Games and Shadows and Xenocides: Spoilers possible:all books

Discuss all things pertaining to the EnderVerse milieu.
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Games and Shadows and Xenocides: Spoilers possible:all books

Postby Sibyl » Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:58 pm

Okay, I've only been here two weeks, and I've the temerity to start a new topic, though actually it's just moved, but I think it's gone beyond a simple poll, and I want to talk about this, the whole EnderUniverse schmear, and the angle it's taking has a lot to do with me personally.

Zeroguy wrote:
"Many people here read EG first; many read it before ES existed. EG portrays Ender in a very good light, as the best student at Battle School: the smartest, most resourceful, and the best leader. He was very likable, and was all but a hero.
"Then OSC wrote ES, and smashed the image of Ender in our minds all to hell. Or would have, except many of us don't hold ES with the same truth as EG, or barely acknowledge it exists at all. ES and EG have such a different feel for the whole story they tell, and portray the main character in such different ways, that it does not feel like the books belong in the same storyline, the same fictional universe. So, I, among others, don't accept much of ES as it is written in our minds. It's just a different, crappier story. "

I was going to quote neo-dragon too, but looking back, I guess that's not necessary: but thank you for the support, neo-D! ;^)



I first read "Ender's Game" as the novella in Analog (to which I had a subscription) in 1977. I had a lot of other stuff on my mind at the time, like a toddler, a paranoid schizophrenic husband, an impending divorce, and two elderly parents (who both died the following year, three months apart). I badly needed escape literature, as you might imagine! It didn't make a deep impression on me, it was just another SF story, though a good one. I suppose it remained with me for the next twenty years, somewhere in the back of my mind, but if there were any Heroes in my mind from SF, they'd have been Valentine Michael Smith and Lessa of Pern, and the only "Canon" (other than the real Bible, which I wasn't into in those years), the whole body of work of Robert A. Heinlein.

The expansion came out in 1985, but I don't think I read that--the volume in my shelf is "Author's Definitive Edition", copyright 1991, in the preface to which he mentions having made some minor continuity fixes. I most certainly didn't have enough money for buying or time for reading SF, even magazine subscriptions or the occasional isolated newsstand issue, in '85. I don't know when I bought it, but I just reread _that_ recently, in preparation for getting involved here. Other than that, I've read the whole of both forks of the series, maybe missing some short stories like those included in "First Meetings...", possibly in magazines that I missed.

I just reread the novella, in the "First Meetings..." volume, which I just bought. It's quite different from the novel, besides of course being much shorter. I assume that it's faithful to the first version I read almost thirty years ago. After that long, my memory is short on detail, though there might be more under hypnosis?
It covers only the Battle Game and the Command School period. Ender has no family of origin that he remembers, and there's no meeting with Valentine on Earth. His earliest memories are of Battle School. He doesn't kill any other children. There are no "buggers", no insectoid enemy (at the time, OSC would have been laughed at in the SF world for making the enemy BEMs, Bug Eyed Monsters, a cliche), which he studies, just an "enemy" (at the end, he asks how many "people" lived on the planet he destroyed). No Hive Queens. Clearly, true xenocide of a whole species isn't at issue, though he did destroy one planet, headquarters, apparently, of twenty-eight. The ansible isn't a secret, and the enemy doesn't have it: their communications are limited to light-speed. Bean is always there, but there's no genetic modification, and though he's small, it's because he's only seven (and clearly brilliant, but apparently naturally brilliant) among nine-year-olds (Ender's eleven): he's not unnaturally small. He's the first person who speaks to Ender in the story, and also the last person, at the end. He does supply the key during the final battle, "The Enemy's gate is down", which gives the paralyzed Ender the victory. The point is made somewhere during the adult dialogue that the commander could be any of the Battle School kids, Ender is simply the best of them (and Bean probably the most intelligent). Bean's participation and importance is proportionately greater than in the novel, because of the shortness of the novella, and the fact that he's present and supportive all through.
It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

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Postby Soara » Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:53 pm

Actually I thought that Ender was portrayed the same way in both EG and ES. Mainly because most of the scenes with him in them in ES where identical to the ones in EG.

