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Ender’s Game (1985) is a military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth’s future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the “Buggers”, an insectoid alien species. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel’s protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained at a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender’s tactical genius is revealed.
The book originated as the short story “Ender’s Game”, published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Elaborating on characters and plot lines depicted in the novel, Card later wrote additional books to form the Ender’s Game series. Card released an updated version of Ender’s Game in 1991, changing some political facts to reflect the times accurately; most notably, to include the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
Reception of the book has generally been positive, though some critics have denounced Card’s perceived justification of his characters’ violence. It has also become suggested reading for many military organizations, including the United States Marine Corps. Ender’s Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel. Its sequels, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide,Children of the Mind and Ender in Exile, follow Ender’s subsequent travels to many different worlds in the galaxy. In addition, the later novella A War of Gifts and novel Ender’s Shadow take place during the same time period as the original. Ender’s Game has been adapted into two comic series.
A film adaptation of the same name directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield as Ender was released in October 2013. Card co-produced the film.