What #EndersGame the Movie Got Right – And Wrong – Compared to the Book


Spoiler Alert!
This post contains spoilers of both Ender’s Game the book and movie.

Ever since my parents loaned me their copy of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card to read as a teenager, I’ve been a fan. In one story, Card taught us about the perils of an over-reaching tyrannical government, about the evolution of technology, specifically the Internet, and how to change the rules of the game. “Remember,” said Ender, “the enemy’s gate is down.”

After many years of excitement and trepidation, this modern classic has come to the big screen. I resisted immediately blogging after seeing the movie, but now that I’ve had some time to think about it, here are a few thoughts about what Ender’s Game got right and wrong as compared to the book. Overall, the movie stayed true to the book. While there were these little things here and there, the main point was the same.

Take Aways: If you’ve read the book, go enjoy the movie but try not to get caught up in the minutia. If you haven’t read the book, read it first then go see the movie. If you don’t want to read the book – why are you reading this article?

What It Got Right

1) When watching the movie, I became absorbed in the small details. Because I am so familiar with the book, my thoughts were constantly about which character was in the wrong place at the wrong time and saying the wrong things. It reminded me of the internet-legend that NASA shows new hires the movie Armageddon and has them count the scientific inaccuracies. I was counting as many differences between the movie and the book as I could and in the moment it really got to me.

However, as I sat back and considered the movie afterwards, I recognized that the movie was only two hours long. To fit the entire book into a screen play would have called for several movies. Making the necessary adjustments to when the characters did what was probably a good call. (Though what would it have hurt to make the movie two and a half hours long?)

2) The allusion to a romance between Ender and Petra almost made me vomit. Didn’t they read the book?! Ender was six and she was, like, eleven! That’s gross. But again, it wasn’t as bad as it originally seemed to my book-loving sensibilities. Ender and all of the children needed to be older for the sake of the screen play. They didn’t have time to watch him grow up, and they only had one actor.

So, I can see where it would have been hard to pretend that nothing was going on with two teenage characters one male and one female. They went right up to the line of implying that there was a relationship, and then backed away from it when Ender went out into space by himself. I can accept it.

3) Which leads me to the next point, that they completely cut out the subplot of Valentine and Peter Wiggin. It did hurt the story a bit, because the casual movie-goer has no idea why Ender was so afraid of Peter when he saw his image in the game or why Valentine’s letters meant so much to Ender. However, the story of the older two Wiggins could be a movie all its own, and I agree that focusing on Ender was a good decision.

The greatest question that I have is that if they are going to attempt a sequel, how are they going to explain Valentine going to space with Ender when they left her on Earth in the screen play? Questions, questions.

What It Got Wrong

1) The movie was strictly written for fans of the book and did not have much appeal to uninitiated viewers. Without the reference of the book, the characters in the movie undoubtedly seem underdeveloped and static. We don’t really get a look into Ender’s family or life on Earth to see the damage that the totalitarian militaristic government has caused. This is unfortunate because the movie could have played  off of the success of other dystopian hits, like The Hunger Games, if they had paid more attention to the affects of the government on Earth.

2) In the movie they merged Ender’s video game which was developed by a relationship with him and the computer, and his dreams which were the result of the Formic’s reaching out to his subconscious. They could never explain in the movie how the Formic’s were able to affect the computer and change the game, and that absence is a problem.

3) Perhaps the most important error is that the movie failed to explain why the Formics never returned. Jordon Ballor of the Acton Institute, and fellow nerd, summed up this complaint better than I ever could.

The Formics had no conception of a species other than their own, so in their first interaction with human beings, they abided by something like the golden rule: the treated humans as they would wish to be treated. For a species similar in social relationship to an insect colony like ants, this meant that the drones or workers were deployed to take over another colony’s area. The lives of the individual workers meant nothing, as they were all part of a larger collective controlled by the queen.

