by Orson Scott Card
The Ender Series as of September 2006 is as follows:
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow of the Giant
Ender’s Shadow is a novel that basically takes place during the same time frame as Ender’s Game. This book focuses on Bean, another recruit to the International Fleet.
Bean appears to be a two-year-old but he is a four-year-old. He is really smart. Not just very intelligent, he is way above smart. His analytical skills in a four-year-old are not just difficult to believe, but impossible. He lived, no he existed, better yet, he barely survived on the streets of Rotterdam. He watched and studied how the gangs worked. He called the gangs crews. He developed a plan to get more food and executed it. Bean approached a crew of small children where a girl named Poke was the leader. Poke told him he was so little he wasn’t worth a “bean”. He told Poke to isolate a bully, a big kid, and beat him with rocks. Then if the bully bargains well, he can be incorporated into their crew and get them more food and protect them. Achilles was the chosen bully and he was able to get “his family” in the soup line.
Achilles’s family technique spread to the other bullies because with a family of little kids you got to go first in the soup line. Bean, the littlest four-year-old, started and spread the family concept through subtle manipulation. He always watched and studied people and things. Achilles killed Poke because she was the leader of the crew that jumped him and beat him with rocks. Bean saw Poke protect him from Achilles. He saw them kissing and returned shortly and found Poke with her throat slashed floating face-up in the water. Bean knew he would be next because he had told Poke to kill Achilles at one point when Achilles was down. Bean knew Achilles was going to kill him.
Helga Braun from the soup kitchen contacted Sister Carlotta and told her about the miracle where the bullies had all adopted families and took care of the little kids. All of this she said came from a very intelligent child Achilles. Sister Carlotta started teaching Achilles and his family and soon determined Bean was the gifted child. She rescued Bean and saved him from Achilles. She housed Bean, fed him and educated him. She tested him for the recruiting program for the International Fleet (IF). Bean scored higher than anyone ever.
Sister Carlotta wanted to know where Bean came from and who his parents were. Bean told her about a janitor who rescued him from a toilet tank in a building when he was a nine-month-old baby. Bean remembers a clean place with many baby beds. When he heard shouting and scary noises he climbed out of bed and hid in the toilet tank. The water rose and fell but he stayed hidden until one day he became very hungry. That is when the janitor found him and took him home.
Bean ran away from Sister Carlotta’s to find the janitor. He found the building and the man. Sister Carlotta had followed him and she took Bean back home. She did not let Bean talk to the janitor. Bean did not trust Sister Carlotta afterwards.
Sister Carlotta talked to the janitor. She learned he had found a baby who was wrinkled like a prune and was blue from being cold in the water. The janitor told her where Bean came from. Sister Carlotta learned Bean was part of a nursery that was used to grow organs. She never told Bean.
Bean was recruited into the IF. He boarded a space plane and went to Battle School located in space on a large spinning wheel. They identified him immediately as the person who scored the highest on every test except the physical tests. He was being set up to be isolated from the rest of the recruits. The first opportunity he had he went exploring the space station. He memorized colors of uniforms, insignias, room locations and access poles from floor to floor.
Sister Carlotta was obsessed. She had to find out who were Bean’s parents. She had no luck. She thought if God did not create him what was he? She seriously started investigating human DNA research done five years ago. After all, her dedication was to save the human race that was made in the image of God, not to save street children.
Everyone said Bean reminded them of Ender. The only one who spoke poorly about Ender was Commander Bonzo. So Bean asked Bonzo about Ender. The information Bonzo told Bean gave him keen insight into the social/military structure of Battle School. Bean concluded the teachers had the power.
Bean could not understand why Sister Carlotta loved him or why Poke sacrificed her life for him. He could not see how doing good things for him improved their lives.
Sister Carlotta asked Graff for information about the human geome projects. Graff wanted to know about Achilles. Sister Carlotta decided she would find Achilles and put him in some school on Earth under a different name. She had promised Bean she would never send Achilles to Battle School and Bean would be safe.
Dimak stopped Bean and asked why he was not playing the fantasy game. Dimak told him he already knew Bean did not want the military to analyze him psychologically. Dimak told Bean they knew he obsessed about Ender because Bean was NEVER in the same room with Ender. Bean realized he had made this mistake. Dimak also told Bean he needed to get along with the other kids or he would be iced. Dimak wanted to know why Bean read Vauban for two hours. Bean thought off the top of his head and applied some of Vauban’s strategies to the Bugger situation and in doing so he identified exactly what the IF had done. The IF realized Earth was not defendable. They built a fleet immediately after the Second Invasion of the Buggers. That fleet was sent to the Bugger planet. IF was taking the fight to the Bugger planet. Dimak did not acknowledge anything to Bean. But Bean was correct.
