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QUESTION:

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.

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