Adaptation #63: Lord of the Buggers

header063In episode #63, the hosts get into a massive debate about some of the smaller choices that Orson Scott Card made in Ender’s Game that made it hard for some to even finish the book. But after deciding to put personal feelings aside, they discuss the novel, characters and possibilities for the upcoming film.

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For similar adaptations, check out our episodes on RIPD, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Host, and Total Recall.


Music: Sound Check (Gravity) by Gorillaz



-Oct 18 (US), Nov 29 (UK)

-Based on the novel by Stephen King, covered on episode #60

-Starring Chloe Grace Moretz, Julienne Moore and Ansel Elgort

12 Years a Slave

-Oct 18 (US limited), Jan 24 (UK)

-Based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography

-Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K Williams, and Michael Fassbender

Shout Outs

-Andrew on Adaptations We Wish Existed: BBC’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; on Best Character Adaptations: Daniel Day Lewis in There Will Be Blood

Main Discussion

Ender’s Game

-by Orson Scott Card

-published in 1985

-sequels: Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind and Ender’s Exile

-A War of Gifts and Ender’s Shadow take place during the events of Ender’s Game

-characters: Ender, Valentine, Peter, Bean, the Buggers, Alai, Graff, Mazer Rackham

-themes/issues: war, understanding others, genius, power,

Ender’s Game (2013)

-Nov 1 (US), Oct 25 (UK)

-Written and Directed: Gavin Hood

-Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, and Abigail Breslin

-OSC has called it an ‘unfilmable book’ bc too much takes place in Ender’s head

Next episode: #64 on Kimberley Pierce’s film Carrie
Previous episode: #62 on Jane Austen’s Emma

5 thoughts on “Adaptation #63: Lord of the Buggers

  1. Just listening to this one – should have been travelling to work but STORM!
    During the shout-out (yay, thanks!) you mentioned “Jonathan Strange…”: you guys MUST read this one, let me add a little synopsis (stolen) as a taster…

    “Centuries ago, when magic still existed in England, the greatest magician of them all was the Raven King. A human child brought up by fairies, the Raven King blended fairy wisdom and human reason to create English magic. Now, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, he is barely more than a legend, and England, with its mad King and its dashing poets, no longer believes in practical magic.

    Then the reclusive Mr Norrell of Hurtfew Abbey appears and causes the statues of York Cathedral to speak and move. News spreads of the return of magic to England and, persuaded that he must help the government in the war against Napoleon, Mr Norrell goes to London. There he meets a brilliant young magician and takes him as a pupil. Jonathan Strange is charming, rich and arrogant. Together, they dazzle the country with their feats.”

    Doesn’t that just fill you with excitement? 🙂

    Will post comments re ENDER shortly, too.


  2. Some random Ender comments as I listen:
    – Do they ever explicitly mention WHY they have to choose such a young candidate – and why someone who is 16 would be not so useful? Is it because they have monitored them all and eliminated them?

    – Final battle / not a simulation – was actually a pretty cool reveal. I didn’t see this one coming

    – The Buggers can read Ender’s mind / influence his thoughts – BUT – right at the end only? Couldn’t they have intercepted any battle strategy be might have had?

    – The most interesting elements of the novel really occurred just in the final 10 or 20 pages – the post war; the planet exploration; the bugger queen.

    – The battle strategy descriptions were really well thought out and layered – one detail building on another until the strategy develops

    – Still in two minds whether to invest the time in reading the sequels.


    • You had me at ‘the Raven King’ and I’ve just downloaded the audio book.

      I agree with Nicole that you had to touch them to hear there thoughts, thus the comment at the end that the war could have been avoided with a kiss. (I also think Nicole meant to type PTSD, lol)

      I can see you thinking about the ‘most interesting’ parts of the novel, but I really enjoyed the build up. In a way, it makes it really obvious that it’s meant to be the first in a series. You spend a whole novel getting to know and love Ender, and get introduced to the world and then you find out that the villain isn’t actually villainous. Like Ender, you want to know more and read other books. It’s a really good strategy writing-wise. Like you though, I’m not sure about going on because a) I did feel like I got enough out of the first and b) I don’t want to give OSC anymore of my money as I really don’t like him as a human.

      The age thing: I don’t think they ever say that he has to be young, but I think it’s a combo of your point that they already monitored everyone and Nicole’s that his youth was an advantage. He was only 12 because that’s how old he was when their ships reached the Buggers home planet, and no one else had been qualified. But maybe also because if they waited, he would start asking questions that they didn’t want to answer. Graff explains that his personality meant that he never would have knowingly destroyed the Buggers, so they lied. Had he been older and had time to think things through, he may have figured out that they were lying to him. I think it was a combination of factors, really.

      Also, just thought I’d let you know that I’ve started a little debate on our tumblr about Graff vs. Dumbledore if you’d like to weigh in on that.


  3. The teaser you posted DOES sound AMAZING. *adds to TPR pile*

    Now, as to your comments about Ender’s Game:

    The buggers can only connect with you IF you touch them.. from what I was getting. I think because no one is ever actually touching them it never really happens. Or maybe if it did happen in battle someone might have just thought that had PDST lol and then never mentioned it to anyone.

    As to why 16 would have been too old, not sure. Maybe because that’s the time you start to be really influenced by the world around you? Children have this ability to see things in a light that once you age you can’t quite do. Maybe the other hosts will have a better answer for that one. I can’t remember any specific reason in the book.

    So, do you think he should have mixed more of those elements sooner in? But then then the reveal would have happened sooner and also Ender wouldn’t have destroyed the planet. If they had added that in sooner the WHOLE novel would have been different. I’m intrigued.. lol

    I too was impressed with how layered the strategy descriptions were and the progression of Ender’s ability to lead, think, problem solve. He was already the smartest kid I’ve ever known then to top it off he was constantly evolving and it felt so natural!

    I’m so curious about what else OSC has to say, that I might read the sequels. On the fence still.


  4. I’m honestly not the sales agent for the Jonathan Strange author, really!
    However, I really hope you all like it as much as I did.
    I wonder how the audiobook will tackle (if at all) the detailed footnotes: there are so many and it’s a major element of the structure of the book. That said, I guess the BBC adaptation will have similar challenges.

    Re ENDER – actually, when I read the first novel I didn’t know it was one of a series. Whether I go on, hmmmm not sure, I take your point about not wanting to give OSC any money – my reading of the first novel was from a library copy anyway, so yay – he’s got nothing from me.

    i clean forgot about the need to ‘touch’ before the mind-meld. Surely though they would have captured at least one specimen alive?

    Which brings me to another question – have you guys caught the FALLING SKIES tv show? Kind of similar themes.


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