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A War of Gifts: An Ender Story [Format Kindle]

Orson Scott Card

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Descriptions du produit

From Publishers Weekly

Adding to the ever-growing Enderverse, Card provides listeners with an amusing and sincere tale about religious observance just in time for the holidays. Like all Battle School students, Zeck has been torn from his family and religion to train in a school in outer space. Passively resisting his environment, Zeck must find a way to reconcile his beliefs with his actions and learn new things about himself that will challenge the life he knew. With Brick's lighter tone complementing Rudnicki's deep resonating voice, the two make an excellent pair as narrators. Often, their parts are split according to point of view, so that Brick narrates aspects of the story from the vantage point of Zeck and the other students while Rudniki embodies the adults, especially the militaristic leaders at the Battle School. Mostly, this shifting back and forth is done by sections of the book, and not in characters exchanging dialogue. However, very abruptly at one point in the story, the director decided to have Brick and Rudnicki exchange dialogue. If this were the standard throughout, it may well have worked, but since it happened only once and in mid-discussion between two characters, it feels out of place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


For years science fiction lovers have enjoyed Orson Scott CardÕs stories spinning out of his ENDERÕS GAME novels. In these books the human race is fighting for survival against an interstellar insect race and then fighting against itself. With able help from narrators Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki, Card continues to dip into the mythos with a glimpse into the lives of some of the EarthÕs generals in their youth. The stalwart Brick is known for delivering credible performances regardless of genre. He excels in this brief story about hyper-intelligent children placed in a rigorous Òbattle schoolÓ for training to become the EarthÕs generals and leaders. But the teachers go too far when they ban religion, planting the seeds for future problems. M.S. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1804 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 207 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0765358999
  • Editeur : Tor Books; Édition : Reprint (23 septembre 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B002Q7H7HY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°103.126 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Orson Scott Card (né et vivant aux Etats-Unis) est l'un des aute urs de science-fiction (la série Ender), de fantasy (les chroniques d'Alvin le faiseur) et de romans historiques les plus connus, lus et estimés dans le monde. Il a remporté le prix Hugo et le prix Nébula deux années consécutives, pour La Stratégie Ender et sa suite, La voix des morts, exploit sans précédent.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.0 étoiles sur 5  136 commentaires
40 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Christmas at Battle School 23 novembre 2007
Par E. A Solinas - Publié sur
Science fiction and Christmas usually don't connect. They have different focuses, and not much in common.

But Orson Scott Card gives it a good try in the megabrief novella "A War of Gifts." Despite a rather abrupt ending, it's a pleasant little story with a dark side that one doesn't expect from a Christmas story, and a Scroogian main character who's hard to like.

That character is Zech Morgan, son of a fanatical preacher who condemns everything, and "purifies" Zech by beating him. Even when he's drafted into Battle School, which does not allow outward religious observance, he shows nothing but pious contempt for his classmates and superiors. But on Sinterklaas, one Dutch boy slips a gift into another's shoe. Zech sees and reports it, but their superior doesn't care.

Soon the other children have decided to pull a "Santa Claus" -- they'll exchange little gifts and favours over the holidays. But since Zech believes that Saint Nick is a tool of the devil, he disrupts the festive favors -- and it may take Ender Wiggin to show him what the real problem is.

Just a warning: this book is very short. Very short. As in, 130 smallish pages short -- if rendered in normal pages, it would be a fair-sized short story. But despite its brevity, it is a pleasant little story.

Half is a story about kids celebrating the spirit of Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Ramadan) despite their sterile, grim surroundings. Lots of fun, goodwill, and general holiday spirit. But about halfway through, it suddenly becomes darkly unfestive, as Ender tries to force Zech to confront -- without any "my father says" or Bible quotes -- the painful truth of his own feelings, and his father's cruelty.

Okay, readers will have picked that up long before. But Card imbues plenty of feeling into the story, including one bittersweet chapter about the Wiggin family Christmas without Ender. The main problem is that the ending is very abrupt -- it feels like Card lost interest after Zech and Ender's conversation, and wrapped it up as quickly as he could.

