Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Okay, so I admit that I have a strange fascination with Ender's universe. Despite the blatantly offensive premises the author writes into these books (anti-gay, anti-muslim, anti-atheist, anti-polyamorous), I am nevertheless still riveted by the storyline. Perhaps, as someone who attempts to write fiction himself, I recognize just how difficult it is for a writer to do what Orson Scott Card has accomplished here. Yet whatever the reason, this book gets five stars like almost every other title in this series.
I'll admit that the ending _seems_ a bit forced at first. The Achilles' son storyline from the last book in the series hinted at the possibility of a real supervillain coming into the picture, and yet -- in the end -- Ender was able to deal with the situation fairly easily, using yet another authorial premise that I strongly disagree with: the idea that Bean's dna could not murder unnecessarily. But, in a way, even this unsatisfying conclusion to this story arc makes a lot of sense, as it really points toward a repeated fact that so often gets overlooked in these books: in the end, the most important factor is just dumb luck.
On a philosophical basis, then, this book is very interesting. The conclusions it arrives at are wrong, of course -- any conclusion reached by starting with prejudiced premises against gays, polys, atheists, and muslims will be inherently flawed -- but the journey is still an interesting one, and as this is just fiction, after all, we can always suspend our disbelief just enough to posit that Ender's world really is one where Card's prejudices are true.
In the end, I wonder how many people can actually read the text that way. Not many, I'd imagine. But I am one of them, and as such, I really enjoyed this entrant in the series. Yet maybe that says more about me than it does about the book itself.
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