series, in a way I found harder to appreciate and respect because he went from human, vulnerable, but clever to unnaturally intelligent and emotionally cold. They're not the same person from EG to ES.

Dave/Taal did a really interesting review on the Shadow series not too long ago that would, if anything could, make me see the new Bean as something more than how he came across to me but my memory of who he became in ES is enough to make me not rush to re-read the Shadow series to see if Dave had a point.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Wed May 30, 2012 4:32 pm

And the sad thing is that I really do like Ender's Shadow, just not the portrayal of Bean. I almost have to think of it as an alternate reality, not a parallax as OSC suggests. The Star Wars site I refer to is http://www.originaltrilogy.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Nearly everyone there detests the prequel trilogy. I enjoy them, though not nearly as well as the originals, and I certainly don't hate them despite their many flaws. There are times when I watch them and consider them part of my personal Star Wars canon. And there are times where the original films are all there is to Star Wars for me. While I'm reading Ender's Shadow, it can be a good story and part of the Ender lore. But when reading Ender's Game, Shadow is a completely different series.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:11 am

D_e, you have presented some good points but I'm going to disagree with you.

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm either handicapped or helped in my opinion of Bean because I read the EG novel and never actually read the short story, so my view of Bean is based on EG and the Shadow series only.

You described Ender as being "smarter than Bean" while this is obviously not true. While Bean's intelligence was created by the turning of Anton's Key, he still has them and that makes him smarter than Ender, I've not read EiE either but I am given to understand that Ender even says that Bean's smarter at one point. You said Bean was too cold and calculating. Well he didn't have a real family until Poke and she died, of course he's a little emotionally messed up. He even thinks to himself that he feels the same emotions as humans (and I'm going to keep saying that because it's faster than saying 'ordinary humans') but doesn't let them interfere with his decisions. It is a survival mechanism for him. For all Leguminotes really because his kids were much the same. The last thing you say about Bean is that he's obnoxious. He isn't. My signature when I first signed up was a quote of sister Carlotta's. "When you're as gifted as Bean accurate self assessment looks like vanity" and this is what has apparently confused you. He acts the way he does because he knows that he knows things that he knows the others don't know or know that he knows.

Go Bean!

P.S. Ender isn't revealed as weak in ES, he is simply revealed in greater depth, some of his actions and circumstances more deeply explained or seen from another angle. Bean is also not patronising Ender when he says "you're the best", he's gibbering because he just had a very bad experience and believes that he betrayed Ender.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:45 pm

Oh no! Better not disagree with me! ;)

Before taking on your argument, I want to point out that we are approaching the stories from slightly different angles. You see both books as complementary, almost as if OSC had Bean's story planned out in the beginning (at least that's my impression, forgive me if I'm wrong). I see the first book as creating a particular character, deliberately portraying Bean in a certain manner. Then when Ender's Shadow came out, a different sort of character is portrayed. OSC realized he could create a more complex and original character, he altered Bean, and using internal dialogue provided justification for some of Bean's out-of-character behaviors.

When I said Ender is smarter, I am referring to the natural interpretation of anyone whose only exposure to the Ender universe is Ender's Game, where Ender was clearly originally intended to be the smarter boy.

You're right about Bean's cold and emotionless nature--it is understandable, given his experiences and his mental capacity. However, given that he is not portrayed as cold and emotionless in EG, this is what bothers me. He lets pride cloud his judgment when Ender belittles him. He gets smug when he knows he gets under Ender's skin. He becomes emotional when Ender gets transferred. He acknowledges Ender's abilities more than once with awe. In ES, many of his words are patronizing: rather than mean, "You're the best, Ender," he means, "Ender, you're great, not as great as me, but why trifle with details since this is what you want to hear?" BTW, I mean when Ender asks him to lead the special squad, prior to Ender's traumatic experience.

Referring to Bean being obnoxious, I again mean his portrayal in EG. If you only knew of Ender's Game and not Ender's Shadow, you'd think bean was just an arrogant little pinprick, smart, clever, almost as much as Ender, but also obnoxiously conceited and overly ambitious. Once you read Ender's Shadow where Bean's nature is fleshed out and greatly altered, you realize only then that Bean is simply giving "accurate self-assessment."

