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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Uncle Orson On the Fly » Ender's Game Alive

   
Author Topic: Ender's Game Alive
JanitorBlade
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With a format like audiobooks, I should think you wouldn't need to cut any scenes from the book. Obviously 30 hours is a long time, but was it that there are scenes in the novel that don't translate well into pure dialogue, so they were excluded?
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staredecisis
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That's a great question above.

OSC once said that Ender's game is an "unfilmable novel" because the entire book takes place in Ender's head. I'd assume the same is true of this kind of an audiobook. Fortunately, we get to see how both come out soon!

Today's "Uncle Orson on the Fly" email was actually really heartbreaking. It is sad to see all of the hate being hurled at OSC and how it is impacting him. We ought to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

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millernumber1
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Just subscribed, and am really loving these columns. The cookies made me laugh.

It was very interesting to see OSC's thoughts and feelings about what's going on, and to know that he's actually been declining interviews, not that people aren't looking for them. I agree that it's sad - it's been sad to see professional friends/colleagues either draw back or keep quiet.

Having finished Ender's Game Alive, I loved the insight into the scripting process - and it made sense some of the things that were added.

I think most of the things that were cut were time skips - there's a lot of sections in EG where it says "And a year" or some period of time went by while the characters basically do the same thing. A lot of the Battle Room stuff is like this, as are the Command School sections. So some things, like Petra's breakdown, have a bit more compression.

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Orson Scott Card
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Audioplays are as different from novels as movies are. Scenes that work in a novel, where we can get inside the characters' heads, usually don't play at all in audio. Audioplays need more dialogue - but can hardly deal with action sequences at all. How much can you tell from mere sounds, anyway?

So the problem in adapting EG into Ender's Game Alive isn't so much that we had to leave out scenes as that I needed to write NEW scenes that would convey the information from both visual scenes and internal monologues, neither of which can be rendered directly.

With EGA, I learned from my own "radio play" sequences of untagged dialogue at the beginning of each chapter. I used those, in the novel, to give glimpses of what the adults were thinking and doing without ever having to get inside any adult's head (which would have required me to reveal what they knew). I expanded and repurposed these scenes, and added more. In these scenes, the adults speculate about what Ender is thinking - which is as close as we can come, in audioplays, to getting inside Ender's head, where the novel spends most of its time.

In addition, I use these scenes to convey a lot of information that ISN'T in Ender's Game at all, though I deliberately do NOT include scenes that are only in Ender's Shadow, so that an audioplay of that book may be possible at some future date (depending, I suppose, on how well this first audioplay does commercially).

There's also a matter of length. Audioplays are FAR more expensive than audiobooks. Hundreds of tracks had to be edited together - a vastly more complicated process than editing regular audiobooks. Sound effects and music are more complicated, too. So to keep the project affordable, we set the arbitrary target of six hours - twenty 18-minute episodes. In fact, most episodes are a little longer.

But compare this with the nearly twice-as-long audiobook, and you see the problem.

Besides, the novel still exists - the idea was not to duplicate or replace it, but instead to experience the story in a different way. Radio drama may be a nearly-dead art, but I, for one, regret that. With audio, the special effects budget is infinite <grin>. And the reliance on dialogue allows me to get back to my roots as a playwright: People talking, THAT'S what I'm best at!

So, yes, there are a few details and secondary scenes that do not appear in EGA. You won't miss them, because all the significant information is provided in different ways. EGA then offers far MORE information that is NOT in the book than it leaves out! I can promise you, if we ever do a new version of the novel, it will include much or most of the new material from EGA. Especially at the climax, when Ender and Bean come up with the concepts that lead to the tactics that make victory possible. MUCH better than the way I sort of gloss over this topic in the novel! <grin>

Ultimately, of course, the audience must be the judge. I would be delighted if in every literate home in America, debates raged about which is better: The book Ender's Game, the movie Ender's Game, or the audioplay Ender's Game Alive. Please, by all means experience the story all three ways! Meanwhile, in my house at least, the consensus right now is that Ender's Game Alive is the best, most moving and compelling version of the story to date.

- Orson Scott Card

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millernumber1
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Amen to radio drama being awesome! EGA actually got me to dig out some of my old BBC and other radio theater files. Such a great format!
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BlackBlade
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I managed to get EGA in the mail and listened to just a few minutes of the preview on Amazon. It immediately took me back to all those Dramatized American History and Church History tapes I listened to in high school. Also written by Mr. Card.

I think it's an awesome take on the novel, I'm so pleased it was attempted. I look forward to judging the final product.

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Amka
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Well, I reviewed it on my blog. Finished it on Thursday, but couldn't post until today. It does add information that wasn't in the book, since there is a lot more from the adults' POV. It takes into account all the coinciding Enderverse cannon in a satisfying way.
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millernumber1
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Link?
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Amka
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http://www.amichopine.com/blog/?p=970

The takeaway is that I enjoyed it quite a bit.

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millernumber1
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Very nice review! I admit that the mix of male and female actors playing the boys was sometimes confusing. I didn't mind Kirby as Ender - I think because I was prepared for it - but it's definitely something that's just a facet of the original book and the ability of actors and children.

I'm personally very excited that it came out before the film, so I wouldn't necessarily imprint on the film versions of the characters. I tend to not have very strong visual impressions of the characters I read, so even though I'm generally happy with having multiple adaptations, I do like having them available so my mental images aren't too contaminated (and some of my friends refuse to have anything to do with films of books they love because it's even more dramatically overwritten in their heads). Having the audio drama reassures me that even if I dislike or am massively disappointed by the film (which I desperately hope is not the case), I still have a dramatic version that I can love alongside the book.

And it's possible that the way OSC managed to integrate so much of the expansion and development of the characters, particularly my favorite Bean, will even help this version supplant the original in my mind and heart. And it seems OSC wouldn't mind that at all. [Smile]

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Amka
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Yeah, that's why I made sure to listen to it first and was glad of the audio play. I hardly have time to read these days [Frown] so I try to make it new fiction or non/fiction. Of course, audiobooks are awesome. And I'm one of those strange people who never minds waiting, because it means I can read or listen.

And thank you!

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Carl M
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I've seen the movie first. It compelled me to listen to the 20th anniversary audible. That in turn compelled me to listen to the Ender's Game Alive audible. I'm still on chapter 3 of EGA, but so far I don't prefer one thing to another yet. That might change after I'm done with EGA, but we'll see.
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