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Letters from students at Jakarta International School


Dear Orson Scott Card,

I recently finished reading a book you wrote called Ender's Game. I was surprised that I enjoyed the book as much as I did because I normally don't read science fiction stories. It was the first time I had ever read a book you wrote, but I had heard of your name as an author before; it won't be the last time I read one of your books though.

During the week I would often get angry at everyone when characters in the book were treating Ender unfairly. I would get in a very aggressive mood, usually at my family members since I read at home. That has never happened before with other books, except for one when I'd become very depressed, and a few other less visible instances come to mind now that I think of it.

I thought that the ending was quite rushed, from the part when Valentine and Ender decide to go to the new planet, up till the scene that mirrors the computer game Ender played while training for the war. It slowed down a little, then picked up speed once again as you introduced the custom of "speaker for the dead." I think that even though it is fast-paced, it shows that nothing incredibly significant happened after the war to Ender. It actually leaves you with a happy ending, that somehow after the chaos and cruelty, life goes on. That's one of the reasons why I'm hesitant to read the second book, Speaker for the Dead. I don't want anything else to happen to Ender; hasn't he been through enough? I also always end up preferring the first book in a series, and become critical of the rest of the books because they can never seem to match up to the original first in the series.

Anyway, the book was excellent and hopefully I will be brave enough to read yet another of your great books about Ender without fearing his fate.

Sincerely,

Laura Codron


Dear Mr. Card,

I finished your "BEST" book Ender's Game long time ago, since I couldn't get my eyes off the book. It was just fantastic. I loved the book from the start till the end.

I loved Ender, from the beginning till the end. He was such an adorable guy. Even though he was violent and mean, I felt compassion toward Ender. I could exactly understand every activity he has done. Even when he beats up his classmate (sorry! I cannot remember his name!), kills his previous group leader, and also the annoying guy at the trip to battle school. I was always on Ender's side. Ender impressed me that much! I feel sympathy for Ender, because he's just a kid, but had to be educated, violently, and had to do all the wars, unwilling, without any losses. Also on the part "Dragon Army" had to fight two battles a day, I felt like as if I was the one to fight and got exhausted! Even though Ender is the one to save the world, I thought that it was the worst treatment I've ever seen.

I also admire the character Bean. I especially admire his courage, boldness, and his intelligence which helped Ender throughout the battles. He's the smallest one in the "Dragon Army" but not the dumbest. He was bright and full of new ideas. I was so delighted when I read the part where Bean discovers the tactic of using a rope to make a person fly around the battle room. It was just an incredible idea. It was really fantastic. Also Bean was the character who asked to become a toon leader from the beginning of an army. I thought that was really brave. If I was in his place, I wouldn't have been able to ask for things like that. I'd be too scared for it, and finally, when Ender heard Bean's voice through the microphone at the simulation game, which happens to be true, I was jumping up and down with joy. Personally, I like Bean more than Ender. He's so SMART -- I'd like to be like him, a GENIUS.

So this is my letter to you. I think I wrote too many personal thoughts into it, but anyway I did love Ender's Game, especially the characters and the moving events. I'm really looking forward to seeing you in March; please, please . . . don't disappoint us. Now c'ya!

Sincerely,

So Hee Kim


Dear Mr. Card,

I am reading your book Ender's Game and I really like your book. For me, it was a quite thick and long book so before reading, I thought it would be boring but when I read this book from the start, it really caught my attention. I really liked the way that you wrote. The third, which is Ender, the one who is combination of Valentine and Peter was asked for coming to the battle school, and when he decided to go, every families cried and held him because if Ender go to the battle school and fight with the buggers then he won't come back home forever. That was hard deciding for the little kid, Ender but he knew that they needed him so he finally decided to go. When I read that part, I felt fear what if I become Ender and meet with that situation. That was impossible for me, impossible not to see family forever. I think you built your character very strong and powerful. I like your character, Ender. This book is very fantastic to imagine and futuristic. I think the part is pretty ironic when Ender has a game with buggers, Ender thought that was only a game but that was true battles between the enemies and earth. Before reading this book, I thought this story would be like battles between earth (human beings) and the aliens and finally it was only the game that the boy named Ender played or the story of battles between earth (space soldiers) whose name is Ender and the aliens in the other planet so I thought if my imaginary story is true then that would be enjoyable and nice but this story was more even enjoyable and fantastic story than the story I imagine.

I have a question about Speaker for the Dead which is by you, Mr. Card. Is this book related to Ender's Game? I haven't read Speaker for the Dead; if it's related to Ender's Game than I would prefer to read this book.

