First Meetings in Ender’s Universe by Orson Scott Card
This anthology seemed like the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel that this series has become. That’s because, in it, we find some of the humor that made the previous books sparkle. It also shows us how long the military had been planning to reap the benefits of the genetics of the Wiggin line.
The Polish Boy
We meet John Paul Wiggin before he had Ender during the first two Bugger Wars. Since the Hegemony needs commanders who can win the battles heading their way, they try to get John on their side. That proves to be quite a challenge!
The story of how Ender’s parents meet and fall in love. We also see how they were smart in their own right.
The Investment Counselor
Ender must pay taxes now that he is of age. But he can’t out himself to the world or how much wealth he has accumulated due to his actions. That’s when he first meets Jane.
All in all, fun stories that you’ll gobble up in no time.
P.S. the book also includes Ender’s Game as a novella.
A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card
A short story about the Battle School students secretly rebelling when they decide to celebrate Sinterklaas Day. They’re disobeying their superiors who have banned any overt religious symbols, practices, etc.
Here’s what I thought of it:
Ender has already heading towards saint-ship as the author revisits this series.
The characters claim that Sinterklaas Day isn’t religious when in fact, it is part of the Christmas celebrations in the Netherlands.
I found traces of islamophobia in how easy it was to pit a student of Muslim faith against the others.
I have no clue why we needed this short story.
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
This novel — if it can be called that — was written so the readers could find out what Ender was up to. They span the events that took place after he blew up an alien species and just after he lands on the new colony. The latter would be the setting for the next two books, Xenocide and Children of the Mind.
And that is the only good thing about the book. Because the rest is further destruction of a beloved series. Some reasons why:
Ender is now two steps away from sainthood. He has also become omniscient, so he’s on to the captain’s plan of usurping Ender’s governorship. In short, Ender has become very irritating.
If there is no use to Valentine’s presence, why is she even there?
Events that were important enough to require a whole book to themselves were congealed into a chapter or two. I mean, we know Bean and love him. The same is true for Petra. Both were instrumental in Ender being able to defeat the aliens. So, they get married when Ender loses his head for a bit. More wackiness ensues when Ender comes across one of Bean’s children who has been turned against him. How the whole thing is handled was cringy and cheesy. Moreover, it deserved a whole book and not just a few pages.
Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card
Simply put, I’ve NO clue why this book needed to be written in the first place. We were already racing downhill with the one before this. But this one took the wrecking of a great series to even higher levels.
Picture a beloved character who cannot live with the guilt of xenogenesis. You’d think they’d be somebody full of humility. But no, we get an Ender who is so egoistic that he dreams up younger versions of his siblings. Aside from the incestuous ickiness that is his sister and the psychopathic mess that’s his brother, the fact is they’re both ENDER!
Oh, and now Jane — the supercomputer — isn’t AI but a minor deity or some shit. I mean, why? Oh, and she needs a body to inhabit so she can survive. And guess who has two extra husks just waiting to be reaped? That’s right, ENDER!
Peter and whatsername are soooooo irritating. All the pseudophilosophy crap made me want to kick their butt back to where they came from. And it doesn’t take them more than a month to fall in love. Ugh.
Novinha and her whole family should be relegated to the deepest parts of bookish hell and made to stay there. All of them are irritating, think too much, and beyond selfish. Here’s why:
Novinha: I love Ender but I’ll make his life hell for trying to save the world.
Miro: I love Jane. No, I love Young Val. Ooh, Jane needs a body? How about Young Val’s? I couldn’t bear it if Young Val died. Oh, she’s dead and Jane’s piloting her body. Hmm…maybe I love Jane.
Quara: *spits verbal venom at everyone* Why does everybody hate me? *continues with the venomous speech and throws in xenogenesis for good measure*
The Other Sister whatsername: I’m just here to be useless since I already pulled a rabbit out of my hat in one of the previous books — literally made a chemical molecule and the answer to everybody’s prayers out of thin air.
Everybody on the colony: We can travel via ansible and be literally anywhere in the galaxy in the blink of an eye. But let’s not go to the people currently trying to vaporize us because of a virus and tell them that whatserface imagined the vaccine for it. Instead, let’s be underhanded and sneaky.
In conclusion: AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!