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Audible Editor Reviews

With a full cast production, this highly-entertaining dramatization of the award-winning military science fiction story Ender's Game will wow fans as well as listeners new to this classic. Using an original screenplay written by Orson Scott Card himself, the audioplay takes listeners through Battle School with prodigy Ender Wiggin.

The cast fleshes out their characters with full personalities and motivations - in particular, the actors who portray the children at Battle School do a wonderful job in bringing out their precociousness and fading innocence. The action scenes are brisk and electrifying, and listeners will be swept up in the events of the story.

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Multi-Voiced Performance, 2014

Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2014

Experience Ender's Game as you've never heard it before! With an all-new, original script written by Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game Alive is a full cast audio drama that reimagines the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning classic.

Ender’s Game Alive puts you into Battle School with young Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, as he trains to become the general who will lead Earth against the Formics, the alien "buggers". Removed from his family at the age of six, Ender must prove his strength and his leadership, even as he fights his own doubts. The stakes are nothing less than the fate of humankind.

Ender's Game Alive is performed by Kirby Heyborne, Stefan Rudnicki, Theodore Bikel, Scott Brick, Samantha Eggar, Harlan Ellison, Susan Hanfield, Roxanne Hernandez, Janis Ian, Rex Linn, Richard McGonagle, Jim Meskimen, Emily Rankin, John Rubinstein, Christian Rummel, and a full cast.

Directed by Gabrielle de Cuir

Original Score by John Rubinstein

Valentine's Theme by Janis Ian

Additional music and arrangements by Mark Mitchell

©2013 Orson Scott Card (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What the critics say

“Listeners will feel surrounded by Card's sophisticated, high-stakes universe. With a stately musical score and video-game sound effects, this "re-imagined" production sticks close to the novel while offering listeners an entertaining new way to enjoy one of science fiction's best loved stories.” ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but is better with narration.

I really loved all the actors and actresses playing the different characters but I think some of the dialogue was pretty forced to make up for not having any narration.

Also when ever they mentioned that a certain amount of time had passed it felt really startling since there wasn't anything but a comment like "you've been here a year now" to tell me that any sort of time had passed.

I've really enjoyed this story but I think I'll look for just the audiobook next time.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not a fan of this adaptation.

I love the book Ender's Game, and own another audio copy. This adaptation I did not like. The music and empty-air pauses were distracting and incongruous. The choice to remove the relationship between Ender & Alai (and replace him with Shen) was baffling, and injurious to the character development of both boys. I also disliked the choice to voice all the children by anglo-american adults, instead of the mix of nationalities and cultures represented in the book. The one good thing that I can mention is that they did take some context from other books in the Enderverse to flesh out some of the characters. That being said, they could have done almost as much by leaving out 10 minutes or so of terrible music, and replacing it with unedited book material. In conclusion, if you're a fan of the book, skip this one. Hell, even if you're unfamiliar with Ender's Game, skip it and purchase a better performance.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jake Cohen
  • 2013-11-08

A fresh new way to enjoy the story

This is an interesting change from the typical way a story is told, with a narrator describing what is going on and also performing the character dialogue.

In this version, it is entirely dialogue. There is no narration whatsoever. To support this, the story has been adapted slightly so that events that were described in the book from a narrator's point of view are written in as dialogue when possible, or described after the fact in a conversation.

Surprisingly, this doesn't negatively affect the impact of the scenes where these things are happening. I found the dialogue-based version of events to be even more evocative. There is a lot more dialogue with Col. Graff and his fellow battle school administrators, and they do much more exploration of Ender's motives, thoughts, and actions.

As someone who has previously read Ender's Game as a novel, I get the sense that this version of the story might be harder to follow for someone who is experiencing it for the first time. However, I find the cast performance adds more than it takes away. It is easier to feel empathy for Ender and the other characters in this version.

Overall, I found that as a prior reader of the novel, this was a completely new way to enjoy the story, and definitely worth the listen.