I bought a book called Treasure Box. I'll read this book for the semester break.

I really liked your book Ender's Game.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Yun Hyea Kim


Dear Mr. Card,

For English 8, I read a book you wrote titled Speaker for the Dead. It was really good! I'm not really a science fiction fan, but yours was interesting.

I have to admit, the beginning was sort of boring, but I became more engrossed into it when Pipo rushed out to meet the piggies after seeing what Novinha had on the screen. Then, when they found out he was dead. I was practically 100% positive he had figured out something awful that the piggies didn't want anyone to know. Was I wrong! I nearly laughed at myself when I finished reading it. There I was, so confident I had figured it out and then it turns out I was completely wrong. The irony in it was fantastic.

I loved the part when the Speaker met the wives. Finally I understood the piggies' way of life. One thing that confused me though, was that if the baby piggies eat their way out of their mother, then how could there be any wives? Wouldn't all the wives be dead?

Other than that, I think the book was great and it sort of opened up a new way to look at science fiction, at least for me.

Yours truly,

Shakira Hatta


Dear Mr. Card,

Hello! How are you? I'm Ivy and I'm from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I recently read your book Ender's Game and thought it was awesome! I'm pretty new to reading science fiction and your book has certainly inspired me to read more of your books and more of science fiction stories.

The book Ender's Game was interesting, though it had some boring portions to it. (No offense :] ) I was really fond of your writing style, especially the way you described the situations in the story. It was very intriguing and really kept me in suspense. I actually spent all my free time during the first week when I received the book reading it. I couldn't put my mind off it. I really enjoyed the way you wrote about what had been going on in Ender's life. I didn't quite enjoy the bit about how Pete and Valentine started to take over the world as it didn't seem too realistic but it really kept me thinking about Ender's part of the story. So, I ended up reading Pete's section a bit faster to reach Ender's bit.

Basically, the book was fascinating and was probably one of the best books I've ever read. Your book has increased my interest in space and astronomy. I hope, perhaps, someday I could write like you.

Yours truly,

Ivy Tan


Dear Mr. Card,

I recently finished reading your book Ender's Game not too long ago, and I thought it was a very interesting way of looking at life in the future.

I don't usually enjoy reading science fiction books; they all seem so unrealistic and fake. I didn't find that with Ender's Game. It was science fiction and based in the future, but I really believe that what happened could happen in the future.

Something that I did while reading your book was actually visualizing what was happening when it happened. I only do that when I really get into the book. It was almost like a was watching a movie in my mind as I read the book. The only thing is that I was able to visualize the scenes really clearly, but when it came to visualizing the character I couldn't. They weren't very clear to me.

I found your book sad in a way. I thought it was sad how Ender was taken away from his family and everything that he knew to a place in which he was completely on his own.

I am eager to find out what happens next in the story, and can't wait to get started on the next book in the series.

Your Reader,

Kristine Edson


Dear Orson Scott Card,

I have just finished reading Ender's Game and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was action packed, dramatic, and I could never put it down. I loved the whole idea of "Battle School" and how the kids were the bosses and while they were talking you realize that the "big kids" to Ender were 12 & 13 years old! Our age! I also loved the idea of a weightless battle room and of the entire mind bending computer games and simulations. It was suspenseful and full of action but also brought up issues of trust, love and how far one would go until one finally cracked. I really felt good for Ender when he won every game, beat every team and finally destroyed the buggers. It was such a rush.

I like the idea of population restrictions and when there is an extra kid he is discriminated again and called a "Third." I think it is really realistic and likely to happen in the world soon. I liked that Ender had an enormous change of heart and in the end helped the Buggers by trying to find a new home for the hive queen. I thought it was great that he started a new religion and wrote 2 books that enlightened the world.

What I didn't get was why the buggers attacked earth in the first place. If they were so good, then why attack?

Well that's it! I loved your book.

Sincerely,

Ben Sussman


Dear Mr. Card,

I've recently finished reading your book, Ender's Game, and overall I thought that the book was interesting, thought provoking, and in many cases left me in moments of deep awe. I'm sorry I skipped the introduction because after I read the first paragraph I didn't seem very interested in continuing. I thought that the beginning really caught my attention because in several ways I was puzzled over some of the futuristic things you created, but as I continued reading I finally understood, although some I'm still confused about. For example, the monitor in Ender's head. When did you mean by a monitor? I liked how you fantastically developed the plot of the story, especially in the beginning when Ender was still living with his family and several shocking incidents happen to him. I also liked how you made up that parents are not allowed to have more than two children and that Ender is a third and a lot of people are against him because of that.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't feeling up to reading a science fiction book based on the future because many of the science fiction books that I had read in the past did not catch my attention and I ended up reading only half of it when I was bored out of my mind. Ender's Game really caught my attention and I found myself longing to read more and more until finally I finished it! Ender's Game is the first futuristic book I was really interested in and finished and I am looking forward to reading the sequel and more of your books!

