Ender's Game plot question...

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Ender's Game plot question...

Postby blueblueblue » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:09 am

Hi guys/gals,

I finished Ender's Game a couple weeks ago and have been lurking here for a while. I've had a nagging question since that I just can't seem to get answered.

Anyways, in Chapter 14 of Ender's Game, Ender unknowingly destroys the entire bugger planet. Mazer Rackham says "...today you finally fought them at their home world, where the queen was, all the queens from all their colonies, they all were there and you destroyed them completely."

Now, I remember Rackham saying that the second invasion consisted of a new queen and her subjects. I assumed that every colonized world before then had their own queen that ruled over it. If that's the case, why did all those queens from the colonies decide to congregate at the homeland where an interstellar fleet was preparing to attack? That didn't make too much sense to me... I most likely missed a line in the chapter or just forgot about the reasoning. I've gone back and skimmed it, but still can't seem to find out why. Could anybody give me an explanation? Thanks in advance, and sorry if this is a repeated/newbie question.

Thanks!

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Postby human. » Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:36 am

I don't really remember, but I think somewhere in either EG or EiE or possibly SftD Ender, or someone, asks that same question. I know that's not entirely helpful.. but I remember the question being asked by the actual characters...

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Postby Jayelle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 1:32 pm

It is kind of explained in Ender in Exile as well as hinted at in Ender's Game and the Shadow series.

Two things:
One: Basically, the Buggers let Ender destroy them. They were privy to his thoughts, so they knew he was coming.
they fought hard against me to prevent my victory. But they also brought themselves together where I could kill them all in a single battle. And they knew I had the weapon to do it. A weapon they understood better then we did [...] And yet they gathered together and waited for me, I don't understand it.
Two: He didn't actually destroy all of the hive queens after all. They left him the hint - the re-creation of the mind game and he found with a hive queen inside. He was then finally able to understand what had happened. He was able to communicate and write "The Hive Queen".
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Postby Gravity Defier » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:56 pm

Didn't the Hive Queen tell Ender eventually that they realized humans were not like their workers, that they realized it wasn't at all like clipping a toenail?

I feel wildly unprepared to make this statement with any sort of confidence at the moment but it is my guess that not only did they realize it was murder in the humans' eyes, not only could Ender not be swayed by them, but also humans are nothing if not unrelenting (I don't think it's too much of a stretch to have them realize this).

After an invasion, we took their technology and mimicked it, meaning even if they had stayed spread out amongst the planets they were on, humans would be able to reach them at some point in time. Sure, it'd be stupid to attack all their planets,one right after the other, but these are frightened people who made the buggers out to be the boogy man of every child's dreams (children who grew up, had frightened children of their own). As far as humans were concerned, they were a threat until there were none left standing and chances are the humans would not pause long enough after one attack to try diplomacy again; the buggers hoping or waiting for it would be futile.

By allowing humans to think we got them all and then going into hiding, they could spare the human lives, eliminate the sense of threat/fear, and ensure their survival in the long run, so that both species could live peacefully. If you want to reconcile that with the EiE quote about them fighting hard, I think that might be explained by instinct. Just because they knew intellectually they probably weren't going to walk away from humans for good if the humans had any success this last time doesn't mean their instinct to survive would just lay down and die.


I haven't read EG in going on two years, though, so I may be pulling that theory from you know where and it may not make much sense to anyone but me. It may also be hard to accept if you've read the Speaker books because they certainly seemed to have a hard time thinking in any linear sort of way.
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Postby neo-dragon » Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:48 pm

Also, I don't see how spreading out the queens would have helped. The bugger homeworld had a MASSIVE defensive force around it. If the human fleet could breach their defenses there (which of course they did, in the only way they could) the queens wouldn't have been safe anywhere except quietly hidden away someplace, which is how they managed to survive. Remember that each of their colonies had already fallen by the time the homeworld was attacked, so if the queens had been spread among the colonies they would have died or been taken prisoner anyway.

btw,
How did the I.F. know where all the bugger colonies were located?
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Postby Gravity Defier » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:02 pm

Also, I don't see how spreading out the queens would have helped. The bugger homeworld had a MASSIVE defensive force around it. If the human fleet could breach their defenses there (which of course they did, in the only way they could) the queens wouldn't have been safe anywhere except quietly hidden away someplace, which is how they managed to survive. Remember that each of their colonies had already fallen by the time the homeworld was attacked, so if the queens had been spread among the colonies they would have died or been taken prisoner anyway.
That's basically what I was trying to get at, only I suppose I didn't remember the detail about all the colonies having been disposed of by the final battle.