The significant difference in perspective between humans and the Formics comes to clarity in the realization that every single, individual human being is a queen – a center of personality, talent and moral agency. We are all, in the words of Genesis, created in God’s image and likeness. And as the Psalmist celebrates, humans are made “a little lower than the angels” and “crowned … with glory and honor.” The moral calculus of what the Formics have wrought can be inferred from the divine sanction against murder, also from Genesis: “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.”

There is a measure of redemption beyond blood reckoning, however. This understanding that turns toward loving forgiveness is the redemptive dynamic of Ender’s Game. The movie has lessons to teach us about how to communicate with and relate to our fellow human beings, who C.S. Lewis once described as “immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” We are all queens.

Read the rest of Jordan’s excellent post here.

By leaving this out, the screen play confused a lot of new viewers about why Ender felt guilt over destroying the Formics. One commentator even said on Facebook, “alien forces kill tens of millions of humans and when we wipe them out, the supposed hero warrior feels bad and goes to help them rebuild? Heck no.”

Clearly this person missed the point, and that is fault of Gavin Hood.

Comment: What do you think the movie got right or wrong compared to the book?

Five Non-Fiction Books to Buy a Woman for Christmas

Five Non-Fiction Books to Buy for a Woman for Christmas

It can be difficult to shop for a woman – be she wife, daughter, mother, or friend you’d like to know better. And since Christmas will be here before we know it, I want to help out. Here are 5 non-fiction books I recommend giving her this year.

For the ladies who have found their way to this blog, I recommend checking out my husband’s article, Top 5 Books to Give as Christmas Gifts to Men (All Under $35)

1) The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now, Meg Jay, Ph.D.

If she is twenty-something…

I became familiar with this book when I stumbled upon Dr. Meg Jay’s TED Talk, “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” which discusses the findings of this amazing book. “Claiming your 20s is one of the simplest, yet most transformative, things you can do for work, for love, for your happiness, maybe even for the world,” she says. “As a culture, we have trivialized what is actually the defining decade of adulthood.” What a great message for young women to hear. Buy it on Amazon here.

2) The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God, Timothy and Kathy Keller

If you are married to her…
Or if you are about to propose to her…

When my husband and I were preparing to get married, several friends recommended this book to us. My husband bought it and read it twice before he finally gave it to me. It’s a great reminder of what marriage really means, and has practical advice for young lovers and timely reminders for long-time marrieds. Of all the marriage advice books that we read, this by far is the one from which I learned the most. Buy it on Amazon here.

3) The New Business Road Test: What Entrepreneurs and Executives Should Do Before Writing A Business Plan, John Mullins

If she is an entrepreneur…

This book was required reading for me in graduate business school. It is one of the most accessible and common-sense approaches to starting a business that I have ever read. In a world of Etsy and Pinterest, Amazon and Kickstarter, any woman with a favorite craft or special skill can start a business. If she is at all interested in being an entrepreneur, there is no better way to say “I support your dreams” than helping her achieve them. Buy it on Amazon here.

4) When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself, Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

If she is passionate about changing the world…

This book takes a hard, honest look at what causes poverty—broken relationshipsCorbett and Fikkert make measured, logical and exceedingly practical recommendations on how to help the poor on an individual level–the level at which our own spiritual poverty is also aided. Any woman who aims to be a world-changer needs to read this book. Buy it on Amazon here.

5) The Truth About Style, Stacy London

If she is breathing… seriously, any woman would qualify here…

For a decade, Stacy London helped transformed the looks, but more importantly, the lives of hundreds of guests who have appeared on TLC’s What Not to Wear. Sadly, the series recently ended, but London’s style advice has been preserved for us for all eternity in this handy book. The important thing to remember here is that London’s philosophy about style has very little to do with appearances – in this book she works through her own emotional baggage, physical and emotional scars, and insecurities. As her show’s co-star, Clinton Kelly, says, “If you do not have confidence… you do not have style.” Buy it on Amazon here.

What if she isn’t a “reader?”

Some women won’t fit into these categories. Even the final category which theoretically encompasses every female, there will be women who would rather just watch reruns of the show rather than read the book. For these, there are three additional suggestions.