Sincerely,

Karina Swenson


Dear Mr. Card,

I would like to start this letter to you by telling you a little about myself. My name is Jitin Kewalramani. I am 12 years old and I was born on January 1, 1987. I was born in India but at the moment, I live in Jakarta, Indonesia. In my English class at JIS, I was assigned to read Ender's Game. After I finished reading the book, I was astonished at how good of a science fiction book it was and I have to admit that it is my favorite science fiction novel. How did you come up of such an idea for a book? And how did you make the book so long while keeping you focused on the story? I spent countless hours reading the book each day because I was somewhat addicted to the suspense and plot in the novel. Mr. Card, I would like to share with you some issues raised in the book and ask you some questions, which are puzzling me about Ender's Game. My favorite part of Ender's Game is when Ender and his friends are training in a zero-gravity room and suddenly Bonzo and his friends enter for a fight without protection suits. It is so cool how Ender and his friends out-maneuver them to safety. I also like the Demosthenes and Locke idea. It was very interesting and smart. However, isn't it a bit extreme that a 14-year-old boy can practically rule the world and a 12-year-old boy can govern another planet? One main question, which was bothering me, was how could the humans set it up so that every time Ender uses the simulation machine with his friends in radio contact, he is in war with the buggers? Just out of curiosity how many months did it take you to write Ender's Game? Overall, Ender's Game is an excellent novel because of its interesting and suspenseful plot, conflict, and climax. I am going to try and find time to read your sequel to Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead. I am looking forward to meeting you when you visit JIS. Bye.

Sincerely,

Jitin Kewalramani


Dear Mr. Card,

I have just read your book, Ender's Game, and I thought it was a big change from all the other books I have read. This is because I usually read books about the past or present, never the future. It makes me wonder what it will be like in the future. I think this book is very action packed, non-stop heart throbbing adventure about our hero, Ender. Even though the book is very exciting, some parts can be slow, such as the chapter on Valentine and Peter, back on Earth. This is because I was so used to the action with Ender, and his superior tactics that can overcome groups of enemies. I think that the defeat of the bugger was very unexpected and not full of action. I would prefer if Ender drove the ships with all his friends and blasted all the buggers. Then they would have a show down with the queen of the buggers, killing her and all her followers. Still, without this ending, I think that this is one of the best books I have ever read. I would also want to read the continuation and other books by you.

Adam Brooks


Dear Mr. Card,

I am reading your book Xenocide. I find it very interesting and exciting, but I think that the ending was very open-ended. What exactly happened in the end? I also thought that Ender's Game was a better book than Speaker for the Dead. I thought that your first book in the Ender series had a better story and was far more interesting than its sequel. Is the Ender series going to end with Ender's Shadow or will it go on and continue. I hope it continues because I really like these series of books. As I said before Speaker for the Dead was less exciting than Ender's Game and Xenocide. I think that Speaker for the Dead leads you to Xenocide.

I really liked the ending of Ender's Game because it was really descriptive and well written. I thought that Ender would be really proud that he had ended the Bugger race. I never thought that he would bring them back into this universe. I thought that he would have planted the bugger race in a far away world, but instead he put them in Lusitania. This planet had the Descolada Virus.

What if a colony of Buggers learned space travel and went on a human world and gave the virus to humans. It could have destroyed the whole human race. That would be the biggest calamity in human history. If this happened, the Xenocide would live up to his name and kill both varelse and raman.

Sincerely,

Sid Kumar


Dear Mr. Card,

I have just read the book called Speaker for the Dead and I thought that the book you wrote was very interesting. I thought that the sequel you wrote was an excellent continuation of Ender's Game because it answered my questions about Ender and what might happen later. I also enjoyed the ending of the book because although you summed up things such as showing that Ender and everyone else had settled down, you still left the question of the strike force coming to the colony and so on.

I felt that the suspense in Speaker for the Dead made it an enticing book because first you would drag me to believe that the colony was doomed and then made me believe the opposite so many times that I was bewildered and had absolutely no idea what might happen. I also felt that the detail was excellent and was so well written that I felt I was in the same time as Ender was.

Since the same story was extremely suspenseful, I have some questions about what happens after the book Speaker for the Dead. What happens to the invading strike force? Does it destroy the colony or does Ender destroy it? What happens to the colony? I hope to read more of your books in the future.

Sincerely,

Shey Mukudan


After reading the first few pages of Ender's Shadow, I was thinking, "Okay, I know nobody's life is perfect, but I didn't think Bean, the smart, cynical kid who was supposed to make Ender seem like chopped liver, was entitled to this many problems." I saw how Bean was living out on the streets and reaching the point of starvation, and that was definitely not the picture I had had in my mind; I'd expected a clean-cut infant who came from an okay family, and somehow inherited the brain cells of a genius. So straight off, I knew that Bean would probably have a lot more problems than Ender during the course of the book, and he'd probably go through a lot more pain and obstacles, seeing that I had not even read an eighth of the book, and Bean was already close to death and having to dodge so many enemies.

If I were able to acquire three personality traits of Bean's, it would probably be his ability to read other people's actions to see what they're thinking, his way of interpreting different situations, and his strategic abilities. For starters, I liked how Bean had that way of reading his teacher's body language or the look in their eyes, and know if they were lying, if they were scared, or if they were trying to conceal something from him. I think this is a very useful ability to have, because then, you can always read what a person is thinking, and know if they're being straight with you or not. And with this talent, you're also able to get more information, and try to make out the whole picture of something you'd like to know. I also liked how he could take just one simple situation, and come up with dozens of reasons for what somebody did, or different ways of doing this or that, or looking at things in different perspectives. I'd like to obtain this skill, because if you're able to look at things in different ways, you're able to see past what is already in front of you and allow yourself to expand your ways of thinking, and get past the facade which everyone else wants you to see. And of course having that great strategic ability would enable you to outwit all of your enemies, or get out of some kind of problem you have with your quick-thinking, and that's something that would definitely come in handy. And being able to map out and plan things in your head, or come up with new ideas can really help you if you're trying to reach some kind of goal or ending point.

I would definitely want to read more books by Orson Scott Card, because although his style of writing is science fiction, it isn't just a book with alien guts spewing all over the place, but it also has a blend of realism and morals. Usually, I don't read science fiction books, because I like books which a normal human being can relate his or life to, but Ender's Shadow was a smart and well-written book, because it gave us action and suspense, and a good look inside the main character's head to see what he was thinking at every moment.

Ender's Shadow was an extremely credible book. Its story took us from one engaging storyline to the next. It made me see how even prodigies like Bean have their own problems, and how badly the street-life can affect you with all of its violence and bad memories. It took us from sad scenes, to where Bean either made a brother out of a friend, or left one of his adversaries standing in the dust with his cleverness.

Steven Cao


A few months back, we were asked to write you a letter responding to your book, since all of us read either Ender's Game or Speaker for the Dead. So, this is my letter to you.

My name is Asako and I'm from Japan. I read Ender's Game and I enjoyed it very much. Believe it or not, it was the first science fiction book I had ever read. I used to think that Sci-Fi books were not very interesting because they seemed so far away from our time with aliens and time machines; however, when I read it, the millennium was coming up so I decided to try for a new change. Fortunately, I ended up reading the book continuously for hours until I had finally finished it. I guess the reason that made up keep reading was that it was somehow realistic; Ender being picked on because he was smarter than everybody else, the jealousy Peter had of Ender, and the way he learned to deal with some of the tough commanders to be the best commander himself. I could relate myself to many of the feelings Ender had.

To tell you the truth, the first bit was a little slow because it took me a long time to understand what kind of situation Ender was in. When I understood, it was getting to a much better story, though. Luckily, near the end, I couldn't stop reading. I guess it's better than the ending being boring because then I wouldn't be able to be satisfied with the book.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was the irony, when it was the real battle Ender was fighting in which he thought was just another practice. Although it was also the scene I was a little confused with, I never saw that coming.