And to me, Ender truly is undercut. Ender is supposed to be extremely perceptive, capable of predicting an enemy he has never met face-to-face, hardly receives any education about, and what he does know is only from limited sources in and of themselves. Ender can reach into hearts, get anyone to love him, understands motives and struggles, etc. (see A War of Gifts, for example). But with Bean, he didn't even bother to research his new Dragon Army, misunderstood 90% of Bean's comments (according to ES), couldn't even pick up on Bean's abilities as exceeding his own after spending a month with him, etc. While Bean's test scores are only slightly higher than Ender's, Bean states that this small gap only shows the limitations of the tests. While Ender doesn't realize how the adults manipulate him, Bean sees through everything...everything! How could Ender be so blind?

Two things could have greatly remedied these discrepancies to me: 1) Make Bean more emotional from the beginning. Most people become more reasonable and less emotional as they mature, but Bean goes the opposite way, and far too drastically and suddenly. Most unreasonable is his excitement when the deadline changes his direction for the first time. "Did you see that?" he shouts with child-like enthusiasm. I find it hard to believe that someone of Bean's mental capacity did not anticipate something just like this. And I find it unlikely that someone of such maturity throughout the whole book, containing so many other emotions that would naturally "leak out" with less self-controlled individuals, would simply unleash such childlike excitement at this point without shame. 2) Ender should still be the smarter in at least one or two ways. His only superiority over Bean is his ability to garner loyalty. OSC completely forgot about the importance of Ender's abilities with ES. Ender can read even the Buggers' minds through his empathetic nature, a trait that Bean lacks, but that OSC never capitalizes on.

Let me add that since I'm now farther in the book (almost done), and my last write-up was based on when I read the book six or seven years ago, many details had been forgotten that I now am aware of. Once Bean and Ender begin interacting and we see the emotional side of Bean, that he's not just a biological computer, I like it much better. It is definitely a well-written story, and were it the original tale, I'm sure I'd like it even better. But as I fell in love with Ender first, and then reading a book written several years later that alters the intent of the original story, I don't like how things mesh. The character I love is drastically undercut in my mind by a character that I found "obnoxious" and "arrogant" in the first place.

It's just my take. In truth, I am impressed with Card's experimental parallel novel and how well he pulled it off, yet maintained an interesting and independent story. I just am saddened by the changes to my perception of Ender.

But hey, that's my view, and I have no qualms if you prefer Bean. I love discussion and debate, so feel free to rebut these thoughts. Sorry again that it's so long.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:44 pm

What the heck do you mean "before Ender's traumatic experience"? There's no such thing. From the time he was taken away from Val and the rest of his family and put into BS he was having traumatic experiences. You keep describing Bean's words "you're the best Ender" as patronising. It is explained why he says them, he's being ironic and Ender is the best in Bean's opinion. The best at command. Bean is assessing his overall abilities, not just his intelligence.

Also, Bean no doubt anticipated his change in motion. What he was excited about was showing it to the rest of the group and hoping that they understood its tactical significance.

Also, in my view, Bean hasn't changed, he's just been explained. I was also irritated, originally, when Bean was shown to be smarter than Ender. I read EG first and loved Ender and along comes this other kid who is immeasurably smarter. My science teacher said he preferred the Shadow books because Bean was smarter (this was before I'd read Shadow) and my original reaction was "How the hell's that possible?". In a little time though, I realised that Ender wasn't shown to be a fool, he was just shown from Bean's perspective. We now understand that Bean's "didn't find the paper until you got back from the shower, right?" is not criticism but accurate assessment of the teachers' intentions.