Does EG say that they were? No, don't answer. I'll be re-reading here soon. My memory, as it stands, is leading me to believe the IF fought along basically whatever colonies lay in their path on the way to the homeworld, with the assumption that they (buggers) spread out in many directions and not just towards Earth, dying in the end only because the queens were all taken out.

(This is why I space out my re-reads. Give me long enough and I'll forget details and maintain the very basics + the emotions I felt while reading it.)
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Postby neo-dragon » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:14 pm

You're probably right that not all of the colonies were already wiped out. It makes more sense. It's been a couple of years since I last read it as well. But the point remains that if the humans could take out the homeworld then the remaining colonies probably wouldn't have been a problem. So at most, the buggers putting all their eggs in one basket just saved the I.F. a long mop-up campaign.

That goes along with the sentiment which I believe was expressed by the last hive queen, that they didn't want to die, but they knew that it was inevitable.
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Postby Gravity Defier » Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:20 pm

That goes along with the sentiment which I believe was expressed by the last hive queen, that they didn't want to die, but they knew that it was inevitable.
And in a long-winded, apparently unclear way, that is the point I was driving at up there. Humans wouldn't let the buggers outrun them, the buggers didn't want to be exterminated and humans weren't going to change their mind about the buggers being Evil without a fresh start and lots of time (which the humans weren't going to willingly give-they had to be tricked into it). This way, buggers got to start over, human lives weren't lost on the scale they would have been if the buggers put up more of a fight, and the humans got a few thousand years of easy breathing.
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Postby neo-dragon » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:05 pm

Nah, what you said was clear. I was just being redundant. :)
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Postby blueblueblue » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:36 pm

Ah, makes much more sense now! That question's been nagging me for a while.


Can't wait to read the rest of the books in the series! Thanks to all who answered.

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Postby TheMessenger » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:36 pm

So the Formics let Ender kill them all because they wanted to start over with them? Like a fresh beginning with their relationship? That makes sense to me.

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Postby ptr.arkanian » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:37 pm

Ender in Exile somewhat further explains what the Hive Queens were trying to do. I cant remember exactly but i think they were trying to be destroyed. After all, they practically let Ender defeat them. But remember, not ALL the queens were on the homeworld. I think the main goal of their destruction was for Ender to find the living hive queen on Shakespeare.
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Postby Psudo » Thu May 13, 2010 2:02 am

The Hive Queen speaks at one point (in Speaker?) of her absolute certainty of the inevitability of her own defeat after coming to know Ender. I don't think she let Ender destroy all the queens (but one) so much as she could see no way to prevent it, and thus planned as though it were inevitable.

Why were all the queens on the homeworld? When you prepare for war, you move your precious resources inside the castle walls, where they are the safest. It's why North America has NORAD. They played strategy as best they could to the end, trying to save all their queens and all their society, but set the one Hive Queen was set aside for Ender to find. Maybe they set one aside on every world, but only Ender could translate the directions before the cocoon dried away into dust. Only Ender, who loved them enough to know how to kill them, would also love them enough to spare the cocoon.

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Postby Deinonychus » Thu May 13, 2010 2:05 pm

Had to pop in and have a look at this provocative question. And what do i find out? Psudo has again pre-empted my answer. :wink:

All fair answers, but yes, the way i remember it, the Hive Queens, in addtion to having huge remorse after discovering through Ender that they had killed thousands or millions of "sentient" beings, were "circling the wagons" so to speak. Wasn't it true they were unaware of the existence of the Little Doctor early enough to alter that strategy?
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Postby Psudo » Thu May 13, 2010 5:30 pm

Psudo has again pre-empted my answer. :wink:
I seem to have developed a reputation in only 10 posts.
Wasn't it true they were unaware of the existence of the Little Doctor early enough to alter that strategy?
The first battle after Mazer began "running" the "simulated" enemy was too easy because the Buggers were witnessing the Little Doctor for the first time.

