Ender's Game

Ender's Game

Book - 1991
Average Rating:
Rate this:

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.


Ender series
Ender's Game / Ender in Exile / Speaker for the Dead / Xenocide / Children of the Mind

Ender's Shadow series
Ender's Shadow / Shadow of the Hegemon / Shadow Puppets / Shadow of the Giant / Shadows in Flight

Children of the Fleet

The First Formic War (with Aaron Johnston)
Earth Unaware / Earth Afire / Earth Awakens

The Second Formic War (with Aaron Johnston)
The Swarm / The Hive

Ender novellas
A War of Gifts / First Meetings

Publisher: New York : Tor, 1991.
Edition: Rev. ed.
ISBN: 9780312932084
Branch Call Number: SF/CARD
Characteristics: xxi, 226 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Mar 24, 2020

I definitely recommend reading this book for young adults and teens. It's action filled and thought provoking. I was required to read it for school and, honestly, this is the only required book I read all the way through. Once you're finished with the book, I recommend seeing the movie.

The story is the same as in the movie, "The Last Starfighter" (1984). You might enjoy that as well. The names have been changed , to protect the copyright.

Oct 30, 2019

If you've seen the movie, you should absolutely read the book - all the best, most meaningful plots and relationships were left entirely out of the movie. This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I recommend it to everyone I know!

Oct 29, 2019

I absolutely love "Ender's Game." I first read it as an adult and have read it multiple times. My kids all read it as young teens and likewise love it.

Oct 27, 2019

This book gave me depression. Also, for a homophobe, the author sure did unintentionally write a lot of gay subtext.

Sep 25, 2019

Hardback from the library smells like someone spilled perfume on it. Opened to start reading and was overwhelmed with nausea. Waiting on the ebook.

DBRL_KrisA Apr 13, 2019

I'd read this previously, but went back for a re-read as part of a project to read my late sister's to-read list. I generally avoid this author because I don't want to support him due to his personal beliefs (see below), but decided to re-read it for the project.

The first time I read this, I had no knowledge of the author's political/social views - his affiliation with the Mormon church, his stance against homosexuality and gay marriage, etc. It was interesting to re-read the book, now knowing this information, to see if/how the author's personal views appeared in the book. Other reviewers have commented that there are instances of bigotry, and I did see a few examples of what could be construed as sexism or racism, but (as near as I could tell) the book doesn't have any sexist or racist themes, and doesn't try to push Card's personal beliefs.

So. Purely from the standpoint of its merits as a piece of (science) fiction, I would say I really enjoyed the book. The reader (or at least this reader) quickly connects with the main character, Ender, a young boy sent to battle school to train to fight against the alien "buggers". Card does a good job of showing how Ender is manipulated by the adults into becoming a master strategist and military leader. There are several moments in the story where I felt close to crying for Ender. (When he is reunited with his friends/classmates late in the book, for instance.) There is a big twist toward the end that caught me completely by surprise the first time reading the book; knowing that twist was coming did affect my re-read, but it was still a fun and enjoyable read.

JCLS_Medford_Jessica Mar 13, 2019

Always late to the game...that's me! Originally released nearly 35 years ago, Ender's Game is a surprisingly prescient sci-fi novel that was intended for young adult readers but has more than enough depth and gravitas to hold the attention of adult readers as well. I will confess that I did some light skimming during the battle scenes because I am simply not imaginative enough to conjure up what the battle rooms and combat techniques would look like. Other than that, this book is a real winner with plenty to think about and talk about with others if you are so inclined.

JCLGreggW Feb 26, 2019

Thus coming-of-age tale featuring a boy who enlists in a government-sponsored training program to fight a virtual simulation of an alien menace still resonates years later and is a stone-cold classic of the genre.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 30, 2018

*Ender’s Game* is probably the best starting point for people who have never read science fiction. Science fiction movies are mostly action. SF *books* are often intelligent, thoughtful explorations of morals, politics, psychology, and the nature and future of humanity. *Ender’s Game* is a particularly good example of a book that is both exciting and thoughtful.

In a future America, Earth has survived an attack by an advanced alien race, because of the brilliance of one military leader and a lot of good luck. Earth’s leaders assume that an attack will come again, but we have several decades to prepare for it, because the invading civilization is so far away. The most talented children are sent to Battle School, a space station where they learn military strategy. Ender Wiggins is the most talented student, but also the most morally advanced. How can he be trained to destroy the enemy?

*Ender’s Game* is about moral choices. What are we willing to do to win a game? Are we willing to sacrifice our children to win a war? How do you know if you are the “good guys” or the “bad guys” in a war? It's a great book for discussions because of its depth but also because it is exciting to read even while making you question whether war is something to be excited about.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Nov 19, 2019

ami_1 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 28, 2019

Gcatflann thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

May 08, 2019

black_wolf_3090 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Mar 25, 2019

Noot_Incog thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jun 04, 2018

blue_dog_31717 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

May 08, 2018

FinleyVickers thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

violet_spider_40 Jan 05, 2018

violet_spider_40 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jun 08, 2017

ThePistachioKing thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Dec 30, 2016

black_chicken_135 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Nov 03, 2016

Gwen904 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

View All Ages


Add a Quote
Apr 07, 2017

"So the whole war is because we can't talk to each other."

