Ender’s Game: ’77 vs ’85

I was first introduced to the Ender’s Game series at age 11 through my school book club by a wonderful teacher. The version I read then was the revised edition, the one that made it to a book.

EG - 85

It was around this age that I started writing. I’d been working on a “book version” of a movie me and my friends were making, and I’d been working on it with real gusto. So, when I read in Card’s afterword in the book that he was so happy with the alterations to the original that he wished he had written the original that way…boy was I shocked. I hated editing. It felt like I was killing my child; or worse – being disloyal to it.

However, it was only recently that I had the good fortune to come across the very first edition of Ender’s Game – the one published as a short story/novelette in the August 1977 edition of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. And only then did it finally hit me what he meant. Turns out we owe almost as much to the editors and suggestion-givers as we owe to Card.

ANLGAUG77                                      EG '77 - ASFF - contents

As always, spoiler alert. If you haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, I’d hate to spoil such a classic book for you, so don’t read beyond this paragraph. If you came looking for advice on which version to read, I’d say go with the ’85 version. [The one you’ll find in bookstores.] The reason I say this is because, without giving anything away, this book owes a lot of its success to its dry wit and to-the-point dialogue [obviously other than the supremely engaging plotline, and the way key political, social and moral issues have been tackled. The first really intellectual book I ever read.] The ’85 version, having been superbly edited and expanded, has all that. Also, the ending is markedly different. And that’s all I’ll tell you Ender virgins.

For people who’ve read the ’85 version and not the ’77 one, I’ve mentioned a few key differences I noticed below. As you can see if you’ve read this far, I much prefer the ’85 version. If you thought otherwise, or have anything to contribute to this discussion, I’d love to hear from you, so drop a line in the comments section below!

Differences:

  1. Ender’s Game (’77) is about 31 pages, give or take, whereas Ender’s Game (’85) is about 204.
  2. The original (’77) Ender’s Game begins with the “the enemy’s gate is down” battle, thereby leaving out the whole Earth segment, and everything to do with Ender’s family.
  3. Apart from Bean, none of the other Jeesh members we know and love are there – a few are named, but they’re different names, and none are given a role.
  4. A lot of the key moments are more drawn out in EG ’77 – specifically the dialogue. Being less to the point, they lose a lot of their impact; more than you’d think.
  5. The story is terminated well before the ’85 version’s ending.The whole colonization arc is lost, and Graff and Anderson’s post-war job descriptions change.
  6. As the colonization part is left out, neither the Hive Queen nor the Hegemon is mentioned; nor, indeed, do those books even exist in the old version. Meaning  no opportunity for Ender’s redemption.

To conclude, reading the first version of Ender’s Game was a learning experience for me – it was like getting to see Card’s rough draft, like seeing Ender’s Game in the making. For me, reading EG ’77 was basically just a lesson in appreciating the final version. Although EG ’77 features the main elements and scenes of the A-plot of EG ’85, it feels very skeletal (which, in some ways, I guess it was.)

You know how they say that it’s hard to appreciate something you have, or that you never appreciate what you have until it’s gone? EG ’77 helped me see all the things that could’ve gone wrong, but didn’t, in EG ’85. It helped me pinpoint exactly why I love this book. For all of you who are curious, or whose appreciation for Ender’s Game may have been dulled or forgotten over the years, I definitely suggest a reading of EG ’77, followed by EG ’85. You’re welcome.

*N.B.: According to Wikipedia, Card revised Ender’s Game again in 1991 to account for major political events that happened post-1985 (for example, the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.)

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Ender’s Game Shaped Me

I read today that Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game, is under fire because of his anti-gay marriage statements. Yes, they were slanderous. Yes, they were intolerant. Yes, I understand the urge of the LGBT community to boycott the franchise. No, I don’t believe in subjecting the entire cast and associated crew to the disapproval caused by the opinion and behavior of one man. And, you know what? Even if it’s hateful, he still has a right to his opinion. God knows we all thought marriage was between one man and one woman until we learnt more about other forms of sexuality.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” -Evelyn Beatrice Hall [illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs]

While reading more about this, I came across a very insightful comment: that this problem didn’t exist while only readers were involved. The conjecture is that readers care only about the world created in a book and its content, and less about the metaphorical cover. That made so much sense to me. In fact, it’s my personal mind-opener-of-the-day.

thought of the day

thought of the day

I’d never thought of that before. But it’s true – all the hype and judgement only really started once the movie was talked about. I had to make a conscious effort to not fly off the handle every time Card was vilified. I understand why this is happening, and I’m pro-equality, so I was hurt by his comments as well. It’s just disappointing really, because the book played a big role in shaping me. And to me the guy was a hero. And to find out this is like an idol failing you. Not his fault really. It’s just ironic and sad that a teacher of tolerance is intolerant.

