Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card

Embarrassing but true: I’m still a sucker for books in the Ender’s Game “series.” I know it’s an artifice to put that in quotes, but I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about. Look, I know Card is totally bonkers, and I know not only how each story is going to go, but also how it’s going to feel as I read it.

And still.

Can’t quit it.

Probably has something to do with what a wonderful book Ender’s Game is, and how important it was for me (and presumably all 30-something nerds) when I was growing up.

It’s sort of like having Christmas cookies. Each year, you know what they’re gonna taste like, you know they’re not that good for you, but it’s comforting. Comfort science fiction, we’ll call it.

Anyhoo, this book is precisely what you’d think a book set between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead is. Good enough, enjoyable. Nothing that’s shocking.


  1. I lost my ability to get past Card’s “Hey look, I’m a loon!” issues a few years ago. Since then, I’ve had a hard time enjoying his works or supporting his writing.

  2. I have everything up through “Shadow Puppets”, and I’ve just found them to become less enjoyable as the series progressed. “Ender’s Game” is of course a classic, but the three sequels became progressively less interesting. Likewise, I enjoyed “Ender’s Shadow”, but the sequels there just seemed not as good. I’ve considered buying “Ender in Exile” but just can’t convince myself I’m going to enjoy it enough to bother. Card’s looniness hasn’t really been a factor, I think he’s just never managed to match the quality of “Ender’s Game”. “Ender’s Shadow” may have been the second most enjoyable only because it revisits that storyline which we all hold so dearly.

  3. I, too, feel this dilemma. Read all the Ender books between high school and college, then later found out how much a loon Card is. I read the last few and found out even more how much a loon he is. Now, this one’s out and I’m so tempted to buy it.

    Maybe I’ll get it from the library and tell myself the cookies are non-fattening. 🙂

  4. les, let me loan it to you. that way you can take a look without embiggening the card-economy.

  5. Weird, your main blog page shows a different number of comments in summary than are displayed here, John. 🙂

  6. @al I like to mix it up that way. keeps things fresh, and you on your toes. actually, no, not really. it’s been screwed up since i started messing with (and uninstalling) disqus. who knows.

  7. Jesse M.X. Gangl

    I’m seeing the word “loon” tossed around quite a bit here, and the elephant in the room (appropriately) is politics. Frankly, conservatives have had to suck it up and turn a biologically impossible number of blind eyes in order to find almost any entertainment outlets in the last several decades. If you can’t show a little “tolerance” and engage a work of art without (sometimes bigoted) hostility towards its creator, I think that’s a personal defect.

    As for finding Card’s books dull, that’s legitimate and I can understand it. I don’t share the view, but I acknowledge that there’s a narrative edge to Ender’s Game that isn’t in the other books. I don’t think they suffer for this, necessarily; they’re just a different animal. This most recent book probably has more in common with the later entries in the series, but it does provide new incite, explanation, and expansion to the action of Ender’s Game that is evidence of Card’s intervening accumulated experience as a writer. There are also some satisfying links between Ender’s and Bean’s story arcs. Because of this, though, reading Ender in Exile without having the entire Shadow series under your belt is not advised. Of all the Enderverse books published, this should be read last for plot reasons.