Back when I was working my first real job as a receptionist for a small local homebuilder, one of my coworkers gave me a book that she said I just had to read. It was science fiction, and despite never having read any sci-fi, I chalked it up to books for geeks who were so engrossed in their own arrogance that they didn’t have time to develop any literary taste. But she was a nice lady, and so enthusiastic, so I read it just to humor her.
The book was Ender’s Game, and I’ve since devoured all of Orson Scott Card’s books about the Enderverse, as it’s so geekily called.
A friend of mine lent me First Meetings: In the Enderverse, and it was a nice look into how the character of Ender came into being, but it didn’t have the same weight as Card’s books about Ender.
The book is a compilation of four short stories arranged in chronological order. The first, “The Polish Boy,” is about Ender’s father, John Paul, and his Roman Catholic Polish family. There are parts that foreshadow his eventual openness to having a Third child (Ender, of course) in a day and age when most families were limited to two children.
“Teacher’s Pest” describes how John Paul meets and woos Theresa, who will eventually become Ender’s mother, and how the Intergalactic Fleet (IF) had a hand in arranging their meeting.
“Ender’s Game” takes us through the tail end of the novel by the same name, and how Ender ends the Bugger War.
“Investment Counselor” tells of how Ender first meets Jane, his artificial intelligence investment counselor, and how he becomes a speaker for the dead.
Perhaps because they’re short stories, you don’t really get too deep into the new characters introduced in these books. But they make for an entertaining read, even if they’re not as gripping as Ender’s Game.
If you simply can’t get enough of Ender, then reading First Meetings might be just the thing to take the edge off.