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.

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hcmurdoch said...

We recently got the first one in this series for our school library. I am hoping it can be a gateway book for reluctant readers and will send them to the novels. I do plan on getting the rest of the series in graphic form as well.

Becker said...

My library doesn't own these yet...wonder why. Thanks for the reminder to talk with our collections folks!

Carl said...

Hey, I'm Carl with the Boys Rule! Boys Read! blog. We recommend books for younger boys (9-12 years or even up to 14 years) and I saw this post about the Ender's Game graphic novels. We talk a lot about gn's on our blog and we'll see if our library system would want to order them. (my coblogger Darth Bill is our comics meister and he might contact They Who Order Books)Thanks for letting us know about them. And also for the Olympians graphic novels. The "Zeus" gn looks good!

Tasha said...

Wow! I hadn't heard about these. I'll make sure my library orders them, plus I want to read it myself and I'm sure my 12-year-old son will love them too.

Jesse said...

Wow, I'm so happy to see such enthusiasm for these -- they're both great. And, Carl, the Zeus book just came out and it's spectacular. You can look for the second in the series, featuring Athena, in April.

Shelli said...

these sound great - thanks!