1) Makeup Brushes

If you don’t know what brands of makeup she uses, it’s ok. Buying a makeup “accessory” such a good set of makeup brushes will fill that desire in a similar way. It gives her the feeling of luxury, and they don’t run out the way makeup does. Also, #protip, I would recommend that you observe which brushes she used the most and perhaps replace those in the future. Buy it on Amazon here.

2) Santoku Knife

This one also made my husband’s list of gifts for a man. But come on, ladies like a good knife too. And this is the best. Does she like to cook? Does she wish she could cook more? Do you wish she would cook more? Having a quality knife makes cooking easier, faster, and more precise. Buy it on Amazon here.

Benelli Legacy Sport3) A Shotgun

Not just any shotgun – a pretty one. Like this Benelli Legacy Sport with game scene etching. This may be going out on a limb, but if you like hunting and she is married/dating you or is related to you, there is a decent chance that she will go hunting with you if you ask nicely. There is no way of asking more nicely than buying her a beautiful, high-quality gun. I realize that some guys don’t want their wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter to go hunting with them because it’s their alone time, but this is still a good idea. If they respond well to the gift, and are not upset with you over the price tag, the benefits outweigh the costs of them going hunting with you on occasion. Again, this is going out on a limb, but I have personally been bugging my husband about wanting a shotgun. So I can attest that there is at least one of us out there – and probably many more.

This one’s not on Amazon! Check it out on Benelli’s website instead.

3 Thoughts on Ender’s Game by Someone Who Loves the Book

UPDATE: “Five Books You’ll Love if You Liked Ender’s Game” – NOW LIVE at Values & Capitalism

1. It’s Better than The Hunger Games

Last year, when The Hunger Games movie was released in theaters, Values & Capitalism published “Five Books You’ll Love if You Liked the Hunger Games.” The very first book on that list is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. My reasoning for why fans of The Hunger Games would like Ender’s Game is that they had much more to gain from Card’s version of a totalitarian military regime a few hundred years in the future forcing children to fight in “games.” While the setting seems similar, I felt The Hunger Games trilogy missed many opportunities to have the kind of meaningful message Ender’s Game delivers.

2. Dystopian Literature is Important

For those who are interested in this kind of dystopia, Orson Scott Card did it arguably better than Collins with Ender’s Game in 1985, and he did it with just a touch of aliens. It is important for young readers to be familiar with the world of dystopian literature because it displays human nature in a uniquely terrifying way. It shows us the hell that our sinful condition has the potential to create, as a warning for us to take intentional action towards a better future. It provides a new framework for our thinking, as in Ender’s Game famous paradigm shift, “‘Remember,’ said Ender. ‘The enemy’s gate is down.’”

3. It Is A Great Introduction to More Books

Ender’s Game is a Nebula Award winner, a Hugo Award winner, and my personal favorite, but there is a whole world of literature to which Card’s work can introduce readers. It’d recommend checking out last year’s “Five Books You’ll Love if You Liked the Hunger Games” for some great recommendations, but STAY TUNED! “Five Books You’ll Love If You Like Ender’s Game” comes out TOMORROW at Values & Capitalism!

What books would you recommend to fans of Ender’s Game?

Bonus Thought!

I am super excited about the movie coming out tomorrow, November 1. I’m most looking forward to how they depict the Battle Room, and Harrison Ford is going to make an excellent Col. Graff. My only concern about the movie is if they are going to try to force a romance between Ender and Petra – ewe. Right? Anyway, we will see tomorrow!

What are your thoughts about the upcoming movie? Any concerns about how the screen play will differ from the book?

2012 Year in Review: Books

2012 Year in Review: Books

The actual proposal - I said yes!

The actual proposal – I said yes!

In 2011, I set a New Years goal of reading 40 books excluding textbooks. I read exactly 40, totaling 12,323, pages and about 4,313,000 words. Read my 2011 year in review here.

On a fun note, my fiancé found my 2011 Year in Review quite sexy. Reading has been a significant part of our relationship. I love him, and I love that he loves my love of books.

