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Editorial 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.

Critic Reviews

“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)

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

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Ender's Game is fantastic

a science fiction that isn't just an amazing story, but an ethical issue as well

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It was really gooood

I liked it but it was to short. Way to short.waaaaay to short. To short

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Just a Random Person

This is a masterpiece, I truly felt like I was there with Ender and that the world was real. It showed me things a simple 1-hour long movie never could, keep up the great work and I look forward to more Full Cast Recordings.

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perfect

at first I didn't like the idea of this story because of my dislike for live action movies but I found out more about Ender and is backstory from a fanfiction and I grew to fall in love with the little guy and decided to get this audio book to learn his full story,

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Profile Image for Jake Cohen
  • Jake Cohen
  • 08-11-2013

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.

94 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan
  • 24-10-2013

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.

272 people found this helpful

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  • DR
  • 28-10-2013

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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  • Shane K.
  • 23-03-2016

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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  • Steven
  • 24-03-2014

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer
  • 27-10-2013

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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  • michael
  • 23-10-2013

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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  • Andrew Worsley
  • 19-04-2020

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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  • Aaron Burr
  • 20-05-2018

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

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  • Jacobus
  • 23-10-2013

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

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  • HR
  • 03-11-2013

Could have been great. Was only okay.

What made the experience of listening to Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay the most enjoyable?

Ender's Game is a fantastic story to begin with and with the author writing the dramatisation it means all the important bits are left in.

Any additional comments?

BUT.The musical intervals were horrible and could be quite off-putting. And although the cast did a good job, having adult-sounding children was also a little ... irritating. If they can make a movie of this fantastic story using child actors, why couldn't they do the same with this dramatisation?So overall, a good way to spend a lazy Sunday. But would have been better with age-appropriate actors and NO music!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 27-03-2014

An excellent adaptation of the original.

Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to be better than the print version?

Having never read the print version but listened to the entirety of the Ender Universe on audio books, it's hard to say if this is better than the print version. What I can say is that lived up to expectation and really helped to bring the characters to life and add to the story in subtle ways.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Due to the way Scott Card uses third parties to convey to the reader what happens in Ender's head in the original text, Colonel Graff takes an even larger role and could easily be my favourite character - especially read so brilliantly by Stefan Rudnicki who is one of the greatest narrators I have had the pleasure of listening to.

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

See above - Graff by Stefan Rudnicki.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Having already trodden the entire path of the Ender Universe, one cannot help but be emotionally attached to the central characters and this performance only adds to that. To isolate any particular emotion would be to diminish the impact of the performance.

Any additional comments?

I implore anyone to continue the journey. But go through the Shadow Saga next, then Ender in Exile and then pick up the thread of Ender's story with Speaker for the Dead. it is one of the greatest stories ever told and finishing the saga makes you feel like you've just said goodbye to your closest group of friends. I had to go back and do them all again to satisfy my need for more!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Andy
  • 27-04-2019

Pleasant and enjoyable to listen

Never read the book prior and was going into this blind. Voice acting was well cast in my opinion. Voiced were clear and recognisable.

I was trying to decide between the audible version and the original but decided to go with the audible version. Can't say for the other one but the audible version was enjoyable and easy to follow. Well dramatised.
Personally I wasn't bothered that the voices didn't sound like children like with the other reviewers (they did sound like kids to me)
Would definitely recommend this if you would just like a good story that's easy to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wakeman
  • 05-12-2018

Overproduced and rather oddly cast

There are a few issues with this adaptation of a classic story. Firstly, the use of 'specially commissioned' music seems gratuitous. often inappropriate and always intrusive. That leads to a feeling of overproduction; 'We'll fit this in somehow'. The cast is oddly chosen; as others have commented, the use of adults to voice child characters is frequently jarring. There are variations in the background of the various voices, suggesting recordings in different places.

The story, although battered, remains more-or-less intact.

I hesitate to recommend this version; I think reading (or listening to) the original would be preferable.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 01-01-2015

Good story but poor performance

The story is good and easy to follow but I just couldn't get past the performance. The voices were ALL wrong and just spoiled it, I had to stop listening.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mac
  • 17-04-2018

great!

I have read the book but this brings it to life. Great voice performance! highly recommended

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-01-2018

I'd rather listen to someone reading the book

I feel you lose so much in an adaptation, if I hadn't bought this as part of a two for one deal, I'd have returned it pretty early on.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-2017

The music !

As usual this story is amazing even in this format I felt sometimes some of the music parts were too long however the intensity of music was about right

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael Clark
  • 29-06-2017

Fantastic!

I absolutely loved the original and to my surprise I enjoyed this live version even more!

1 person 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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  • Thomas
  • 01-12-2013

classic sci-fi

Would you consider the audio edition of Ender's Game Alive: The Full Cast Audioplay to be better than the print version?

Whilst some things are lost in this version, the dramatisation of the book works well with great performances.

What did you like best about this story?

This is a great story, a classic sci-fi novel with intrigue, humour, and storytelling

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

the grown-ups do tend to be better

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no

Any additional comments?

no

1 person found this helpful

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