I love it when Berlatsky pulls out his flensing knives and opens one of Card's books.
Orson Scott Card’s sexist, victim-blaming “Ender’s Game” sequel - Salon.com
Ender is not only the destroyer of the buggers; he’s also their salvation. At the end of “Ender’s Game,” he discovers the lone surviving bugger hive queen pupa, and determines to find her a new planet where the buggers can be reborn. He also writes a history of her and her people titled “The Hive Queen,” which he signs “The Speaker for the Dead.” The book becomes the center of a widespread religion; it’s the reason that humans see the death of the buggers as a tragedy. In the 3000 years between “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead,” Ender goes from planet to planet seeking a bugger homeworld and as a Speaker for the Dead delivering eulogies for those who request it, in the same way he eulogized the buggers.
So to sum up, Ender is, (a) the greatest military leader in human history, (b) the greatest religious leader and prophet of his time, and, (c) the hope for the rebirth of the buggers. But! That’s not all! He also has been chosen as sole human interlocutor by a spontaneously generated super-sentient AI named Jane, who communicates with him through an interface in his ear. Thus, Ender carries about with him a literal deus ex machina.
Ender is, then, a massive, honking, preposterously exaggerated, Mary Sue. Indeed, the wish fulfillment on Card’s part couldn’t be much more obvious. For Ender is not just the destroyer and the savior; he is the destroyer and savior as writer. Ender’s greatest ability is his amazing capacity for empathy, for understanding others. In “Ender’s Game” he used this power (and it does function almost like a superpower) to destroy the buggers. In “Speaker for the Dead” he uses it to tell stories — the stories of the bugger queen, the dead people for whom he speaks as an itinerant eulogist, and eventually the piggies. He is the sensitive conduit through which the alien is met, interpreted and comprehended. And to emphasize this point, through most of the book he’s the sole human contact for not one, but two alien intelligences — the Hive Queen and Jane. It’s hardly a surprise that it’s Ender who breaks through and really understands the piggies after generations of local anthropologists fail to do so.
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