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Ender's Shadow: Questions for Discussion
Compiled by Tor Books
- Orson Scott Card has said that "Science fiction is more demanding than literary
fiction, and harder to do well; the reward is that science fiction and fantasy allow you
to tell any story that can be told in literary fiction, and far more that can't." Ender's
Shadow is unmistakably science fiction but what are the elements in it that make it
also work as literary fiction? How do the science fiction elements make it more
substantial than if it were set in a contemporary or historical setting? Could this story
work if it were not science fiction?
- In the introduction to Ender's Game, the author states that he never felt that he spoke
childishly. "I felt like a person all along -- the same person that I am today. I never
felt that my emotions and desires were somehow less real than an adult's emotions
and desires." How does he handle the gifted children in Ender's Shadow? Do
contemporary teens feel as Orson Scott Card felt? Do only gifted children feel this
way or is it a universal feeling?
- As a toddler, even too young to walk, Bean analyzed the situation in the "clean place"
and escaped with his life. Raised by himself, did he learn moral values? How did he
learn them? Are moral values inborn or learned?
- Achilles and Bean are both intelligent, both are survivors of the streets, and both are
willing to kill. What is it that makes Bean a "hero" and Achilles a "villain"?
- Moral choices have been described as the fulcrum upon which all Card's works
balance. What are the moral dilemmas faced by Bean? Why does he choose the paths
he does? Does religion play a role and if so how are matters of religion dealt with in
- Many of Bean's activities are anti-heroic: urging the killing of a downed cripple,
crawling through vents to spy on teachers, stealing passwords to access computer
information. Is Bean a hero because of or in spite of those types of activities?
- Card has often spoken of and written about the importance of family and community
in defining his fictional characters. How does Bean fit in? Is he actually as much of
an outsider as he appears to be? Who are the members of his family and his
community? How does the absence of a birth family affect him?
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