I have attained a new level in poverty in my life, akin to my days of freshman-ness when I would only eat veggie sandwiches at Subway because they were a buck and a quarter. The stamp program was my Godsend. My excitement was uncontainable when I got 8 stamps... because I got to EAT MEAT!!! I never thought I would reach that level again. But I have. And surpassed.

1. I now shop at Wal-mart. I never in my entire life thought those words would leave my mouth(fingers?).
2. This is only AFTER getting everything I can at the DOLLAR TREE. *uncontrollable sobbing*
3. I had this fun experience today:
I found an ad on craigslist: "I need a qualified writer who can write detailed reports on varied websites. Qualified candidates must be 18+ of age. This will be part time work" and then it was signed with the person's name.

So I emailed said person about the position with my resume, and said I hoped to hear more if I fit the qualifications. Not 5 minutes later, I received a response.

Hi there,

Thanks for your interest in the website reviewer position. We are currently looking for honest people with a keen eye for detail to visit various adult sites online and write the things they like and dislike about each. We will require 12 reviews per week which are due by 2pm every Friday.

The starting wage for this post is $350 per week which rises after 6 months. No previous experience is required for this position. The only requirement we have is that you submit a 100-word review of the members area at a pre-selected site [website removed]. The site offers a free trial so don't worry about any costs.

Please submit this review to [email removed] within 48 hours if you're interested in this home-based position.

Thanks for your time.

R E A L L Y??? Did someone really just ask me via a supposed job to sign up for and look at Porn?!? I was flabbergasted... and then proved myself poorer than ever by considering taking the job!!! O.o

(Addendum: Don't worry, I didn't. But still...)

Once again the door is open. A car screeches to a halt in front of the building. A ghetto white trash chick gets out wearing flip flops and goes running upstairs. Suddenly there is pounding. More pounding. Then boyfriend in the still-running car yells, "C'mon! She ain't home!"

GWTC's response: "She said she would [expletive] be here! Why isn't she answering the phone?! Ahh! I know she's in there! I'm just gonna kick down this [bleeping] door!! [SWEAR!] I don't have the right [curse word] shoes to kick down this [edited for the children] door!! I want my knives back!!!"

I have no words.

Got an apartment. And dang it's going to be a story generator, for sure.

Last night I was standing in the kitchen next to the fridge, eating fresh raspberries I'd bought from a farmer earlier in the day. My fingers were getting stained red, and the berries were divine. I was so lost in my eating that I almost missed the knock that came on my wide-open front door.

I looked up in surprise to see a slightly overweight woman with many piercings, and wild purple hair. "Ey, do you know where I can buy some coke? Or crystal?"

My brain was clearly malfunctioning, because I thought of offering her some of my Dr. Pepper in the fridge, but instead blurted out, "Well, there's a Smith's across the street."

"Smith's what?"

"Like, as in the grocery store."

"And how am I supposed to get some there?"

Suddenly, it clicked in my head. My translator was BROKEN. Coke did not mean Coca-cola. And Crystal was not a brand of Lemonade. OHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Lady was asking me for DRUGS!!! I almost choked on a raspberry, and somehow squelched the guffaws threatening to erupt out of me. I managed to tell her sorry, I didn't know where to get anything like that, and she left. I immediately went into the bathroom and laughed as loud as I could. For like 5 minutes.

I want to buy drugs, can you help me?

Have you tried the grocery store? Bwahahahahahaha

"Forgive me Father..."
"...for I have sinned."

And gravely so. True Confession of my soul:

7. I'm OCD orderly. About being random. :)

Whenever I post a book review, it has 11 books. Because that's how many were in the first one. Whenever I post a movie review, there are 17. Because that's how many were in the first one. I'm very much a creature of habit.

Random, but ordered. Creature.

Alisa M Libby's The Blood Confession - Grade: B. Book 7 for Kerry. This book was super duper bloody, but in a believable, uber creepy way that reminded me of one of my failed attempts at a story that sort of became its own. I want to become a slightly psychotic killer after putting this book down. Just a little bit, though. But I don't have a castle. Or do particularly well around blood. Dang.

