OSC Answers Questions
Many young readers recommend and read Ender's Game. Did your use
of youthful protagonists anticipate a young adult audience?
Is the choice of a computer simulated environment (The Giant's Game, 3D Fighter
Simulation) to develop/measure Ender's character related to this audience?
-- Submitted by Shan Thayer
OSC REPLIES: - January 11, 2000
I wrote Ender's Game without a particular audience in mind, apart from
people who would care about the same characters and issues that I cared about.
All my writing at that time was aimed at adults, and I had no thought of changing.
I did nothing to simplify the book for younger readers or to try to attract them.
Remember that in writing young adult (YA) literature, the common wisdom is that
to attract an audience of ten-year-olds, you need to have a protagonist who is two
years older -- i.e., twelve. With that in mind, at whom was I aiming a book whose
protagonist begins at age five? <grin>.
At the time when I wrote the original story of Ender's Game (1974) and
even when I wrote the novel version (1984), computer games were not yet
perceived as being for children or teenagers. Plenty of adults also played them.
But that was back when they were interesting <grin>. Today, the arcades seem to
consist of nothing but kicking and shooting, boring stuff indeed for most
grownups. But back then, the arcades were filled with really interesting,
innovative games and adults played almost as much as kids. So giving computer
games -- especially arcade-style games -- a pivotal role in "Ender's Game" would
not have been perceived as a move to orient the game toward younger readers.
Games were simply cool and their possibilities had not yet been twisted by
relentless demographics to appeal to only one kind of player.