Orson Scott Card’s original novelette, Ender’s Game, was first published in the August 1977 issue of Analog magazine. For those who have read the novel but not the novelette, it covers about the last two-thirds of the story in the novel.
Card made several significant changes to the novelette in order to convert it into the novel, so you won’t find any mentions of Peter, Valentine, the game with the giant, and a few other things like that. You will find the basic skeleton of the main story in the Battle and Command schools, and the core parts of the story still work very well.
The pacing in the short story was pretty tight, and Card did a good job showing how young the kids were while also showing how they weren’t allowed to be children by Graff and the others running Battle School.
Even though the novelette is very short compared to the novel, it still effectively addresses the issues of whether the ends justify the means and whether children should be used and encouraged in the ways of war (an issue which has arisen fairly regularly throughout the centuries in many different cultures). While the adults may often think everything is acceptable, adults don’t often consider what the child may be thinking or the child’s opinions on the matter.
I enjoyed the novel more than the novelette, but I think Ender’s Game is definitely worth reading. It’s a good study in how to effectively expand a short work into a novel, and it’s a solid story in its own right.
Issue: August 1977 (USA)
Language: 1 (minor expletives, rough and tough kid talk)
Violence: 2 (bullying, fisticuffs)