I love edited volumes that provide more insights into my favorite works of fiction. Unfortunately, I didn't find this book to be all that insightful. Far too many essays lack focus and bring personal aspects into the story (one author seems to have a Napoleonic complex and views the world as conspiring against short people). Part of the problem is that most of the contributors to this volume aren't particularly famous in their own right so it's difficult to connect with them or understand why we should pay attention to their analysis.
That said, there are some useful essays. Kowal's essay about breaking the rules is very useful for writers as she talks about how Ender's Game breaks several writing conventions but also why. Stone's essay about the ending is a useful conceptualization of the main arc of the story and how the ending of the book really makes it stand out. I also enjoyed the two essays about military leadership and Ender's Game (by Col. Ruby and Schmitt). It turns out many in the military found Ender to be a useful model of successful military leadership.
Most of the other essays rehashed familiar territory or didn't necessarily enhance my enjoyment of the book. Too many were too introspective, with tangents into the authors' personal lives or experiences reading Ender. Again, I think the contributors could have been better selected.
The best part of the book is the interview with Orson Scott Card. The questions are focus on deeper aspects of the story and Card provides lengthy and insightful answers. Through the interviews, I learned why Ender's parents weren't well developed as characters and why Card has introduced some inconsistencies in later Enderverse books. I don't think the interview is available elsewhere and the book might be worthwhile just for it alone.
Overall, if you have spare money and love Ender, I'd recommend reading the interviews and select essays and skipping the rest. There are some insights to be gleaned from this book, but on average I'd give it 3.5 stars.
- Audio CD
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (2 April 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1470838885
- ISBN-13: 978-1470838881
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.3 x 14.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 159 g
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