War Games: A Science Fiction Novel

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As a foot soldier in Salamander Army, Ender has an epiphany.

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The last soldier alive in a battle against Leopard Army, outnumbered nine to one, Ender freezes enough enemy soldiers just as they are about to touch the corners to prevent Leopard from controlling all of them. Ender realizes that the traditional grinding battles of attrition are meaningless, and that in the end the only thing that matters is fulfilling the conditions of victory.

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It is not raw force that wins the battle, but rather proper application of force that wins. That idea is encoded in the very DNA of maneuver warfare.

During the decisive battle of the invasion, with the human fleet vastly outnumbered, Rackham figured out that there was one ship in particular—carrying an invading queen—that the Buggers were attempting to protect. Rackham realized the ship was somehow important, made it his focal point and destroyed it.

The humans later learned that the ship controlled the entire Bugger fleet.

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In the final battle at Command School, Ender makes the enemy planet—not the fleet protecting it—his focal point. Ender equates the planet with the gate from Battle School, and concentrates everything he has on destroying it.

According to Greek mythology, Hercules was unable to slay the giant Alcyoneus, who would spring back to life each time he was slain. Hercules only beat Alcyoneus after Athena whispered to him that the giant could not be defeated on his home soil of Pallene.


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Hercules proceeded to pick up the giant and carry him to a foreign land, whereupon he finally slew him. Ender fights his own giant. Like other students, he plays video games in his spare time—games run by the Battle School computer that are veiled extensions of the school curriculum.

No matter what the players do, the giant always wins.

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The two lessons, those of Hercules and Ender, are virtually identical: dislocate the enemy by refusing to play to his strengths. Ender realizes this, and varies his tactics to gain the advantage. He hurries his troops out into the battle arena to gain the initiative.

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When the enemy begins to expect this trick, Ender inverts it—and deploys slowly, forcing the opposition to wait. And so on. Ender maintains the initiative by continually thinking up new tactics and retiring them before his enemies can adapt. The faster you can observe the enemy, orient yourself to react to him, decide what to do and act on your decision, the more likely you are to win.

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This refuge from the greater war is, however, disrupted when archeologists on another world discover evidence that there might be significant relics of the earlier war buried in the inhospitable heart of the continent, where barbarian tribes are currently massing for a religious war. Remy has no alternative but to revert to working for his own race, knowing that whatever he enables them to find, or even if they find nothing at all, his own life will be in grave peril, and that nothing will ever be the same again Great military SF!

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