And that's one more thing. EG states that Ender knows he's being manipulated, he isn't blind to it. Bean only sees through everything because he's got unnatural intelligence and also inside information courtesy of his little air-duct adventure. No-one else couldv'e done it because Bean was a 5 year old who was the size of a 2 1/2 year old. Everyone else was 6 or 7 at least and not drastically small for their age.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:49 pm

Tiny genius said:

What the heck do you mean "before Ender's traumatic experience"?
I was responding to your comment here:
Bean is also not patronising Ender when he says "you're the best", he's gibbering because he just had a very bad experience and believes that he betrayed Ender.
Bean later comes to truly adore Ender, but at that point, he had not quite come to love him and acknowledge him IMO. I admit that when I first wrote the comment, I hadn't arrive at that point in the book yet, and that I have since read it and might believe that he acknowledges Ender is the best commander. But he clearly sees himself as the better general, and the nature of the conversation refers to Ender's strategic and tactical abilities, not his ability to garner loyalty and lead an army.
No, if Wiggin thought Bean needed to have this explained to him, he did not understand who Bean really was….

[Ender said,] "No one has ever destroyed so many enemies and kept so many of his own soldiers whole in the history of the game."

What was this, brag? Bean answered as brag was meant to be answered. “You’re the best, Ender.”

Wiggin shook his head. If he heard the irony in Bean’s voice, he didn’t respond to it.
Sounds very patronizing to me.

And finally...
I said in my last post:

Before taking on your argument, I want to point out that we are approaching the stories from slightly different angles. You see both books as complementary, almost as if OSC had Bean's story planned out in the beginning (at least that's my impression, forgive me if I'm wrong). I see the first book as creating a particular character, deliberately portraying Bean in a certain manner. Then when Ender's Shadow came out, a different sort of character is portrayed. OSC realized he could create a more complex and original character, he altered Bean, and using internal dialogue provided justification for some of Bean's out-of-character behaviors.
I don't read Ender's Shadow as an explanation for Bean. I see it as a retcon. And as such, I feel it undercuts the character I grew to love first. I don't fault you for loving Bean. If I'd read the books in the reverse order, I believe my opinion could potentially be very different. But as it is, I feel that I fell in love with a very fascinating character, who then is shown to be a weaker character in spite of OSC's efforts, because he made Bean so much more interesting. If he had implemented the two points I'd wished for (and maybe toned down Bean's intelligence just a tad as a third point), I could find a happy medium between the two books: I could still love Ender more, but acknowledge Bean's synthesized superior intelligence. As it stands now, I just can't enjoy Ender's Shadow as much as Ender's Game, or view it as "equally true" in my personal canon of the Enderverse.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby FlyBy » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:57 pm

Both Ender and Bean are intellectually different. While Bean is very cold and analytical, Ender understands the human mind. Bean could dissect the psychological structure of a complex individual, Ender would know him as if he is his own self.

I believe Bean is superior when it comes to strategy and quick thinking. I would say he would more likely win in a chess match with Ender.

But if I were to pick which one I would rather stay in a room with, I would choose Bean. Simply because Bean won't care about me and leave me alone. But Ender would sit there and ask questions. Who is she, and what is her story? She is this, she is this. I would be terrified of how much he would find out about me because knowing is power. It's just one more thing someone has over me. Just having my inner most thoughts scrutinized is terrifying. I wouldn't like it.


I don't read Ender's Shadow as an explanation for Bean. I see it as a retcon. And as such, I feel it undercuts the character I grew to love first. I don't fault you for loving Bean. If I'd read the books in the reverse order, I believe my opinion could potentially be very different. But as it is, I feel that I fell in love with a very fascinating character, who then is shown to be a weaker character in spite of OSC's efforts, because he made Bean so much more interesting. If he had implemented the two points I'd wished for (and maybe toned down Bean's intelligence just a tad as a third point), I could find a happy medium between the two books: I could still love Ender more, but acknowledge Bean's synthesized superior intelligence. As it stands now, I just can't enjoy Ender's Shadow as much as Ender's Game, or view it as "equally true" in my personal canon of the Enderverse.
Before taking on your argument, I want to point out that we are approaching the stories from slightly different angles. You see both books as complementary, almost as if OSC had Bean's story planned out in the beginning (at least that's my impression, forgive me if I'm wrong). I see the first book as creating a particular character, deliberately portraying Bean in a certain manner. Then when Ender's Shadow came out, a different sort of character is portrayed. OSC realized he could create a more complex and original character, he altered Bean, and using internal dialogue provided justification for some of Bean's out-of-character behaviors.
It's like you took the thoughts out of my head, darth_Ender -Cool name, by the way-. I agree with everything you said above that Bean started out a different character and was then recreated into another one. The one thing that cements this to me is the scene after Graff announced that Ender was graduating.
Bean wandered about it as he walked back down the corridor to his own bed, The lights went out as he reached his bunk. He undressed in darkness fumbling to put his clothing to a locker he couldn't see. He felt terrible. At first he thought he felt bad because he was afraid of leading an army but it wasn't true. He knew he'd make a good commander. He felt himself wanting to cry. He hadn't cried since the first few days of homesickness he got here. He tried to put a name on the feeling that put a lump in his throat and made him sob silently, however much he tried to hold him down. He bit his hand to stop the feeling to replace it with pain. It didn't help. He would never see Ender again.
He would never see Ender again, thought Old-Bean. In contrast New-Bean knew that he WOULD meet Ender again. He wasn't homesick at all. It was the scene when I realized how much I cared about this character. While I think the more mature New-Bean is interesting, I miss the Old-Bean who I sympathized and fell in love with.

