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Reading the Screen: Ender's Game

ender-coverAccording to this story at Ain’t It Cool News, Gavin Hood, director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is taking a stab at adapting Orson Scott Card’s classic novel Ender’s Game (1985).  

This isn’t the first time somebody’s tried to make a movie out of the book. It’s been tried, or suggested, a handful of times, but the book isn’t an easy one to turn into a film. Its central character, Andrew Wiggin (also known as Ender), is a young boy — when the story begins, he’s six years old. He’s uprooted from his life and whisked off to Battle School, where he and other children train to be military leaders in a seemingly inevitable war against an alien species.

Although there is some action in the book — several stirring scenes in which Ender discovers he’s something of a military genius — there’s also a lot of dialogue on the subjects of military strategy, philosophy, and political history.

The premise of the book (and its many sequels and spin-offs) makes it almost inherently unfilmable. Ender, and the other children in Battle School, have superior intellects; they converse like adults, they scheme and manipulate and plot against their comrades. Card pulls this off brilliantly, but will this work in a movie? Will the image of small children speaking Card’s very adult dialogue just seem foolish?

I think Ender’s Game is a wonderful novel. I also think it might be one of those books that are better left unfilmed. What are your thoughts?



About the Author:

David Pitt lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to reviewing for Booklist, he writes a monthly column about paperback fiction and nonfiction for the Winnipeg Free Press. He has contributed to The Booklist Reader since 2010.

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