Anyway, back to the review:

Since achieving my goal in 2011 was very difficult, I decided that it would be a good challenge to repeat. So again, I made a New Years 2012 resolution to read 40 books excluding textbooks. The textbook distinction is important as I am a graduate student. Also, if you are thinking that my reading goals are too low, remember that I am a graduate student!

The results are:

Books Read 2012 Difference from 2011
Total Δ Percent Δ
Total Books Read 44 4 10%
Total Pages Read 11453 -870 -7%
Approximate Words Read 4008550 -304500 -7%
Average Pages 260.3 -47.8 -16%
Total Hardcopy 32 6 23%
Approximate Words Read 90300 -33923 -27%
Average Page Hardcopy 258.0 -97 -27%
Total Audio 12 -2 -14%
Approximate Words Listened 93245.833 15871 21%
Average Page Audio 266.4 45 21%

Here how it breaks down in English:

  • I surpassed my goal by reading 44 books! Beating my goal is definitely positive.
  • Even though I read 4 more books than I did in 2011, the books I read were on average 48 pages shorter meaning I actually read 870 few total pages. This is a 16% decrease in book length, and a 7% decrease in total reading.
  • I am not surprised that the books are shorter this year, because there were several books in 2011 which were almost 1000 pages. I had no intention of seeking books out based on length, so this is a neutral trend.
  • Interestingly, while I read six more hard copy books, they were on average 27% shorter, and conversely, while I listened to two less audio books, they were 21% longer.
  • While audio books are the trick to reading a large number of books, I think reading more physical books is also a positive trend. Also, I think that challenging myself to concentrate on longer audio books (which I did mostly while driving between Washington, D.C. and Tennessee) is also a positive trend.

Now for real fun stuff.

Books Read 2011 Difference from 2011
Total Δ Percent Δ
Fiction 15 -13 -46%
Total Pages 4621 -5566 -55%
Average Pages 308 -55.8 -15%
Science Fiction 13 -6 -32%
Total Pages 3936 -1107 -22%
Average Pages 302.8 37.3 14%
Mystery 2 2
Total Pages 685 685
Average Pages 342.5 342.5
Non-Fiction 29 17 142%
Total Pages 6832 4696 220%
Average Pages 235.6 57.6 32%
Policy 14 10 250%
Total Pages 3306 2458 290%
Average Pages 236.1 24.1 11%
Business 6 6
Total Pages 1778 1778
Average Pages 296.3 296.3
Theology 9 5 125%
Total Pages 1748 925 112%
Average Pages 194.2 -11.5 -6%

Observable Trends

  • The overall trend of more, though shorter, books read is carried by the non- fiction books, where I read 17 more.
  • This is reflected in my reading 13 less fiction books. The 4 book difference is seen in the increase.
  • I categorized books a little bit more broadly this year, which resulted in zero “fantasy” and “economics” books. These books were categorized into “science fiction” and “policy” respectively.
  • I real significantly more non-fiction. I read 17 more non-fiction book, and the books were 32% longer resulting in a quite impressive (if I do say so myself) 220% more non-fiction read.

Results of Goals for Reading 2012

Looking closely at my goals for 2012, I think I was remarkably successful.

“Audio books are still acceptable, but I want to continue the trend of reading more physical books. E-reader books count as physical books.”

  • I read six more hard copy and 2 less audio books. Success.
  • Only one of my physical books was read on my IPad Mini, which I received as a gift for Christmas 2012. I anticipate more e-books in the future.

“Continue my focus on dystopian literature. I think I’ve learned more about political science from reading dystopian literature than I ever did in school.”

  • I read 13 Science Fiction books, most of which fit into the Dystopian or Utopian categories. Success.

“Continue to read more hard-science fiction. Again, I think I’ve learned more about theoretical science from reading hard-science fiction than I ever did in school.”

  • While I did read several books by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, I’m not sure I read anything that fits into the “hard-science fiction” category. Fail.
  • However, I did recently stock up on Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, and Robert J. Sawyer at a used book store, so maybe that will improve in 2013.