The lesson I learned or what I felt from the book was that no matter how hard I try, I'm still living under adults' control. A person can try to break it, but he or she will not succeed. I felt sad for Ender for realizing it at such a young age. It got me wondering whether it is really good to be better than everybody else is. Overall, I think the book was intriguing, and I enjoyed it a lot. I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

Asako Hagiwara


After having read the book Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card and done quite a few responses and fun activities with this book. I think we have covered almost every issue, except an important issue to not only me, but all of us, love. That little extra issue is mostly in reference to Mr. Card's example, when Alai grants Ender a holy gift. I liked the way Mr. Card lived into the thoughts of the mighty intellectual Ender. Ender gives a very mature response to such an example of love, as in friendship. The science fiction way of love seems very interesting, and I liked the way Mr. Card actually goes with something original in that holy gift to Ender. Ender said, while blushing, that although he couldn't quite understand the words that Alai said (neither could I), he could understand that thing was an extra sign of farewell and "take care" to someone very special, whilst Ender was going to Salamander Army. It builds on your self confidence, not attitude, to get such hope. There have been amazing cases when something like that has been given, such as special childhood tin soldiers, and the victims have survived extreme cases and awaken from comas, due to the outpouring of love. Ender received such a gift from his mother, when he was just a baby, and was given a kiss on his forehead. This reminds me of Sta Lucia, who was Italian saint, and hailed every December 13th in Sweden. To be precise, people prayed for her when she gave them hope and money, and as legend goes, God gave Sta Lucia a new pair of eyes. I think that Orson Scott Card would agree that these gifts from the heavens are only given to specific, empathetic people. Also, it comes to someone's hope and belief in you and that automatically makes you a very well respected person, who is offered opportunities and love. Although Ender got very little of this from his parents, friendships with Alai and Petra are what make him dream and change into a much more sophisticated and compassionate person after the war. He had grown tired of living for the sole purpose of splatting the buggers into pieces. As we say, the most important thing in a person's life is to have love and not kill people (such cases are an international problem). Ender is lucky because he has intelligence that far exceeds the normal human being. This also means that he doesn't become a Bonzo Madrid or Peter Wiggin because he already knows how important and vulnerable love is and what love truly means. Love means so much to a person and will never be given from people such as Peter and Bonzo. Part of receiving love is giving it, and that is something that the irresponsible and unsophisticated will never come to understand. To conclude I must say that . . . love is actually what keeps the world going.

Joakim von Essen


I recently finished Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card. It's based on a boy who has special powers because he is the seventh son of a seventh son. I was amused how he survived so many incidents in which a normal child would have died. The odd thing about each encounter was that it involved water. For example, when he was being born, his family's wagon was caught in mud while crossing a river. The water kept rising while the mother was lying inside the wagon close to birth and unable to escape. A fallen tree floated down the river, nearly capsizing the wagon. One of the sons bravely flung himself at the tree. He diverted the tree's path but paid with his life because he became tangled in the roots and drowned. The wagon was soon rescued with rope and Alvin was born. In this situation and many others, he just escaped a terrible peril.

I liked how Alvin would learn quickly and how he had a good friendship with his older brother Measure. Alvin asks questions of Measure and he tells Alvin he doesn't know. Alvin has taught himself to know when adults lie to children and does something about it this time. He confronts Measure and demands the true answer and he replies, saying he'll tell Alvin when he is old enough to guess the answer because he can't explain it, but if he could he would surely let Alvin in on it. Measure respected Alvin for the powers he had. Alvin respected Measure in that he could go to Measure to find out answers because Measure promised never to hide an answer he could explain. Alvin learned swiftly that he parents didn't agree on the idea of religion. He learned not to insult the church or priest in front of his mom but he learned his father wouldn't mind at all, in fact he did it himself.

If I had Alvin special healing powers, I'd probably do what Taleswapper suggested and only use the power on the people who he passes by in his life and whom cross his path. I wouldn't use the mighty power only to heal people because every time I heal someone, someone else would become ill from no fault of his own. So try as I might, it wouldn't make a real difference. I would use the power to heal trees and animals so humans would have a sufficient supply of oxygen and food. I would try to heal the earth of crevasses in the earth from earthquakes, heal mountains of splitting and releasing boulders and stop faulting.

This book can be related to the real world because there are scientific explanations or the religious explanations of things like Alvin's father who believed there are hidden powers while his mom being Christian doesn't believe in magic and believes there are miracles. Science says humans evolved over millions of years from apes. In my religion, Christianity, it's said Jesus created two humans and they had children and the population soon increased. How the earth was created is also another conflict battled because Christians believe Jesus created the earth while science claims a star exploded and threw out many gases and matter. The matter was brought together to form the earth and that the gases were just the conditions needed to create life. Bacteria are said, by the science world, to have been created in this event.

What I've really appreciated about getting to know Mr. Card this week is how he has contributed his time to helping us to become better writers. He has talked to many classes and taught us how to come up with an idea and how to refine and build on the thought. He has been a real treat to have here to aid us in our writing skills. He has changed our way of writing and I am sure we are all very thankful to have him here at JIS.

Jorden Stanley


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