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    Default Ender's Game

    First of all, if you haven't read Ender's Game yet, but intend to, stop right here, as this post will contain spoilers.







    It just occured to me just how deep the parallel between Erfworld and Ender's Game runs. Back in his third KLog entry, Parson states how an Ender's Game type solution to the situation he has found himself in would be his favourite, and that's precisely what he ended up doing - he mirrored even the "kill own ships soldiers and enemy fleet soldiers alike, all of them, and do so by blowing up the very planet battlefield fought for". That much seems obvious, and I suspect it's been pointed out a couple dozen times already throughout the various threads here.

    But reading the last couple of strips and in particular Summer Update #8 (link might get outdated at any moment), I realized the parallel goes much farther. Just like Ender, Parson loathes what he has done; is, in fact, going crazy because of his guilt. He has reached exactly what he has been striving for, what he has been obsessed about for the entire duration of this war, but in doing so, he has become a murderer, a monster in his own eyes. And he is resolved to not let the forces that used him for this purpose use him ever again, not for killing anyway. A perfect parallel to Orson Scott Card's novel, once more.

    I don't know whether this has been pointed out as well already; I didn't see any threads around here concerned with it though, so I thought I'd just post that thought here.
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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    He did mention Ender's Game in the Strategery klog (38b).
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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    Well, as long as we don't get a follow-up story from the PoV of Bogroll, I think you might be reading a bit too much into this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MReav View Post
    He did mention Ender's Game in the Strategery klog (38b).
    You mean the Klog I mentioned and linked to in my post? That Klog?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Well, as long as we don't get a follow-up story from the PoV of Bogroll, I think you might be reading a bit too much into this.
    I'm not quite sure what you think I am reading into it. I do not claim Rob and Jaimie are trying to re-tell their own version (if they did, Parson would have to start a new religion in book 2 and make a jump of several ten thousand turns ). I just thought it was funny how close the parallel was, even beyond Parson having found the solution he specified in that KLog entry.
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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    Yeah, I also realized the similarities not long after re-reading the Ender series recently.
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    Hmm. You are onto something here. They both are the result of the search for the perfect general, they were both manipulated in such a way that they didn't know exactly what they were doing. (Ender thought it was a simulation. Parson a dream, and he was also manipulated by erfworld itself and therefore was unsure if he was responsible.) And, as you said, they both regret their actions.

    So what does this mean for the comic? Most likely then, like Ender, Parson will become an agent of peace then. (Not exactly a brilliant deduction on my part, because the hippymancer said just that) So the question becomes "Will Parson lead any more battles?" I wouldn't be surprised if he,like ender, tries to undo the damage he caused. Maybe he will try to destroy the artifacts, or maybe attempt to undecrypt Ansom and his followers.
    Last edited by Lazy Fat Man; 2009-07-03 at 03:48 PM.
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    I disagree. I think he will fight battles, plenty of more battles. But they will be his battles. He may have said he wasn't a gamepiece, but he also said he was a player. And players, play.
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    It's just a superficial impression. There's plenty of diferences.

    Parson:
    -His last move is he trying to win at ALL costs. Supreme general.
    -Parson's enemies actually give him a run for his money on the last rounds.
    -The other side has been crippled, but it's far away from completely obliterated
    -He designed his own super weapon.
    -Parson acomplishes this when everybody around him is saying he'll fail and struggles to keep the loyalty of his forces.
    -He didn't kill all his forces. He saved the mancers and some uncroackeds and one golem survived to hold the city.
    -Parson is a fat guy who has trouble climbing stairs, really needs to worck his social skills, and was actually doing what he liked. He wanted to lead troops into battles. He wanted to crush the other side. He just didn't admit it yet.

