What Sci-Fi Novel Has Appeared On Military Reading Lists The World Over?
Answer: Ender’s Game
Ender’s Game is a Sci-Fi novel by American author Orson Scott Card. The novel centers on a future Earth ravaged by years of conflict with the Formics–a hive-minded insectoid alien race–and humanity’s efforts to train the best and brightest young adults to create a superior fighting force against them. The book proved to be both a hit with Sci-Fi fans and military strategists alike.
In addition to winning the 1985 Nebula Award and 1986 Hugo Award for best Sci-Fi novel, Ender’s Game found itself on the suggested reading lists of many military organizations including the United States Marine Corps and Army. Marine Captain John F. Schmitt wrote in the introduction of the USMC Professional Reading Program introduction to the Ender’s Game Discussion Guide:
It is perhaps unusual that a hugely popular work of science fiction would be included on the Marine Corps PME Reading List. While this book is aimed at Privates through Lance Corporals and Officer Candidates/Midshipmen, more experienced Marines can get a lot out of reading it. Ender’s Game is more than about the difficulty and excitement that competition provides in preparing for combat. There are lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well. Such richness in range and treatment has made Card’s book an oft-read and re-read title for many years; Ender’s Game has been a stalwart item on the Marine Corps Reading List since its inception.
The influence of the novel extends beyond just reading lists and discussion groups. In a 2003 interview with New York Times Michael Macedonia, director of the Army’s Orlando, FL. based simulation training center, explained how the simulation system in the Ender’s Game influenced his current work:
Ender’s Game has had a lot of influence on our thinking [in regard to building a massive networked battle simulator]. The intent is to build a simulation that allows people to play in that world for months or years, participate in different types of roles and see consequences of their decisions.
Approaching its 30th anniversary, Ender’s Game remains a classic Sci-Fi text and a favorite among fans of all sorts (and ranks).