35 Years of Ender’s Game

The August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact came out about 35 years ago. (The issues tend to come out well in advance of their cover dates — I already have the September 2012 issue — possibly because that makes it seem like you are getting a magazine from The Future!)  That issue contained Orson Scott Card’s short story “Ender’s Game,” which he later expanded into the eponymous novel.  You can read the short story free on Card’s site.  It was on the strength of that story that Card won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1978.  The 1985 novel version won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for Best Novel.

Ender's World coverEnder’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game, an anthology of essays about Ender’s Game, will be coming out in February 2013.  I’m lucky enough to be one of the essayists, but you, too, can have a shot at being included: Q&As with Orson Scott Card will be featured in the book, and the publisher is soliciting the questions from readers.  You can submit your questions here (deadline July 7).

I don’t want to steal any of my own thunder, so I won’t discuss the topic of my essay.  But I re-read the novel back in April as part of my preparation for writing the essay, and was struck once again by what a great story it is.

Last year, NPR allowed people to nominate and then vote for the top 100 science fiction and fantasy books.  J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy came in at #1, Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came second, and Ender’s Game came third, just ahead of Frank Herber’s Dune series and George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.  That makes Ender’s Game the top-ranked serious science fiction novel.  (To the best of my knowledge, only one other LDS author made the list: Brandon Sanderson, with his Mistborn trilogy at #43 and The Way of Kings at #71.  Also, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, which Sanderson is finishing, came in at #12.  The list excluded books that were published for the Young Adult market, which may explain why several very popular LDS authors didn’t make the list.)

If the movie scheduled to come out next year is good, Ender’s Game might become more popular than ever.  The book has sold over 2 million copies, but if the movie makes $100 million at the box office (and you can bet the studio is hoping for at least double that), that would be over 12 million tickets sold.

About Eric James Stone

A Nebula Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, and winner in the Writers of the Future Contest, Eric James Stone has had stories published in Year’s Best SF 15, Analog, Nature, and Kevin J. Anderson’s Blood Lite anthologies of humorous horror, among other venues. One of Eric’s earliest memories is of seeing an Apollo moon-shot launch on television. That might explain his fascination with space travel. His father’s collection of old science fiction ensured that Eric grew up on a full diet of Asimov, Heinlein and Clarke. While getting his political science degree at Brigham Young University, Eric took creative writing classes. He wrote several short stories, and even submitted one for publication, but after it was rejected he gave up on creative writing for a decade. During those years Eric graduated from Baylor Law School, worked on a congressional campaign, and took a job in Washington, DC, with one of those special interest groups politicians always complain that other politicians are influenced by. He quit the political scene in 1999 to work as a web developer in Utah. In 2002 he started writing fiction again, and in 2003 he attended Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. In 2007 Eric got laid off from his day job just in time to go to the Odyssey Writing Workshop. He has since found a new web development job. In 2009 Eric became an assistant editor for Intergalactic Medicine Show. Eric lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
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5 Responses to 35 Years of Ender’s Game

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    One fun fact about Ender’s Game, the novel: I remember reading somewhere that Card wrote it primarily to set up the sequel, Speaker for the Dead. Which is not anywhere near as popular, though I personally think it’s probably better as a novel. Both are quite fine, however. I think of Ender’s Game as an ideal gateway drug for young readers of sf.

    • Dennis Clark says:

      I don’t know where you read that, Jonathan, but Card *said* that to a class I was teaching in creative writing, sometime back in the Eighties when we were both still trying to get hired at BYU. He claimed to have gotten the idea for Speaker and worked backwards from there to the novel Ender’s game. The story came earlier, and he told the same class that when he wants to get a plot straight, he writes a short story, and when he wants to know who he’s writing about, he turns the story into a novel. Something he’s done more than once.

    • Fan of Orson says:

      It was in the introduction to Speaker for the Dead

  2. Mark Penny says:

    Card is definitely a master of the twisted tale. I haven’t “approved” of everything he’s written, particularly Lovelock, which I stopped reading when the telepathic monkey started acting out a species-related idiom under a busily occupied cot, and I’ve cringed a bit at the prevalence of sexual premises in many of his stories (Wyrms, Hart’s Hope, “America” come to mind out of the haze of the early nineties), but I’ve always admired his ability to tell a curious tale with curious characters. I even read his book on the subject, Characters and Viewpoint, and, now that I mention it, reckon I ought to read it again.

  3. Th. says:


    C&V is one of the best books of its type I’ve ever read.

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