Later Nikolai apologized to Bean about telling Dimak Bean had used his computer to hack into the emergency map system. Bean knew he had to end his isolation. Bean took this as an opportunity to get to know the other children so he told Nikolai about the nine decks instead of just the four and there were two other wheels. The other kids had been listening and they all voiced their opinions about what the purpose for the additional wheels and decks were.
Sister Carlotta talked to a Russian scientist named Anton. He told her about his experiments with the human genome. Anton had been treated by the government and he could not talk directly about his genome project or even think directly about it without having a panic attack and ultimately passing out. He told her brilliance was sacrificed for life. Sister Carlotta concluded someone had performed the experiment and Bean was the subject. Bean would be brilliant but die very young.
Bean crawled through the vents to get a teacher’s password. While in the vent he overheard Graff and Dimak discussing him. Some lady had told them Bean was genetically altered and not human. Bean realized he had to become normal. His best way to do that, to be accepted by the teachers, was to become Ender Wiggin.
Graff & Dimak discovered Bean was using a teacher’s password. They decided to watch what Bean did with this power and analyze him accordingly, since he would not play the fantasy game.
Bean wanted to be the student teachers trusted, relied upon. He wanted the teachers to think of him as human. Bean had two big questions. First, why did Ender give his spare time to train launchies when his actions did not benefit him? And second, why did Poke die for Bean? Bean found the definition of ethics and altruism and learned Ender did not care as much about himself as he cared for the other kids. So Bean decided to study Ender and see the world as Ender saw it. He watched the vids of the Bugger war like Ender but Ender watched them over and over. Bean saw everything the first time. Bean could replay the vids over and over in his mind. When he did this Bean saw more than he did the previous time. He was learning Bugger war strategies too.
Bean saw all the children at Battle School were really smart. But he wondered about the competency of the teachers. He saw the children who had the best strategy and tactics were being overlooked by the teachers. Bean decided he would put together a group of kids who had heart and mind, real talent. And Bean would place himself close to Wiggin. He would be Wiggin’s most-trusted, right-hand man. That way Bean could tell Ender when he was making a mistake and also learn why Ender was human and he was not.
Sister Carlotta found the closest thing Bean had as a father. Dr. Volescu ran the organ farm in Rotterdam. Actually Volescu had twenty-three fertilized eggs that had been genetically altered and he had killed all the babies when they were about to be discovered. The babies were all nine-months old. He said he only counted twenty-two bodies when he placed them in the incinerator. Volescu told Sister Carlotta the one baby that escaped would continue to grow. Anton’s key unlocks the brain. The brain will never stop growing but neither does the child’s body. The arms and legs will get longer and longer. There is no height limitation. He said the heart will wear out at some point. They would be giants by the time there were twenty and dead by the age of twenty-five. Volescu told her he had implanted his own DNA into denucleated eggs. The twenty-three babies were all his twins. He knew one had survived. Sister Carlotta knew Bean to be more human than Volescu but she had doubts about Bean’s humanity and compassion.
Dimak talked to Bean. Dimak knew about Bean’s investigation into all the launchie’s personal records. Dimak told him to put together an army of forty-one soldiers. Bean immediately replied, “It was an army for Ender.” And Bean found himself and all the others he picked in Ender’s army.
Sister Carlotta expressed her doubts about Volescu being Bean’s twin. She thinks Volescu was lying.
Bean had his first battle room exercise with his new army and new Commander Ender Wiggin. Bean worked hard. He was the object of Wiggin’s comments. Bean was singled out again. He waited for Wiggin after class and told Ender he could be the best soldier if Ender let him prove it. Ender told Bean what was expected and what he had to do to be a toon leader. It was the first time Bean was shaken up by anyone at Battle School.
Sister Carlotta discovered Volescu was lying. Bean was not Volescu’s clone but Bean was related to Volescu like a double cousin.
Graff told Sister Carlotta Achilles had surgery to fix his leg and would be coming to Battle School. She was furious and told Graff he could bury the dead body of either Achilles or Bean.
Sister Carlotta went to visit Volescu’s half brother Julian Delphiki and his wife Elena. They thought she brought news of their son who was in the service of the IF. As it turns out their son is Nikolai Delphiki, Bean’s best friend. Sister Carlotta discovered the Delphiki’s had twenty-three fertilized eggs. They made some phone calls and found out those eggs were missing. Sister Carlotta knew those were the twenty-two babies Volescu had killed and the one survivor was Bean. Mr. Delphiki realized he had another son but Sister Carlotta told him he might never meet him. She said their son was strong, kind and had a good heart. Sister Carlotta left with her IF escort.
