Now that I've incurred my readership's collective wrath, let me explain. I enjoyed the book; I honestly did. The writing was tight and gripping the way a great novel should be. From page one, I never wanted to put it down. The characters were interesting, the pacing flawless, and the world it created was, given its premises, believable. What fell flat then? As with Eco, the problem is one of meaning. "Ender's Game," in the end, has nothing that interesting to say.
On my first read-through, I see two major themes emerging from "Ender's Game." One, kids have amazing potential. Two, conflict comes about from a failure to understand another's perspective; another's story. The first theme is trite, but could yield unlooked for riches if properly developed. Perhaps Card does this in the subsequent books of the series. In the first volume, he does not. The second theme is the more developed and strikes me as the major meaning of the work. The Buggers try to annihilate the human race, and Peter is a sociopath, but in the end, they're not really bad, they just need someone to hear them out. What we have is the rather typical late-modern therapeutic idea that conflict only emerges from a failure to hear and understand each other's legitimate needs. It's a notion rooted in the idea that man is inherently good and that evil resides simply in ignorance or the pressures of outside, impersonal structures. Now, while there may be some truth to this, it isn't very interesting as a treatment of the problem of evil. Is there no room for choice? Is there no room for actual disagreement? Is anything actually worth disagreeing over? The therapeutic view answers these questions with a "no." My objection to that is not that it's false, though it certainly may be, but that it's uninteresting. You can get a decent pop-psychological novel from it, but there isn't enough complexity in such a view to get a "Hamlet," a "Notes From Underground," or even "The Lord of the Rings." Evil is a complex and weighty problem, the idea that it has at its root a mere failure to understand is banal.
So in the end, my complaint (if it can be called that) against "Ender's Game" is the same as that against "The Name of the Rose;" the point is not commensurate with the art of the story. Great and grand themes are evoked, but when the time comes to balance them with weighty ideas, all we get is a deferral to some trite late-modern truism. That, in itself, could be a point. If so, it isn't a very interesting one.
Same place, same time my friend? Very good. Addio!