This post is sponsored by Tor Books.
Since the release of Ender’s Game in 1985, author Orson Scott Card has expanded his Ender’s universe in many different directions—good news for anyone who is a fan of the original book and for readers who love rich, ever-expanding science fiction universes and have yet to dive into the Enderverse.
Most recently, Card (along with co-writer Aaron Johnston) has released The Hive, the second book in his Second Formic War series, which is, in turn, the second prequel trilogy to Ender’s Game. The prequel trilogies take place starting roughly 100 years prior to the events of the original, iconic science fiction novel, and fill in some of the blanks concerning how the Formics, aka “Buggers,” aka the insect-like alien race set on annihilating the human race, first came to attack Earth.
While the first prequel trilogy follows the First Formic War, the second prequel trilogy follows the Second Formic War and began with 2016’s The Swarm. The first book in the series sees the nations of Earth attempting to cobble together some kind of effective, collective defense in the face of their differences and the self-serving leaders who hold much of the power, as a Formic mother-ship hovers on the edge of the solar system preparing its forces for an all-out attack on Earth.
In The Hive, the Earth’s government has been reorganized around the goal of global defense, but is hindered at every turn by the very human forces of politics, nationalism, egotism, and paranoia. Will they be able to complete the mission to locate and destroy the Hive Queen?
The Hive is a military science fiction story through and through, which means fans of the genre will find plenty to like—from expertly-crafted action scenes filled with tactical detail to the development of different kinds of military technology on both sides of the war—in its pages. The novel also has lots to offer the Enderverse fan specifically, most fascinatingly for this reader how the idea for the military boot camp for children seen in Ender’s Game began.
The book ends on a cliffhanger that will be wrapped up in the final book in the Second Formic War trilogy: The Queens.
A Guide to the Enderverse
For fans looking to dive further into the Enderverse, here is a general overview of this book world, which is an expansive look at the long conflict between Earth and the Formics, as well as what happens to humanity and its warriors when they defeat them.
The series began with “Ender’s Game,” a novelette published in an issue of Analog magazine in 1977. The story would later be turned into the 1985 novel. As of right now, the Enderverse consists of 16 novels, 13 short stories, and 47 comic book issues, some of which cover the same material. Material from the Enderverse has been adapted into a film, an audioplay, and a manga.
The Ender Series
Books: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender in Exile, Children of the Fleet
The series that started it all begins with the book that started it all, Ender’s Game, which follows child genius Andrew “Ender” Wiggin as he trains at Battle School to become one of the leaders for the protection of Earth. As the series continues, we follow Ender into adulthood as he grapples with the actions he took in Ender’s Game, makes a home for himself and his family (including sister Valentine) on the planet of Lusitana, and becomes the Speaker for the Dead.
Children of the Fleet, the most recent book in the series, follows 11-year-old Dabeet Ochoa, at Fleet School, the new name for Battle School. Fleet School trains the future leaders to navigate the difficulties of life on the barely habitable planets left behind in the wake of the Formic Wars. Read more about Children of the Fleet here.
The Ender’s Shadow Series
Books: Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, Shadows in Flight
In this companion series to Ender’s Game, Card follows the life of Julian “Bean” Delphiki, one of Ender’s classmates at Battle School. Ender’s Shadow fills in Bean’s backstory, while also giving us a different perspective on Ender during his time at Battle School. Structurally and thematically, the Ender’s Shadow series is much more similar to Ender’s Game than the sequels in that series are to the first book, diving into what happens on Earth following the Formic Wars and featuring Ender’s brother, Peter, as a character, as well as Ender and Bean’s fellow jeesh member Petra.
The First Formic War Series (with Aaron Johnston)
Books: Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens
The story of the First Formic War was first told in a series of Marvel comics before Card decided to expand upon it with a book trilogy. Written with Aaron Johnston, who you may recognize as the creator and showrunner of science fiction TV series Extinct, the First Formic War series follows asteroid miner Victor Delgado, Mazer Rackham and the Mobile Operations Police, and Chinese boy Bingwen—some of the first humans to face off against the Formics.
The Second Formic War Series (with Aaron Johnston)
Books: The Swarm, The Hive, The Queens (yet to be released)
As outlined above and in the series’ title, this prequel trilogy follows the Second Formic War as Earth’s governments and corporations try to get their act together—and keep their act together—long enough to protect humanity from total annihilation.
The Ender Novellas
Books: A War of Gifts, First Meetings
If you’re looking for a quick Enderverse read, check out one of these two novellas. A War of Gifts takes place during Ender’s early time at Battle School, though doesn’t follow Ender as a main character. First Meetings is a collection of three short stories. Two follow Ender’s father, John Paul Wiggin, at different points in his life, while the other follows Ender at 20 years old.
Have you read any of the Enderverse books? Which is your favorite series? Let us know in the comments below.