Jul 04, 2016

I don't care if I pass your test, I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly- I'll beat you unfairly first.-Ender

Jun 04, 2016

“Alai suddenly kissed Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear, ‘Salaam.’ Then, red-faced, he turned away and walked to his own bed at the back of the barracks.”

Dai Huu Nguyen
Aug 03, 2015

"I'll lie to him."
"And if that doesn't work?"
"Then I'll tell the truth. We're allowed to do that, in emergencies. We can't plan for everything, you know."

Jul 03, 2015

“Ender Wiggin isn't a killer. He just wins—thoroughly"

Jul 10, 2014

"They found me through the ansible followed it and dwelt in my mind. In the agony of my tortured dreams they came to know me, even as I spent my days destroying them; they found my fear of them, and found also that I had no knowledge I was killing them. In the few weeks they had, they build this place for me, and the Giant's corpse and the playground and the ledge at the end of the world, so I would find this place by the evidence of my eyes. I am the only one they know, and so they can only talk to me and through me."

Jul 10, 2014

If you could make them feel as you can make me feel, then perhaps they could forgive you.

Nov 04, 2013

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them.”

acciomanga Oct 13, 2013

"Third, the most noble title a child can have."

Jun 28, 2013

"Sometimes a lie is more dependable than the truth"

View All Quotes


Add Notices
May 29, 2014

Frightening or Intense Scenes: ender kills small kids

Nov 06, 2013

Coarse Language: Ba**** and B**** and S*** and ...

Nov 06, 2013

Violence: lots...fist fights zero gravity fight Ender breaks a guys arm and crushes a boys arm and it crushes his lungs and heart

Nov 06, 2013

Sexual Content: naked kids fight

Nov 06, 2013

Frightening or Intense Scenes: EPIC!!!

Sep 23, 2013

Other: Release date, November 1, 2013 (USA)

Oct 30, 2012

Coarse Language: a lot of the the word. son of a _______ and the Ba word


Add a Summary
Jun 26, 2015

Genius kid, aliens, video games and fake battles with no gravity to train for war, and a whole space station! How cool, right?

Apr 12, 2012

After being attacked by aliens for the second time, Earth’s government is preparing for a third encounter with the creatures known as the ‘buggers’. Six-year-old Ender Wiggin, the youngest of three brilliant children, has been monitored by the military for his suitability as a potential commander in the upcoming war. Surpassing expectations, Ender is taken to interstellar Battle School where he learns the arts of military strategy and leadership, practicing his skills in simulated war games while leading an isolated and lonely existence of his instructors’ design.

Readers will quickly come to sympathize with Ender; he misses his family, wishes for friendship and acceptance, doesn't want to hurt anyone, and above all wants to be a good person. Ender's deepest fear is not of the buggers or death in battle, but of seeing his sadistic brother's tendencies in himself, a dread triggered by Ender's strong survival instincts and calculated acts of self-preservation. As Ender is forced to defend himself, and his brother Peter struggles to master his own violent impulses, their sister Valentine observes that the brothers are “Two sides of the same coin, but which side is which?” (p. 238) Ender's Game raises the question of what makes killing a crime: the act itself, or the motivation behind it? Good fiction refrains from delivering a moral lecture, instead leading readers to ask themselves difficult questions, and teens will appreciate the absence of pat answers in this novel as they work out their own views.

Ender's genius is evident in his unusually independent and innovative thinking, and his ability to adapt to new situations. He is creative and elastic, pushing beyond perceptual barriers to find original ways of solving problems. As a leader, Ender wisely trusts his soldiers to develop winning strategies through play and experimentation. It soon becomes apparent to the reader why risk-taking children, not yet entrenched in restrictive patterns of thinking, are the government's hope to save the human race from destruction.

The novel touches on a plethora of topics ranging from religious oppression to colonisation. The importance of communication, perspective and understanding are underscored with the revelation that the entire bugger war is due to the failure of the two sides on these counts.
Trust, deception and manipulation run through the adult/child relationships in the book. The Battle School trains students to be weapons in a war for the common good, and treats them accordingly without indulging individual desires. Teen readers will relate as adults in their lives enforce decisions about school and socializing that are more in line with long-term societal values and expectations than the immediate wishes of the teens themselves.

Ender's Game balances the inherent excitement and action of battle with psychology and politics, exploring diverse, complex characters and the relationships between them. Set largely in outer space with gifted protagonists aged six to sixteen, this lengthy and multilayered tale will appeal to strong readers of all genders, especially those with an interest in war, computer games, outer space, or fiction involving moral dilemmas. The final part of the book is a moving meditation on guilt and forgiveness, with a surprising and complicated chance at redemption. Teens entering the age of independence and deliberation will take heart from the novel’s message that whatever mistakes they have made in the past, be they crimes or ignorant acts of recklessness, the future is still theirs to shape.

Aug 21, 2011

Enderverse Bk1

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Related Authors

Subject Headings


Find it at PDL

To Top