    Marty Stu Ender:
    -His last move is basically him trying make a big disaster so he gets fired. Emo kid.
    -The bugs just stand there and let themselves get shot to death whitout shooting back.
    -Main character's plot power is so powerfull he complitelly obliterates the other side in one sweep.
    -Was handed his super weapon in a silver plate.
    -Marty Stu Ender it's the center of the atentions of it's side as they treat him as their god.
    -Just didn't kill his own friends because they were siting a billion light years away.
    -Did I mention how Marty Stu Ender is really charismatic and a martial arts expert and how perfect and tragic he is and how the entire galaxy spins around him?

    So no, not a lot of similarities really. One is a Mary Stu with a plot shield OVER 9000, another is a nerd gamer who's actually a good strategist and is doing what he wants.

    After all, Parson didn't quit from his place, he was basically replaced by Ansom. And we all know the real reason he did this is so he gets a shot at geting more indepent actions. He's a player, and players follow their own path.
    Last edited by Oslecamo; 2009-07-04 at 02:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    It's just a superficial impression. There's plenty of diferences.

    Parson:
    -His last move is he trying to win at ALL costs. Supreme general.
    -Parson's enemies actually give him a run for his money on the last rounds.
    -The other side has been crippled, but it's far away from completely obliterated
    -He designed his own super weapon.
    -Parson acomplishes this when everybody around him is saying he'll fail and struggles to keep the loyalty of his forces.
    -He didn't kill all his forces. He saved the mancers and some uncroackeds and one golem survived to hold the city.
    -Parson is a fat guy who has trouble climbing stairs, really needs to worck his social skills, and was actually doing what he liked. He wanted to lead troops into battles. He wanted to crush the other side. He just didn't admit it yet.

    Marty Stu Ender:
    -His last move is basically him trying make a big disaster so he gets fired. Emo kid.
    -The bugs just stand there and let themselves get shot to death whitout shooting back.
    -Main character's plot power is so powerfull he complitelly obliterates the other side in one sweep.
    -Was handed his super weapon in a silver plate.
    -Marty Stu Ender it's the center of the atentions of it's side as they treat him as their god.
    -Just didn't kill his own friends because they were siting a billion light years away.
    -Did I mention how Marty Stu Ender is really charismatic and a martial arts expert and how perfect and tragic he is and how the entire galaxy spins around him?

    So no, not a lot of similarities really. One is a Mary Stu with a plot shield OVER 9000, another is a nerd gamer who's actually a good strategist and is doing what he wants.

    After all, Parson didn't quit from his place, he was basically replaced by Ansom. And we all know the real reason he did this is so he gets a shot at geting more indepent actions. He's a player, and players follow their own path.
    you forgot some: Marty Stu Ender drastically changes people's worldview simply by existing.
    Mary Suedom runs in his family: Valentine is So Brilliant she defines the cultural identities of many many planets, his parents are both persecuted for their religions but ooh they're smart, his brother becomes the Emperor of Mankind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribble View Post
    you forgot some: Marty Stu Ender drastically changes people's worldview simply by existing.
    Mary Suedom runs in his family: Valentine is So Brilliant she defines the cultural identities of many many planets, his parents are both persecuted for their religions but ooh they're smart, his brother becomes the Emperor of Mankind.
    Ah, yes the little kids that conquered the world trough chat rooms and by killing little animals, how could I forget.

    Don't get me started on how even the internet itself literally becomes an sentient being so it can devote herself completely to Mary Stu Ender.

    So, if Parson was closely remoted to Marty Stu Ender, by now there would've apeared some super unit that would pledge her loyalty to Hamster and make Wanda look like a crippled commoner.

    Or at least all beings in Efworld, Stanley included, would be on their knees licking Hamster's boots and fighting for the honor of granting Parson's wishes.
    Last edited by Oslecamo; 2009-07-04 at 06:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    I can see what you're saying, but I don't remember the book being that bad when I read it... do I need to brush up on my literary taste?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomFox View Post
    I can see what you're saying, but I don't remember the book being that bad when I read it... do I need to brush up on my literary taste?
    No, the first book is a perfectly decent piece of literature.

    Later book tend to be the causes of the dislike.
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    Although all the complained about points are from the first book.