Robert Rigby's Goal! The Dream Begins - Grade: B. Book 8, you know the drill. Wow! For being a mass-produced-with-cool-pictures-because-we-made-a-movie-and-now-want-to-make-a-buck book, this wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. There was even a plot. Amazing. And the characters weren't flat. It did bring back all my actual soccer memories, which involve my playing really hard and then always just being pissed because I suck at soccer but wish I didn't.

Terri Farley's Phantom Stallion #6: The Challenger - Grade: D. Book 9. Terri should be grateful I actually gave this book a D. It deserves an F. Remember Sea Shadow? Yeah, this was just as bad. Bad writing, bad characters, no plot, etc. Don't waste your time, seriously.

Terie Garrison's AutumnQuest - Grade: A. Book 10. Wonderful! Amazing! Stunning! I just love the prose in this book, it was so engaging! I read this book super fast, and then was sad when it ended, because it did before I was ready. But I think there's a sequel, so not all hope is lost. But Terie is definitely a great author. She has my respect and my vote.

Robert Rigby's Goal II - Living the Dream - Grade: C-. Book 11. This book had the same writer as the first (see above), but that's where the similarities end. Believability in this book wasn't there. I'm kind of sad that this book fell so short, especially because of how wonderful the first one was! The tension was fabricated, the characters not as lively/fleshed out, and the plot was just like it was hashed together out of sticks and ropes, and that's only good for 11-year old scouts trying to sign off a badge.

Judson Roberts' Dragons from the Sea (Strongbow Saga: Book 2) - Grade: B. Book 12... but it didn't make it on a blog. Maybe I forgot to review it? I dunno. Anyway, Kerry read the first one and absolutely loved it. The sequel wasn't really that great. I didn't get bored or fall asleep, but the protagonist's age didn't mesh real well with how he was portrayed, and that always bothers me to no end. If you're only a kid, don't get written doing man things, being seen like a man, or talking like a man. You're a kid.

Monica Hughes' Invitation to the Game - Grade: A++. Another of my Top 10 list, that was re-read for the purpose of sharing with Turtle. More of these will be coming. This book is just stellar. It's a young adult novel, but beautifully done and the plot is just incredible. The ending is a surprise too, so that's always an added bonus in my opinion. I won't say more, just go get your hands on this book and ENJOY!

Jill Paton Walsh's The Green Book - Grade: A++. Another Top 10 Turtle Re-read. :) This book is very similar to Invitation to the Game but it's for younger children, and a very, very quick read. Maybe an hour tops. But again: beautiful, engaging, and the ending is so great. Love, love, love.

Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street - Grade: A++. More Top 10 Turtle Re-read. Sandra's voice is what makes this book so wonderful in my opinion. Her latina voice is stunning, accurate, and heart-wrenching all in one. This book is a wonderful depiction of latino culture and why it is both valid and important to the American Experience.

Kevin Brockmeier's The Truth About Celia - Grade: A++. More Top 10 Turtle Re-read. But I'm okay with that because it means I get to talk about my favorite books on my blog :D This book is about how a father (who is a writer - so it's like a book inside a book, very interesting concept) deals with the disappearance and loss of his 7-year old daughter. Poignant, heart-rending, and breath-taking all in one, this book is definitely one I recommend to all who love fiction.

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Shadow - Grade: A. I wouldn't count it as Top 10 material, but it's definitely one of Card's better works. I blogged in-depth about it here. I struggled with some of the characterizations, especially Bean. I mean I know we learn (SPOILER!) that he's genetically engineered and all... but still he acted so far outside his age range sometimes that... well, I already said, I struggled. But I found my way past that, and thoroughly enjoyed the book. It also gave me the opportunity to revisit my experience and feelings with Ender's Game, which was much needed; I'm glad I did. If you liked Ender's Game, then Shadow is probably the next-best thing (but that's just because I hated the other 3 in the Ender series... we'll see how I feel about the next ones in the Bean arena).