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Postby luminousnerd » Fri Dec 29, 2006 6:02 pm

I have to disagree, I think that Card did a superb job of writing a novel after that fact. Ender the character hasn't changed at all, we just see him through someone else's perspective. Much the way, when Achilles is killed in the Shadow series, we sympathize with the way most of the world sees it, particularly Bean and Peter, but we are also offered a chapter to see it through the eyes of someone who saw Achilles as a hero. He was still the same person, he still did the same things, but the way we saw his motives changed, because the character has a different opinion of what those motives are.

In short: In EG, we see through Ender. In ES we see through Bean.

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Postby mr_thebrain » Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:22 am

and in ES OSC made Ender read like a complete jackass.
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Postby Sibyl » Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:14 pm

and in ES OSC made Ender read like a complete jackass.
Can you quote even one sentence or paragraph that shows that?

I can't see it. To me, in both, he looks like a human child, brighter than most, toughened and matured beyond his years by a highly unusual education and training. He does _not_, in either book, look like a superhero or an incarnation of Christ or the usual conception of a saint (Saints were mostly not like that conception, if you've read much hagiology)
It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool, than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

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Postby Absterderup26 » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:10 pm

I am truly pathetic.
regards, Absterderup26

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Postby luminousnerd » Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:41 pm

luminous, putting the link in the quote makes more work when we have to delete them. Although I agree with your sentiments. --EL
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Postby irnstad » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:06 am

I read EG first, then the entire shadow series, but I think ES did cast a negative light on ender in some ways. For starters, Bean thought that ender noticed him getting undressed when he didn't in enders game. There was the also thing of bean taking offense at a lot of things that ender said. But I liked having two perspectives on things. I want to get someone who hasn't read either to read enders shadow first and then enders game, just to see if the viewpoint changes.
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Postby Tardertenter10 » Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:30 pm

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Postby Ender91 » Tue Mar 20, 2007 5:34 pm

i was an EG reader before an ES reader. I think it's cool how ES works; it was good, because you find out lots of new things, like how bean chooses dragon army.

Card also allowes an outsider to judge Ender. Granted, Ender looks like a complete jackass in his first practice with Dragon. however, he soon after is portrayed as the Ender we all know and love.

I think though, my favourite series is the ender series. it's ender! c'mon!
"The enemy's gate is up."
"Uh, Ender?"
"Yeah?"
"Didn't you say before that the enemy's gate is down?"
"...uh...Oh yeah! The enemy's gate is in fact down, not up. My bad. Thanks Alai."

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Postby Jebus » Tue Mar 20, 2007 6:28 pm

Quoted from another thread in which this discussion also took place:
ES fans often like to throw about this different POV idea, but it doesn't hold much water. The problem is that ES forces us to see the things that happened in Ender's Game(with Ender's POV) in a fundementally different way than they were originally written and with lots of the credit given to Bean instead of Ender.

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Postby Han Fei-Tzu » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:23 pm

please can anyone recall the page or chapter where Bean actually agrees to have Petra's babies in Shadow Puppets?? Or any other time where Bean hurts Petra in any way by his decisions in SP or SOTG? its for a research paper due wednesday

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Postby neo-dragon » Sun Nov 04, 2007 7:58 pm

Posting this in three treads wasn't necessary, especially since you should probably be doing your own homework. Neither book is that thick, and I'm sure you've read them, so finding what you need shouldn't be that hard.

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Postby DouLou » Thu Aug 14, 2008 4:40 pm

and in ES OSC made Ender read like a complete jackass.
Well.. no more than a jackass he was at times in EG since every scene with Bean and Ender was almost identical...

Thing is in EG we saw Enders thought process and his motives for what he done, in ES we saw Beans thought process and how he interpretated Enders motives. What I liked though was that Bean started off obsessing with Ender, then he started thinking Ender was being an ass and not treating him right, then at the end he came round, just like all the other good guys Ender meets in the end all Bean wanted was to be recognised by Ender and loved by him. I love the bit where Bean realises Ender noticed him all along but didn't show it until Bean proved he was as good as people said he was.

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Postby Mega » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:07 am

I read EG first, like most people. Then I read the entire Shadow series before reading the rest of the Enderverse. Personally, I think that as some have said, Ender was just portrayed in Bean's view in ES. Bean was a small, but brilliant kid who was used to being picked on, pushed around, so when Ender started doing it, he thought of him, at first as he thought of the others, that did that. So if he was portrayed worse, don't think OSC was vilifying him in anyway, he was just showing him in a different perspective. And contrary to some, I found the Shadow side better then the Enderverse, though that could be because I am 14, and don't truly appreciate the whole philosophical, side as much as the actiony Shadow side, but who knows. I mean I still liked it, but not as much. It was like a 10 to a 9.7. Not much difference, but still there. I think I am getting off topic here.