    Meh, I'm willing to overlook things. For one, Ender was manipulated from the start. It's hard to take him as an overblown Sue when he's dancing like a puppet on the BattleSchool's strings.

    Plus they go ahead and name him the Xenocide in the next book. Which is good on the surface. Just beneath that, you realize it's because of teh awesome bookzor he wrote about how tragic he is, but it was nice for a few pages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_JJ View Post
    Meh, I'm willing to overlook things. For one, Ender was manipulated from the start. It's hard to take him as an overblown Sue when he's dancing like a puppet on the BattleSchool's strings.
    The simple fact that earth military counsil decides to put all of humanity bets on him whitout any real reason behind that shows how much of a Stu he is. Because you know, it's clearly best to give command of the troops to some kid who never fought a real battle instead of the veteran who won the last war against all odds after all.

    The galaxy spinning around you is one of the main syntoms of Mary Stuness.

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    Come on, people. It's '80s SF. IIRC, there was some speculation that children might be a lot smarter as they grew up than we gave them credit for (because they hadn't developed the wisdom and experience to properly exploit their intelligence).

    If it were true to the point where you could turn kids into super-strategists, the situation in the book might be how things end up - adult handlers manipulating youthful super-strategists until they break under the pressure. Don't look at the tactics or strategy, so much. Card isn't a military genius, after all. Look at the sociological implications, instead (which he tries to explore in the Ender's XXXXXX books, although he's rather clumsy in those, too).

    Sure, in the real world understanding the ~12 principles of warfare is more important than the genius of a child-savant who has to constantly reinvent the wheel, but . . .

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    Last edited by Thayus; 2009-07-05 at 09:50 AM.

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    the concept is a bit of an odd one. They did have a second choice (Bean)

    And apparently Ender's father would have qualified except for being too old.

    Also, the theory that a child was absolutely essential is...ususual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    The simple fact that earth military counsil decides to put all of humanity bets on him whitout any real reason behind that shows how much of a Stu he is. Because you know, it's clearly best to give command of the troops to some kid who never fought a real battle instead of the veteran who won the last war against all odds after all.

    The galaxy spinning around you is one of the main syntoms of Mary Stuness.
    Remember: To be a Stu, it has to be written badly. If you have to really observe the character and study the varying aspects of his story for you to notice, it's probably not a Stu. There are a lot of would-be Stu's out there that would make some good media horrifying to read/watch, but are just written so you never notice. I'd like to give a few examples but, as you can understand, it's a very... Sensitive subject. Nobody can really agree who is a Stu and who isn't. Usually if these debates occur in a very mature way, it's not a real Stu.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Well, as long as we don't get a follow-up story from the PoV of Bogroll, I think you might be reading a bit too much into this.
    Bogroll being retroactively more brilliant than he was.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    It's just a superficial impression. There's plenty of diferences.
    I don't think you understand what a, "Parallel," is.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    The simple fact that earth military counsil decides to put all of humanity bets on him whitout any real reason behind that shows how much of a Stu he is. Because you know, it's clearly best to give command of the troops to some kid who never fought a real battle instead of the veteran who won the last war against all odds after all.

    The galaxy spinning around you is one of the main syntoms of Mary Stuness.
    The reason they do this is explained in "Mazer in Prison". Mazer isn't that level of a commander. He's more than competent, but only had to beat the buggers once. Whoever ended up leading the third invasion would have to beat the buggers every time. So, battle school is created to screen every human at as young an age as possible, find the smart ones, and send them through training from hell in order to build up the mental and physical strength necessary to be in top mental shape for months on end. In short, they don't ride on everything on Ender for no reason, they ride everything on Ender because that's what he was trained for.

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    Ender's Game (and the following books) were written about kids, for kids. If you try to read too much into them, you're going to be disappointed.

    Was Ender a Mary Sue? Let's see. He was listed as the best and brightest in a large group of the best and the bright. Then, heroes aren't usually heroes because of their mediocrity. You could argue that most any hero is a Mary Sue on those guidelines.

