If you’ve ever read the original “Ender’s Game” books, you know how prescient they really were about future technology and political situations. Orson Scott Card might be the true contemporary of Philip K. Dick in being able to eerily predict things in his books 20 or more years before they happened. Considering Card made so many predictions about technology, it places the stories in a new perspective now that it’s becoming a movie and a possible franchise. When you have a story of a kid well under 18 being trained for a war, it makes you ponder the America of coming decades.
With Orson Scott Card’s interest in Civil War history, he must have looked back to when kids under 18 were being recruited for battle, leading to tragic outcomes. While that was out of desperation for the South, there’s a similar streak of desperation in the “Ender’s Game” universe. It’s a situation that the United States could easily find itself in someday when the dreaded draft question comes back to everyday discussions.
Those with deeper imaginations might even envision a scenario of an alien race infiltrating our world not unlike we saw in the classic miniseries “V.” Others grounded strictly in reality may look more to the imbalance in the Middle East and see an epic battle someday against mastermind terrorists. That’s when the questions still remain whether our military as it stands would be ready to fight back in a traditional way during the above scenario.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility that if a draft was ever implemented again, the government would have to devise a way to make it attractive. And with kids already seemingly skilled in killing based on their daily playing of video games, they may be just as skilled as any soldier out there today. While the idea of kids being skilled killing machines is already controversial enough in the time of nearly daily gun violence in schools, there’s a definite use for it in times of desperation.
But would America recruit teens under 18 to fight in a war if they proved themselves with useful skills? As in “Ender’s Game”, there might have to be a bit of cover-up in order to make it look patriotic to enlist. If they survived, they’d end up much like other war veterans who had to be killing machines and were haunted by it later in life. That’s why it’s still challenging to imagine a future war where everyone goes along with it as we saw in World War II.
Card probably realized that history repeated itself and that America would be on a repeat cycle down the road. An epic war of some kind is more than inevitable here or abroad someday. Whether it’s done with our existing military or young recruits, expect the movie version of “Ender’s Game” to be referenced someday for context. It may join “2001”, Philip K. Dick stories and Rod Serling’s teleplays as being eerie prognosticators of current events that are frequently mentioned again in the news for context.
Perhaps we’ll be surprised and see a twist on a future resembling “Ender’s Game.” If it’s true that war will look more like a cyber war, those young recruits may be recruited to sit in front of a computer. There, they’d more likely partake in war by the writing of code and a click of a mouse.