View Full Version : Ender's Game question
04-25-2002, 01:56 PM
Maybe I read the last two chapters too quickly, but I'm confused.
What planet do they migrate to? And why aren't there buggers on it?
I realize that Ender blew up the bugger's home planet. But does that mean that he killed every hive queen (yes, except the cocooned one)? I don't buy it. I don't understand how the humans could be sure that every bugger had been exterminated to the point where they thought that migration would be a good idea.
Do we just assume that every bugger in existence was commissioned to fight in the final battle? Is there some passage that I missed?
Don't get me wrong - I thought it was a great book. I started SftD the other day, and I love the change of pace and focus. I just think there's some serious plot holes.
04-25-2002, 02:03 PM
I believe it was stated that, after numerous defeats at the hands of the human fleet, all the bugger queens were consolidated on a single world for a final, massive last-ditch defense. When that planet was wiped, that was it.
As for how the humans could know for certain that all buggers were dead...I don't know. I don't think that was adressed. But I imagine they could be fairly certain the buggers were no longer a military threat.
04-25-2002, 02:53 PM
Did the buggers have faster than light technology? Because I don't see how they could mobilize from different planets that quickly, as the Third Assault took place in only a matter of months.
04-25-2002, 03:18 PM
Er...good point, that.
But as a science fiction author, Card has always been a lot stronger on the fiction than the science. His stories are really about moral issues, with the whole future world scenarios being really just background. He's not a "hard SF" author.
So yeah, you're probably right about that being an error. Doesn't bother me too much, though.
04-25-2002, 03:27 PM
No, it doesn't bother me, either. As you said, the buggers wouldn't have posed a military threat, as Ender eliminated any and all threats.
Another related question - the castle and surrounding landscape (the Giant's hill, waterfall, etc.) was created by the buggers because they "knew" Ender through their own version of the ansible. That I get. But under what timeframe did that occur? Again, the buggers wouldn't have had contact with Ender (ansibly or otherwise) until the attacks started, and they only took a few months. Would that have been enough time to terraform a sizeable chunk of land (I would estimate the area to be about 100 square miles, conservatively, no?)? I suppose we couldn't know the answer to that question (or maybe hints will be given later in Speaker, which I'm reading).
04-25-2002, 03:39 PM
Well, we never learn too much about the bugger's technology. And I don't recall what the book said about the site that Ender found that mimicked the game scenario...wasn't it just the rough outline of a giant's skeleton? I would think that would just require moving around a lot of dirt and rocks---something which could easily be done in a few months, particularly considering the fact that the buggers had anti-gravity technology.
I adore that series, by the way (in fact, just about anything by Card).
04-25-2002, 03:45 PM
Well, they did completely recreate the castle and everything in it to exactly match what was in Ender's fantasy game. I can't imagine the bugger world had a lot of prefab castles to pop into place!*
*But if they did, that's about the coolest thing possible.
04-25-2002, 03:51 PM
As I said, I don't remember the details. But remember that this was basically the last hope for an entire civilized race---their only chance to save themselves from complete annihilation. They would have mustered everything they had to pull it off. I think with billions of workers and the resources of an entire planetary system, building a castle with landscaping in a few months wouldn't be too much of a problem.
04-27-2002, 12:56 AM
Originally posted by Munch
But under what timeframe did that occur? Again, the buggers wouldn't have had contact with Ender (ansibly or otherwise) until the attacks started, and they only took a few months.
Another interpretation is that it happend while Ender was playing the computer game. The Bugger's communication, coupled with the burgening use the ansible and this video game all helped to give birth to a new lifeform: Jane.
Jane wasn't powerful in the begining as she was just coming into conciousness. But she had the ability to communicate. It's possible that she transmitted images to the Buggers. Jane didn't understand why she was doing it and the Hive Queen didn't know where it was coming from. Not until later, anyway.
Again, just an interpretation.
04-27-2002, 03:50 PM
I may be misreading the question- but here's my 2 cents on the matter...
