Ender's Shadow

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Ender's Shadow is a 1999 book by Orson Scott Card with a plot covering the events in Ender's Game but from the point of view of Bean, a child genius who is largely peripheral to the action in Ender's Game.


  • "Ain't worth a Bean," she said.
  • She wanted to give God credit for every good thing, but when it was bad, then she didn’t mention God or had some reason why it was a good thing after all.
  • He dreamed, as human beings always dreamed — random firings of memory and imagination that the unconscious mind tries to put together into coherent stories.
  • "An eye for an eye? How Christian of you." "Unbelievers always want other people to act like Christians."
  • I do give the other guy a chance to learn what he’s doing before I insist on perfection.
  • The commander must be able to change his plans abruptly when obstacles or opportunities appear. If his army isn’t ready and willing to respond to his will, his cleverness comes to nothing.
  • Somebody has to roll the dice. Mine are the hands that hold those dice. I’m not a bureaucrat, placing my career above the larger purposes I was put here to serve. I will not put the dice in someone else’s hands, or pretend that I don’t have the choice I have.
  • Bean’s powers of analysis were extraordinary. So, also, were his powers of deception. Some of Bean’s guesses weren’t right — but was that because he didn’t know the truth, or because he simply didn’t want them to know how much he knew, or how much he guessed.
  • Ender Wiggin was not larger than life, Bean knew. He was exactly life-sized, and so his larger-than-life burden was too much for him. And yet he was bearing it. So far.
  • Ender was what Bean only wished to be — the kind of person on whom you could put all your hopes, who could carry all your fears, and he would not let you down, would not betray you. I want to be the kind of boy you are, thought Bean. But I don’t want to go through what you’ve been through to get there.
  • Please stop reassuring me of how respectful you are whenever you’re about to tell me that I’m an idiot.
  • You can’t rule out the impossible, because you never know which of your assumptions about what was possible might turn out, in the real universe, to be false.
  • Doesn’t it occur to you that the very fact that you’re asking me this question tells me there’s something else for me to figure out, and therefore greatly increases the chance that I will figure it out?
  • Sometimes you have to tell people the truth and ask them to do the thing you want, instead of trying to trick them into it.
  • Sometimes the other side is irresistibly strong, and then the only sensible course of action is to retreat in order to save your force to fight another day.
  • Most victories came from instantly exploiting your enemy's stupid mistakes, and not from any particular brilliance in your own plan.
  • Humans will always act to preserve their own lives — except for the times when they don’t.
  • Once they understood our autonomy, the seed of their defeat was sown.
  • Isn't that what it means to be civilized? That you can wait to get what you want?
  • "Christians have been expecting the imminent end of the world for millennia." "But it keeps not ending." "So far, so good."
  • Trying to shock nuns is not much sport. There is no trophy.
  • Know, think, choose, do.
  • "I’m not stupid!" In [his] experience, that was a sentence never uttered except to prove its own inaccuracy.
  • Analyzing things was fine, but good reflexes could save your life.
  • Will I die from her mistakes too? No, I'll die from my own damn mistakes!
  • Male and female he created them. Making his image anatomically vague, one must suppose.
  • "I just... I'm saying that God must have been watching over you." "Yeah. Well, sure. So why didn't he watch over all those dead kids?" "He took them to his heart and loved them." "So then he didn't love me?" "No, he loved you too, he — " "Cause if he was watching so careful, he could have given me something to eat now and then."
  • The more Sister Carlotta explained it, the less he understood it. Because if there was somebody in charge, then he ought to be fair, and if he wasn't fair, then why should Sister Carlotta be so happy that he was in charge?
  • Fools always look up for power. People above you, they never want to share power with you. Why you look to them? They give you nothing. People below you, you give them hope, you give them respect, they give you power, cause they don't think they have any, so they don't mind giving it up.
  • Soldiers do not give the other guy a sporting chance. Soldiers shoot in the back, lay traps and ambushes, lie to the enemy and outnumber the other bastard every chance they get. Your kind of murder only works among civilians.
  • Soldiers don't like to lose.
    And that is why losing is a much more powerful teacher than winning.
  • He hadn't realized how much he needed the honor of others until he finally got it.
  • "If someone runs after your car, screaming and waving his arms, you know that something significant is intended, even if you can't hear a word he's saying."
  • “O my son Absalom,” Bean said softly, knowing for the first time the kind of anguish that could tear such words from a man’s mouth. “my son, my son Absalom. Would God I could die for thee, O Absalom, my son. My sons!”
  • Suddenly a vast eruption licked outward toward the last of the human fighters, Petra' s ships, on which there might or might not still be men alive to see death coming at them. To see their victory approach.
  • If I had a plan, I'd take control. I have no plan. So for good or ill, it's Ender's game not mine.
  • for we humans do, when the cause is sufficient, spend our own lives. We throw ourselves onto the grenade to save our buddies in the foxhole. We rise out of the trenches and charge the entrenched enemy and die like maggots under a blowtorch. We strap bombs on our bodies and blow ourselves up in the midst of our enemies. We are, when the cause is sufficient, insane.

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