5 Horrible Lessons Ender's Game Teaches Kids
If you had told me five years ago that Orson Scott Card's incredible novel Ender's Game was finally going to be made into a big budget Hollywood blockbuster ensuring that children all over the world would bask in its brilliant story I would have gone to my knees in thanks for such news. I was a less cynical man then. Being older, I now dread this film for the horrible things it's going to be instilling in the minds of today's youth.
In the book, children are recruited into the military in order to train them day and night against an alien menace that almost destroyed the Earth the last time they were seen. Only the brightest and best are chosen for service, regardless of their areas of giftedness.
This means that every single child of exceptional intelligence is recruited into the military, which is usually fine with the children since they're indoctrinated from a young age that military service is the only worthwhile contribution someone can really make. Everything revolves around it.
What's weird about that is that once they enter service, they effectively disappear. Letters that the children write are never delivered, and letters sent to them are burned before they reach the recipients. They don't get a single leave of duty until age 16, five years after the average enrollment age. What's more, in the book it's revealed that Earth believes an entire fleet is stationed in the solar system defending the planet when in fact they've been in warp drive to attack the alien bases in some cases for as much as twenty years.
To recap, the military rules completely, takes all the promising kids, and never tells anyone what they're doing with them.
Ender kills two children in the course of the book. Admittedly, both were bullies who were looking to beat him up, but he didn't just fight back. He put them in body bags with cold, precise calculation.
No one so much as slaps him on the wrist, and for the first one the action is actually what prompts his acceptance into the military. See, the brass wants to annihilate the alien menace completely, despite the fact that they fled after the first war and have never been seen since. This explains the psychological tactics the teachers use at the school to encourage all the children to solve every single conflict with battle and hopefully decisive victory.
At almost no stage is negotiation or diplomacy used, and while there are hints in the novel that the lack of this is a bad thing, and Ender knows it, he still continues as a machine bent on winning without offering a single chance of mercy.
Kids in Ender's Game are outfitted with monitors that oversee every aspect of their lives until they're removed by age 11. The monitors see through their eyes, and measure different areas of aptitude to judge who will be the best soldier.
Only two things happen after monitors are removed. Either kids are selected, or they're not. If they are, they go to training. If they're not, they're usually the target of severe bullying by their equally bitter peers. Despite the fact that authorities clearly know this happens, they give absolutely zero fucks about this.
They even overlook the clearly murderous and psychopathic tendencies of Ender's older brother Peter, and know that he skins animals alive and regularly threatens to murder his siblings. Doesn't matter. After you're past recruitment age you're on your own.