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  • #31

    The first Ender's Game "teaser trailer" was released today:

    It includes a couple seconds of fluid effects and dramatic dialogue!

    Despite Orson Scott Card's insistance to the contrary for the last 20 years, the actors are all teenagers.

    This parallels the BSA's move to move"Real" Scouting over to the Venturing program where many Scouts now first experience adventure and "leadership" in a Patrol-sized unit (if you can call anything with two-deep helicopters "leadership").

    Yours at 300 feet,



    • #32
      Interesting topic. All my kids enjoyed Ender's Game and the sequels.

      As was mentioned above, the military branches now have assigned reading lists for development of their troops, from enlisted up to General. Some are military history or books on leadership and logistics, some area and cultural studies, and some novels that teach and encourage the values the services want to develop in their members. So Marine recruits are to read "Battle Cry!" by Leon Uris, "Corps Values" by Zell Miller, "Making the Corps" by Thomas E. Ricks, and "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane. E1 through E4 are required to read, well "Enders Game" (The reason it is included? "In this science fiction novel, child genius Ender Wiggin is chosen by international military forces to save the world from destruction by a deadly alien race. His skills make him a leader yet Ender suffers from isolation and rivalry from his peers, pressure from adults, and fear of the enemy. His psychological battles include loneliness and fear that he is becoming like his cruel brother. The novel’s major theme is the concept of a “game” and all of the other important ideas in the novel are interpreted through this concept. Some of the important ideas in the book include: the relationship between children and adults, compassion, ruthlessness, friends and enemies, and the question of humanity: what it means to be human."), as well as "Gates of Fire," a novel about the Battle of Thermopylae, and others. If you're curious about what our Marines are reading, you can find the Commandant's required reading list here:

      Which led me to think (sometimes a dangerous thing): would it be worthwhile to require a Boy Scout (or an Adult Leader) to read a book at each level of advancement? We probably don't want Scouting to be too much like school, and I don't think book reports are something we want to add to Scouting, but something like the requirement to watch a movie for the Citizenship in the Community MB, just tell them that they should read certain books at each level, or maybe to have read them all for Eagle. Ones that they will enjoy and should also help with learning different values in Scouting. Maybe one to represent each of the values in the Scout Law. If as Kahuna suggested, Ender's Game isn't appropriate, which ones would be worthwhile? (Other than the obvious suggestions of the Handbook and Fieldbook).

      Just an idea, but what would you all suggest? Could be novels, could be books about Scout history, could be about leadership, could be about love and protection of the environment, could be about moral values.

      Some ideas off the top of my head:

      "Tunnel in the Sky" by Robert Heinlein - another SF novel which was written for the juvenile market by Heinlein in the 1960s but is suitable for both adults and kids. Set in a future where the combination of population pressures and the discovery of a stargate/wormhole have forced humanity to push its excess population to colonize habitable worlds. This has created a demand for survival/colonization experts that have mastered the old time skills of pioneering (kind of like, well, the Boy Scouts). The hero is a high school senior who is taking an AP college-level Individual Survival class. The final exam is that teens (some from high schools, some from college) are pushed through the stargate onto an uncolonized planet, and have to survive on their own for up to two weeks before a recall. You can bring any equipment you want with you. The hero, who is informed that there is a family crisis the night before the test, is pushed onto a jungle-type world and manages to survive the first two weeks, but he and the other students soon find that there is no recall, and they appear to be stuck on the planet for reasons unknown. They gradually form teams and eventually, government, with all the problems and the need to find solutions that entails.

      Heinlein wrote the novel as an answer to "Lord of the Flies," which he found pessimistic and unrealistic in regards to man's ability to cooperate and develop societies. There is a lot a boy could learn from this novel about mental, emotional, and physical survival, selecting equipment, working in groups, small and large unit leadership. Plus, it's just a great, fast-moving story. There's nothing in there that would be inappropriate for youths to read.

      Maybe "A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold or "Eric Sloane's Weather Book." For older scouts, maybe "The AMC Guide to Outdoor Leadership." "To Start a Fire and Other Stories" by Jack London.