Nina Wright's Sensitive - Grade: A. This is the sequel to Homefree. True to Nina's style, the sequel to Homefree was just as thrilling as the first. And in some ways, maybe moreso. I really like what she does with her characters - they are believable, and for treating such an "unreal" topic, she does an unprecedented job at keeping the action believable, and in check. The characters in this book don't get to explode all over the page with thrilling battles, and action-rescue sequences simply because they are now enrolled at the school for those with Gifts. They still stumble, they have to be restricted, and they make just as many mistakes as they did when they were first discovering their powers. I loved the plot (which now includes paranormals AND ghosts - so it's like X-Men/HEROES meets X-Files which is even cooler! (If that's possible)) I read it through in one sitting. Good stuff, Nina! I hope there's more (and soon?!)!!!

I have finished Ender's Shadow. Yesterday, and it's been in my head ever since. I understand now. I understand what I missed, and where I got confused in my previous reading. Because Shadow is a parallel novel, I couldn't help but pick up Ender's Game and read over the last half again as I read Ender's Shadow. I loved the nuances, the differences, the similarities. I loved being able to see Ender form outside of Ender. Sometimes I wish there were a parallel novel to my own life. That which you see. I've been criticized recently of being too self-protective. That deep down I am angry, and vulnerable, and I use that to control and domineer others around me. That's why I have so many relationships that end in failure. I don't discount or negate any of this, but I hope I'm seen in a different light than this when you are around me or think of me. If not, I'm sorry. I'm trying to change.

This is the way I see myself: I am a man who gives everything, even when it seems I have nothing. But in the giving, I discover that I have everything, and still freely give it. Myself. To you. I have nothing more to offer than that, but it is enough; and it is mine to choose to share. I do so willingly and lovingly.

Reading Ender's Shadow has confirmed to me what I already believed. I am, indeed, an Ender. I feel like him. I believe him. I act like him. And having finished Shadow and re-read half of Game, I now see Ender's redemption. Well, rather the lack of a need thereof. He was forced into situations he did not like, made to do things he did not agree with, and in this he did not become evil - he did not act against who it was that he was supposed to be. He simply did the best he could with the knowledge and information he'd been given. Even when he knew they were cheating, they were stacking everything against them, they were "ruining the game." He wanted to give up, to resign, to let them have their way with someone else... but he never truly could. He shouldered everything and marched forward and fulfilled his destiny - to give everything, even with nothing. He was broken, and battered, and terribly alone. And that's what was so heart-wrenching for me. Ender is SO good. Everyone loves him because he loves others. This is made even more apparent when seen through Bean's eyes as he wrestles with why Ender would be this way, why he would want to help the others so much, instead of building himself and those closest to him only.

I'm not usually gushy on this blog, over honest. But I'm feeling rather vulnerable after the last couple of days, so take it while you can. I'm going to reveal some of my inner workings. Behind my happy, go-lucky facade, my big heart and my service to any and all who need it of me... I feel this way all too often. Heavy, alone, and abandoned. I am there for so many... so often... but where do I find that for myself? Who do *I* turn to? Everyone went to Ender, but in whom did he confide? On whom did he lean for support? He had no one. I feel like I don't either - which is part of why I over-compensate so desperately in the relationships I do have. I'm the perpetuator, I'm the instigator. I'm the one who calls to see how your day was. I'm the one who comes over because I haven't seen you in a while (though less so at the present, because of my nigh-isolation). But who does that for me? Who is my respite?
Many of my friends do try, the effort is never wasted on me, but I've never felt complete. I've never been satisfied. Perhaps this stems all the way back to my earliest childhood scars... but if so, why have I not moved on and healed? Lord knows I've had enough therapy...

