Teaser – Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game

Hello Internet. Welcome back for Teaser #4. And this particular book is something which I would prefer to showcase rather than review. Mostly because I had an awesome idea, but partly because I’d rather write using it as a framing device rather than an analytical textbook. Because so many people have done that!

The game was one of many, and it was designed to be impossible. It was supposed to teach the cadets that sometimes, defeat was inevitable. The Giant would sit there, looking at the two different glasses. The contents were randomly generated based on an amazingly massive number of different deaths for the mouse player. They could be suffocated by the liquid as if by asphyxiation, squashed as if affected by massive pressure, explode like they were firecrackers, inflate to balloon-like proportions and the surprisingly frequent drowning in the cup if they fall in to it, being either dissolved or left to float to the top of the glass. It would have been macabre if it wasn’t always so comically rendered in digital polygons.

The Giant would gesture to the mouse, and point to the glasses. He would tell them that one glass would save them and allow them to progress, and one glass would kill them. He would be lying. Both the glasses were pointless. The liquids would be either volatile, poisonous or outright explosive in some rare cases. The mouse, the player’s avatar, would then have to make a choice or they would be squashed by the Giant. And they would make their choice, and the corresponding death would play in front of the player as the words “Game Over” were displayed in tacky red lettering on the screen. The player would then be brought back to the main arcade screen. Normally by the fifth or so try they would understand they wouldn’t win, and give up.

But the Wiggin boy wasn’t like the others. He would try again, and again, whenever he got the time. He would make his way through the first minute and fifteen seconds of the level, his time differing by seconds every time depending on the outcome of the battle he had won (heavy losses, difficult conditions, two opposing teams, etc.). The battle where he first found out about the unfreezing suits added a full ten seconds onto the time it took him to finish the level.

But one day, his avatar just stopped. It waited for almost 30 seconds, with the Giant giving it the evil eye. As the Giant finally “made up it’s mind” to kill the mouse, Wiggin made it jump onto his hand. The mouse ran up the arm of the Giant, and ran to his face. The mouse jumped at the Giant’s eye, clawing and biting. The Giant was dead before it hit the ground. In the real world, Ender threw his tablet at the wall in disgust for what he had done. But for the people watching him, that was the last reason they needed to tell he was ready.

Ender’s Game was published in 1985 by Tor Books. It can be found on Amazon here.

Yours: J.M. Pear

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Teaser – Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card