I struggled to put these too Beans together. All I kept thinking was does the writer think I can believe this? Imagine how disappointed I was. I reconciled this conflict in my head by thinking of the Bean Series as an alternate universe, and simply began to see New-Bean as a different character. Still, I'm very sad. Will I ever know Old-Bean's story?

Not likely.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:36 pm

I just completed ES today, and to make sure there is no misunderstanding, in its own right it is a good book. But you said everything perfectly, from your distinction between Old-Bean and New-Bean and the EG quote to the alternate universe. In fact, that quote is the perfect example of my thoughts. Thanks for providing it. And as for alternate universes, that's exactly how I feel I need to read the two series: alternate takes, not just alternate POVs.

I do need to give OSC a bit more credit now that I completed the book, since it had been so long since the last time. Ender did come up with the final plan while Bean was completely stumped, and Bean did start to see that Ender was able to perceive the Formics' hearts. Still, he did not touch on Ender's perceptibility nearly enough, and Bean still continued to completely blow Ender's intelligence away, such as his guess with the ansible and the reality of the "simulated" attacks against the Buggers. I can accept a Bean of superior intellect, but I wish they were closer to each other than is portrayed.

When I say I completed ES today, I actually didn't "read" most of it; I listened by audiobook, as my job requires a lot of driving. At the end of the book was a 12 minute discussion by OSC himself about the struggle to create a script, and how Ender's Shadow and the expanded character of Bean better allow for a screenplay adaptation since it is difficult to portray the story sufficiently when just based on Ender. While I already commented that I hope there is not too much Bean in the film, after listening to OSC today, I have changed my mind. And I in fact have hopes that the limitations of film and the focus primarily on Ender will allow for a character much closer to the Old-Bean. I have my hopes.

And finally, thanks for the compliment on my name. I came up with it years ago, and it's the handle that has stuck with me the longest. Some imposter on the Net calls himself DarthEnder, but I am the real darth_ender ;)
This is the picture I use as my avatar on the Star Wars site, and I should use it here. Here it is:

Image

I believe it is from the show "Merlin," but I've never seen it. It just looks like it could be Ender as a Sith Lord :D I don't intend to change it for a while, it's just so perfect!

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:03 pm

Darth Ender,

I do wish you'd stop refering to Bean's intelligence as 'synthesised' or the like. It seems like a petty attempt to devalue Bean's intellect. Yes his mind's behaviour was caused by genetic manipulation but none-the-less it is Bean's mind and it interacts with his emotional side just like normal humans. It's not mechanical, it's made of the same stuff as your's or mine, just grows differently.

If a person happens to be taller than someone else, no one would say that his height was 'synthesised'. This is genetic and the only difference is that Bean's alteration was deliberate, but his parents didn't ask for it, Volescu did it illegally and in secret, not wanting Bean's intelligence for it's own sake but to study as an experiment. So yes, Bean was deliberately made smarter but not through the will of anyone but Volescu and his plans didn't work out anyway.
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:42 pm

I'm sorry, I don't mean to offend. We are still talking about fictional characters in a book. I could say with equal legitimacy that your response to my word choice is a petty attempt to rebut my comments without addressing most of what I say. Let me restate my opinion and offer some clarification.