100 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ryan
  • 2013-10-24

Don't start with this audiobook.

If you've read or listened to Ender's Game in the past, this is a new and interesting way to listen. If you've never read/listened to Ender's Game, I suggest you buy the 20th Anniversary unabridged edition. The problem I have with this version is so much of the character building is cut. Characters like "Hot Soup" have a line here or there, but if you haven't listened to the unabridged book you have no idea who this person is or why they matter in the slightest.

The biggest problem I have is, you just don't get the personal connection to Ender in this version that you get in the unabridged audiobook. Without that personal connection, you simply care less about what's happening and why. The plot moves so quickly you have no time to appreciate what Ender's going through and the effect it's having on him. You don't understand the torment he's going through like you should. Without that, this is simply a good listen instead of great listen.

The voice acting is top notch. Stefen Rudnicki does an amazing job, as always. Kirby Heyborne does a really good job as Ender. He reminds me of a soft spoken Johnny Yong Bosch, if you're familiar with his work. I haven't been able to find a cast list for the book, but I've recognized a couple of pretty famous voices, including Martin Sheen, which is pretty cool. Some actors are better than others, but nobody does a poor job.

Overall, I enjoyed this very much. If you've read/listened to Ender's Game before I definitely suggest picking this up and giving it a try. If you haven't, read or listen to the unabridged book first. You'll likely get hooked and continue listening to the other books in this universe like I did. There aren't many Sci-Fi universes as interesting and expertly crafted as this one out there. Do yourself a favor and get into it, and years down the road when you're in the mood to listen again, pick this up and give it a try. You'll likely be glad you did, and be glad you read/listened to the unabridged book first.

277 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DR
  • 2013-10-28

delightful surprise

Where does Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It's as good as any of those that I've given 5 stars to.

What other book might you compare Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to and why?

The original Ender's Game, and the whole lot of the Ender's series. I've listened to them all as audiobooks, as long ago as I actually have some on cassette tape still!

I was skeptical at first as many "full cast" recordings are not as good as the original books, if the originals are well read.

I watched Card discussing how this recording would be different, if not better, than the original, so I decided to give it a shot. I really enjoyed that many of the original readers were used on this project as well.

This was certainly the best full cast recording of a book I've listened to, and on a par with the other audio Ender books. It is just different enough to make it a worthwhile read, and I really am glad I listened to it.

Which character – as performed by Full Cast Recording – was your favorite?

I appreciated the "old voices" from the other Ender books which I loved.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was and I did!

Any additional comments?

If this is your first foray into the "Ender-verse", enjoy. If you are a long time reader/listener, I suspect you will enjoy this version as well. It was certainly worth using a credit on it. I'm glad I did experience it, and it's different enough from the original Ender's Game to keep one interested.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Shane K.
  • 2016-03-23

The downsides of a movie, in audiobook form

I listened to this after having heard the original book more than once, so maybe I'm biased, but this movie really felt like somebody just recorded the audio from a movie.

Unlike the original story, you can't hear Ender's thoughts so you have the whole deal where everyone is trying to explain what's going on in his head without any personal insight.

There's also slight tweaks to the story that I didn't care for much. I guess I should have foresaw these problems, but I kinda went into this expecting basically just the original story with more actors.

The performance and sound effects were great though, so five stars there at least.

21 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 2014-03-24

Outstanding presentation of a SciFi classic

The 'Ender' series has been one of my favorites since it's release. This presentation is first-class.

To me, the quality of a work of fiction is defined in two parts, the basic idea/ideas of the story and the execution. IMHO 'Ender's Game' rates among the best in both areas. The unique storyline constantly revolves around the ethical question of whether the end justifies the means. Given a choice, in our daily lives, to win, or to stand on our principles; which is correct? Is true victory the art of finding a way to do both? Ender and his teachers face these questions daily.

This version is basically true to the intent of the original. Since it is dialog, rather than narration, some changes were necessary to fill-in the missing narrative. I found the net result to be entirely positive. The performances range from pretty good to outstanding.