Zech is one of the most unpleasant lead characters in a Christmas story since Ebenezer Scrooge -- snotty, fanatical, hypocritical, and deliberately irritating. But Card inspires some pity for his miserable life, although thankfully Zech doesn't magically become lovably outgoing by the end. Ender's brief appearance is solid, but Peter's contemplation of his family situation is even better.

"A War of Gifts" is a bit darker and less festive than most Christmas stories, but still a nice little read for the holidays. Just don't expect more than a short story.
186 internautes sur 235 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Great content, very disappointing 4 novembre 2007
Par Too many toys - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Unfortunately, folks who write reviews for the sake of writing reviews got here first. I preordered this book and waited anxiously for its arrival. When I opened the box my question was "Where's my book?". All I found was a poorly bound hardcover pamphlet.128 sparse pages in a book that looks like it was designed, printed and bound at my local Kinko's. I love OSC, but this overpriced short story is a disservice to his loyal fans. The brief content is of a quality that OSC fans have come to expect. Unfortunately these "reviewers" whose only interest seems to be getting their inane pseudo culture in print first are not serving to inform potential buyers. My advice is to wait until this is available used, preferably in paperback.
20 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Unique Christmas tale in Ender's universe 3 décembre 2007
Par Blake Petit - Publié sur
Orson Scott Card has long since earned his place among the true masters of science fiction with novels like Ender's Game, Pastwatch, the Homecoming series, and his alternate history/fantasy Tales of Alvin Maker. His Ender universe has been expanding for some time now, and this year he dives back into the time period of the first novel for a short Christmas tale, A War of Gifts.

In the original Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin was recruited, along with hundreds of the most brilliant children on Earth, to train in an orbital battle school for the day when the human race would have to repel an invasion from an alien race they only barely defeated once before. In A War of Gifts, the camera moves from Ender to another student at the school, Zeck Morgan. A fundamentalist Christian, Zeck refuses to participate in the wargames at the school, and when a pair of Dutch students participate in a Sinterklaas Day celebration (St. Nicholas' Day, on Dec. 6), he issues a complaint about their being able to express their religion while others are supressed.

The other kids don't take kindly to Zeck's reaction, however, and the children of Battle School begin a mini-mutiny, trying to find small ways to celebrate Christmas despite the protestations of the adults running the show. In the end, Zeck has to face Ender to discover a truth hidden from everyone, even himself.

This story fits neatly between the pages of Ender's Game and makes for a highly unique Christmas tale. Most Christmas stores these days are more secular in nature -- about Santa and Frosty and the like -- and I really have no problem with that. those Christmas stories that do incorporate the spiritual aspects of the holiday deal with Jesus's birth (lest we forget that's the whole point) or about angels coming to Earth to work some Christmas miracle for a stingy curmudgeon or some lonely woman who just wants a boyfriend for Christmas. (I'm pretty sure the latter is a Lifetime movie.) A War of Gifts is different in that it's neither about the secular aspects or the faith-based aspects, but instead is more about religion itself -- the conflict between different faiths and different denominations is the crux of the story, as an outward projection of Zeck's internal struggles. For such a slim volume, it's a great character study, and yet another example of how Card can write children remarkably well, even when the children are super-geniuses.

I wouldn't recommend the book if you haven't read Ender's Game, as many of the subtleties will be lost. (There's an early chapter, for example, featuring Ender's older brother that really has nothing to do with the plot of A War of Gifts, but is highly telling if you've read the other books in the series.) If you are a fan of Card, though, this is a very strong Christmas tale definitely belongs on your bookshelf. Don't worry. At 128 pages, it won't take up much room.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Delightful élan and subtlety 4 décembre 2007
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
The physical dimensions of Orson Scott Card's diminutive new seasonal story, A WAR OF GIFTS, brought out the Christmas stocking-stuffer in me right away. What a "cute" little book, I thought.

A cozy evening of reading later, I was amazed at the breadth and depth of wisdom I encountered within a mere 126-postcard-sized pages. The journey to Card's futuristic world of the popular Ender series --- specifically to an elite Battle School for preteen children housed in an orbiting space station above Earth --- offers a concentrated experience of artificially constructed peer-group societies in which any deviation from prescribed behavioral norms carries enormous risk.