Major Anderson talked to Nikolai. Nikolai said he felt like he was Bean’s brother because Nikolai thought his baby pictures looked just like Bean. Nikolai said, “Once you get a brother you don’t give him up easy.” That was why he moved his bunk to be close to Bean.
Sister Carlotta tells Graff Bean and Nikolai are twins. The only difference between them is Anton’s key. She wants Graff to document Bean’s heritage for reference after the war.
The Dragon Army would face off with Rabbit Army and Bean was scared. Nikolai found him and talked to him. In the battle room, Bean did well. He provided important information to Crazy Tom, his toon leader, and sacrificed himself to allow his toon to strike again. Bean had seven kills. He was satisfied with his performance. Bean was vocal at breakfast about how Ender wanted all his toon leaders and seconds and soldiers to be successful because Ender wanted them ready to fight the Buggers.
Bean had some free time so he went to the arcade and played. He knew he was playing the fantasy game. All of a sudden the giant’s face turned into Achilles’s face. Bean quit playing and was angered. Bean bumped into Bonzo Madrid and told him Wiggin was already the chosen one and Bonzo was stupid and his Salamander army was nothing compared to the skills of Dragon Army. Bonzo nearly choked Bean to death holding him by the throat several feet off the floor. Afterwards Bean knew the only way for Ender to be successful was to kill Bonzo. Now Bean feels guilty because he is afraid Ender will end up like Poke.
Ender sent Bean a message to see him immediately. Ender told Bean he was going to be the toon leader of a special unit. Ender also asked him to think of tactics the other armies might use and ways to defeat those tactics. Ender also employed Bean to help him with the Bonzo situation. Bean was ready, willing and able for the new assignment. That night he slept at the foot of Ender’s bed because it was after lights out.
Graff is still debating whether to send Achilles to Battle School with Bean there or to let one of them go.
Bean asked Nikolai to be in his special toon unit but Nikolai was not willing. Bean talked to another five people and their toon leaders and all agreed to be in Bean’s special toon.
Bean asked Graff in front of Dap and Dimak for additional resources. Graff said no and Bean maneuvered him into letting him at the resources. This embarrassed Graff. He thinks he will get even with Bean for embarrassing him.
Bean was able to get reinforcements to protect Ender from a Salamander attack in the hall. It appeared to Bean Petra was setting Ender up to take a beating or worse. The next day when Ender did not eat lunch he faced Bonzo in the bathroom. Ender crushed Bonzo’s nose into his brain and killed him. Bean felt responsible for goading Bonzo and not being there when Ender needed help. Bean was happy Ender had won. Ender’s win reiterated he was the Commander that could fight the Buggers and win.
Immediately after Ender killed Bonzo, Dragon army was sent to the battle room. Dragon was to fight two armies. Bean used one of his stunts he developed and they pulled off a win. Ender announced to Major Anderson he had beaten him again.
On the way back to their barracks Ender announced there were no more games. “The game is over.”
Upon Bean’s return to his barracks he found a note on his bed. It read, “Transfer. Bean. Rabbit Army. Commander.” All platoon leaders and seconds in Ender’s army were given their own command. Bean was considered by Dragon army to be Ender’s only friend so he was selected to tell Ender about all the promotions. While Bean was in Ender’s room, Anderson and Graff walked in and gave Ender official transfer papers. Ender was to skip all the Tactical Schools. He was going straight to Command School. Bean had grown to love and honor Ender. He hoped he would be able to serve under Ender in the future.
Bean was notified he would be eating in the Commander’s mess immediately. At the mess Bean got on a table and convinced everyone to share information. They all agreed to ignore the standing’s board and remember who the true enemy is, the Buggers. Once back in the barracks, Bean spoke to his command Rabbit Army. He complimented them on helping Ender out when the Salamanders had cornered him in the hall. Rabbit army applauded and cheered. Bean was happy they had opened the door for him. Itu’ told Bean they had a new launchie. Bean went to meet him and greeted the launchie. “Ho, Achilles.” Bean decided to make Achilles into a top-notch soldier but he would have to watch his back.
Sister Carlotta told Graff Achilles was a serial killer. He had also killed Ulysses his street rival and a teacher at his first school. The doctor who operated on Achilles four times to fix his leg is also dead at Achilles’s hand.
