Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card, is a sequel to Ender’s Game.
The timeline is set immediately after Ender’s Game, and before Speaker for the Dead. Following Ender’s defeat of the Formics, he has become a living legend at the age of 12. But because of possible political fallout, Ender cannot go home to his family. Instead, he will travel to a former Formic world with a group colonists and become governor.
It has been several years since I’ve read the previous installments in this saga, so I found it a bit hard to remember several details from Ender’s Game. This made it hard to keep track of certain characters, and understand their personalities and decisions. But the story was never hard to follow and remained an easy read.
Focusing on several key characters, the narrative bounced around their stories as well as many emails sent back and forth from the central characters. Deciphering the recipient and sender of the emails was difficult at times, and I found it frustrating when I had to go back and try to figure out who certain characters were. But that may have been another result in not having read Ender’s Game in so long.
For fans of the series, this was an interesting look into the “lost years” between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. Thankfully, not just a filler, Ender in Exile is an interesting journey for a remarkable young man. This science fiction tale is not filled with action and adventure, but focuses more on character development and interaction. But the story was never boring; and I found it hard to put down. After finishing it quickly, I found myself wanting to go back and re-read the rest of the novels again.
Keep reading for an excerpt from Ender in Exile, copied with permission from FSB Associates.
Ender in Exile : Chapter 1
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subj: When Andrew Returns Home
Dear John Paul and Theresa Wiggin,
You understand that during the recent attempt by the Warsaw Pact to take over the International Fleet, our sole concern at EducAdmin was the safety of the children. Now we are finally able to begin working out the logistics of sending the children home.
We assure you that Andrew will be provided with continuous surveillance and an active bodyguard throughout his transfer from the I.F. to American government control. We are still negotiating the degree to which the I.F. will continue to provide protection after the transfer.
Every effort is being made by EducAdmin to assure that Andrew will be able to return to the most normal childhood possible. However, I wish your advice about whether he should be retained here in isolation until the conclusion of the inquiries into EducAdmin actions during the late campaign. It is quite likely that testimony will be offered that depicts Andrew and his actions in damaging ways, in order to attack EducAdmin through him (and the other children). Here at IFCom we can keep him from hearing the worst of it; on Earth, no such protection will be possible and it is likelier that he will be called to “testify.”
Theresa Wiggin was sitting up in bed, holding her printout of Graff’s letter. “‘Called to “testify.”‘ Which means putting him on exhibit as — what, a hero? More likely a monster, since we already have various senators decrying the exploitation of children.”
“That’ll teach him to save the human race,” said her husband, John Paul.
“This is not a time for flippancy.”
“Theresa, be reasonable,” said John Paul. “I want Ender home as much as you do.”
“No you don’t,” said Theresa fiercely. “You don’t ache with the need for him every day.” Even as she said it she knew she was being unfair to him, and she covered her eyes and shook her head.
To his credit, he understood and didn’t argue with her about what he did and did not feel. “You can never have the years they’ve taken, Theresa. He’s not the boy we knew.”
“Then we’ll get to know the boy he is. Here. In our home.”
“Surrounded by guards.”
“That’s the part I refuse to accept. Who would want to hurt him?”
John Paul set down the book he was no longer pretending to read. “Theresa, you’re the smartest person I know.”
“He’s a child!”
“He won a war against incredibly superior forces.”
“He fired off one weapon. Which he did not design or deploy.”
“He got that weapon into firing range.”
“The formics are gone! He’s a hero, he’s not in danger.”
“All right, Theresa, he’s a hero. How is he going to go to middle school? What eighth-grade teacher is ready for him? What school dance is he going to be ready for?”
“It will take time. But here, with his family — ”
“Yes, we’re such a warm, welcoming group of people, a love nest into which he’ll fit so easily.”
“We do love each other!”
“Theresa, Colonel Graff is only trying to warn us that Ender isn’t just our son.”
“He’s nobody else’s son.”
“You know who wants to kill our son.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Every government that thinks of American military power as an obstacle to their plans.”
“But Ender isn’t going to be in the military, he’s going to be — ”
“This week he won’t be in the American military. Maybe. He won a war at the age of twelve, Theresa. What makes you think he won’t be drafted by our benevolent and democratic government the moment he gets back to Earth? Or put into protective custody? Maybe they’ll let us go with him and maybe they won’t.”
Theresa let the tears flow down her cheeks. “So you’re saying that when he left here we lost him forever.”
“I’m saying that when your child goes off to war, you will never get him back. Not as he was, not the same boy. Changed, if he comes back at all. So let me ask you. Do you want him to go where he’s in the greatest danger, or to stay where he’s relatively safe?”
“You think Graff is trying to get us to tell him to keep Ender with him out there in space.”
“I think Graff cares what happens to Ender, and he’s letting us know — without actually saying it, because every letter he sends can be used against him in court — that Ender is in terrible danger. Not ten minutes after Ender’s victory, the Russians made their brutal play for control of the I.F. Their soldiers killed thousands of fleet officers before the I.F was able to force their surrender. What would they have done if they had won? Brought Ender home and put on a big parade for him?”
Theresa knew all of this. She had known it, viscerally at least, from the moment she read Graff’s letter. No, she had known it even before, had known it with a sick dread as soon as she heard that the Formic War was over. He would not be coming home.
The above is an excerpt from the book Ender in Exile
by Orson Scott Card
Published by Tor Books; Nov 2008;$25.95US/$28.95CAN; 978-0-7653-0496-4
Copyright © 2008 Orson Scott Card