Science Fiction Virtual Reality:  Assignments

Journal Entry for Ender's Game submitted anonymously

Ender's Game was the first science fiction book that I have ever read. I was a fascinating experience, to say the least. The book was easier to read than I anticipated, given my reading background. Card's clarity in writing was greatly appreciated. It allowed me to concentrate on the story rather than get entangled in the telling of it. Similar to Cards's response to Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, "this book... set me not to dreaming, but to thinking... What would the future be like?

The most thought provoking aspect of this book was the youth, and vulnerability of the main characters. The thought that these children were being put through the rigors of such a life was so unbelievable that it could be dismissed as merely fiction. I found myself thinking if this could be reality and how long if so. They say that kids are growing up faster than ever, but how far will the acceleration of maturity concept go? I see our generation dealing with issues such as sex, child birth, etc... at a much earlier stage than our counterparts of a generation before. Was Card hitting at such a reality in this seemingly unrelated story?

The issue of genetic engineering also peaked my interest. It was mildly upsetting to think of the government actually implementing an imperfect science with such drastic ramifications. In an effort to develop someone such as Ender, they created individuals such as Peter. Who knows how many other children were engineered incorrectly ? How did they affect their families and neighborhoods, in general? Such individuals could pose a serious threat to society. Just think about it. How Peter have pursued his agenda without the calming affect of Valentine?

As a person of African ancestry, genetic engineering of this sort raises some thoughts in my mind. First of, who will be in control of such a program and what will be their ultimate goals. Will they be elitist or will they subscribe to they idea of improving life for all? Cultural bias in such a program would be a drastic blow to the progress of the group being ignored. These are key issues that come to mind. The development of individuals with "superior intellect" would give an immense advantage to the group benefiting from such a program. This would certainly result in a nation more stratified than we see today. I don't believe those of African ancestry could tolerate a worsening of the situation, as a whole. Hmm.Come to think of it; I believe that something of that nature may be occurring at the moment. As the world progress further into an age of Information, the computer is becoming a vital tool to the success of an upcoming student and individual. Those with the skills of manipulating in such a world face a less daunting life than those unfamiliar with the computer world. This will become even more true for the next generation. In light of this, most young African Americans will face a large obstacle. Many inner city schools are not equipped to prepare children for this "Information Age". Often, their home is even less equipped. As time progress, they are steadily loosing ground to those who interact with the technology on a regular basis from childhood. Will these kids be able to make themselves attractive to the work force? At what point in their learning process will they be exposed to the vital technologies. In my case, it was my freshman year in college. Prior to attending Rensselaer, I had used a computer less than 15 times. Ten of these were in elementary school when the principal introduced a new program. Thank God that I did attend this school; forcing me to get up to speed and immersing me in the culture.

Throughout this entry, I have not discussed much about the plot of the book. I believe my reasons for this are very clear. The book raised insightful questions in my mind. Nevertheless, The plot was a brilliant one that did not leave much to be desired. I found myself entrenched in the day to day living of the trainee at the school. What would be Ender's next challenge ? Would he ever be defeated? Would he ever just break down? I found it surprising that the game he was playing was more real than we knew. In addition to the storyline, Card does a great job in raising social issues while presenting a seemingly fantasy tale. That is the most comfortable for the reader. You can be detracted from the story and yet in tuned with the concepts presented. All in all, I liked it a great deal.

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Class web site created Fall 1996 by:
Ted Cooper, Brian Mardirosian, Tony Mrazik, and Sarah Takatani.