Bean set a trap for Achilles. Bean employed Achilles to crawl into the upper large air ducts on the premise they would eves drop on the teachers and other commanders. Bean and his army had set a trap and hung Achilles in an open air duct. Bean told him he either had to confess to all his murders or they would let him hang and dehydrate in the air duct. Achilles opted for the confession of seven murders. Achilles promised himself one day he would kill Bean and everyone enrolled at Battle School because he couldn’t identify Bean’s five accomplices. With the recorded confession, Achilles was gone from Battle School.
Bean had Rabbit army for a week when he got orders to go to Tactical School. He said good bye to his army and Nikolai.
The trip to Tactical School took four months. Tactical School was filled with tours of old ships. Bean and the select group spent only three months at Tactical when they received orders to go to Command School.
Graff and Anderson squabbled over what Bean and Ender should know. The existence of the ansible (the faster-than-light communication) is discussed between them.
It took four months to get to Command School. They had intensive studies on this voyage and Bean held the highest status being isolated once again. Bean had a conversation with Petra. She revealed she was going to help defend Ender when the Salamanders had surrounded him. She felt Ender might end up with some bruises but if the Salamanders attacked her and Ender the hostilities from the Salamanders would lessen and alleviate the problem.
Command School was located at Fleet Com which was on a wandering asteroid Eros. Eros was tunneled originally by the Buggers. The height of the tunnels had to be increased to accommodate humans.
During training Bean discovered not only did IF learn about gravity control from the Buggers but also faster-than-light communication. Bean deduced a fleet was launched right after the Second Invasion and Ender’s army was going to be the commander’s of that fleet. After three months on Eros more ships were placed under their control in simulation. Bean was placed in Command of the other ten children. Bean let all the children take the Commander position so he could learn how to talk and take the orders too. Bean told everyone Ender was going to be their real Commander and he was.
Graff told Bean he was Nikolai’s twin. His name was Julian Delphiki. Bean had two parents who loved him and he was Greek. He was an identical twin but his genes had been altered in a small but significant way.
Ender had everyone’s devotion. Soon Mazer Rackham started to aid Ender with suggestions. The battles would last longer and longer every day. Petra was not working well as Ender’s number one because she was feeling so guilty about her mistakes. While Ender was occupied, some of the leaders would consult with Bean. Petra fell asleep and lost most of her squadron. Vlad went catatonic for three days not to return to the games. Petra returned but she was not at her best. Fly started laughing hysterically one day but was back the next.
Graff talked with Bean about how sick Ender was and how they could not wake him up this morning. Graff asked Bean if Ender should be told the truth about this being a real battle. Bean said no, but it would be a good idea to tell him, if this is the last battle, that this is the final exam.
At the last battle all the Buggers encompassed a planet. It was obvious to Bean and Ender there was no way to win. Ender was quiet for the longest time. Bean said to Ender, “The enemy’s gate is down.” Ender thought of a plan. He created a cylinder of fighters and ships and strategically maneuvered them to the surface of the planet. When close enough they could use the Doctor. Bean told the men on the last two surviving ships to set off the Doctor inside their ships. The planet started to bubble and all the queens were dead as well as all their ships.
Once the battle was won everyone met in the hall and cheered. Bean told them it was a real battle, a real victory and Graff substantiated Bean’s announcement. Graff said Ender wasn’t taking the news well. Bean told Graff he wanted to be a marine.
During the governmental upheavals on Earth the Russians were able to get Achilles loose. They plan to use him.
Ender slept for days and when he woke up everyone gathered in his room and hugged and cried. Everyone went home but Ender. Locke, Ender’s brother Peter made sure Ender was not allowed to return home. Locke said whatever political group had Ender that it would be an unfair advantage.
Sister Carlotta brought Nikolai and Bean home to their parents. Julian and Elena Delphiki were overwhelmed to see both their sons. They were all happy to see one another.
by Brenda Krekeler
The Ender Series as of September 2006 is as follows:
Back to Ender's Shadow. The main character is a street urchin in Rotterdam named Bean. He is a fascinating character. He has some super human characteristics yet he is so human. As Bean obtains his schooling and his eventual qualification for Battle School, he meets interesting characters. Once at Battle School Bean immediately becomes an influential student. However, he remains an outsider who never quite fits in with the group. Bean has a way of interpreting the characters' actions and communication with him in such a way that you can see what he sees and feel what he feels. It is amazing how you are so taken in by Bean that you believe. There is no science fiction here. This is real. Upon completion of Ender's Shadow I find myself lonely for the character Bean. I miss him. I can only hope that this is not the last time I will see him.