    No, Mary Sues have several trademarks. And one is that everything must be about them. When they're not around, the only thing that is talked about is them. Most fawn over them, and the limited opposition that they have is scattered to the wind, and only serves to underscore their awesomeness.

    Not Ender. He started out largely hated. Lacking the physical attributes praised there, he was pretty much universally ostracized for most of his time there. He may have been good... But he was alone. Always seperated by the things that made him what he is. That's what the story was about, for many. He did what he had to do, and he did it brilliantly. But he had one or two who stuck up for him... Bean, Petra, the outcasts and misfits, and he was reviled by the rest.

    Sounds a lot like school growing up for many. The books caught on because they chronicle the beginning social experience for many. Being on the outside, looking in.

    In that, I think Parson's Erfworld doesn't parallel Ender's Game too closely, as Parson started in a position of power (Chief Warlord), and in that erfworld doesn't convey the clique/schoolyard gang theme that most of the Ender's Game book had.
    Last edited by Talic; 2009-07-06 at 01:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talic View Post
    Not Ender. He started out largely hated. Lacking the physical attributes praised there, he was pretty much universally ostracized for most of his time there. He may have been good... But he was alone. Always seperated by the things that made him what he is. That's what the story was about, for many. He did what he had to do, and he did it brilliantly. But he had one or two who stuck up for him... Bean, Petra, the outcasts and misfits, and he was reviled by the rest.
    People who hate Ender:
    -Half the school kids. Probably because of Ender's habit to humiliate them and then kill them at cold blood for the shligtest provocation.

    People who love Ender:
    -The other half of the school.
    -The internet itself.
    -Several trillions bugs who not only let Ender walck all the way to their main planet whitout firing a single shot, they also put their last hope in his hands.

    So hmm, yes, I think it's safe to say that Ender's oposition is "scattered to the wind", because they're limited to a bunch of scared kids, when there is a whole galaxy spawning race building altars to Ender the great, and then some omnipotent computer entity comes along to also serve Ender. Marty Stu all the way to the end.

    On the other hand, then it's only natural that the big guys put him in charge, since his Mary Sueness is of such high level, he was clearly the best for the job. The bugs would just literally flip over and die for his glory if Ender was commanding the troops, because Ender cannot lose.

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    The original book (wasn't it a short story first?) was about a smarty-pants who turns out to be really special and important, but for the most part it is bad stuff that happens to him -- adults pulling his strings without mercy.

    Not bad thing in a book written primarily for teen-aged boys, overall. What do you expect?

    Where the story becomes insipid is in later books, when his brother and sister manipulate the course of the universe, and Puppy Love the AI come along. The first time around, the universe conspired to temporarily revolve around one unfortunate victim -- regardless of whether it really makes sense, it works well enough as a story. The second time around the universe has decided to revolve around this one individual because nothing else could possibly be more fun...forever.

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    Several trillions bugs who not only let Ender walck all the way to their main planet whitout firing a single shot, they also put their last hope in his hands.
    I didn't really get that impression from the first book (I haven't read anything past the first book actually). I got the impression that the buggers fought tooth and nail, many of the humans died in combat, and eventually the last attack was a suicide attack by Ender's forces against an overwhelming opposing force that was going to wipe his forces out.

    I don't think of Ender as a Marty Stu mainly because the book does do a good job of portraying how unhappy he is and his mental anguish. There is something deeply wrong with Ender in the first book; he's very disturbing as a character. He killed two people in hand to hand combat and he mentally abused his subordinates and the general feeling throughout the book is that he is alone and not at all popular or well-liked. I always think of Marty Stu as someone who is perfect in every single way and everybody loves him. I don't think anyone outside of Valentine loves him and outside of his military genius, he's not perfect.

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    Also, the program that eventually became Ender's investment councellor, and became sentient, was in existence well before he went to Battle School (Shadow of the Giant explains how it got put in charge of Ender's finances)

    So, at the time of book 1, we cant say that "the internet loves him"

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    @Oslecamo: the OP was saying there are thematic similarities between Parson and Ender, not that Parson=Ender. Not-so-subtle difference. And yeah, I think the similarities the OP pointed out are there.