Peace is another thing I have none of. I am a World Changer, yes, but I am also a struggler. Someone who wrestles, someone who fights, someone who is never in harmony with everyone else. I'm going to share a personal experience... In 2007, I went camping with my Bishop, some of his colleagues, and a few friends. One night around the fire, we were talking about ourselves, our problems, and our struggles.

I stumbled on my words. I didn't know how to spit the truth. Was I even ready to be honest with these people? I forced it out. I was honest. I felt my coming to deal with my feelings was way bigger than anything anyone else said. Do they not have life-shattering trials like me? Were they not honest? Bishop opted them for them to do something for me. It was kind of like a trust fall, except they held me in their arms and rocked me. They even sang a lullaby. Then they set me down after a few minutes. Bishop asked me how I felt. I didn't want to move. My mind wouldn't think. CALM. RELAXED, The thought crashed on me like a breaking wave. I do not feel like this. This has not been a part of my life, this feeling. I could not think of any other times I'd felt like that. Ever. - Personal Journal, vol VII, p. 66; Aug 25th, 2006

I simply fight. Every day of my life. And the fight takes alot out of me, but still I focus on everyone else. Sure, I'm weak and maladaptive and may act controlling sometimes, or be vengeful, or use spite. I'm not perfect. Ender made plenty of mistakes too. But he was still amazing. Absolutely Amazing.

Am I worthy to be called an Ender?

Is that what you see when you look at me? Is that the way you feel when you're around me? I understand Bean's intrigue and arguable "Hero-Worship" for Ender. Does anyone feel this way about me, I wonder. Have I achieved that? Is that why you're so willing to stick with me, by my side, even when I hesitate and balk to let you near me? To see who I really am and how much I really suffer and how alone I really am? Because there is a hole in my heart that I honestly don't know how to fill. No matter who you are, or how close I let you, I don't know if it will ever be enough. And that frightens me...because when it does become more personally intimate, people want to know you feel and believe their love - that it is enough. But for me the swirling abyss of negativity and pain absorb all attempts of love toward me, and I do not feel, or believe. I am simply alone. There are days I wish it to end, so that I can have that feeling again. But most days I'm content to help, and hold, and love others as much as I wish I could be loved myself.

In this way, I, like Ender, can be viewed as Christ-like. In this way, if in no other, Ender's Game can be argued to be "Mormon Literature" as I was arguing in my other post. Ender is in similitude of Christ. I simply didn't get that out of the first reading. But now I see it. I see it. And I believe it. And it makes me love him even more. Ender and Asher Lev are my best friends in the whole, wide world. Because they understand me. On ALL my levels. With EVERYTHING that I deal with. Taking the role of the friend, willing to give all, even when it's myself and nothing more; being envious of the love you receive, of the peace I hear you speak of; content to be the person who suffers all and asks nothing... and gives openly of his love. Now, and always. Even when that will never ever be enough... that is where I stand and how I see. Do you?

Peoples of the Bloggy!

The time has arrived. (Almost. X.x) I now have in my possession all the photos I've been working on amassing (except for the small setback that one of the cds I was sent has lots of corrupt data. Oi vey... But we're working on it! Attempting to recover as much as possible from the CRC errors. Thanks be to great friends who are SMART about that sort of thing!) Soon. Soon.

Nigh is the day in which you will be absolutely INUNDATED with stories about me, me, and me. :) Oh, and my summer.

For the now:

- I am doing everything I can to not let my bed rule my life, and get up like a normal person. That way I stave off things like despair, depression, and despondency. Very helpful, I must say.

- Applying, applying, applying for jobs. I try to spend at least 2 hours a day working on job hunting, and have now found a lovely recruiter who is helping things along splendidly. Excellent. There is still hope.

- I recently enjoyed a long sit-down with some delicious graphic novels. I must say, I kind of really, really love comics. And I read 8 of them. Large, multiple editions in one place, 8.

- I have also been reading voraciously. Just yesterday heralded a new trip to the library for more goodies. I now have many sequels in my envious fingers. The Subtle Knife (Book 2 of His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman), Sensitive (sequel to Nina Wright's Homefree), and the sequels to AutumnQuest by Terie Garrison (which hasn't appeared in a review... it's in the one still sitting in my draft box). Also soon, soon. Little nervous about these since I loved the first one SO much, because the next three are already out, and that makes me bite my nails a little. 3 books published in one year? Rush jobs frighten me! Please don't let the series be ruined. I'm still excited though because AutumnQuest ended all too quickly, and these are all at least 3x thicker. Which could go either way. I'm also in the middle of Ender's Shadow, Card's parallel novel to Ender's Game, which I loved. I really want to put it down and get to some of the others; which are smaller and would be a quicker digest, but I can't! I'm to the point now where I'm also going over Ender's Game again as I read to see just how the parallels match. Addict. Book reviews coming SOON!

- In light of my recent spat with graphic novels, I've gotten the kids into the X-men movies (which I love and passionately hate all at once - see why in my next movie review)

- Turtle and I aren't reading anything or watching anything together, so we've taken up gaming instead. Ha. I've introduced her to the MYST series (though the first is altogether unplayable since it's for 256 colors windows). But I did manage (after some finagling, re-writing part of a file, and discovering "compatibility mode") to actually get the lil' Windows 95 sequel game (Riven) to run. Only the save feature was broken, so we had to play it in one sitting, which kept us up til almost 6am. Oops. Ruined my schedule for the next day, but I recovered. And we've now started into MYST III: Exile, which happens to be my favorite.

- Finally, as part of my "daily routine" I'm working to establish, I've allotted myself 1.5 hours per day for writing. So far this has solely been dedicated to polishing and editing my novel, but I HAVE been doing it. I've been writing again, YAY! Praise the Gods (who are kinda dead in my book, but my characters are working on that :P)!

That's all for now.

Issue Next: Summer '09 Word Vomit Edition (with pictures!)

So I was writing up a cute little post about what I've been doing in the last week, and talking about some books and whatnot, and realized that I started doing book reviews after my bout with Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game which was a really amazing experience -- akin to maybe one other book I've read -- as far as the brunt impact it had on my life when I read it (which would be Chaim Potok's My Name is Asher Lev). Realizing that my experience with Ender was not located here, I decided to rectify such an oversight. I pressed save on the other post I was writing (pictures and the summer re-cap coming soon! No, really, I'm not just saying that X.x I feel like the boy who cried wolf, lol), and decided to bring you this one instead.

The post/essay itself is taken from a site that Gideon Burton, Liz Busby, Katherine Morris, Ben Crowder, Candy Eash and I engineered as an extension of the BYU Chapter of The Association for Mormon Letters back in early 2008. The site was designed as an starting point for what we felt was an essential piece missing from the Mormon Community when it came to Literature: Critical Conversations with regard to Mormon Literature and Media. The site was short-lived, though I still think it was a great idea. Essentially it choked as we all neared graduation and became to busy to effectively (and thoughtfully) contribute. My other posts (if you're bored or curious) include:

* A discussion on Deriving Literature from Scripture, where I document some of the ways Scripture has enabled and influenced me in creating works of creative fiction. (I also presented on this subject at the 2008 BYU AML Conference)

* A look at how Language can be a Vehicle for Effecting Change, especially with regard to the works of Carol Lynn Pearson in the Mormon Community with regard to homosexuality.

* A recap of a "Writing Salon" conducted at BYU where a number of BYU Professors who are also published authors held a sort of Q&A panel for students interested in Creative Writing, which elicited thoughts on how and why we write.

* Finally, an essay on Nostalgia and its purpose when viewed through the lenses of Literature and the Mormon Religion.

But that's not the focus of this post! You want to know about Ender and my experience with him. So without further, ado:


In light of the recent conversation on united Mormon fiction and literary genealogy, I thought I'd try and rein the conversation in a bit by focusing on a specific piece (albeit well-known) from the Mormon Literature Database. Specifically, I want to look at Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, my reaction to it, and the type of expectations that seems to reflect; all wrapped up in the notion of "Mormon Literature".

