Battlepanda: Monday Book Blogging: Ender's Game


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Book Blogging: Ender's Game

Wow! A fiction book! True, it's hardly War and Peace, but for some perverse reason I feel a swelling of pride just making it all the way through a narrative book these days, even if it is science fiction aimed at a young adult demographic. You see, what I wrote about the atrophying of my reading capabilities after extensive blogging goes double for fiction books:
Too much of my disposable time is taken up blogging and watching TV. I love both dearly, but I can almost hear my attention span shrinking. After a long blogging session, trying to focus on a book can be like trying to climb up a slippery pole -- my eyeballs keep losing hold of the text after a few pages and my brain screams for something new, something new.
With non-fiction, writers generally try to cram as much information into their paragraphs as possible. The style, for the most part, is less florid, though some are very vivid. A non-fiction book is an informational delivery device rather than, to quote Jasper Fforde's delightful term for fiction, an imagino-transference device. It is a regrettable fact that as I have grown older, it is becoming harder and harder to immerse myself in a book as completely as I used to be able to. I didn't used to read books as a child -- they transported me to another world. The struts and supports of prose and plot fell away for me very easily. Now I'm so information-oriented. Any descriptive scenes that don't advance the plot kills me. Even as the plot advances, sometimes I find that I just don't care.

All of this is a round-about way of saying that I probably would have enjoyed Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card a lot more if I read it a decade and a half earlier. The details of Ender's world as a child soldier is superbly rendered. The characters are real despite sprouting dialog that seems fake. The situations they find themselves in are highly improbable but psychologically compelling. I was never much for "boy genius against the world" type stories, then or now. But this was a well-written book.

I also think it would have helped if I didn't find out halfway through the book that Card himself is the biggest religious douchbag who goes to bat vigorously for ID and writes disturbing anti-gay screeds that say horrid, bigoted things in such a reasoned, evenhanded tone that it makes me want to scream.

So, what's next for book blogging? Gods help us, it's a self-help book. Believe me, I do need the help in this area so very badly. It's called Getting Things Done by David Allen, and I've heard good things.