I like Bean. I like Ender's Shadow. I like the story, the style, the character development, the idea of a parallel novel. I really enjoyed it.

What I don't like is that I read Ender's Game first. I came to see Bean as a certain character, even from the perspective provided within that first book, as FlyBy pointed out.
Bean wandered about it as he walked back down the corridor to his own bed, The lights went out as he reached his bunk. He undressed in darkness fumbling to put his clothing to a locker he couldn't see. He felt terrible. At first he thought he felt bad because he was afraid of leading an army but it wasn't true. He knew he'd make a good commander. He felt himself wanting to cry. He hadn't cried since the first few days of homesickness he got here. He tried to put a name on the feeling that put a lump in his throat and made him sob silently, however much he tried to hold him down. He bit his hand to stop the feeling to replace it with pain. It didn't help. He would never see Ender again.
That's from Ender's Game, and that's clearly not the same Bean we get to know in Shadow. The point is that I don't necessarily much care for the departure from the original storyline, and how in my perspective (and all of us have unique but valid perspectives), Bean's story and character undercut Ender's. I still prefer the story of Ender, his deep perception, his huge heart, his supreme intelligence. When I read Ender's Game, I read it as one potential storyline. When I read Ender's Shadow, I read that as a different potential storyline. I derive enjoyment from both, but prefer one over the other. Perfectly legitimate and compatible with your different opinion as to which character is better and how you view the Enderverse.

As a final note, I believe I only used "synthesized" once, and not in a way that was meant to devalue Bean's mind. Rereading my comment, I was merely attempting to compare Ender's naturally occurring vs. Bean's artificially created mind. I'm reading Ender in Exile and I'm nearly done, and Ender even points out that in a way, his mind was artificially created as well, as two intelligent people chose to have children together. It was never meant to be demeaning. It was merely a statement.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Gravity Defier » Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:06 pm

That's from Ender's Game, and that's clearly not the same Bean we get to know in Shadow. The point is that I don't necessarily much care for the departure from the original storyline, and how in my perspective (and all of us have unique but valid perspectives), Bean's story and character undercut Ender's. I still prefer the story of Ender, his deep perception, his huge heart, his supreme intelligence.
:thumbs:

(Sorry for the lack of quality to my post but I've already expressed my opinion on this countless times over the years and just wanted to voice my agreement with and support of this statement.)
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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:42 pm

I wasn't trying in any way to argue against you without addressing main points when I asked you not to call Bean's mind "synthesized". In fact that type of specious argumentative style gets on my nerves so much I'd never dream of engaging in it deliberately myself.

You did only refer to Bean's mind as "synthesized" once but the word "artificial" and others have been used more than once, I did say "synthesized and the like".

As for the reference to homesickness, you do have a point. I read EG first and was struck by the discrepency when I read ES, "'They've never been away from mummy and daddy before, and it's getting to them.' Bean had no such feelings..." - my memory of a line from ES. So yes, the two books could be viewed as different potential probabilities or universes and I think I like the Shadow Bean better than the Game Bean or the Game Ender.

"'Are you sure you're not just picking the kind of commander you'd like to serve under?'
'That's exactly what I'm doing. Can you think of a better selection criteria?'" - from my memory of ES.

So yes, I'd prefer to serve under Bean but I was rated in a mind test as thinking 80% like a machine. I don't think it was too accurate but maybe that's why I relate to Bean more, because he's got emotions but doesn't let them run him, he's human (or near enough) but thinks more like a machine. And yes, Ender's mind was almost as planned as Bean's because as far as I can remember, the IF arranged the meeting of Jon-Paul and Teresa.
"Other universes may exist, but ours seems to be based on war and games" - William S. Burroughs