I've always heard good things about Ender's Game and must profess to being a prolific fantasy writer (and lesser so, reader), but never really dabbled much into science-fiction, unless it was Heinlein's Red Planet. Ender's Game was on my list for quite a while, but I finally picked it up over the Christmas break and read it voraciously.

When I was finished, I must say I was a bit bothered, but that may be more about my expectations than anything else. After finishing, I was left feeling...dissatisfied. I reread the introduction to the book in the hopes of calming myself, but to no avail. So I wrote about it. That's always helped me wring out my emotions in other cases. Unfortunately, I finished while I was on a plane back to Utah and I had no paper, only a pen. So I wrote my initial, reactionary thoughts on (of all things) an airplane throw-up bag:

This is going to eat at me until I get it out of my system. I hate the way my stomach feels right now. I just finished Ender's Game. I'm speechless. It's...brilliant, genius, utterly terrifying. The complete and utter breakdown of optimism. Ender is a tragedy. Chaim Potok was right about human nature. We are dualistic and hold within us two powers: create or destroy (see My Name Is Asher Lev). Love or hate. The greatest tragedy and betrayal then is when he who loves most is used to hate more. Ender, used for 10 billion deaths.... I want to hate Ender's Game more than any other novel I have ever, ever, ever read. Or will read. It sickens me, frightens me, appalls me, and yet I cannot turn away. Ender's Game is the best depiction of humanity ever to be conceived that I've read. We are driven, instinctual. I love and love and love. But when I get angry? Power. If I were manipulated in the same way I cannot — as much as I would love to be self-deceived — admit that I would do or be different. The will to survive and with that, power. Ender's Game to me is a dark book rife with bitter truth. We may be miserable, awful, and selfish beings but we can learn and that makes us decent. Well, what if I don't want to be decent? What if I want to be good? Where does that happen? Ender captures the notion, but there is no indication he ever achieves it.... Where is his redemptive nature? In the knowledge that he can bring back that which he unwittingly obliterated? I only feel all the optimism in me killed by the understanding of power I now have. My last breath of humanity died with Ender's last tear. [...] Power. That which is gained must be kept. And that requires the submission of all which could be a threat. So where is hope? Where do I glean joy and peace from this book? Serenity? In death? If there is something happy and optimistic here, where is it? How did I miss it? And what does that say about me? Maybe that's why I revile and recoil so vehemently against this book; I recognize how entirely close I am to being that killer — that hater. Did Ender win? Did he "save" humanity? Or did he break the very instant he was challenged? Should he have let Stilson take advantage of him? Cede power for love? This book has left me wholly without answers. Only questions. I hate questions because they teach me too much about what I'm supposed to be learning here without ever giving me any answers.

Looking back on that gut reaction to Ender's Game, I think much of my uneasiness was due to my expectations. And Card definitely fed into those expectations as he jabbed at his upbringing: mentioning Mormons as well as having characters from Utah. That reinforced my preconceptions; this is a book by a Mormon– "LDS literature" –therefore it must have a message of hope. Surely Card wrote with eternal principles in mind, right?

Now I have new questions about the way I'm reading literature. Being a Mormon, and knowing he was a Mormon, I tried to put this book in a "genre"/"category" without even reading it. When it explicitly rebelled against my conceptions it was deeply unsettling to me, more so by the fact of how plausibly he crafted his characters and plot. So I'm brought back to my earlier comment on Liz's post, with the problems of trying make a "Mormon Literature" genre. Attempting to categorize literature into a "genre" inherently brings with it a set of expectations (both on the part of the author and reader), so how do we define something accurately when the expectations that warrants implicitly (or explicitly) subvert the very categorization? I don't really have an answer for that (and don't expect you too either). It could just be a matter or redefining the expectation set that comes with the category, but how possible is that? Is it even conceivable to redefine the construct of "fantasy" to not include pointy-eared creatures? I also already argued that we could just expand our expectation set to include more expectations, but then the clearly-defined lines of genre and category become blurred and still deconstruct themselves, so we again flounder in trying to create a "Mormon Literature" genre.

