Goodreads Sweepstakes: Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

About Earth Awakens: The story of The First Formic War continues in Earth Awakens.

Nearly 100 years before the events of Orson Scott Card’s bestselling novel Ender’s Game, humans were just beginning to step off Earth and out into the Solar System. A thin web of ships in both asteroid belts; a few stations; a corporate settlement on Luna. No one had seen any sign of other space-faring races; everyone expected that First Contact, if it came, would happen in the future, in the empty reaches between the stars. Then a young navigator on a distant mining ship saw something moving too fast, heading directly for our sun.

When the alien ship screamed through the solar system, it disrupted communications between the far-flung human mining ships and supply stations, and between them and Earth. So Earth and Luna were unaware that they had been invaded until the ship pulled into Earth orbit, and began landing terra-forming crews in China. Politics and pride slowed the response on Earth, and on Luna, corporate power struggles seemed more urgent than distant deaths. But there are a few men and women who see that if Earth doesn’t wake up and pull together, the planet could be lost.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends May 15th)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

New Releases: 3/4/2014

 Alice in the Country of Clover: March Hare by QuinRose; art by Soyogo Iwaki Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Vol. 6 by Yomi Hirasaka; art by ItachiNecessary Evil by Ian TregillisThe Nightmare Dilemma by Mindee Arnett Quintessence by David WaltonThe Sacred Blacksmith Vol. 4 by Isao Miura; art by Kotaro YamadaThe Tropic of Serpents by Marie BrennanThe Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonWords of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson


Senran Kagura: Skirting Shadows Vol. 2 by Kenichirou Takaki; art by Amami Takatsume

See upcoming releases.

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web. Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day!


  • Speaking of Game of Thrones, this 15 minute preview might help hold us until April. MIGHT. Okay, probably won’t.

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

Throwback Thursdays: A Gift From Orson Scott Card to All His Fans

Welcome to Throwback Thursdays on the Tor/Forge blog! Every other week, we’re delving into our newsletter archives and sharing some of our favorite posts.

Happy holidays! In the holiday season of 2007, Orson Scott Card revisited Battle School and the life of Ender Wiggin in A War of Gifts. How, exactly, was it possible for one to write a holiday story, a Christmas story, set in the Battle School? A place where even birthdays aren’t remembered? Editor Beth Meacham had no idea, and in the December 2007 Tor Newsletter, she shared the story of how A War of Gifts came to be, and how surprising, emotional, and touching the result was. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past, and have a lovely holiday season!

A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card

By Beth Meacham, Executive Editor

“Wouldn’t it be fun,” we said, “to do a holiday gift book by Orson Scott Card?”

You know, those little books you see at the check-outs of book and card stores, around this time of year? