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QUESTION:

I was re-reading Shadow of the Hegemon in preparation for Shadow Puppets, and a question came back up that had bothered me the first time through the book: why invent a new word ("jeesh") and then state that it was a Battle School term that everyone knew . . . but that we readers knew was not a word that occurred in the book? This question is not about the word itself but rather about the way you went about bringing it out. I know you must have a reason, but I haven't been able to figure it out yet.

I have another question, one whose response I will use in a few weeks as I re-teach your exquisite Ender's Game: What changes would you make in the novel if you were writing it for the first time today instead of in the mid-80's?

-- Submitted by Ryk Stanton

OSC REPLIES: - March 28, 2003

I liked the word jeesh. Just because I hadn't found it (it's an Arabic word) back when I wrote the novel Ender's Game did not mean I had to be bound by decisions and research I had done fifteen years before Ender's Shadow.

As to what I would have done differently - I couldn't possibly answer that, simply because most of the answer I wouldn't know unless I was actually writing it today. And most of the differences would be stuff that came up in the process of creation. In other words, if Ender's Game (the novel) did not exist prior to 2002, and I were adapting it into novel form for the first time today, I would presumably have more skills and knowledge - but it would not be the same skills and knowledge I have today, because of what I have already learned from having written Ender's Game (the novel) fifteen years ago and then all the sequels and many other books that I might not have had the opportunity to write (and learn from) if Ender's Game (the novel) had not been written in 1984. In short, I simply have no idea.

To tell you things I'd like to fix if I were writing it today is a very different proposition, because of course I know now which things are reader favorites that I would not be stupid enough to tamper with. And many of the "fixes" are things that aren't actually wrong with the book, but rather would have made Ender's Shadow easier to write.

Which is a long answer to a short question, isn't it?

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