    Also, you make the criticism that Ender is a Mary Sue character. A Mary Sue character is a manifestation of the author's personal wish-fulfillment. Ender suffers emotional tramua and psychological abuse for 90% of the book, then ends up hating himself after unwittingly committing genocide... that doesn't sound like wish-fulfillment to me.

    Hate Ender because he's too perfect? If you want a less efficient POV character, then don't read a book about the result of a generations-long program of selective breeding and grueling physical and mental conditioning for the production of the perfect tactical genius. In any event, Ender's Game is really about the ethical and emotional ramifications of such a program. The aliens and space gizmos are just macguffins to facilitate this.
    Last edited by Clutchbone; 2009-07-06 at 07:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    People who hate Ender:
    -Half the school kids. Probably because of Ender's habit to humiliate them and then kill them at cold blood for the shligtest provocation.

    People who love Ender:
    -The other half of the school.
    -The internet itself.
    -Several trillions bugs who not only let Ender walck all the way to their main planet whitout firing a single shot, they also put their last hope in his hands.

    So hmm, yes, I think it's safe to say that Ender's oposition is "scattered to the wind", because they're limited to a bunch of scared kids, when there is a whole galaxy spawning race building altars to Ender the great, and then some omnipotent computer entity comes along to also serve Ender. Marty Stu all the way to the end.

    On the other hand, then it's only natural that the big guys put him in charge, since his Mary Sueness is of such high level, he was clearly the best for the job. The bugs would just literally flip over and die for his glory if Ender was commanding the troops, because Ender cannot lose.
    His brother, who effectively exiled him, when all he wanted was to go home?
    A handful of kids... Who happened to be his peers, and the entire social network he existed in?

    Look, it's obvious nobody's gonna convince you otherwise. A mind etched in granite, and all that.

    He was opposed. They did fight. They lost.

    Was Conan a Mary Sue? He destroyed his opposition, and was feared by all.

    No, because at the time they were his opposition, they were a credible threat.

    Same for Ender. Many things may not have been able to beat him tactically, but he was in a bully situation for half the books. Being pushed around by those that could.

    Until they couldn't.

    I liked the book, and I see little of this nonsense about Marty Stu. I credit it to nothing more than a misapplication of Trope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talic View Post
    Look, it's obvious nobody's gonna convince you otherwise. A mind etched in granite, and all that.
    ...
    No, because at the time they were his opposition, they were a credible threat.

    Go read the book again. Ender directly assaults the homeworld of the bugs, and they don't fire a single shot at his ships. They even open a way for him to blow up the planet.

    The bugs wich also had completely given up on conquering Earth and were actually busy building temples to Ender the doombringer. Yes, very threatening indeed.

    Of course, it's ovbious nobody's gonna convice you otherwise. A mind etched in nothing, since it's clear by now you created your own ideal version of the story that's completely separated from the book. Good day sir!
    Last edited by Oslecamo; 2009-07-07 at 11:58 AM.

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    Page 324

    But now they were on the far side of one of the enemy's most formidable groups; they had, with terrible losses, passed through- and now they had covered more than half the distance to the enemy's planet."

    One, two, four, seven of his fighters were blown away. It was all a gamble now, whether any of his ships would survive long enough to get into range.


    Not fighting back?
    Last edited by hamishspence; 2009-07-07 at 12:17 PM.

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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Oslecamo View Post
    Go read the book again. Ender directly assaults the homeworld of the bugs, and they don't fire a single shot at his ships. They even open a way for him to blow up the planet.

    The bugs wich also had completely given up on conquering Earth and were actually busy building temples to Ender the doombringer. Yes, very threatening indeed.