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Postby DouLou » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:02 pm

I read EG first, like most people. Then I read the entire Shadow series before reading the rest of the Enderverse. Personally, I think that as some have said, Ender was just portrayed in Bean's view in ES. Bean was a small, but brilliant kid who was used to being picked on, pushed around, so when Ender started doing it, he thought of him, at first as he thought of the others, that did that. So if he was portrayed worse, don't think OSC was vilifying him in anyway, he was just showing him in a different perspective. And contrary to some, I found the Shadow side better then the Enderverse, though that could be because I am 14, and don't truly appreciate the whole philosophical, side as much as the actiony Shadow side, but who knows. I mean I still liked it, but not as much. It was like a 10 to a 9.7. Not much difference, but still there. I think I am getting off topic here.
I think what also gets people a bit annoyed is that they read EG and are like 'Ender is fucking awesome!', then they read ES and we have Bean, a character we knew little about who we learn is more intelligent than Ender in some ways and knew alot of stuff that he didn't. So people start to think that ES is about how Ender wasn't really that great and Bean was the real genius, but that's so untrue.

Bean had the intelligence, the perfect memory, the brutally accurate calculations, but he was always in awe of how Bean perfected the art of leading. Bean always analyzed and over-thought things, for Ender it just came natural to always say the right things in the right way to get people to love and respect him.

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Postby Jebus » Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:05 am

::le sigh::

It's not about how Ender was portrayed from Bean's point-of-view, it's about how his actions in ES underminded Ender, because Ender wasn't surviving completely on his own, by his own abilities, which is what made him so incredible. Instead he had help from this super-genius clone, secretely, nearly the whole way through.

An example. In EG, Ender takes a rag-tag grouping of some of the worst Battle School has to offer, and through strict training and tactical genius, they win every battle that gets thrown at them. In ES, what happens is Bean arranges it so that the people Ender gets are the ones perfectly suited for being molded by him, that have secret potential that nobody but Bean would realise about.

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Postby locke » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:38 am

::le sigh::

It's not about how Ender was portrayed from Bean's point-of-view, it's about how his actions in ES underminded Ender, because Ender wasn't surviving completely on his own, by his own abilities, which is what made him so incredible. Instead he had help from this super-genius clone, secretely, nearly the whole way through.

An example. In EG, Ender takes a rag-tag grouping of some of the worst Battle School has to offer, and through strict training and tactical genius, they win every battle that gets thrown at them. In ES, what happens is Bean arranges it so that the people Ender gets are the ones perfectly suited for being molded by him, that have secret potential that nobody but Bean would realise about.
That is a brilliant analysis of one of the many core problems with ES.

I also dislike how pulpy ES is, you got the pseudo psychology of trauma to explain bean (Poke's death tough street kid) the villain who never goes away (Achilles) the villain who has no motivation out of a nonsense pseudo psychology of trauma to explain him (Achilles), the villain who is pure evil with no complexity or self awareness to speak of (Achilles), the villain with the incredibly cheesy name the author pathetically tries to retcon into pronouncing differently so it's not quite as cheesy (Achilles). You've got a heroic kid who couldn't give a damn about the bible quoting bible verses (Bean) as a sort of bandaid moralizing and faux-emotionality.

but I agree with the OP that the short story is indeed awesome.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby Mega » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:20 am

In response to Jebus, why is that bad, not every military leader can do everything themselves. So what if instead of a supposedly crappy bunch a kids, they are a bunch of kids that everyone thought crappy, that were singled out because of what they could do. Basically, no one, no matter how awesome their abilities are as a commander can turn a bunch of nothings, into winning every battle they had against all odds. What OSC put in in ES, made it possible, not unlikely to all degrees.

In response to locke, what is wrong with OSC explaining why Bean is who he is, when he did it with Ender as well, though about Achilles, I agree. It would have helped with the making his name sound different if he put that early, because even after they said it, I will not say ah-sheel.

