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Ender's Game Clairvoyant Subplot


Michele Dutcher


Ender’s Game (the novel) was published in 1985 with Orson Scott Card as the author. It is refered to as a military science fiction story and has been used in the United States military as a tactical example.


Although I can see its use as a standard military training vehicle, in this day and age I was amazed at a secondary military use: as an instruction manual for internet warfare.


In the book, Andrew Ender Wiggin is whisked away to military school – obviously the book’s main protagonist – and learns to kill ‘buggers’, a race of insectoid aliens who have attacked Earth before and have promised to attack again.


However, it’s his brother Peter and his sister Valentine, who are left behind on Earth and who develop SOPs – standard operating procedures – on how to sway a planet to a particular point of view using the internet.


Peter, who is a highly intelligent sociopath, tells his sister that he wants to sway people’s opinions by assuming an alias on the internet that has an adult personality. He wants to ‘speak the whole truth’, throwing off the cloak of political correctness to reveal what people REALLY think about each other and their ‘inferiors’.


Peter realizes that one advantage of being on the web is that no one will be able to see who he truly is - just a mean nine-year-old kid – and with complete anonymity he is free to say whatever he wants and bully whoever he wants.


Another innovation the internet offers freedom for Peter to distort facts as he wants, making broad statements with no back-up in reality.


Peter is free to verbally condemn entire countries, saying they need to be wiped off the face of the earth with a get them before they get us mentality. On the faceless web, he has the freedom to dig into the primal prejudices of a certain section the population who eventually idolize every word Peter types out.


However, Peter’s greatest burst of inspiration as I see it, is the pressuring of his sister to present the other point of view – a more reasonable point of view – so that he can destroy it with his venomous responses. If Peter merely attacks a portion of the population outright, he might be seen as a wacko. But if he is supposedly presenting the ‘other side’s’ viewpoint, he is a leader who is ‘speaking his mind’.


In this subplot of Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card has developed a blueprint for exploiting people’s most basic prejudices to turn the course of elections and wars. While his brother Ender is out literally saving the world from aliens, Peter is manipulating Earth’s populous, feeding on the darkness in people’s hearts to elevate himself. By the time Peter finally shows himself and his sister to the world, in all their glory, the world is ready to follow them off a cliff into fascism.



Another eye-opening thing about Ender’s Game is that it’s author is blatantly racist. Orson Scott Card has been quoted as saying, “Obama is a black man who talks like a white man…and has never worked a day in his life.” Wow.


In the book, racial slurs are traded between the students like bags of candy.

East Asian kids are called ‘slanty eyed’.


Ender (to black kid): “We can’t all be n------s.”

Alai (black kid): “My grandfather would have killed you for saying that.”

Ender: “My grandfather would have sold you first.”


Children who are Jewish are seen as ‘the smart ones’, which is another stereotype.

When asked about the book’s slurs, Card said, in part:

"I had Ender using the word to wake Alai up to the fact that by calling Shen "slanty-eyed," Alai was being racist. A sort of tit-for-tat response: If you're going to call my East Asian friend "slanty-eyed," then you choose to live in the kind of world where you would be called "n*." Morally, this is clearly (to me, at least) a rejection of the kind of world where people call each other names based on superficial racial characteristics."




2018-06-27 16:07:30
Dandrew72 makes a good point: when I read fiction, I don't need to agree with his points of view in real life.

2018-06-23 17:29:30
The more I think about it, the more I see the movie as a condemnation of children as warriors, as weapons, as clay to be shaped in the manner to which the puppet masters desired, whether or not intended by the author.

The "rehabilitation of Ender", the saving of the destroyed alien race is just a feel good cover for the unspoken horror that we see today.

2018-06-22 16:22:54
dandrew72 - I agree with those that have posted here thus far, that we shouldn't seek to sanitize our fiction of the vulgarities and wrongs that make up humanity. We can't pretend that people don't hold views or say things that are vile. If and when we do, the fiction that results is less genuine. Fiction is best when it has a streak of reality in it and the reality is, some people are just terrible. I wouldn't suggest that Card's statement about President Obama is necessarily racist. It's little different than what some Obama supporters said about President Obama before his election in 2008. Ultimately, whether Card is or is not racist is irrelevant. If I read Card I do so to read his work of fiction - not to know the man. Much in the way if I listen to a symphony by Wagner I do so for the music even though Wagner was a virulent anti-semite. Or when I listen to Led Zeppelin it has everything to do with blue-based hard rock and nothing to do with the massive levels of alcohol and substances they subjected themselves to. In other words, you can enjoy the art without feeling any liking or affinity for the maker of that art.

2018-06-10 17:59:01
Hey you,

A general question, an answer, right now? Would be nice but some thought to the matter Might be in order:

When you’re old, not famous, no real financial basis to move about Unaided. When you witness evil grow standing on the outside with a clear view of the inside of the political beast as presented,and may or may not have even been part of it, but begin to recognize that the daily concerns of life fog that growing reality, what do you do?

Where do you, can you go?

Then no matter where you go, even if you are able,what then? That some other place, some rock to hide under?

What gets solved?

How do you live especially as one not empowered to do anything other than exist, a sheep, gun fodder, a cow to be milked and bilked.

Are you dissolved from the blame of racism, hate, crimes committed in your name, The People?

Repression and lies slowly raised in voice and volume like the flame on the fable’s slowly cooked frog?

What do you do? Word can hurt, but at least you know where the writer stands.

2018-06-10 12:04:01
r.tornello - The story also deals with children as soldiers and is not really addressed in any fashion that I recall.

racial slurs in story don't bother me as much as it does others. The political correctness of using or not using a term or name can take away from the reality of a situation. Say when one goes to Williamsburg VA, there are no slaves. It was a slave based economy.It sort of like when the DMF Dr. Ben Carson said the slaves shipped over were immigrants.

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