“Read more business/management books.”

  • I read six business, management, and marketing books. Which is six more than the year before! Success.

“Continue reading more theology books.”

  • I read nine theology books, which is 5 more than 2011. Success.
  • I also read four policy books which had a secondary theme of theology.

“For those of you who are wondering: Yes, I intend to read the 5th book in George R. R. Martin’s saga, A Dance with Dragons.”

  • I actually did not read A Dance with Dragons. So while this technically a failure, I do not feel bad about it as I had not heard good things.

Goals for Reading 2013

I already mentioned my fiancé, who loves and supports my reading habit. However, as we are getting married in July and I fully intend to spend time planning the wedding and enjoy newly-wed life in 2013, I have reduced my reading goals to reading 30 books.

Relatedly, I would like to read more marriage books, preferably religious marriage books.

I have also already mentioned that I have stocked up on Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, and Robert J. Sawyer and other hard-science fiction books. I intend to read more of that genre 2013.

I’d also like to read a few more business books, perhaps with a concentration on marketing to reflect my academic concentration in marketing in continuous pursuit of my Masters in Business Administration.

And also for those of you are wondering, here are some of the highlights. Thank you to all who recommended books to me this year, and all of these are recommended by myself.

Fiction – Alphabetical by Author, Alphabetical by Title

Non-Fiction – Alphabetical by Author, Alphabetical by Title.

“Capitol” or “Capital” in the Hunger Games

“Capitol” or “Capital” in the Hunger Games

As someone who loves dystopian literature, all of my friends have been bugging me about my thoughts on The Hunger Games. While I have no high hopes for a young adult book series like the Hunger Games, I finally conceded to reading them so that I can form an informed opinion about the cultural phenomenon by author Suzanne Collins.

Much thanks to my friend who loaned me her books today. I’m not sure when I’ll get to them, but I’m sure it won’t take me long to read them.

While I am trying to remain open minded about the books, something disappointing caught my eye when skimming the back cover.

Did you catch it? You probably did, since I gave it away in the title.

I know the English language doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but come on. From Grammar.About.com,

Capital… a city that serves as the seat of government;

Capitol refers to the building in which a legislative assembly meets. (Remember that the o in capitol is like the o in the dome of a capitol building.)

A preliminary Google search did not reveal that the misuse of “capitol” was intentional. So my questions are:

  1. Is this intentional? If so, why?
  2. And does this continue throughout the books? Because that’s going to annoy me.

Grammar people.

2011 Year in Review: Books

2011 Year in Review: Books

In 2010, I set a New Years goal of reading 30 books excluding textbooks.

I read 42, totaling 10,697, pages and about 3,744,000 words.

So for 2011 I upped my goal to reading 40 books excluding textbooks. The textbook distinction is important as I am a graduate student. Also, if you are thinking that my reading goals are too low, remember that I am a graduate student!

I created a new spreadsheet this year and ran all kinds of exciting statistics about my reading accomplishments.

The results are:

Books Read 2011 Difference from 2010
Total Δ Percent Δ
Total Books Read 40 -2 -5%
Total Pages Read 12323 1626 15%
Approximate Words Read 4313050 569100 15%
Average Pages 308.1 53.4 21%
Total Hardcopy 26 -2 -7%
Approximate Words Read 124223.08 32461 35%
Average Page Hardcopy 354.9 92.7 35%
Total Audio 14 0 0%
Approximate Words Listened 77375 -6525 -8%
Average Page Audio 221.1 -18.6 -8%

Here how it breaks down in English:

  • I met my goal of reading 40 books (barely).
  • While I read 2 less books than in 2010, the books I read were on average 53 pages longer meaning I read 1626 more total pages. This is a 21% increase in book length, and a 15% increase in total reading.
  • Reading lengthier books is a positive trend.
  • While these numbers include both physical books read and audio books listened to, the increase came from physical books read. While audio books are the trick to reading a large number of books, I think reading more physical books is also a positive trend.
    • I read two less physical books, but they were on average 93 pages longer for a 35% increase in physical pages reading.
    • I listened to the same amount of audio books, which were actually 19 pages shorter on average, for an 8 percent decrease in audio books.