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Postby Jebus » Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:52 am

In response to Jebus, why is that bad, not every military leader can do everything themselves. So what if instead of a supposedly crappy bunch a kids, they are a bunch of kids that everyone thought crappy, that were singled out because of what they could do. Basically, no one, no matter how awesome their abilities are as a commander can turn a bunch of nothings, into winning every battle they had against all odds. What OSC put in in ES, made it possible, not unlikely to all degrees.
And if all the stuff Bean does had been in the original story, than it would be more acceptable. It would still lessen Ender, but his character would be more flawed from the very beginning, so nothing had been modified to make his efforts less impressive. Instead, 15 years after writing EG, OSC runs out of ideas and decides to start milking the money cow and returns to the Enderverse where he promptly begins to stab it to death. Oh yea, and then he goes bat-s*** crazy.

Now, I know I called the group Ender got "rag-tag" but they were not a "bunch of nothings". They were the worst of Battle School, but every single kid in Battle School was a freaking genius. They didn't even let Peter or Val in. So there was nothing unbelievable about an incredible tactical mind and leader taking a bunch of geniuses (admittedly inexperienced) and making them great.

But this is usually the part in an argument where things start to break down and smaller points begin to be niggled over until you get to a place where what you're discussing has totally lost any resemblance to the original point. So allow me to preface your next response by saying:

You're wrong.

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Postby Mega » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:16 am

no, I just have a different opinion then you, so I am not wrong, so there

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Postby Jebus » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:22 pm

Having a different opinion from me is synonymous with wrong.

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Postby locke » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:08 am

there is nothing wrong with explaining who Bean is. What I have issue with is the sort of weak parallel of Poke and Carlotta to Valentine and how everything in the Shadow series is explainable via a sort of pop/pseudo psychobabble. Peter, despite his penchant for sadistically tormenting animals and attacking his younger brother, was a much more complex character in Ender's Game because we see him wrestling with himself and Valentine. we see his character evolve and change and mature in a seemingly natural manner.

on the other hand when you look at achilles, the explanation we get for him is "he was a sociopath who had to kill anyone who ever saw him in a position of weakness"

with Ender you could argue that there's a pop/pseudo psychobabble explanation for many of his actions, but once again we approach him through a fundamentally different manner that is much more subtle and effective.

with bean you get something like, "he felt uneasy. not safe, he had to find a hiding place known only to him. that was because he was raised on the trauma of the streets and your survival depended on the amount of bolt holes you had. Poke didn't have a bolt hole for escaping Achilles and it was all Bean's fault. He had to be a good soldier for Poke." Oh look, a conveniently large airduct, just big enough for a Bean, I think I shall make it my bolt hole.

there's just a lot of problems with the characterizations and plot machinations of the shadow series that aren't really present in Card's pre 1990s work.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.

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Postby UnnDunn » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:03 am

I think a huge part of the problem is simply that some of you read EG back in the 70s or 80s and then read ES in the 90s (or whenever it was first published,) so it's almost like the Ender quartet and the Bean quartet are two completely different sagas that happen to involve the same characters.

I read all of them for the first time over the space of a couple of months, so to me, it's not "the Ender quartet" and "the Bean quartet"... it's just one big saga that happens to have two ongoing storylines.

I dislike some parts of ES for various reasons, but retconning is not one of them. In truth, I think EG was really rather simple--powerful and stunning--but still simple... after all, it is classified as a juvenile book. It only really dealt with one theme--the molding of a hero. I think ES added some needed complexity and richness to the story.

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Postby locke » Thu Aug 21, 2008 3:15 am

timeline:

"Ender's Game" 1977
Ender's Game1985
Speaker for the Dead 1986
Xenocide 1991
Children of the Mind 1996

Ender's Shadow 1999
"Investment Counselor" 1999
Shadow of the Hegemon 2001
Shadow Puppets 2002
"Polish Boy" 2002
"Teacher's Pest" 2003
Shadow of the Giant 2005
Enderverse IGMS Short Stories 2005-present
Ender in Exile 2008

I read EG in 1998, and was primed for ES, and for quite a while considered it one of Card's best, it's taken years to realize that the first two hold up much better than the 6 sequels/sidequels. and it's really only since 1999 that the stories started getting churned out. 1999 is also when the film adaptation possibilities really opened up, 1996-1999 was a legendarily bad era for the film adaptation. but things started to get more successful as Card showed the brand had viability in the marketplace.
So, Lone Star, now you see that evil will always triumph because good is dumb.


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