Friday, January 8, 2010
The Future Is Now
So it's 2010. Now that we're all living in the future, we should probably do some brush up reading about it. Ender's Game: Battle School (by Yost and Ferry) is the adaptation of the first part of Orson Scott Card's neo-classic Ender's Game about young Ender Wiggin, who is drafted into the rigorous Battle School by somewhat insidious military masters in hopes that Ender is the prodigy who can save earth from an imminent invasion by a horde of incoming aliens. Focusing on the first part of the novel allows a deep exploration into Ender's battle not only with his peers in the school (in some particularly thrilling zero-gravity tactical exercises) but also his struggle to heal the scars of psychological torture left by his monstrous older brother.
The companion piece to that little beauty is Ender's Shadow: Battle School (by Carey and Fiumara), also based on the opening chapters of Card's original, which in this case follows Bean, a supporting character in the narrative of the main novel. Bean grows up on the hard streets, where he shows his innate intelligence by simply surviving, until he's noticed by those some military schemers and taken into battle school, where his destiny parallels Ender's own, in a slow build towards an inevitable meeting. Much of the suspense in Bean's story comes from the mystery of his origins and the realization on the military's part that Bean might be too smart for the battle school.
Each books tells a grand story on its own, but taken together, they reflect common themes more powerfully and create a sense of a huge universe and a sweeping adventure in the making. The art in each also works beautifully to counterpoint the differing tones. Ferry's art on Ender's Game is clean and slick, but with expressive faces and incredibly polished action. Fiumara gives Ender's Shadow a dirty grit that captures the sense and danger of the streets.
Welcome to the future and happy New Year.