      • #33

        The two minute trailer was released today, along with a thirty minute interview with director Gavin Hood, producer Bob Orci, and star Asa Butterfield (who plays Ender):


        • #34
          Kahuna's much earlier assessment of the book is exactly the way I remember it as well. I'll skip the film. I have no idea why anyone should consider leadership or much of anything else in life a 'game'.


          • #35
            "would it be worthwhile to require a Boy Scout (or an Adult Leader) to read a book at each level of advancement?" Diabolical! I love it!


            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment
              In another thread:

              In 1898 Robert Baden-Powell was more deeply influenced by his father's best-seller "The Order of Nature" following a spiritual awakening in Kashmir where B-P came to view camping and walking in wild places as an experience which transcended practical considerations:


            • MattR
              MattR commented
              Editing a comment
              Kudu, you like sending people off on their own to figure things out.

              Here's another idea for spiritual awakening on your own that I'd like to try some day with the scouts. It's something along the lines of the vigil ordeal or a vision quest. Find a pretty place away from everyone else and sit quietly for 24 hours tending a fire. You can bring religious material to read but no electronics, not even a watch. All the water you want but no food. You're asked to think about your place in your community. I talked to someone else that does this with his troop. He said it was great for the more mature scouts.

            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment

              Your Scouts might like some of Seton's Woodcraft Indian vigils:

              The Initiation Trials, especially "8. Lone Camp. Go forth alone into the woods at sunset, out of sight and sound of camp, or human habitation. Take blankets, axe and matches, etc., and make yourself comfortable overnight, not returning till sunrise."


              And the Naming Ceremony: "To the singing of the GHOST DANCE SONG (Song No. 42), the Medicine Man leads the way toward the Vigil Rock, where a fire has been laid beforehand."


          • #36
            Just back from the movie.

            They did a good job staying true to the book.

            Didn't really address the homicidal nature of Peter. They did not discuss Peter and his political aspirations on earth. They minimized Enders struggle at the battle school and the guilt after the genocide. Didn't do the ending justice or his break

            Harrison Ford, Asa and Ben Kingsley did a good job. Harrison may have been not intense enough.

            The CGI was incredible. The zero g battle room was fantastic, saw it in IMAX. made me a touch motion sick.

            I think the theme are too dark to make it the success of a star wars. The crowd was quiet when we were leaving. I think most had not read the book and were stunned by the ending.


            • Sentinel947
              Sentinel947 commented
              Editing a comment
              I'm planning to go see it on Saturday morning. I hope it's good.

            • Kudu
              Kudu commented
              Editing a comment
              Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
              I think the theme are too dark to make it the success of a star wars.
              I'm thinking maybe a Jar Jar Binks figure for the "Earth Unaware" prequel...

          • #37
            I hope to see it soon. Some trepidations--I don't like the look in the stills. My sons finally read it (after twisting arms for a couple years) and said it was "pretty good but not great". I do not think it resonated with them--ya never know. My older son--Mr Survival Man--hated "Hatchet".


            • #38
              The film is not true to Kahuna's assessment.

              In the novel when Stilson's gang confronts six-year-old Ender, the smaller, highly intelligent boy (the alter-ego of every sci-fi and/or Boy Scout nerd), not only kicks Stilson when he is down, but (unknowingly) delivers Stilson's death blow to warn the gang not to hurt him again:

              Then Ender looked at the others coldly. "You might be having some idea of ganging up on me. You could probably beat me up pretty bad. But just remember what I do to people who try to hurt me. From then on you'd be wondering when I'd get you, and how bad it would be." He kicked Stilson in the face. Blood from his nose spattered the ground nearby. "It wouldn't be this bad," Ender said. "It would be worse" (Kindle Locations 351-354).

              Ender is accepted into Battle School when he later explains to Graff "his belief that, by showing superiority now, he has prevented future struggle," an understanding of strategy reminiscent of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."

