I love Orson Scott Card. Ender’s Game and Pastwatch: the Redemption of Christopher Columbus, are on my list of all-time best books I’ve ever read. There’s just something about military-trained underage geniuses saving the world without knowing it that ignites the fascination reflex. I thought it would make a fantastic sci-fi action film, and I eagerly scooped up the many sequels that followed. Though none are quite as awesome as the original, all of them will be prime candidates for future film adaptation, once the Ender’s Game movie finally makes it through development hell and into pre-production.
The space-based Ender sequels (Speaker for the Dead through Children of the Mind) could become a saga of sci-fi mystery thrillers featuring friendly pig-like aliens who, for no reason anyone can figure out, occasionally murder their closest human friends. The Earth-based sequels starring Ender’s former subordinates (all the Shadow of books) could become a sequence of military-political thrillers culminating in Ender’s brother ruling the world. The one sequel I strongly urge the producers to stay away from is the latest: Ender in Exile.
Ender in Exile purports to fill in the gaps between Ender’s Game and the later Ender sequels, which take place far in the future on other worlds. In it, Ender leaves Earth to become governor of a new colony located on a world that belonged to the enemy before Ender wiped them out.
Sounds interesting, right? I thought so too, when I picked it up. Unfortunately, the entire book (based on what I read – I finally gave up about halfway through) is nothing but a bunch of conversations strung together. Apparently it was created by combining the short stories Orson Scott Card wrote to promote his speculative fiction webzine with some filler material and a few references to the other books to please the hardcore fans. The script for such a book, should anyone be foolish enough to try and adapt it, would look something like this:
It’s like My Dinner with Andre in space, with occasional set and character changes (okay, so not THAT much like My Dinner with Andre). My point is that all they ever do is talk about the interesting stuff, when they should be doing it. “Show don’t tell” – that’s the number one rule for screenwriters. The entire plot would have to be completely overhauled to make it filmable.
I suppose the book could have gotten better after the halfway mark, but what kind of author forces readers to get through 200 pages of boredom/torture of J.R.R. Tolkien proportions before rewarding them with the good stuff? Not one I want to read! Stacked against the other entries in the Ender series, this one looks like a phone-in job (what happened Orson Scott Card, did you need the money?), which is why I hope Hollywood producers are smart enough to see past the dollar signs in their eyes and give it a pass.
Check out the better Orson Scott Card books