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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2004
This book is a collection of three short stories set in the universe of Ender's Game. Ender's Game is one of my favorite books in any genre and the Ender series is one of the few actual science fiction that I read (I tend toward fantasy). I wondered how short fiction set in this universe would fare. I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very enjoyable volume to read.
The first story was "The Polish Boy". This is a story of Ender's father, Jean Paul. Jean Paul was not even six years old, but was incredibly intelligent and gifted. He was living in Poland, with his family in defiance of population control laws. Families were only permitted two children, but Jean Paul's family is Catholic and they obey God not man. This is the story of the interest that Battle School took in Jean Paul and hints at the future of Ender and how he to go be who he is. This felt like the weakest of the three stories and I liked it the least. It was little more than a prologue to Ender's Game and an unnecessary one at that.
The next story is my favorite of the bunch, "Investment Counselor" is the story of how Ender met Jane (Jane is the computer program that appears in Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind). I liked seeing Ender not having yet become a Speaker, yet having written both Hive Queen, and the Hegemon. Ender and his sister Valentine have arrived on a new planet. Ender has just turned 20 (due to the slow aging in interspace travel) and now has to pay taxes on his revenue from his service in the Formic Wars (from Ender's Game) and also from his books. As 400 years have passed (again, because of interspace travel, Ender and Valentine age very slowly while traveling), Ender has quite a bit more money that he would have imagined. Enter Jane. Some people may not find this story as interesting, but I always found Jane to be one of the most fascinating characters in the entire Enderverse.
The third and final story is the original "Ender's Game". This was the story that Card wrote first and later expanded to the award winning novel Ender's game. This story is quite a bit rougher and not nearly as polished as the novel. It is still a good story (it was nominated for a Hugo), and it is interesting to see the evolution from this story to the novel. Because this is the same story as the novel, only rougher, I didn't enjoy it quite as much as "Investment Counselor". On the other hand, this could be a very good introduction to the Enderverse if someone has not read Ender's Game (the novel).
I am aware that this book has been republished with a fourth story "Teacher's Pet", dealing with Ender's mother. This particular collection did not include that story, so I can't comment on it. I finished this book a couple of hours after starting it, and I really enjoyed reading it. It is a nice little collection, and I'm glad that I got the chance to read it and see how Ender met Jane (for me, this was the story that meant the most).
-Joe Sherry
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 2 December 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed the Ender saga, which led me to purchase the Shadow saga as well and enjoyed that as much as the first set of books. I've read both sets of books multiple times and they were the reason for my purchase of First Meetings: In the Enderverse and A War of Gifts (Ender Wiggin Saga) a few years later.

However, both these books were poorly written and without much purpose, they didn't further the original story in any way and were written purely to cash in on the success of the earlier books.

I was a big fan of Card before buying the above two books, but after wasting my money on them I don't think I will be buying any of his books in future. If you want to try another Card book I'd recommend something other than the two mentioned above.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 23 December 2003
Being something of an "Ender completionist" this book was a must buy for me when I stumbled across it whilst looking for Christmas presents.
It consists of four novellas, laid out in the chronological order in which they occur in the Enderverse. The first two, "The Polish Boy" and "Teacher's Pest" are the most recently written, and I found them to be as tight and interesting as I have come to expect Card to be. The characterisation is the usual Card, rounded and believable and the plots, whilst not mind-blowing, are a useful addition to the Ender series. Fortunately I had not read the blurb, so I was able to come to them with an open mind – why do publishers insist on giving the game away on the back pages of books?
The third novella, Ender's Game, is the original 1977 story that kicked the whole thing off, and in many ways I found it to be a disappointment. If you have read Ender's Game (the novel) and Ender's Shadow, then this novella will tell you nothing that you don't already know. The characterisation of both Ender and Bean is considerable weaker than in the novels. It's interesting to read just to see how Card developed his initial ideas into the novels, but otherwise it's not really essential.
The Investment Councillor, the final chapter in the book was also a disappointment. It slots in between the end of "Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead", but I found it to be a curiously lifeless episode. Ender has problems with his taxes, and as a result of this meets Jane, and by the by becomes a Speaker for the Dead. But the Andrew Wiggin of this novella seems devoid of any of the characteristics which make him so interesting to follow in the novels. It's like week old Coca Cola. Sweet, but flat. I wondered if this was an early piece of writing too, but the 2000 copyright seems to indicate, not.
Overall verdict. Well worth it for the first two. Shame about the last one, hence only three stars...
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on 21 June 2015
Even as most prequels go, this book seems a little contrived. Some of the stories re-introducing characters we already know, or adding substance to the world history on which the Ender/Bean sagas are founded worked well, whilst others seemed to provide explanations or character backgrounds we didn't need or that were not fully formed in order to bring the book up to size.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 24 December 2003
This novel is listed as "Young Adult" but so outstanding that any adult who has ever heard of the author Orson Scott Card, or of the famous characters "Bean" and "Ender" MUST get this book! This has four novellas. One is totally brand-new to the Ender collection and one is the original novella "Ender's Game" which appeared in 1977.
No matter how tempted you become, do NOT begin this book with "Ender's Game". These four stories work together. They are set in the order that they supposedly happened. So begin reading at the beginning, where you should! As a bonus, the book is fully illustrated throughout.
"The Polish Boy" © 2002 by Orson Scott Card first appeared in First Meetings: Three Stories From The Enderverse.
"Teacher's Pest" © 2003 by Orson Scott Card. This is the first appearance!
"Ender's Game" © 1977 by Orson Scott Card. First appeared in Analog magazine.
"Investment Counselor" © 2000 by Orson Scott Card. First appeared in Far Horizons, edited by Robert Silverberg.
***** Do I recommend it? Oh, yes! Orson Scott Card pleases his adult fans and makes some new young fans at the same time. Very clever. But what did you expect from a Sci-Fi Master? *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 January 2004
This novel is listed as "Young Adult" but so outstanding that any adult who has ever heard of the author Orson Scott Card, or of the famous characters "Bean" and "Ender" MUST get this book! This has four novellas. One is totally brand-new to the Ender collection and one is the original novella "Ender's Game" which appeared in 1977.
No matter how tempted you become, do NOT begin this book with "Ender's Game". These four stories work together. They are set in the order that they supposedly happened. So begin reading at the beginning, where you should! As a bonus, the book is fully illustrated throughout.
"The Polish Boy" © 2002 by Orson Scott Card first appeared in First Meetings: Three Stories From The Enderverse.
"Teacher's Pest" © 2003 by Orson Scott Card. This is the first appearance!
"Ender's Game" © 1977 by Orson Scott Card. First appeared in Analog magazine.
"Investment Counselor" © 2000 by Orson Scott Card. First appeared in Far Horizons, edited by Robert Silverberg.
***** Do I recommend it? Oh, yes! Orson Scott Card pleases his adult fans and makes some new young fans at the same time. Very clever. But what did you expect from a Sci-Fi Master? *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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on 28 March 2015
The layers of the Ender story continue to enrich a brilliant saga of a true hero who makes his way in his life just living.
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on 3 September 2013
the prequel to enders game is jhust as good as all orson scott cards books. cant wait for the last prequel
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on 17 June 2015
I love all of the Ender books. All of them are great, this is no exception.
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As with all of this author's work......WOW!!!
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