              Likewise, missing from the film are the scenes in which Ender breaks Bernard's arm during the flight to battle school, and singlehandedly takes on a group of older boys in the battleroom. Perhaps this missing hand-to-hand combat in "nullo" (no gravity) best illustrates Kahuna's primary objection to the novel:

              Someone caught Ender by the foot. The tight grip gave Ender some leverage; he was able to stamp firmly on the other boy's ear and shoulder, making him cry out and let go. If the boy had let go just as Ender kicked downward, it would have hurt much less and allowed Ender to use the maneuver as a launch. Instead, the boy had hung on too well; his ear was torn and scattering blood in the air, and Ender was drifting even more slowly.   I'm doing it again, thought Ender. I'm hurting people again, just to save myself. Why don't they leave me alone, so I don't have to hurt them?   Three more boys were converging on him now, and this time they were acting together. Still, they had to grab him before they could hurt him. Ender positioned himself quickly so that two of them would take his feet, leaving his hands free to deal with the third.

              Sure enough, they took the bait. Ender grasped the shoulders of the third boy's shirt and pulled him up sharply, butting him in the face with his helmet. Again a scream and a shower of blood. The two boys who had his legs were wrenching at them, twisting him. Ender threw the boy with the bleeding nose at one of them; they entangled, and Ender's leg came free. It was a simple matter then to use the other boy's hold for leverage to kick him firmly in the groin, then shove off him in the direction of the door. He didn't get that good a launch, so that his speed was nothing special, but it didn't matter. No one was following him.   He got to his friends at the door. They caught him and handed him along to the door. They were laughing and slapping him playfully. "You bad!" they said. "You scary! You flame!"   "Practice is over for the day," Ender said.   "They'll be back tomorrow," said Shen.   "Won't do them any good," said Ender. "If they come without suits, we'll do this again. If they come with suits, we can flash them."   "Besides," said Alai, "the teachers won't let it happen."   Ender remembered what Dink had told him, and wondered if Alai was right.

              "Hey Ender!" shouted one of the older boys as Ender left the battle room. "You nothing, man! You be nothing!"   "My old commander Bonzo," said Ender. "I think he doesn't like me."   Ender checked the rosters on his desk that night. Four boys turned up on medical report. One with bruised ribs, one with a bruised testicle, one with a torn ear, and one with a broken nose and a loose tooth. The cause of injury was the same in all cases: ACCIDENTAL COLLISION IN NULL G   If the teachers were allowing that to turn up on the official report, it was obvious they didn't intend to punish anyone for the nasty little skirmish in the battleroom. Aren't they going to do anything? Don't they care what goes on in this school? (Kindle Locations 1850-1881).

              Finally, the missing death blow scene in the shower (In the film, Bonzo is pushed backward by Ender and hits his head by accident):

              Ender whirled in time to see Bonzo stagger backward, his nose bleeding, gasping from surprise and pain. Ender knew that at this moment he might be able to walk out of the room and end the battle.  The way he had escaped from the battleroom after drawing blood. But the battle would only be fought again. Again and again until the will to fight was finished.  The only way to end things completely was to hurt Bonzo enough that his fear was stronger than his hate.  

              So Ender leaned back against the wall behind him, then jumped up and pushed off with his arms. His feet landed in Bonzo's belly and chest.  Ender spun in the air and landed on his toes and hands; he flipped over, scooted under Bonzo, and this time when he kicked upward into Bonzo's crotch, he connected, hard and sure.   Bonzo did not cry out in pain. He did not react at all, except that his body rose a little in the air. It was as if Ender had kicked a piece of furniture. Bonzo collapsed, fell to the side, and sprawled directly under the spray of streaming water from a shower. He made no movement whatever to escape the murderous heat (Kindle Locations 3211-3220).

              Basement writes that "Harrison may have been not intense enough." For many years fans said the book was unfilmable because the drama takes place inside Ender's heart and head. Harrison's portrayal of Graff is heartless and calculating enough for me, but the film is so fast-paced that Ender never seems to experience the utter and absolute isolation that Harrison's Graff defends, and that Kahuna so emphatically decries.

              Aside from Kahuna's objections to the novel, also missing from the film are plot and character developments for events I hope to see in sequels. In the twelve (12) novel sequence, Bean and Peter join forces on Earth, while Ender, Valentine, and "Jane" travel the stars for thousands of Earth years in search of a home planet for the Formic queen.

              All of that being said, the film exceeded my expectations, and continues to stand up after three viewings.

