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QUESTION:

I have been wondering (especially after reading the first 5 chapters of Shadow of the Hegemon) if you truly believe or have associated with brilliance of children measuring up to those in Ender's Game/Shadow or Battle School, excepting the genetically altered minds. The quick thinking and analyzing demonstrated by the young Battle School alumni is something that almost makes me feel inadequate as a teenager. I would have thought you to be one of those children yourself, except for the obvious fact that it is much easier to interpret situations with responses in writing-time as opposed to real-time. I'd like to know who you base your genius characters' brains off of or if it's purely your imagination. Also, do you believe children as young as your characters are capable of cruel intentions as portrayed in Peter, Achilles, Bonzo, etc?

-- Submitted Anonymously

OSC REPLIES: - August 2, 2000

The cruelty of children has often been demonstrated. I don't have any children behaving worse than some children behave in the real world.

As for the brilliance of these kids -- I try to show that, brilliant as they are about some things, they still make mistakes about other things. Brilliance is not all that rare -- and brilliant kids still need to learn the human virtues.

I don't think I have exaggerated the intelligence of the smartest of humans, or the cruelty of the cruelest. I may even have underestimated both, in the interest of making my fiction plausible <grin>.

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