    Of course, it's ovbious nobody's gonna convice you otherwise. A mind etched in nothing, since it's clear by now you created your own ideal version of the story that's completely separated from the book. Good day sir!
    I'm afraid I'm going to have to call bulls**t on you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ender's Game
    As for his own fleet, it consisted of twenty starships, each with only four fighters.
    He knew the four-fighter starships they were old-fashioned, sluggish, and the
    range of their Little Doctors was half that of the newer ones. Eighty fighters,
    against at least five thousand, perhaps ten thousand enemy ships.
    Ender realizes that what he really wants is to stop playing, and so . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Ender's Game
    In that final battle in Battle School, he had won by ignoring the enemy, ignoring
    his own losses; he had moved against the enemy's gate.

    And the enemy's gate was down.

    If I break this rule, they'll never let me be a commander. It would be too
    dangerous. I'll never have to play a game again. And that is victory.

    He whispered quickly into the microphone. His commanders took their parts of
    the fleet and grouped themselves into a thick projectile, a cylinder aimed at the
    nearest of the enemy formations. The enemy, far from trying to repel him,
    welcomed him in, so he could be thoroughly entrapped before they destroyed
    him. Mazer is at least taking into account the fact that by now they would have
    learned to respect me. thought Ender. And that does buy me time.

    Ender dodged downward, north, east, and down again, not seeming to follow
    any plan, but always ending up a little closer to the enemy planet. Finally the
    enemy began to close in on him too tightly. Then, suddenly, Ender's formation
    burst. His fleet seemed to melt into chaos. The eighty fighters seemed to follow
    no plan at all, firing at enemy ships at random, working their way into hopeless
    individual paths among the bugger craft.

    After a few minutes of battle, however, Ender whispered to his squadron leaders
    once more, and suddenly a dozen of the remaining fighters formed again into a
    formation. But now they were on the far side of one of the enemy's most
    formidable groups; they had, with terrible losses, passed through and now they
    had covered more than half the distance to the enemy's planet.

    The enemy sees now, thought Ender. Surely Mazer sees what I'm doing.
    Or perhaps Mazer cannot believe that I would do it. Well so much the better for
    me.

    Ender's tiny fleet darted this way and that, sending two or three fighters out as if
    to attack, then bringing them back. The enemy closed in, drawing in ships and
    formations that had been widely scattered, bringing them in for the kill. The
    enemy was most concentrated beyond Ender, so he could not escape back into
    open space, closing him in. Excellent, thought Ender. Closer. Come closer.

    Then he whispered a command and the ships dropped like rocks toward the
    planet's surface. They were starships and fighters, completely unequipped to
    handle the heat of passage through an atmosphere. But Ender never intended
    them to reach the atmosphere. Almost from the moment they began to drop, they
    were focusing their Little Doctors on one thing only. The planet itself.

    One, two, four, seven of his fighters were blown away. It was all a gamble now,
    whether any of his ships would survive long enough to get in range. It would not
    take long, once they could focus on the planet's surface. Just a moment with Dr,
    Device, that's all I want. It occurred to Ender that perhaps the computer wasn't
    even equipped to show what would happen to a planet if the Little Doctor
    attacked it. What will I do then, shout Bang, you're dead?

    Ender took his hands off the controls and leaned in to watch what happened.
    The perspective was close to the enemy planet now, as the ship hurtled into its
    well of gravity. Surely it's in range now, thought Ender. It must be in range and
    the computer can't handle it.

    Then the surface of the planet, which filled half the simulator field now, began to
    bubble; there was a gout ot explosion, hurling debris out toward Ender's fighters.
    Ender tried to imagine what was happening inside the planet. The field growing
    and growing, the molecules bursting apart but finding nowhere for the separate
    atoms to go.
    Out of 80 fighters, 12 manage to survive to get into position to make a run on the planet, and no more than 5 are able to get within firing range. The enemy did not, as you say, let him through unopposed.

    Now, granted, in the latest book Card retconned the hidden Hive Queen into being the primary choice rather than a desperate backup, but that's not how it was originally.

    -Thayus

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    Default Re: Ender's Game

    and in Ender's Shadow, we get to see the same thing- works out in a similar way.

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