              In the novel, Bean is younger and smaller than little Ender, has a much higher IQ than child genius Andrew, has a better grasp of strategy than Commander Wiggen, and is more ruthless than "Ender the Xenocide." What makes Ender the better leader, is his unique blend of empathy and killer instinct. In this the film is true to Card's raft scene, which expresses the novel's central theme:

              "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them--"   "You beat them."   "No, you don't understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again" (Kindle Locations 3609-3613).

              The missing scenes are more than compensated by Asa Butterfield's acting. Bearing is everything in the "Real" Patrol Method, because a Patrol Leader must be able to hold his own when the adults are not around.

              To that end, my favorite scene is Ender's solution to the unwinnable choice the giant offers his avatar in the Mind Game: Specifically, Butterfield's bearing when Ender explains his actions to Alai.
              Last edited by Kudu; 11-10-2013, 07:25 PM.


              • Sentinel947
                Sentinel947 commented
                Editing a comment
                I was worried how that scene looked to people that had never read the book. The movie made Ender look psychopathic and violent, when he really is a very reluctant killer.

            • #39
              So I just bought Ender's Game on DVD, and the movie still gets me. I have so much appreciation for how the director owned this movie, while keeping the core of the book intact. Did he change things? yes, but honestly, it didn't hurt the movie much. The ending, the final 2 minutes or so, was arguably stronger than the books ending.


              • #40
                I think the murder, early in the story, is not a crucial component and sanitizing that is probably OK. The part that I think failed was that there wasn't much of an ethical struggle regarding the genocide. Almost an afterthought. But I guess that's not too different from real life considering how we humans have treated so much of this planet.


                • packsaddle
                  packsaddle commented
                  Editing a comment
                  OK, editing is not working now.
                  So, in retrospect, I do appreciate that both the book and the movie provide a lesson to our young people - not to trust authority.

              • #41
                The Hayekian Liberty of Ender’s Game


                by Joe Carter on Thursday, March 13, 2014

                My conversion into a fan of science-fiction began with an unusual order from a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “Each Marine shall read a minimum of three books from the [Commandant’s Professional Reading List] each year.”

                Included on the list of books suitable for shaping the minds of young Lance Corporals like me were two sci-fi novels: Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

                I soon discovered what lay hidden in these literary gems. Along with surprisingly intriguing story lines, both novels provide some keen insights on the role of training, discipline, and creativity in preparing an effective military. But Ender’s Game also included a concept that, at the time (1990), I would not have been able to classify: a Hayekian view of knowledge and liberty.

                As Sam Staley says, the novel provides “lessons about individualism, liberty, and the value of markets.”

                Ender has a startling degree of empathy. He understands the motivations and psyche of his friends and his enemies. And, as a commander, he allows his officers to lead, take risks, and use their judgement. Even when he is outnumbered, Ender is able to use the creativity of his sub-commanders to gain advantage. In fact, Ender’s insubordination—his willingness to take risks and follow his own path–is an essential part of his development as a commander. This is the entrepreneurialism that forms the heart of much free-market economics, particularly Austrian economics.

                In contrast, his enemy, “the buggers,” are directed by a central commander. A Queen Bee, if you will. The enemy’s strategy is centrally coordinated. More uniquely, their entire strategy is based on complete and instantaneous knowledge of the central planners goals, values, and directives. It is a true collective. Even in this ideal setting, the centrally coordinated strategy is less adaptable, less nimble, less robust, and, ultimately, less resilient.

                Thus, Card has set up a battle of values and social systems, not just military strategies. Ender instinctively and effectively utilizes the intelligence of all the individuals in his fleet by letting them use their decentralized and fragmented knowledge, expertise, and skills to make critical decisions in the field, including being alert to new opportunities (entrepreneurship) and being accountable for their actions. While Ender still plays the commander, he learns that his effectiveness increases by giving his friends more freedom, not less. Humans survive the war, thus showing the benefits of individual freedom over central planning.

                Ender’s Game is one of my all-time favorite novels of any genre, so I recommend it unreservedly....

                And if you’re already a fan of the Ender Wiggin’s saga, check out Jaqueline Isaacs’ “Five Books You’ll Love if You Liked ‘Ender’s Game’”.