Light speed question from Ender's Game

At the end of the book, Ender goes on a light speed trip, accompanying settlers for new colonies. For him, it just takes a few days, but 50+ earth years have passed in the meantime. When he arrives, there’s a message waiting for him from his brother.

Is this a mistake? Shouldn’t the message arrive in 50 years? How could the message arrive at the same time even though it was written 50 years after the trip started? How fast did it need to travel to arrive at the same time as Ender, who left 50 years previously?

In Ender’s Game, they had faster-than-light communication. I’m pretty sure the machine that allowed that was called the Ansible.

How was the message delivered and received? It’s been years and years since I read anything by Mr. Card, but as I recall one could use the ansible to send messages at superluminal speeds.


Did OSC ever try to explain how the technology worked?

Yes, but it’s best to pretend that he didn’t. Short version, it’s something to do with souls.

Huh…you mean like Jane from Speaker from the Dead – is that correct? (It’s been a while since I read books 2 thru 4.)

Really? So, he boosted the term from Ursula Le Guin?

I thought it had to do with quantum entanglement.

FTR, the ansible was a creation of Ursula K LeGuin. Several other outhors have since used both the name and concept.

Yeah, me too (though it’s been years since I read the books). I thought the whole thing with souls was about the game computer (and his version of the internet, which was pretty funny) becoming so complex that it became self aware, and then with the Ansible network expanding to the stars. Maybe I’m misremembering.


He actually gives a call-out to her in the text. When the Enderverse ansible was first invented, the inventors gave it some technical name, but then someone found the word “ansible” in an old science fiction book, and the name stuck.

And I’ve never actually read Xenocide or Children of the Mind, having been warned off by the nigh-unanimous consensus against both of them, but the plot summaries I’ve found are painful enough.

That could happen. I’m pretty sure the term “Waldo” is in use in real life.

Yeah, I don’t remember pretty much anything from after Speaker For The Dead. He easily could have thrown something like that in there.