Science Fiction Anthology

First Meetings In The Enderverse

Author: Orson Scott Card

Published By: Tor

Reviewed by Justine Manzano

First Meetings Book Cover      The Enderverse is not just novels anymore and the topic of today is the collected novellas of Orson Scott Card entitled First Meetings in the Enderverse.  At first, when I saw this book online, I wondered what the point of this book was.  What kind of short stories would Mr. Card be able to provide us with that hadn’t already had their blanks filled in with the previous eight books in the series?  I wouldn’t have even bought it, despite my love for the series, had I not seen the description of a story that explains how the series’ hero, Ender Wiggin, first meets up with his Artificially Intelligent companion Jane.  to In the second book of the series without much explanation, it appeared they were already well-acquainted with one another, so the back-story was the seller for me.  It could’ve just been that story, and it would’ve been fine, but I was getting much, much more than that.

      That tale, entitled “The Investment Counselor” was actually the last story in the book.  It ushered Ender into adulthood and showed that even rich ex-military children have to pay their taxes and get blackmailed sometimes!  And, much to my surprise, I didn’t feel like I was muddling through other stories to get to the one I wanted.  But then, I should’ve known better; this was Orson Scott Card I was thinking about here, and he had yet to do me wrong!  So, I went through the other three stories and found myself in utter enjoyment.

       The first tale, “The Polish Boy,” tells the tale of Ender’s father, John Paul Wieczorek, who was born in his homeland in Poland and was rather unnaturally smart just like his offspring.  John Paul’s family has always suffered thanks to their non-compliance to population laws that were forced on his country by the government at the start of the war.  In the military’s discovery of John Paul’s intelligence, he sees a chance to blackmail the government into releasing the sanctions on his family.  This story explains how his family ended up in America and shows the start of the attention the military had always given to Ender’s family. 

     The second tale, “Teachers Pest,” follows John Paul, who has since changed his name to Wiggin so that he stands out less from Americans, as he meets Theresa Brown, a young graduate student who is teaching a class in Human Community and its effects.  She, being the daughter of a world renowned non-compliant, immediately catches John Paul’s attention.  This story shows how John Paul pursued her and how he finally captured her attention-an act that eventually leads to the birth of their three genius children.

      The third tale was the original “Ender’s Game” novella that ran in Analog magazine in 1977.  This was a fun addition because in reading it, you got to see Ender’s Game in its original form, and discover all the changes Orson Scott Card made in order to make it into a full-length novel.  These changes, such as the addition of valuable characters like Ender’s brother Peter, and Bean’s future wife Petra, made all of the other future books possible. 

       All in all, this collection of novellas was a great purchase.  It gave us stories we’d never heard before and all of which were stories that true fans had always wondered about.  The only complaint I had about this book was the illustrations by Craig Phillips that really lent no vision at all to the stories they were attached to.  But even that wasn’t closely bad enough to take away from this elegant writing venture.  First Meetings In The Enderverse is the perfect addition to any fans library!  You know what they say about good first impressions; it’s true!

 

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