Created to indoctrinate the younger generation by weaning students away from any "distracting" attachments to family, culture, religion, ethnicity, passion, altruism and the like, Battle School's mandate is to select the best, brightest and potentially most dangerously independent children and reform them into wholly focused galactic warriors. In essence, however, Battle School is really an ultra-sophisticated and high-tech version of old-style American boot-camp training --- or, perhaps more potently for Canadians, the infamous "residential" schools of the 19th and early 20th centuries, where aboriginal children were forced to learn in an environment stripped of their native traditions and languages.

But Card (despite having abundant theological qualifications to do so) doesn't spend time abstractly moralizing or preaching from some distant pulpit about various forms of child abuse, war-footing mentality or social conditioning. He mainly leaves it to a group of precocious and inventive young boys who discover (or re-discover) the joys and challenges of daring to celebrate anything not on Battle School's strictly secular and utilitarian curriculum.

It all starts with two feisty Dutch lads, whose staunch pride in a small nation that built itself from the sea comes out in a lighthearted but surreptitious observance of Sinterklaas Day. In Dutch tradition, children put their shoes outside the door, hoping that the legendary saint of random generosity will fill them with treats. North Americans know him of course as Santa Claus.

When the hopeful shoe ritual is reciprocated, the effect spreads throughout the orbiting academy, first as a ripple, then as a tidal wave of long-suppressed national and religious traditions that come bubbling to the surface, regardless of rules and regulations. Muslim students renew their five daily prayers, Jewish students remember the High Holidays and Hanukkah, Christian students dare to talk about Christmas and how their families down on earth will celebrate it without them.

But the key to Card's deft insight into human behavior under discouraging conditions is the presence of one little boy whose extreme fundamentalist upbringing makes him the kind of fanatical kid who is usually disliked and avoided by everyone. Convinced that all traditions but his own are inherently evil, he sets about trying to sabotage his colleagues' morale-building fun by reporting them so often that even the Battle School authorities wish he would simply get lost.

The real story behind A WAR OF GIFTS --- the story that reads much better than I would presume to describe it --- is how a group of boys, isolated on the threshold of personal and collective maturity, discover, almost accidentally, the indispensable grace of roots and redemption. No one tells these perennial truths with more delightful élan and subtlety than Orson Scott Card.

This little book with its big and generous ideas belongs on your holiday reading and gift list and is suitable for any age.

--- Reviewed by Pauline Finch (
10 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Magnificent! 20 novembre 2007
Par Detra Fitch - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Zeck Morgan's dad is the minister of a church. However, just because the father is a minister, it does not mean he is nice. Truth is, the father is physically abusive to Zeck. Zeck does not understand this. Zeck believes his father is "purifying" him. Representatives of Battle School test Zeck, find he has photographic memory, and whisks him off to Battle School. Zeck learns what they want him to, but refuses to participate in "killing" targets in the war games.

Even though one member of the Rat Army refuses to kill targets in the games, they are still in second place. At first everyone was upset that Zeck would not even try to help the team. Even so, they soon began to ignore Zeke. They did not really hate Zeke, they simply learned never to rely on him for anything.

In Battle School, there is only one curriculum: the strategy and tactics of war. Since the children are gathered from all nations, all races, and all religions, it makes perfect sense that there is no open observance of any religion. In Battle School there is no room for cultural differences.

When Zeke sees a member of the Rat Army quietly leave a Sinterklaas Day gift in another team member's shoe, he decides to take it up with Colonel Graff. Thus, a war of wills (and gifts) ensues, and it is a war that the staff of Battle School never prepared for.

***** If you look at this hardback book from the front cover, it is about 3/4 the size of a normal hardback book. There are approximately one hundred and twenty-five pages in it. That is why this book costs only about half the price of normal hardbacks. In this case, Orson Scott Card proves that size does not matter. If a reader sat down and read from cover-to-cover, as I did, it will take you around two hours, if that. However, I cannot begin to describe how awesome this story left me feeling. Once again, little Ender Wiggins shows his advanced maturity. The moral behind the tale is serious, very straight forward, and Card managed to tell it in a way that only he can. MAGNIFICENT! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
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