Rejection and My Love/Hate Read of Ender’s Game

I received my first rejection letter from a grad school today and the deep waters of my soul are troubled. It’s useless for friends to say rejection is a part of life — of course I know that. It still stings anyway. It still makes you feel like your insides are thunderstorming.

My insides have been thunderstorming a lot lately.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about Ender’s Game. Which was filled with flat characters, awkward dialogue and plain bad writing. And also, I find the use of the term ‘buggers’ for the aliens to be weirdly offensive.

And yet, and yet, right at the end of the book, just as I was writing it off as a big fat waste of a few good bedtime reading sessions, this happened:

He felt then what the hive-queen felt, watching through her workers’ eyes as death came to them too quickly to avoid, but not too quickly to be anticipated. There was no memory of pain or fear, though. What the hive-queen felt was sadness, a sense of resignation. She had not thought these words as she saw the humans coming to kill, but it was in words that Ender understood her: They did not forgive us, she though. We will surely die.

And this:

We are like you; the thought pressed into his mind. We did not mean to murder, and when we understood, we never came again. We thought we were the only thinking beings in the universe, until we met you, but never did we dream that thought could arise from the lonely animals who cannot dream each other’s dreams. How were we to know? We could live with you in peace. Believe us, believe us, believe us.

Oh, you poor, poor queen. Yes, we are the lonely animals who cannot dream each other’s dreams and we have learned to love our solitude, the singleness of each of our minds, navigating our way alone through life and the universe. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

For that last passage, I’d forgive it all.

Edit: This post was written a couple of weeks ago and I have since received another rejection letter. The deep waters of my soul are now roiling.

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