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Postby Deinonychus » Thu May 13, 2010 7:48 pm

The first battle after Mazer began "running" the "simulated" enemy was too easy because the Buggers were witnessing the Little Doctor for the first time.
Whoa!
How's that? Maybe i'm a lot hazier on the story than i thought. I had in mind that the only use of the Little Doctor was in the final battle when it was used on and around the Bugger home world itself.

They were using it all along? :shock:

Aargh! Just started reading Xenocide without the previous books but i may have to stop and restart with EG!
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Postby Psudo » Fri May 14, 2010 9:34 am

I had in mind that the only use of the Little Doctor was in the final battle when it was used on and around the Bugger home world itself.

They were using it all along? :shock:
Here is the text of their first real battle.
Then the simulator field went blank, the ships disappeared, and everything changed at once. At the neat edge of the simulator field they could see the shapes, drawn in holographic light, of three starships from the human fleet. Each would have twelve fighters. The enemy, obviously aware of the human presence, had formed a globe with a single ship at the center. Ender was not fooled--it would not be a queen ship. The buggers outnumbered Ender's fighter force by two to one, but they were also grouped much closer together than they should have been--Dr. Device would be able to do much more damage than the enemy expected.

Ender selected one starship, made it blink in the simulator field, and spoke into the microphone. "Alai, this is yours, assign Petra and Vlad to the fighters as you wish." He assigned the other two starships with their fighter forces except one fighter from each starship that he reserved for Bean. "Slip the wall and get below them, Bean, unless they start chasing you--then run back to the reserves for safety. Otherwise, get in a place where I can call on you for quick results. Alai, form your force into a compact assault at one point in their globe. Don't fire until I tell you. This is maneuver only."

"This one is easy, Ender," Alai said.

"It's easy, so why not be careful? I'd like to do this without the loss of a single ship."

Ender grouped his reserves in two forces that shadowed Alai at a distance; Bean was already off the simulator, though Ender occasionally flipped to Bean's point of view to keep track of where he was.

It was Alai, however, who played the delicate game with the enemy. He was in a bullet-shaped formation, and probed the enemy globe. Wherever he came near, the bugger ships pulled back, as if to draw him in toward the ship in the center. Alai skimmed to the side; the bugger ships kept up with him, withdrawing wherever he was close, returning to the sphere pattern when he had passed.

Feint, withdraw, skim the globe to another point, withdraw again, feint again; and then Ender said, "Go on in, Alai."

His bullet started in, while he said to Ender, "You know they'll just let me through and surround me and eat me alive."

"Just ignore that ship in the middle."

"Whatever you say, boss."

Sure enough, the globe began to contract. Ender brought the reserves forward; the enemy ships concentrated on the side of the globe nearer the reserves. "Attack them there, where they're the most concentrated," Ender said."

"This defies four thousand years of military history," said Alai, moving his fighters forward. "Were supposed to attack where we outnumber them."

"In this simulation they obviously don't know what our weapons can do. It'll only work once, but let's make it spectacular. Fire at will."

Alai did. The simulation responded beautifully: first one or two, then a dozen, then most of the enemy ships exploded in dazzling light as the field leapt from ship to ship in the tight formation. "Stay out of the way," Ender said.

The ships on the far side of the globe formation were not affected by he chain reaction, but it was a simple matter to hunt them down and destroy them. Bean took care of stragglers that tried to escape toward his end of space. The battle was over. It had been easier than most of their recent exercises.
There. Hopefully you won't have to reread the whole book now.

It's not their only weapon, and they haven't used it in a while when they get to the homeworld.
"Yeah, but... look, advance word on this test is that it's... there's no..."

"It's hopeless."

"Anything you can do to help. Any suggestion."

"This Dr. Device thing, Ender hasn't let us use it in a long time."

"The enemy learned enough about how it works that they never let their ships get close enough together for a chain reaction to spread. I takes a certain amount of mass to be able to maintain the field. Basically, right now it's just ballast. Useless."
Now that I've typed up and posted all this, I hope there's not a site rule (or copyright law) about quoting too much of the books...


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