Ender’s Game and the Advancement of Warfare
25 November 2012
During the 19th century the nature of warfare was reaching a turning point. It all began in the 1940s with the nuclear revolution and began advancing as quickly as the seasons ever since. By the time World War II approached, America had a whole new outlook on how to fight their battles. While the generals and commanders of the United States army were preparing for future warfare, Orson Scott Card was busy predicting the future of warfare in his award winning novel Ender’s Game. In this novel, a young boy of the name Ender Wiggins is to attend a special battle school where he will be trained to save his planet from the horrid buggers, their enemy of the past 100 years. Though Ender knows what he is in training for, he does not know the importance nor how fully involved he is in Operation Terminate the Buggers. Though Orson Scott Card thought his novel portrayed only a possibility for future warfare, he was incredibly accurate. From 1985, the year the book was published, to present day Ender’s Game has become a more realistic world for future generations to reside. The technology advances, nature of warfare, and the way future military officers and soldiers are chosen in Ender’s Game are all in the imminent future.
When the gunpowder revolution struck Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries all areas of warfare were fundamentally changed (McKitrick). On account of constant competition, every state and country was on a mission to catch up and surpass Europe’s new advancement in their technology. Smaller states in Asia made significant changes to pressing military requirements while Japan strove for dominance. These advances lead to Korea’s advancement of ironclad, cannon-armed galleys that were essential in Korea defeating Japan during Japan’s three invasion attempts. The problem with each of these advances in technology used in warfare is that all of the major powers possessed the same technologies but only a few countries created new operations concepts and organizations. Because of this, each advancement was upstaged by another, causing all countries to obtain the same level of power as before (Blackwell). In the novel Ender’s Game planet Earth has such an array of advanced technology that armies now are in the process of developing. Instead of gunpowder and cannons, Ender and other soldiers in training are taught battlefield strategies in a battle room in which they use advanced guns that instead of killing them when shot shoot a laser and freeze each soldier on impact. “Let’s shoot each other.’ They did. Immediately Ender felt the leg of the suit grow stiff, immobile at the knee and ankle joints. ‘You frozen?’ asked Alai. ‘Stiff as a board” (Card 60). Not only do they use special weapons, but they also train in a room with zero gravity. The soldiers are expected to use problem solving skills in order to maneuver around the battle field and retain their “up-and-down orientation” (Card 56). Another area in which the soldiers are expected to increase their problem solving skills is in a “mind game” set up by commanders. In the game each soldier is presented with a situation they must defeat. The game is monitored so that only the best of the best are chosen to lead Earth into war with the buggers. “It was private study time, and Ender was doing Free Play. It was a shifting, crazy kind of game in which the school computer kept bringing up new things, building maze that you could explore. You could go back to events you liked, for a while; if you left one alone too long, it disappeared and something else took its place” (Card 62). Not only are the technologies in the novel much more advanced than the technologies currently used by nations’ armies, but they also greatly differ from their enemies’ technology. While we do not exactly what the buggers are fighting the soldiers with, we do know that they have been attacking...
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