The fourth in the Ender’s Game series. Well… there’s a reason why a “trilogy” is a thing and a 4-book series is not. Perhaps by book 4 an author just needs a rest or a change in scenery – maybe a trip to Risa? There’s altogether too much bitching between the main characters in this novel. Also somewhere in one of the last books instantaneous space travel was invented which I don’t approve of. It makes it too easy to pop in and out of any situation. There was a reason why the universe was given the speed of light and causality, and it was to add discipline to novels. The viruses are pretty good though.
The third in The Ender’s Game series. I thought this one was rather good. There’s a bit of Chinese culture in there which gives things a different flavour. Borrowing from other cultures is sometimes a bit frowned upon in literature and art, but you need to get a bit of diversity into the lands of the future somehow. A number of sci-fi books have done well from this approach: Dune, The Man in the High Castle, Lord of Light to name a few. This book once again has quite a different feel from the first two novels in the series. More politics, more epic. Having said all that I read the book a fair while ago and if asked to describe what actually happens in the book I’d be hard-pressed to tell you. Maybe Wikipedia?
The second in the Ender’s Game series. It has a rather different feel from the first novel, which is very tight, simple, compelling and classic. This one is a bit more of a fantasy sci-fi novel. There are a few interesting alien species living on a planet and at risk from humanity. Ender wants to protect them and form a Federation of Planets (no, that’s Star Trek isn’t it?). I liked it enough at the time but it’s not classic enough for me to re-read. As a side note it does take advantage of a technique rarely used in sci-fi to good effect: the use of very fast space ships to travel into the future. Is time travel possible? Sure – at least travel into the future (the past is more problematic), provided you have a spaceship that can travel near the speed of light – it’s in Einstein’s special theory of relativity. As a side-side note, if you want immortality you could possibly invent such a spaceship, travel into the future to a point where medical science has eliminated ageing, and Bob’s your uncle. Then again, it might be simpler to become a medical scientist and cure ageing yourself….
Well it’s famous isn’t it? So if you want a proper review you can get one of 1000s from the web, or go to Wikipedia. It is well written and I enjoyed reading it. Orson Scott Card cites Asimov as a major influence and I can believe it as they both have an easy-to-read, more-ish quality to their writing. This book though is much more like a Heinlein: boy goes out on space adventures, is better than regular people, beats the bugs. A bit like Starship Troopers combined with Assignment in Eternity and add a dash of Space Cadet. Unlike a Heinlein the protagonist does feel guilty at the end of the book and has little control over his destiny. It’s stand-out features I guess are the space battle game which is explained in great detail, the game on the computer pad (ahead of its time) and the compelling, easy flow of the writing. Apparently the series was conceived around Xenocide (the third book in the series) and this one was just an nice bonus.