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:27 pm

Sounds good. To each his own. As I've been moving along in the series (reading Investment Counselor today), it occurs to me just how guilty Ender feels for his supposed crime. He holds himself responsible for the xenocide of the Formics, though he was an unwitting pawn. But interestingly, if any Battleschool child deserves to be accused of being a xenocide, it would be Bean. He consciously chose to destroy an entire sentient species. He knew exactly what he was doing, what the repercussions would be, and his role was only slightly less direct in their deaths than Ender's. Julian, the Xenocide. Bean the Xenocide. Too bad he doesn't even have to bear the weight of his crime as Ender does. As far as I can recollect (I've yet to continue the Shadow series since '06), he holds no guilt over what he has done. Another way to me in which Ender is superior. His empathy allows him to sorrow for what he has done, to bear the weight of humanity's hatred and the Buggers' deaths. And if anyone truly deserved to bear that weight (outside of the manipulative adults, of course), it was truly Bean. But Bean is either incapable of such remorse for his actions, or simply truly believed, in spite of all his perception, that the Formics deserved to die.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Tiny genius » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:23 pm

There is something in that. Bean does ruminate on his own lack of remorse though and arrives at the conclusion that he's just not as empathic as Ender so he can't feel guilty about killing a race he didn't know except as vicious murderers. He is perceptive, but the only input he had was knowledge that the buggers had attacked twice and were fighting now to stop humans at the expense of human life. All he saw was that they didn't mind killing humans in offensive or defensive situations. It doesn't matter how much you can analyse, how fast you can think, it does you no good without appropriate input."The buggers attacked first, they aren't surrendering now therefore they want to kill us therefore it is us or them therefore we are justified in destroying them."

So yes, I respect and admire Ender's superior empathic abilities just as I respect and admire Bean's superior intellect. I also think there is something in the fact that Bean truly looked up to Ender and tried to be like him. He succeeded a little too, because he managed to lead the Thai assault force well enough.

So yes, Bean knew what he was doing and Ender didn't. Yes Bean doesn't feel as much guilt as Ender despite this. Yes Ender dedicated his life to the Buggers and Bean didn't but their situations and reasons were different. Bean saw the Buggers a different way (worthy of destruction) when they died, Ender's empathy saw things differently. Yes, Ender saw them more accurately but Bean would've too if he'd had the right info.
"Other universes may exist, but ours seems to be based on war and games" - William S. Burroughs

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:44 pm

So I read through the Ender books, and now I'm returning to the Shadow books. Just finished Shadow of the Hegemon, which I feel portrayed Bean far better in so many ways. Instead of being older and therefore even more rational like the rest of us, we actually see far more of his humanity, his subjection to his passions and his subsequently irrational decisions, his personal loyalties, his clouded judgment, his guilt for past mistakes, and yet his ongoing intelligence. This is the kind of Bean I would have much preferred to read about in Ender's Shadow. I know Card was trying to make a distinctive character, but I think he made me like Bean less, and my views were more in line with Graff's: Bean wasn't human. Now I'm happy to see that OSC changed course and showed me I was wrong. I liked this book much better.

PS I still like Ender better ;) But Bean is much closer in my mind now.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby TerresaWiggin » Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:02 pm

I would say Ender but Bean married Petra....
"when a school counselor called her in to tell her that the school administration was growing concerned about the fact that Petra seemed to be associating with the antisocial element in the school, she knew that she was truly at home in Maralik."

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Color09 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:49 pm

Personally, Ender is my favorite, even to the point that every time in the Shadow series Bean is made to be better than Ender or Bean is criticizing Ender's action i felt offended. That's not very rational, but that's just my loyalty to Ender. I think its mainly because I identify with Ender so much and just "get" him more. Don't get me wrong, Bean is awesome, very awesome, but Ender is and always will be my favorite.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby M.Aaron » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:57 pm

