To start this column I’m going to give you a bit of a disclaimer. There’s new Mass Effect 3 multiplayer content out today and I really want to play it. So, this one might be a little short.
Speaking of short, children. You don’t get much shorter than them. And, to complete my ham-fisted segue, the main characters of my all-time favorite novel are children! The novel is the Hugo and Nebula award winning Ender’s Game. It’s one of the few novels that I’ve read twice, and the only one I’ve read three times. I like it so much that I read it aloud for Co-UberFriend-in-chief Shaggy Shan since he is borderline illiterate.
(Just kidding. He just doesn’t read novels unless he can record the spectacle with silly voices for a rabid group of listeners.)
The novel is written by Mr. Orson Scott Card and started it’s shelf-life as a short story of the same name that was first published in 1977. Card expanded it into novel size and released it in 1985. It’s the story of a genius boy in the not too distant future being selected to join an elite school for soldiers in preparation for an impending alien invasion. It features a really rich world and some very cool sci-fi ideas.
One of the most iconic ideas in the book is the battleroom – a zero gravity battle simulator. The children at the school are divided into teams and pitted against each other. It’s not hand to hand or anything. Their guns fire light that freezes the armor of whoever it hits. It takes the best of the Hunger Games and mixes it with the fascinating sci-fi world of Battlestar Galactica. How can you not be interested in that?
Hollywood has finally taken notice and there’s a feature film in development. I have some mixed feelings about the whole thing. Card is involved, which is a plus. They’ve cast the kid who played Hugo in Hugo as Ender, as well as Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, and Abigail Breslin – all definite plusses. The director (Gavin Hood), arguably the most important part of any film, is more of a mixed bag. He won an Oscar for directing the South African movie Tsotsi. But he also directed the disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A lot of the movie is going to rest on the acting ability of a group of children – definitely a cause for concern.
The thing is, if they do manage to pull it off the source material provides a solid base for a franchise. Card has written ten follow up novels, and eleven short stories. So far. It has a ton of potential and I really hope they pull it off.
I can’t recommend the books highly enough. Don’t let the fact that it’s about children scare you off. It’s definitely not meant for the Young Adult section. There’s no love triangle, or teen angst. It’s the kind of book that you’ll take different things from depending on your age. At least, that’s been my experience reading it. So, give it a read and let me know what you think. If you are like Shaggy, I can send you my recordings of it. Or you can get it in comic book form, which you will probably enjoy a lot more.
Graham Becksted has taken this column to brand new territory with this one. Book readin’. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 66th follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.