The buggers had ample time for their colonies to grow and to rebuild their forces considering it took many years for the ships to get in place for the final assault on the buggers. If you remember that Mazar Rackam was on one of the first ones to leave in order to preserve his knowledge to train the great military leader they were looking to train, it was about 70 years in between his battle and the beginning of the Third Assault, and no communication at all had taken place between humanity and the buggers up to the point when the great queen began to try to communicate to save her species. It was near the beginning of the first battles of the Third Assault that the great queen, through their ansible-type communication, began to try to reach the minds of humans- and her natural target for that would be her counterpart- the young leader of the entire force of humans. My own opinion is that the queen would not realize the threat of humanity until the battles begin- because you should remember that Mazar had learned the secret of defeating the buggers- which was simply to kill the queen. No hive could survive without her. The buggers did not attack the humans again (and the humans did not attack the buggers again either) up to the point of the Third Assault- and then it was in defense of their queens. So my theory on how the buggers could build the giant, etc- would be that buggers from the hive of the great queen holed up on the final planet were working on it during the time when Ender's forces were working their way through the bugger colony worlds. (We really don't know how enormous the bugger hives were, so it is concievable that parts of a hive could be across the galaxy.) With no humans there, and with having the queens and those buggers defending the queens as their target they would not bother with an area already cleared out by the sweep of battles. Regular workers of the hive would simply not be a military issue of strategy against the buggers. We don't know the actual process of the birthing of a queen egg, so it might have been possible for the workers to create one on their own (like bees with the special queen jelly perhaps) through the distant direction of the great queen through the ansible-type communication, while at the same time directing them in the creation of symbols of great meaning to Ender.
Phew! I hope that made sense!
And yes, I believe it is stated in the book that the buggers have faster than light travel, which humans either learned or pirated parts of from studying their technology, along with how to control gravity, ansible communication, and black-out technology.
04-27-2002, 06:26 PM
I haven't read it in years, but I was pretty sure that neither humans nor buggers had FTL travel. The different aging while in space issue is a pretty big deal over the course of the subsequent books -- Ender and Valentine pass thousands of years while travelling in space, IIRC. Am I wrong?
I was also under the impression that the buggers were building the castle replica while Ender was playing the game. Jane was created inside the game, again IIRC.
04-28-2002, 09:15 AM
White: Yeah, you're right. They had FTL communication, but no FTL travel.
For the record, I have to agree about Card being a great author but somewhat weak on science. When I came to the bit about how 'time doesn't really slow down when you're moving near the speed of light, it's just an illusion of your human perception' I almost put the book down in protest.
04-28-2002, 09:40 AM
Well. In the first book anyway.
When I came to the bit about how 'time doesn't really slow down when you're moving near the speed of light, it's just an illusion of your human perception'
Was this in the first book (Ender's Game)? It's been a while I read it and don't recall this at all.
Time dilation was used even in that first book. The man who defeated the buggers in the first war (Mazer Rankham, I think?) was "preserved" by sending him on a near-light speed trip.
Anyway, I say good authors with weak science backgrounds are far better than bad authors who are strong on science. Sadly, there are quite a few of the latter.
04-28-2002, 12:31 PM
When I came to the bit about how 'time doesn't really slow down when you're moving near the speed of light, it's just an illusion of your human perception'And, apparently, an illusion of your metabolism, and of all the shipboard clocks, since they used it accurately. If an author wants to call time dilation an illusion, I can live with that, so long as the end results are the same.
Besides, special relativity is at least partly discarded already, as an essential plot element: Unless you have a preferred reference frame, an ansible is also an oracle (which I'm pretty sure it wasn't, in Card's books). You need at least a little suspension of disbelief.
04-28-2002, 06:06 PM
scr4: No, it was later. And I have to agree that good story, weak science is much better than the other way 'round. OTOH, call me a perfectionist but I like to have both. :)
Chronos: Well, you see, that was the problem. The Buggers *didn't* percieve time as slowing down, so the end results weren't the same.