I have to go with Ender all the way, he's an actual character, all Bean is anymore is Card's attempt to move on from the original Ender series. I point out these little clues.
1 In the Shadow series and Ender in Exile we find out Bean won the war NOT Ender, stated several times by Graff, Bean, Petra, Peter, Mazer and Ender himself.
2 Bean had the fantasy game reprogramed to evolve and manage Ender's financing and keep an eye on him so Bean created Jane not Ender.
3 Bean's missing son created the religious following for The Hive Queen and The Hedgemon and he also vilified Ender and created the "Ender Zenocide" name in Ender in Exile.
4 In Ender's Shadow we find out Ender didn't know faster than light communication existed only Bean did and Bean took control of the final battle at the last moment because of this, ignoring the fact that Graff explained it to Ender when the were going to Eros.
5 The IF (Graff, Mazer and the other adults) put their faith in Bean not Ender as they all turn to him in the final battles in Ender's Shadow.
6 Finally in Shadows in Flight we see Bean learn everything about the buggers from a couple male drones and doing so he finds out that the Hive Queen is lying to Ender the entire time and Ender doesn't actually know any facts about the Formics instead he knows the elaborate story they made for him so they could use him for their own purposes.
These are only the biggest changes Card made to destroy everything Ender ever accomplished,to be honest the extent this is going is getting quite ridiculous. I'm half expecting a new novel where Bean's three kids from Shadows in Flight to discover faster than light travel, the Piggies and the Descoladores. At first I liked Bean as a character but as time and novels go by I'm starting to loath him for the reasons listed above.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Samsonovich » Sun Feb 16, 2014 4:27 pm

Though it can be argued that Ender is far smarter and real than bean, I disagree.

Bean was manufactured, yes, but he is, in my opinion, the most human character in the book.
He has a constant internal moral struggle, and if that's not human, I dont know what is.
Don't get me wrong, Ender did as well, but it was not more powerful than Bean's. Bean and ender are almost the same character, in that they regard other people's lives over others.
And I do believe Bean is smarter than Ender. Ender is only more likable and respectable than Bean, but Bean is up in the clouds while Ender is still on Earth. He's simply genetically smarter.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby darth_ender » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:30 am

I have to go with Ender all the way, he's an actual character, all Bean is anymore is Card's attempt to move on from the original Ender series. I point out these little clues.
1 In the Shadow series and Ender in Exile we find out Bean won the war NOT Ender, stated several times by Graff, Bean, Petra, Peter, Mazer and Ender himself.
2 Bean had the fantasy game reprogramed to evolve and manage Ender's financing and keep an eye on him so Bean created Jane not Ender.
3 Bean's missing son created the religious following for The Hive Queen and The Hedgemon and he also vilified Ender and created the "Ender Zenocide" name in Ender in Exile.
4 In Ender's Shadow we find out Ender didn't know faster than light communication existed only Bean did and Bean took control of the final battle at the last moment because of this, ignoring the fact that Graff explained it to Ender when the were going to Eros.
5 The IF (Graff, Mazer and the other adults) put their faith in Bean not Ender as they all turn to him in the final battles in Ender's Shadow.
6 Finally in Shadows in Flight we see Bean learn everything about the buggers from a couple male drones and doing so he finds out that the Hive Queen is lying to Ender the entire time and Ender doesn't actually know any facts about the Formics instead he knows the elaborate story they made for him so they could use him for their own purposes.
These are only the biggest changes Card made to destroy everything Ender ever accomplished,to be honest the extent this is going is getting quite ridiculous. I'm half expecting a new novel where Bean's three kids from Shadows in Flight to discover faster than light travel, the Piggies and the Descoladores. At first I liked Bean as a character but as time and novels go by I'm starting to loath him for the reasons listed above.
You know, I'm glad you pointed this out. Ender was a character with depth, a man torn by convictions and mistakes. His accomplishments were so amazing and vast and I love his character. Bean is not nearly so deep. I like the Shadow books, but only as an alternate universe. Ender books are tales of moral dilemmas and tests of human strength. Shadow books are action, politics, and sci-fi. Not bad topics at all, I love them, but simply not rich tales of human character. It makes me sad now that you've pointed out how OSC and the Shadow series has undermined my favorite character of all time.

