I started with Ender's Game, then read the sequel-trilogy (Speaker for the Dead, Children of the Mind, Xenocide), and then the Shadow saga (the first book, Ender's Shadow, is within the same general timeframe as Ender's Game, but with a different character).
Those are all I've read, and I never stopped and said "This seems like it has been explained elsewhere. Curse you, Card!".
Just a quick warning, though: Speaker for the Dead and the other books in that trilogy are heavier on philosophy than Ender's Game was, and many end up not liking them because of the major difference. Personally, I prefer them for that reason :P
So, to sum up: Short stories are definitely not necessary for understanding. And when it comes to reading order, do this: If you liked the action-y, militaristic themes of Ender's Game, continue with the Shadow books. If you'd rather indulge in philosophy, xenophobia, and a generally slower-paced story, proceed with the Speaker for the Dead etc..
Hope this helps =)
Edit: The direct continuations with Ender happen a couple thousand years after Ender's Game, so it really is a different world we're talking about. They focus more on how humankind reacts when co-existence with different species is needed, and other "heavy" themes. The books with "Shadow" somewhere in the title resemble Ender's Game more, but the focus is on the character called Bean.
The way the novels after Ender's Game work is that Ender is older (60ish years)and much time has passed. This causes the later novels in the series to be fundamentally different from Ender's Game. They are still worth the read if you like a slower more science/political focus read. I believe the correct order is Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind though its been a while. If you don't you might try the Shadow series which follows Bean and what happens on Earth after Ender's Game. Shadow series is more similar in feel to Ender's Game then the rest of the Ender series. I haven't read the short stories and they are not required to understand the series at all.
Basically what Cal said.
Thanks for the information. I hope I enjoy it. I've dabbled in Fantasy books but never really made the jump to Sci-Fi.
Oh, I'm not big on Sci-Fi myself, in books at least. But I recommend Ender's Game and it's related books wholeheartedly^^
You'll really like it. Read Ender's Game -> Speaker for the Dead -> Xenocide -> Children of the Mind.
I read Ender in Exile after I read Ender's Game, but it really isn't needed. It was a nice read.. but not needed. I read all of the Shadow saga. I highly recommend that you read them all. Start at Ender's Shadow -> Shadow of the Hegemon -> Shadow Puppets -> Shadow of the Giant -> Shadows in Flight. Shadows Alive is SUPPOSED to be released, but idk when. It is supposed to tie up loose ends from both series (the main one and the divergent shadow series).
I loved all of the books and have read the first prequel to Ender's Game - it's of the First Formic War. A trilogy is planned for the First Formic War (pre-dating Ender's Game). Don't listen to what anyone else says... read them all, and judge them for yourself.
BTW... DO NOT go in this order (it's dumb): Ender's Game -> Ender's Shadow -> etc -> etc. Read a series by itself, then go back. Read the Ender's Game saga first, not the Ender's Shadow first.
If you do end up reading the Ender's Shadow saga (after you read the entirety of the Ender's Game quadrilogy), I recommend you read Ender in Exile.. you will understand when you get there. If you have read Dune before, you will rank this series up near there.
No need to even bother with Speaker series (the story is basically 3 Star Trek eps rolled into one mind-numbingly dull series). The shadow series is amazing. Let's face it, Ender is great, but Bean is exceptional (plus he is not all emotionally damaged). Also, Peter is a much more interesting character than Valentine. Thus, Bean + Peter > Ender + Valentine. OSC has some other great series out there, too. The Alvin maker series is really good (especially if you like your history with a twist). In addition, his Empire series,so far, is excellent.
To be honest I was not the biggest fan of the books that came after Ender's Game. I thought that Ender's Game was AMAZING, but the sequels were meh. Ender's Shadow and the books which follow that one however, are just as amazing.
"You will bend to my will... with or without your precious sanity!
Ender's Game is an awesome book, one of my all time favorites, and maybe the best out of all of Card's novels. The rest of the series I'm not as big a fan of, but I would not call any of them terrible.
Sad to say the stuff Card has been putting out recently bums me out. The man seems to have turned into some kind of right wing conspiracy nut.
You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever, But you rode upon a steamer to the violence of the sun...
And you see a girl's brown body dancing through the turquoise, And her footprints make you follow where the sky loves the sea.
And when your fingers find her, she drowns you in her body, Carving deep blue ripples in the tissues of your mind.
Ender's saga (speaker/xeno/children) goes in a very philosophical/political/metaphysical direction. If that's your thing, you'll love it, I and many other really enjoyed the whole story line. If you like Ender's Game for the action and the fast pace, you'll be much happier with the shadow series. Both are quite well written and worth a look, but they appeal to VERY different mindsets.
i read all the of the books through the bean saga.Ender's Shadow and the books which follow that one however, are just as amazing.
i really enjoyed ender's game, didn't care so much for the rest of the ender series. they weren't necessarily bad, i just felt like some of the decisions that the characters made were less than believable and the entire trilogy revolves around those decisions.
the bean saga i was not entirely to fond of, i didn't really enjoy the bean/ender dynamic that he created through battle school or whatever it was, the rest of the books were fine though.
i did happen across an interview with Card on the radio one day, the guy came across as a piece of shit.
So I finished it. Took a while since I mostly only read it while on the subway or in a cab lol I enjoyed it. A bit predictable, but I doubt it was written for 27 year olds with a background in English literature lol
When I tried to read Ender's Game (tried, because I could not finish it) my reaction was completely different from the OP. It was way too YA for me. Just wasn't for me.
But tbh I might try it again after the current series I'm reading, if just because I want to read it before the movie comes out.
Last edited by vizzle; 2013-05-19 at 05:11 AM.
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Happened to stumble across this while looking at IMDB on my phone before a movie. The trailer looks great and I am extremely excited about the movie. That being said I read it so long ago I barely remember it and should likely read it again.
Well that should be highly interesting. I hope they do it right!
I read Enders game eons ago and enjoyed it very much. HOWEVER I remember reading that there was this one critic that said children at that age can't think that way. So I will give the novel 'Lord Of The Flies' as my number one pick because in there children DO behave as they would.
Here's the Trailer for the movie!! I loved this book!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_prodigy This real life gift that few kids in history get is taken to the extreme. Lord of the Flies takes the reality of mob mentality to its own extreme. Guess what I'm trying to say is they are just stories of human beings at their extremes at opposite sides of the intellectual spectrum.
Anyway hope the they don't ruin the book with the movie. Harrison Ford does make the perfect Mazer Rackam.
Ford is Colonel Graff, The Mandarin, err Kingsly, is Rackham.Harrison Ford does make the perfect Mazer Rackam.