04-29-2002, 09:21 AM
Originally posted by Fairblue
My own opinion is that the queen would not realize the threat of humanity until the battles begin- because you should remember that Mazar had learned the secret of defeating the buggers- which was simply to kill the queen. No hive could survive without her. The buggers did not attack the humans again (and the humans did not attack the buggers again either) up to the point of the Third Assault- and then it was in defense of their queens. So my theory on how the buggers could build the giant, etc- would be that buggers from the hive of the great queen holed up on the final planet were working on it during the time when Ender's forces were working their way through the bugger colony worlds.
Thanks for the input, Fairblue. Just a quick nit - they didn't build the giant's hill, etc. on the final planet, as that planet exploded -unless you want to assume that the buggers build the castle, giant's hill, etc. on every planet - certainly within the realm of possibilities. The only problem with that is every one of the Hundred Worlds would have the same castle, hill, etc., as well as a queen cocoon. Unless the world first colonized was the one closest to Earth, and the buggers anticipated this - again a good possibility (although pretty stupid to place the future of your entire species on one cocoon when you could utilize hundreds).
Also, it should be pointed out that Jane was not created in Ender's fantasy game - she was created when the ansible system was turned on. She only created her identity when she discovered the fantasy game. Unless I'm completely wrong, as I haven't read all the books.
I checked Ender's Game last night, and right after the final battle, Ender asks Mazer if they destroyed all the queens, thus their entire civilization. Mazer danced around the answer. But it's also stated that the months following the final battle were spent "cleaning up" any bugger stragglers with the remaining starships. I think it can be safely assumed that any vestige of bugger space-born military was eradicated. However, the starships and their fighters were unable to withstand reentry, so any land-based military (and accompanying personnel) would have remained.
In the end, I don't buy that the buggers were entirely killed in the battles. But I do believe that any colonists would have killed any bugger on sight upon arrival to a new world (at least for the first 500 years or so).
04-29-2002, 02:16 PM
Chronos: Well, you see, that was the problem. The Buggers *didn't* percieve time as slowing down, so the end results weren't the same.I've only read the first book; is this from one of the sequels? And was it a Queen on the ship, or just drones? If you try to have instantaneous communications between two frames at relativistic relative velocity, consistent with SR, you're going to have problems, and "Queen back on planet doesn't feel time dilation" is about the most reasonable way you could possibly handle it. Card lost any chance of being completely consistent with SR as soon as he introduced the ansible, so he did the best he could at making it approximately match SR. Surely, you wouldn't have preferred that he omitted the ansible entirely?
04-30-2002, 10:29 AM
Huh. My post got eaten.
Chronos, in the second book, the queen in the cocoon travelled with Ender whereever he went - thus was on starships at near-light speed for decades/thousands of years. Card mentioned that the queen experienced no time dilation - that she experienced the thousands of years and not the decades.
Sorry, I'm not fluent in the relativistic speed terms. If that makes no sense, I'll try to reword it.
The only thing was, the queen couldn't be in contact with Ender while at relativistic speeds without *considerable* difficulty (like trying to talk really, really, really^100 slowly).
04-30-2002, 05:03 PM
OK, then, that would be somewhat annoying. The only cop-out I can come up with for that one is that the Queen's consciousness must actually reside largely with her drones, but that's probably stretching things.
04-30-2002, 05:23 PM
I don't recall the details, but I believe the explanation is that the Queens have a sort of distributed consciousness. Not in the drones, but in (I believe this was the term) a "philotic web." Apparently it resides outside normal space-time.
There's more stuff on this in the later books, so I won't spoil it for you.
04-30-2002, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by Munch
Thanks for the input, Fairblue. Just a quick nit - they didn't build the giant's hill, etc. on the final planet, as that planet exploded -
Huh? I didn't say they did. I said that I believed that the workers who built it were of the same hive as the great queen who was holed up on the final planet- but I never said that the workers were on the planet with her.
05-01-2002, 10:49 AM
Fairblue, I was under the impression that there were many queens - that there wasn't just one for all of the buggers. One queen led each army, if you will.
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