Sunday, July 02, 2006

First Meetings

Okay, I finished reading Orson Scott Card's First Meetings: In Ender's Universe. It's a collection of four short stories set in the universe of his popular Ender's series. This particular edition is apparently designed to be educational,; it has a reader's guide for teen readers in the back.

While I haven't been a teen for a long, long time, I think the question in the guide are a bit, silly. Sure, even as a teenager, I was more of a reader than most, but still:

A. Go to the library or online to research the literary term "short story." Write a brief report that includes a definition of the term...

Definition: a short story is a story that is short. There, I didn't even have to look anything up or think about it or anything. Anyway, on to the actual stories.

I mostly liked these stories. "The Polish Boy" gives us some insight into Ender's dad. "Teacher's Pest" shows us how Ender's parents met and fell in love. These stories give us some strong hints that the government manipulated the two just so Ender would come into being. "The Investment Counselor," which is set between Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead, shows how Ender became a speaker for the dead and how he met Jane, his sort of AI assistant thing. This was my favorite of the bunch, because I like Jane, and I think the stories of Ender as an adult are more interesting than ones about his family.

Now I'll talk about "Ender's Game" the novella. I didn't like it. I thought the novel was much better. There's no Valentine or Peter, and in fact, it seems like Ender and the other boys in Battle School were born and raised there. The enemies don't seem to be Buggers. All the conflict between Ender and the other students is missing. Instead of being a story about Ender Wiggin, it's a story about boys fighting a war. It's not a bad story, but I'm very glad Card turned it into a novel.

I'd also like to mention that this book is illustrated. Unfortunately, the illustrations suck. If it wasn't a violation of copyright, I'd scan them in and post them here so you could see how much they suck. Everyone seems to be tall, thin, elongated, and has the ability to bend at odd angles--except for Graff, the army guy. He looks like Nick Fury, without the eye patch.

The stories are all good, though I think the book is a bit short what with it only having four short stories and a cover price of $6.99. I also really hated the illustrations. As such, I can only give First Meetings 4 yo-yos.

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