Fans of Orson Scott Card were giddy this week as the trailer for the long awaited film based on his classic novel Ender’s Game hit the internet. Here is the trailer:
In 1977 when this book released I was in 2nd grade and Star Wars had just hit theaters. It wasn’t until Jedi was released in ’86 that I picked up a copy of this book and immediately identified with the angst of Ender. The book was like nothing I had ever read, the hero being a little boy who is forced to grow up very fast and rise through the ranks of his military to play a “game”, thinking he is on a training simulation but discovering he is actually waging real war.
This book was long before virtual reality video games, long before Kony’s boy soldiers. It was somehow shocking for me at the time, a young high school student, because it had the dynamic of a coming of age story with a truly hard-line and danger filled plot. For Ender it is kill or be killed, step on the necks of others to rise to the top, and all in the name of saving the human race. It is also great science-fiction in that it has so many different universal messages. It is about war, about the innocence of youth, about the power of the individual and about self-discovery. It is about family, the pain of loss and the struggles of sociological conundrums that many of us face.
I wish one day to meet Card, but one of my friends met him in 2000 and after the author signed his hard bound copy of Ender’s Game, my friend asked him if the book would ever be made into a movie. Orson replied: “There are such complexities to Ender that would be hard to translate to the big screen.”
This, indeed, is true.
I think it would be possible to translate all of the zero gravity wargames to screen pretty well, but much of the novel takes place within the mind of Ender, and it would be difficult to show his own internal struggles and difficulties in the Academy. The biggest problem would be the articles written by Ender’s sister and brother who orchestrate a cultural revolution on Earth. This plot detail takes up too much of the novel to simply cut it out and focus on the Academy. How will they do it? How will they translate this amazing book to the screen?
We will have to wait for that. Until then, fans of Ender’s Game will wait in eager anticipation until the November release date.