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And at the end of the day, I’m still indebted to Card and thankful to him, because he gave me Ender, and made me the person I am today: confident, tolerant, pro-equality, and pro-justice.

*NB: This blogpost was excerpted on an Ender’s Game fansite! They’re pretty amazing, so if you’re a fan, you can go check this post and others out at: http://endersgamefandom.net/2013/07/11/enders-game-controversy-turning-into-battle-school/

Science, Fifty Shades of Grey and Morality

Daily Prompt: Morality Play

June 24, 2013

Where do your morals come from — your family? Your faith? Your philosophical worldview? How do you deal with those who don’t share them, or derive them from a different source?

[http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/daily-prompt-morality-play/]

morals  plural of mor·al (Noun)

Noun
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.
Synonyms
morality – moral – ethics – mores – morale

Growing up, my source of moral values was my family, but that’s a no-brainer, given that obeying and making them proud is ingrained in our minds as our duty from a very young age. As I grew up and met those outside my home, others with conflicting or perhaps different worldviews, I reevaluated the parameters of my personal definition of morality, and I continue to do so even today.

As a student of science, if there’s one thing I have learned, it is to absorb information unbiased, consider all the possible alternatives, and then settle for the most rational one; as the information available keeps increasing, to keep adjusting the parameters of my belief  system.

That’s the attitude I approach morality with. The very definition of moral (definition 2) implies that morality is individual-specific. I base my sense of morality mostly on common sense; if it’s hurting someone, it must be wrong on some level, and conversely, if no one is hurt by it, it couldn’t possibly by entirely evil.

I believe the reason there are so many scuffles taking place over moral outrage is because people tend to be heavily biased. I’m no exception either; the best example I can come up with is the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey series. Hearing about the plotlines, I developed an immediate dislike to both the series. I said insulting things about the books left and right and felt no regret doing it. I thought people who read the book were fools. Then someone made a comment in passing about a literary preference of mine, and I immediately snapped at them, telling them “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” then immediately felt ashamed of myself.

I took it upon myself to read both the series with as open a mind as I could muster, and, although my opinion of the series remained almost the same, I did find certain things to appreciate along the way. I learnt things I hadn’t known previously, and some of my stances softened.My worldview broadened a bit and I had to concede that if I were someone else, in different surroundings, perhaps my outlook would be different.

That lesson is what I take with me when I consider morality. No matter what my opinion, if I take the trouble to listen without bias, I will undoubtedly take home something important at the end of the day. And as far as tolerance goes, I go by the adage: Your yard ends where mine begins. It’s the perfect ideal to judge by, whether it be a question life, liberty, morality, or even actual yards.

“Inferno” – Dan Brown

Daily Prompt: Bookworm

June 16, 2013

Tell us about the last book you read (Why did you choose it? Would you recommend it?). To go further, write a post based on its subject matter.

The last book I read was Inferno, by Dan Brown. Apart from having exhilarating plotlines that hook you in every time, Dan Brown ensures that we take home a lesson of some sort every time, either a history lesson or some moral food-for-thought. So much for why I chose it. As for recommending it, I would always recommend a Dan Brown book, and this one is no different.

Inferno focuses on the dire threat of population. It points out, correctly, that all our other sustainability problems (less food, less water, less land to grow food, less land for housing, disease, global warming, etc.) are NOT problems, but symptoms of something else entirely – the much-too-huge population of human beings, currently on a frighteningly rapid rise.

  • Mystery/Adventure lovers: you will love this.
  • Dan Brown lovers: you will love this.
  • Thinkers/Philosophers: you will especially love debating the subject matter and the new points of view he puts forth.

So basically, if you have just the fifteen minutes required to get yourself to the bookstore, I highly suggest you do it – you’ll have loads of fun and enrich your understanding as well.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/daily-prompt-words/