Overall, this is an excellent way to enjoy the beginning of this epic SciFi series; however, I recommend that those who are new to Ender begin by reading/listening to the original.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer
  • 2013-10-27

It's Aliiiive!

For fans of the series, and those who have never encountered it before, this is a truly fantastic listen.

I was a bit skeptical at first, as I don't always enjoy audio play versions of books I've enjoyed, but this? This was marvelous. There were some new additions that weren't there the first go through, but nothing so big as to completely change the story. The various actors involved did a fantastic job of, yes, bringing the story alive.

This is very much worth a credit, even if only seven hours long.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • michael
  • 2013-10-23

It's not an audio book, it's theatre for the mind!

I first read Ender's Game when I was a young man. The original book and its sequels have always been one of my favorite Science Fiction adventures, and I was reluctant to listen to Ender's Game Alive, in fear of being disappointed by someone tinkering with near perfection. But I was wrong, really, really wrong. This production is amazing, the cast is superb. Although only 7 and 1/2 hours long, I was engrossed from the first chapter and happily relived the story of the little boy who had the fate of the world heaped upon his unsuspecting shoulders. The competition between Battle-School students, the rivalry between Ender and his brother Peter, the unbreakable bond between Ender and his sister Valentine, and most of all, the genius of Col. Graph, who is charged with molding Ender Wiggins into the one and only little boy soldier in the entire world who can save the Earth from certain destruction. If you have never read the book, read it first. The original is a masterpiece. But then, lie back and relax, listen as Ender Wiggins comes to life in the theatre of your mind.

20 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Worsley
  • 2020-04-19

Not the book Ender's Game.

This took all of the good story and battle scenes out and replaced it with more actors like that will make it better. It's like watching a movie with your eyes closed, but don't worry, they give you several minutes of elevator music too. Why? Just get the regular audio book and save this credit.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Aaron Burr
  • 2018-05-20

This is NOT Ender’s Game.

I’m a huge fan of the book... and maybe that’s the problem. This adaptation tears up key elements of the story, and compresses others into nearly unrecognizable (and badly written) expository dialogue.

If this is your first exposure to this story... stick with the traditionally narrated audible book. Otherwise you will miss out on a brilliant (and well written) story in favor of a jacked up abridgment.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jacobus
  • 2013-10-23

Be careful, this story is addictive

Before now, I have never read or listened to Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game epic. It is possible that I might never have done so, was it not for the hype created by Audible releasing the first three chapters of “Ender’s Game Alive” before the official release this full cast audio drama. It was while listening to the first free chapters that I got seriously hooked.

I understand that Orson Scott Card rewrote his original Ender’s Game into this audio drama. Performed by a full cast directed by Gabrielle de Cuir this is probably one of the best audio drama’s I have listened to. A good story coloured presented by an excellent voice cast and music specially adapted for this audio drama makes it not only a winner, it becomes an addiction. Be warned, you might not stop listening until the very end. This is one of the best audio drama’s I have ever heard.

The storyline is very basic. The listener finds him-/herself in the Wiggin’s home on earth some years in the future. One is aware that something is amiss because married couples may only have two children. You become aware that the genetically engineered Peter and Valentine Wiggin’s parents are allowed to have a third child, because Peter and Valentine weren’t completely the right material to enter Battle School. Thus came about Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. All humankind’s hope seems to be fixed on him to free the human race from an extra-terrestrial threat called the Formics. To do so, however, Ender Wiggen is admitted to Battle School at the age of 6 years.

The audio drama is based on these formative years of Ender. What makes it very effective is the way the line between what is real and what is practise are blurred until almost the very end when the pieces of the puzzle falls in place. I thought it was done neatly and convincingly.

This audio drama is an excellent suspense drama wrapped in a science fiction cloak. I believe that those who have enjoyed Ender’s Game in the past as well as those of us who are new to this science fiction classic will enjoy a five star performance of a five star story.

13 people found this helpful