With its recent film adaptation, now is as good a time as any to discover (or rediscover) the science fiction classic, Ender's Game. Ender's Game tells the story of a child prodigy, Ender Wiggin, being groomed as humanity's last hope in an intergalactic war. Ender is trained to lead humanity's military forces through war games, fighting against other genius children like himself. The adults overseeing his life constantly change the rules to stack the odds against him, forcing Ender to adopt to ever harsher conditions and cultivate a perfect military mind.
Though much of the action in Ender's Game focuses on the games themselves, the story is very much an exploration of the character of Ender Wiggin. Ender is brilliant but vulnerable. He excels at defeating his enemies because he can understand them, but this understanding makes destroying his opponents painful. He is a genius at conquering the challenges forced on him, but his victory isolates him from other people. Though a “boy genius,” Ender is still a very real child, with a desperate desire for acceptance that is at odds with his own achievements.
Ender's Game is a story that appeals to all age groups. Younger readers will empathize with Ender's isolation and struggle in a hostile, changing environment, while older readers can appreciate the moral complexities of using child soldiers in an impossible war. Though nearly thirty years old now, Ender's Game is still worthwhile, with very real characters in a complicated, engaging world.