This was a recommendation from the Science Fiction Book Club Top 50 science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002 (via Binary Bonsai). It was a good choice, I was a bit dubious, a sci-fi action novel starring a six-year-old, but Ender’s Game is fantastic. Sometime in the future Earth has to fight off an invasion force of insect-like aliens. In the end a mad charge by Mazer Rackham was all that saved the human race, and they won’t fall for that again.
To find a new commander the government has implemented a system of monitoring brilliant children, only if their offspring show promise can a family have a dreaded ‘third’ (a third child). They have a monitor attached to them, which monitors their every waking moment and then they are either accepted or rejected for Battle School.
Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin shows immense promise, as did his siblings, but where they failed it is hoped Ender will succeed, for the fate of the world rests on his shoulders. They rush him through Battle School, an academy on a space station where they children are taught to wage mock battles and lead ‘armies.’ Ender excels even though they push him harder and use more and more unusual tactics on him.
The question is, will he be ready or will he be broken by the constant challenges.