Now for real fun stuff.

Books Read 2011 Difference from 2010
Total Δ Percent Δ
Fiction 28 -3 -10%
Total Pages 10187 1727.0 20%
Average Pages 363.82143 90.9 33%
Fantasy 7 -4 -36%
Total Pages 4120 1038.0 34%
Average Pages 588.57143 308.4 110%
Science Fiction 19 2 12%
Total Pages 5043 1149.0 30%
Average Pages 265.42105 36.4 16%
Philosophy 2 0 0%
Total Pages 1024 -228 -18%
Average Pages 512 -114 -18%
Mystery 0 -1 -100%
Total Pages 0 -232 -100%
Average Pages 0 -232 -100%
Non-Fiction 12 1 9%
Total Pages 2136 -101 -5%
Average Pages 178 -25.4 -12%
Policy 4 -4 -50%
Total Pages 848 -626 -42%
Average Pages 212 27.8 15%
Business 0
-100%
Total Pages 0
-100%
Average Pages 0
-100%
Economics 4 2 100%
Total Pages 465 88.0 23%
Average Pages 116.25 -72.25 -38%
Theology 4 4  
Total Pages 823 823  
Average Pages 205.75 205.8  

 

Observable Trends

  • The overall trend of fewer, but longer books read is carried by the fiction books.
    • 3 less fiction books read.
    • The books were 33% longer than fiction books of 2010, resulting in 20% more pages read.
  • This was most notable in the “Fantasy” subcategory.
    • 4 less fantasy books read.
    • The books were 110% longer, resulting in 34% more fantasy reading.
    • This trend is mainly driven by four books from George R. R. Martin’s Series “A Song of Ice and Fire” – A Game of Thrones (807), A Clash of Kings (969), A Storm of Swords (924), and A Feast for Crows (978 pages).
  • The “Science Fiction” subcategory increased in all areas.
    • 2 more Science Fiction books read.
    • The books were 16% longer, resulting in a 30% increase in science fiction reading.
    • Science fiction books counted for 5 of the top 10 longest books read.
    • Science fiction also counted for 3 of 5 shortest books read.
  • The Non-Fiction books were noticeably shorter this year.
    • Even with 1 more non-fiction book read, the books were 12% shorter resulting in 5% less non-fiction read.
    • This represents a deliberate focus on fiction literature I had in 2011, but I didn’t mean to let my non-fiction reading slip that much. Since I would have liked to read more non-fiction in 2011, this is a negative trend.
  • Also, I didn’t read any business books in 2010. Since I am pursuing a Masters in BUSINESS Administration, this is a negative trend.
  • I did, however, read several theology books this year. As this was an area I had been wanting to spend more time, this is a positive trend.

Also, I wrote book reviews for The Morality of Capitalism and Failing Liberty 101.

I am currently  working on a review of Idols for Destruction: The Conflict of Christian Faith and American Culture. Watch the Values and Capitalism website.

Goals for Reading 2012

Read 40 books, excluding textbooks. While I met this goal last year, it was a close call.

Audio books are still acceptable, but I want to continue the trend of reading more physical books. E-reader books count as physical books.

Continue my focus on dystopian literature. I think I’ve learned more about political science from reading dystopian literature than I ever did in school.

Continue to read more hard-science fiction. Again, I think I’ve learned more about theoretical science from reading hard-science fiction than I ever did in school.

Read more business/management books.

Continue reading more theology books.

For those of you who are wondering: Yes, I intend to read the 5th book in George R. R. Martin’s saga, A Dance with Dragons.

And also for those of you are wondering, here are some of the highlights. Thank you to all who recommended books to me this year, and all of these are recommended by myself.

Fiction – Alphabetical by Author, Alphabetical by Title.

                 

Non-Fiction – Alphabetical by Author, Alphabetical by Title.