This seems to posit a need for adaptation; just like Ender got people to think differently about the Battle Room challenges. "The enemy's gate is down." We need to figure out a way to look differently at that which is already in place, and use that to gain the victory we seek. With expectation, definition, and purpose.

In an attempt to allay my disconcertions, I immediately went out and got Speaker for the Dead, sure that if Card didn't allow Ender to be redeemed in the first novel, he would give him that chance in the second. It ended up being a good read, but I felt much of the same. How could Card write such hopeless novels? And if there really was hope in them that I was missing, again, what did that say about me? Am I just a pessimist? Is it because I have misplaced expectations? How does the approach we take with a novel affect the way we read it (you know, that whole "lens"/perception rhetoric)?

Some may argue that it's not Ender who is hopeless, but the society. And yet, I have trouble completely separating Ender from the society. He is already in many ways, but ends up being a product nonetheless of their exploitation. That raises a whole other set of questions on the problems underlying agency and responsibility I can’t hope to address in this post. All the same the issue of redemption remains unfulfilled, even at the end of Speaker. I'll admit I never got to the third book, but I missed a sense of Ender's penance/atonement for what happened along the way. Is helping the Hive Queen find a new home enough? What if they just get destroyed again? (And can we even feebly try and pass judgment on such things?)

Likewise some would assert that Ender is not entirely hopeless, only possessed of unfulfilled hope when it comes to the Hive Queen. He wants a place to put her, and this will bring the difference he is looking for in the universe. Yet from the clashing cultures of the pygmies and humans, as well as humanity's attitude toward the Hive, hope still gets lost for me. Will a book really alter their mindset that radically? How do you hold onto hope when everything that exists cries out against it? This causes me to pause and think about our world today and the downward cycle we seem to be in. The idea of peace is essentially moot because of the power construct Card so lucidly depicts. Even if a country elects a leader who stands for peace, it only leaves them in a position to be taken advantage of by everyone else. It would take everyone at the same time deciding to adopt peace and harmony in order for such ideology to survive. Even looking at the Bible affords the same bleak outlook; we all know that it's not going to get better before it gets worse. The world just decays to the point where it ends. Apocalypse anyone? So what place can I give to hope?

The blatant irony here is that I'm really not a pessimist! Anyone who knows me would vouch for my optimistic disposition. I cling to hope more fervently than I would my baby blanket when scared as a kid' that's just part of the way I live. But in order to have such with regard to Ender's Game I'd need to (re)place my beliefs (expectations?) on the book and I'm brought full circle back into the problems I've already proposed, which is most of the same I see for Ender and the Hive Queen. A vicious, hopeless cycle...to which I can apply hope.

I'm interested to hear other people's experiences with Ender's Game (and/or Speaker), the set of expectations you had going in, and how those two played off each other (are they reconcilable?) to create problems/questions in your mind. Also any thoughts on my thoughts are welcomed.

Addendum: Still feeling unsatisfied, even after having finished Speaker for the Dead I did in fact continue on with the series. Genocide and Children of the Mind are reviewed in this post. At the end, as it says, I was still left wondering about Ender's Redemption. I don't think I have an answer, still. Did he ever really achieve it? Only in death? How does this reflect on me? I'm more of a pessimist than I think? Or does it reveal something deeper and, in many ways, scarier, that I'm trying to keep hidden? Maybe even from myself? Do I feel irredeemable, and map that onto Ender? One thing Card did effectively, which I applaud him for, was immerse me in a truly life-altering experience that has raised questions, and continues to do so as I now dig through Ender's Shadow. Maybe I will never find the answers to the questions Card's writing evokes in me, but that won't stop me from looking. :)


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