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QUESTION: I just finished reading Stone Tables and could not help but notice that the relationships between Moses, Miriam and Aaron somewhat resembled those of Ender, Peter and Valentine. (Youngest brother given preferential treatment in the world, Older brother jealous, Older sister caring and understanding.) Knowing that some of the research you conducted for Stone Tables preceded that of Ender's Game, is it possible that the relationships for the siblings in Stone Tables was the precursor for the relationships of the siblings in Ender's Game?

-- Submitted by Patrick Poyfair

OSC REPLIES: - January 6, 2000

What an interesting parallel. There are differences, though -- for instance, Miriam could also be bitchy and judgmental, and I don't think Valentine does much of that in Ender's Game, and Peter was cruel and mean-spirited, while Aaron was merely fanatical in pursuit of his ambition to achieve a lofty goal. In a sense, the only real parallel is simply: Third child with an older brother and sister. That's the family Exodus gives us for Moses, but when I was novelizing Ender's Game (the short story has no family in it), I had no conscious thought of the Stone Tables character roster -- I simply drew on my own family as I saw it when I was seven or eight. Because, like Moses, I am also a third child with an older brother and sister. My older brother is not nasty like Peter, and my older sister is not perfect like Valentine -- but when I was seven I thought they were! So in giving Ender a family I lazily based his family situation on mine-as-a-child, and then exaggerated and extrapolated from there. In no sense is the fictional representation of Peter or Valentine meant to represent my real siblings -- I simply used my family as the starting point because ... well, why not?

That doesn't mean that I didn't also draw on some of the thinking I did in writing Stone Tables, since I created the play back in 1972 and didn't write the novel of Ender's Game until 1984. But if there was influence there, I had no conscious knowledge of it.

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