Recently I have made it my personal ambition to read all of NPR’s Top 100 Science Fiction. I think before I actually tried tackling it I had read a baker’s dozen of these titles and though “I might as well go for all of it”. I just recently finished The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian and Ender’s Game. Conan was fun, and its easy to see how it influenced modern day Swords and Sorcery (shit, it invented the genre) but it doesn’t see a lot of exposure today because frankly, it is sexist and racist on good days. I did enjoy reading it despite that though. Still, when your target audience exists in 1931 I guess that’s to be expected. Anywho, there ain’t a lot of meat on them bones in terms of analysis. Its a male fantasy and little more, but still pretty rad. Who doesn’t want to see the mighty barbarian eviscerate a warlock and his pet shadow god and make off with his concubine?
Ender’s Game was…excellent? I struggle to find a label that is apropos for it as a greater work of science fiction. It has your typical space tropes: aliens, futuristic technology, the struggles of humanity, etc. but it also predicts some things that are just interesting. For example, Orson Scott Card accurately predicted the internet’s impact on social interaction a full 30 years before it became an actualized medium. He knew that given total anonymity people would seize it as a tool and a stomping ground for different personalities and behaviors. These have positive and negative consequences mind you.
The book was simply marvelous in a lot of other ways though. I don’t recall being so absorbed in a book for some time. At least not to a point where I would literally lose track of time while reading it. The novel follows the story of Ender, a boy who is raised to be the ultimate war tactician and is sent to a military school in space to prepare for his Herculean labors. Problem is he’s 6. It then turns into a bildungsroman as we follow an aging Ender adapting to his predefined role. If you’ve ever wanted to read Harry Potter without Harry being a total bitch for about three books and instead beating Draco Malfoy to death then I would suggest you give this one the old once over.
Next on the list is Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (no, I haven’t read it yet, shut up) but not before I brief detour through Jeff Smith’s Bone and the timeless telling of DC comics Crisis on Infinite Earths. I can understand why people like Bone after I got a little bit into it. It has that rare sense of humor that is funny to all audiences but captivates you with its subtle darkness and wonderful art. Crisis on Infinite Earths? Its one of the defining moments in super hero history and I figured I should read it.
TL;DR: I read some books and offer some brief analysis. I don’t have to summarize for you, you read it or you didn’t. Also, read Ender’s Game - or any book. THE INTERNET IS NOT A BOOK.