WHAT IS CLASSIC REMARKS?
Classic Remarks is a meme hosted here at Pages Unbound that poses questions each Friday about classic literature and asks participants to engage in ongoing discussions surrounding not only themes in the novels but also questions about canon formation, the “timelessness” of literature, and modes of interpretation.
HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?
Leave your link to your post on your own blog in the comments below. And feel free to comment with your thoughts even if you are not officially participating with a full post!
You can find more information and the list of weekly prompts here.
(Readers who like past prompts but missed them have also answered them on their blog later and linked back to us at Pages Unbound, so feel free to do that, too!)
THIS WEEK’S PROMPT:
Tell us about your favorite science fiction classic.
I admit I am not the strongest reader science fiction. While many readers appreciate the strange worlds and advanced technology science fiction can offer, I prefer stories that focus on the characters and their relationships, and what it means to be human. But science fiction is often the perfect genre for this! And my favorite science fiction classic, Ender’s Game, addresses this question masterfully by juxtaposing humanity with the unhuman. Is humanity truly different from or better than other species? What makes humans their best selves? The book delves into these issues through the eyes of Ender, a child taken from his home to be transformed into a warrior.
Ender’s Game ultimately depicts the lengths to which humans will go to preserve themselves—even if it means losing their sense of moral dignity. The necessity of preparing for battle consumes the adults, who use children as pawns in the war effort. They force children into situations that demand the children lose their innocence as well as their instinct to make peace. Card simultaneously comments on the degradation of the human spirit in times of fear and of the continual powerlessness of children in society, uniting both in a common theme of the cyclical nature of history. In the end, the book poses the question of whether or not humans can ultimately change and break the cycle of violence.
In addressing these concerns common to all people, Card’s book speaks to the heart with rare power. Each time I return to the story, I am hurt anew by the way in which the adults use Ender as a means to an end, forgetting both his humanity and theirs in pursuit of the “greater good.” But the book ultimately suggests that clinging to one’s humanity is what gives a person true power, and the ability to do the greatest good. Fear closes people to the possibility of understanding, change, and forgiveness. In contrast, vulnerability opens the doors to peace and new life. Ender’s Game may be an older book, but it is a book that continues to speak to me.
9 thoughts on “My Favorite Science Fiction Classic”
It’s an exciting story that does raise some really important questions. My favorite sf book is The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin. I love her writing.
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I admit I’ve read quite a few of LeGuin’s works because she is so highly regarded, but I never did fall in love with them the way everyone else seems to. I feel like I’m missing out. 😦
I would rather read fantasy than science fiction.
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I haven’t read the book, but I *have* seen the movie — would be great to know your thoughts on that!
I am very, very late to this meme. But it looks fabulous, and it reminded me of my own gateway scifi read: Cordelia’s Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold.
~ ~My Classic Remarks Post @Lexlingua
I’m not sure if Krysta’s seen the move. I tried to borrow it from the library once, and the DVD was so scratched up that it wouldn’t play. And that was the end of that. :p
I’m glad you like the meme! We’re so happy to have you participate!
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I actually haven’t seen the movie, but I remember thinking the trailer made it look rather different than the book!
I have heard great things about Lois McMaster Bujold. But I admit I haven’t read any of the books yet.
If you’re into fantasy as well, then a great starting point for Bujold would be The Paladin of Souls and The Curse of Chalion. Would love to read a review if you ever get around to reading Bujold!
Ooh yes! My friend is always recommending The Curse of Chalion to me! I do feel some guilt that I haven’t gotten around to it yet….
On the sci-fi note, over the last year and a half I read Becky Chambers’ ‘The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet’ and ‘A Closed and Common Orbit,’ the first two books in her Wayfarer Series. I was struck by how intimately she explores those “what it means to be human” questions sci-fi can handle so well. I was also impressed, while there was the prerequisite war going on across the galaxy, the stories are about people living their lives in this universe, distanced from the war and the causes, the heroes and villains. There’s not really even fighting in the novels (at least not in the ones I’ve read so far). I don’t read a ton of sci-fi but it was certainly the most original entry into that genre I’ve read in a long. long time…possibly forever. Anyway, this post made me think of Chambers’ work so I thought I’d share :).