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Author Topic: questions concerning the enderverse
random rreader
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For many years now, I have taken it upon myself to read all of the Ender books, as well as the shadow series. Recently, I completed Ender In Exile. My complements to Mr. Card. But even after reading that, and all the other books, I am left with a few questions. In my mindset, I visualize the character, their surroundings, and their interactions. It helps to add to the storyline, helping the plot out. One of my questions is, why is it that appearances are scarcely mentioned? I may be the only reader who has pondered this, but then again, I may not be. Secondly, and I realize this only adds to the mystery of the story of Ender, but what year(s) do these stories take place? As a reader, visualizing the characters, and their actions makes for a great story. Mr. Card describes them excellently, using their personalities, and well as mentalities near seamlessly, creating well rounded and in-depth characters. My questions are mere babble, but knowing just what physical traits each character has may add to the story. For anyone who would like an example of how an author I have read who uses setting and descriptions on a whole different level, I recommend Garth Nix, and his Keys To The Kingdom series.

sincerely, a random reader

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Orincoro
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quote:
I may be the only reader who has pondered this, but then again, I may not be.
You may not be.
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Noemon
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Random rreader, welcome to Hatrack. You'll be more likely to get a satsifying answer to your question on the "other side" of Hatrack, which you'll find here.

Alternatively, you may wish to post your question on Philotic Web, which is a fansite specifically focused on Ender's Game and its sequels.

Good luck!

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BlueWizard
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"One of my questions is, why is it that appearances are scarcely mentioned?"

'Appearances' of what or who?

If is possible to over describe people and surroundings. Good authors describe just enough to stimulate the imagination, and then leave the rest to the imagination of the reader.

I think Card does a good job of this. Besides, from reading the earlier stories, I already have my personal vision of Ender's appearance locked in my head. As the stories progress, that vision just ages.

In 'Ender in Exile', Ender is only a couple years older than he was in 'Enders Game'. So, he doesn't need much aging.

As far as the place; the ship, Shakespeare planets, etc..., I think those are sufficiently describe for me to fill in the blanks.

Card once said in writing about writing, that you don't necessarily describe in detail, things that are mundane in the time and place of the story. As an example, he use a doorway that opens like the iris of a camera. A small hole appears in the center then expands toward the edges as the doorway opens. Then collapses back on itself when the doorway closes.

To us, that is very unusual, but to the characters in the story, that is very mundane, and they are not likely, and should not, muse upon it at length because to them it is just a standard door. There is no reason why they would give it even a seconds thought.

Another example are the personal computers in the Ender story. They aren't describe as especially wondrous things. They are simply referred to as 'desktops' or 'desks', and are casually used.

They seem relatively small, but there is no need to describe them as such, because when and how they are used implies it. Again, to people in that day and age, this is standard ordinary stuff and nothing to be marveled at.

Since, to the characters and the narrator, these things are so mundane, why would the story ever dwell on them long enough to give an extended detailed description?

To some extent, you just have to trust your imagination to fill in the blanks. And when you do that, the detail is usual much richer and more real than if the author gives you every little detail.

Just a few thoughts.

Steve/bluewizard

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlueWizard:

It is possible to over describe people and surroundings. Good authors describe just enough to stimulate the imagination, and then leave the rest to the imagination of the reader.

Good authors write engaging material, whether they do this or not. Some authors in science fiction, of whom OSC is not and never has been one, engage in more cinematic or kinetic narrative descriptions for the sake of putting the reader into the story in a more visual or visceral way. It can be done, but OSC doesn't generally choose to do it. As an example of what I mean, David Weber is a prolific author who writes in a far more baroque fashion about functionality and geography, physical features, etc. It works for his kinds of stories- just depends on what the writer is trying to accomplish.
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Trent Destian
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While I do agree that the visuals conjured by Nix's KttK are impressive I personally wouldn't refer to his works as "a whole different level".

Horribly engaging and a fun read, but there really isn't anyhting in his writing that I would call a cut above the rest in terms of description and setting.

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Sean Monahan
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Before I discovered OSC, I hadn't read very much sci-fi. Though I had read several books by Philip Jose Farmer. PJF always provided specific physical descriptions of his characters. It was noticeable, because many of them were the same - just slightly over 6 feet tall, broad-shouldered, square-jawed, keen-eyed, etc. The main character was always a sterotypical heroic physical specimen. When I discovered Ender's Game, I was struck by how little physical description OSC gave for his characters. Yet his characterizations of them made them so much more real. I never knew before that that sci-fi could actually be great literature. PJF's characters just fell flat in comparison. I learned then that physical description contributes little if anything to character development.
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random rreader
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Trent Destian:
[QB] While I do agree that the visuals conjured by Nix's KttK are impressive I personally wouldn't refer to his works as "a whole different level".

I imagine when i started reading Nix's work, it seemed much more. As for now, it is a different level, a different realm, of description.
Card, although brilliant, leaves more to imagination, than in a world like nix, who gives you the world, and vividly tells his story, here setting and descriptions are heavily focused. Just some thoughts

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Lostinspace
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If you really want to understand how OSC writes characters, take some time to read his Characters & Viewpoint
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