The be all and end all of science fiction stories, for me at least, is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. It is followed closely by Ender's Shadow, also by Card. Ender's Game also happens to be my son's favorite novel of all-time. In fact, I have to admit that I was always a bit hesitant about reading it since it ranked number one on my son's list of favorite reads. I didn't want to be disappointed if I didn't like it (and thus disappoint him), and further, it had more to do with our book reading history.
In the past, we often read, shared, and then discussed the books we were reading, but when he hit his teen years, he didn't want to continue this practice. Typical teen behavior, I guess, and I recognized that for what it was and stopped reading "his" book choices. I wanted him to feel free to read what he wanted without interference, or what he might feel was interference. Every so often, he would read a book that I had read previously, and we would still get into discussions about the book, but for the most part, he went his own way in books: that is, he read a great deal of science fiction. Some of his favorites, then and now, include On a Pale Horse and Ender's Shadow, and of course, Ender's Game.
Having never read much science fiction myself, willingly, I gave it all up to him; I figured I had enough other authors and genres that I preferred. However, about a year ago he actually read my all-time favorite novel, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and loved it, but I digress. Since he read my favorite, I figured I would read his favorite, and did. I have to say I not only loved it, but also understood why he was so drawn to the novel. It was not only good from the perspective of its science fiction aspect, but it was a bit like a psychological thriller in that Ender was "played" by the powers-that-be to become the leader of the group who fights the aliens known as the Buggers. I enjoyed the story of Ender Wiggins and the battle with the Buggers so much that I asked him about the others in the series. I wanted to know if the others were as good. He only suggested Ender's Shadow, the story of Bean, one of the characters from the original novel. Again, it was science fiction, but also had a good story that was nearly as compelling as the first in the series.
I will admit that I haven't read too much other science fiction. I've read some novels that probably qualify as sci-fi, but haven't enjoyed them nearly as much as Ender's Game. On the other hand, I have plans to read On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony (it sits on my TBR* shelf), and both my son and I have decided to read one of Card's newest novels about Ender, Ender in Exile. So, I haven't given up on the genre entirely; I know that there are good reads out there to be discovered.
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