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The Authorized Ender Companion    by Orson Scott Card & Jake Black order for
Authorized Ender Companion
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you've read all Orson Scott Card's brilliant Ender novels and return to them occasionally for a re-read (as I do) you will find this Authorized Ender Companion (written by Jake Black) just what the front cover advertizes - an 'Indispensable Guide to the Universe of Ender's Game'.

In his Introduction, Orson Scott Card tells us that he needed this book 'because the Ender books are a series I never intended.' He tells us that 'the Ender universe was not consistent', explains how the 'back-and-forth between author and readers' (often via the Internet) has helped him keep things straight, and says that this encyclopedic reference to the Ender Universe will continue to do so.

Searching immediately for my favorite character, Bean, I browsed Battle School Slang (like dakwa and oomay) along the way. Turns out he's not listed as Bean but under his full name, Delphiki, Julian II, just as Ender is only to be found as Wiggin, Andrew. Interspersed amongst the expected character, place, and novel summaries are fascinating snippets like Card's insights into the Look of the Formics.

The Ender Encyclopedia occupies most of The Authorized Ender Companion. It's followed by a very useful Ender's Time Line; an Ender/Bean Comparison; Ender's Family Tree; Getting Ender Right (Aaron Johnston's fascinating and informative 'Look at the Ender's Game Screenplay Development'); Stephen Sywak's 'Thoughts on How the Battle School and the Battle Room Might Function' in The Technology of Ender's Game; and finally articulate comments from fans in Friends of Ender.

Like Orson Scott Card himself, I'll be keeping The Authorized Ender Companion handy on my shelves. And, though I'll use its reference material, what I enjoyed most in the book was Getting Ender Right. For those of us who've been reading SF and fantasy from its early days, anticipation of the movie is huge. If they do get it right, it will be up there with Lord of the Rings.

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