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby mywildimagination » Sun Sep 21, 2014 11:25 pm

I have to go with Ender all the way, he's an actual character, all Bean is anymore is Card's attempt to move on from the original Ender series. I point out these little clues.
1 In the Shadow series and Ender in Exile we find out Bean won the war NOT Ender, stated several times by Graff, Bean, Petra, Peter, Mazer and Ender himself.
2 Bean had the fantasy game reprogramed to evolve and manage Ender's financing and keep an eye on him so Bean created Jane not Ender.
3 Bean's missing son created the religious following for The Hive Queen and The Hedgemon and he also vilified Ender and created the "Ender Zenocide" name in Ender in Exile.
4 In Ender's Shadow we find out Ender didn't know faster than light communication existed only Bean did and Bean took control of the final battle at the last moment because of this, ignoring the fact that Graff explained it to Ender when the were going to Eros.
5 The IF (Graff, Mazer and the other adults) put their faith in Bean not Ender as they all turn to him in the final battles in Ender's Shadow.
6 Finally in Shadows in Flight we see Bean learn everything about the buggers from a couple male drones and doing so he finds out that the Hive Queen is lying to Ender the entire time and Ender doesn't actually know any facts about the Formics instead he knows the elaborate story they made for him so they could use him for their own purposes.
These are only the biggest changes Card made to destroy everything Ender ever accomplished,to be honest the extent this is going is getting quite ridiculous. I'm half expecting a new novel where Bean's three kids from Shadows in Flight to discover faster than light travel, the Piggies and the Descoladores. At first I liked Bean as a character but as time and novels go by I'm starting to loath him for the reasons listed above.
I'm just going to point out some issues with the above.
2 Redirecting the program Jane got her personality from is not the same as "creating her." Regardless of whether the Formics had called an aiua to reach Ender, Bean could have used the fantasy game that way.
3 The Hive Queen and the Hegemon were already big, Arkanian just directed the intensity of it. Really the only difference he made was the vilification of Ender, which Ender never purported to have a direct hand in.
4 Actually in Ender's Shadow it said Ender DID know about faster than light communication. Bean wasn't supposed to but he figured it out anyway.
6 Ender was talking to the Queen and Bean was talking to drones. The queen is going to hide the fact that her workers do have minds of their own and the drones have no reason to hide it. It has way more to do with who they talked to and not Bean stealing Ender's spotlight.

Personally, I'm in the camp of not pitting these two against each other. And since Ender/Novinha vs. Bean/Petra has been brought up, I just don't think Card writes romance very well. I think he likes the idea of certain characters getting together and having babies rather than the relationship itself. He does great at individual characterizations but once people get together it's more by-the-numbers and more procreation-directed. The pairings he writes best are the ones where he only spends time with one character instead of both because then the other character is just part of the focused one's characterization. And that's honestly fine with me. It's not like we read him for the romance. And when it comes to shipping, I think the same way. The more likely a couple is to have interesting babies, the more likely I'm going to ship it. Who cares about all that pesky "are their personalities right for each other" nonsense. :wink:

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Re: Ender vs Bean

Postby Henry Varro » Mon Feb 23, 2015 2:01 am

I think Bean is better because
+He has his Anton's Key turn on, so he smarter than Ender
+In BS, albeit Bean not have full trust from other (the reason has been told in SotG) but in Earth, where not soldiers too smart and never smart like in BS, so they willing to take order from the one they knew will do all the best for them (like Bean with the Thai's soldiers) so the charisma of Ender not help much there, win or lose will depend on the tatics of the commander - which i think Bean is better, because he smarter than Ender and he dont let much emotion affect to his decide. Ender is good too, but he have too much emotion may affect his dicide, like he think he can do the same in the last battle with the Bugger if he know the truth of the "game", his heart may not think like that (i more certain when i read EiE, near end of the chapter 3:
"But Ender doesn't need us. He's thirteen. He's becoming a man. He's done brilliantly since he left us, but he also went through terrible things, and we weren't there. I'm not sure he'll ever forgive us for letting him go."
"You had no choice," said Valentine. "They would have taken him to Battle School whether you liked it or not."
"I'm sure he knows that in his head," said Mother. "But in his heart?"
Not the same thing but i think it more close than anything, we all know how he depress after Bonzo case, if he know he has and will be the one responsible for all death of people in all games, i'm sure he cant do what he has done, like Bean said:
"No! Are you insane? If he's this upset when the knowledge is unconscious, what do you think would happen if he *knew* that he knew? He'd freeze up."
)


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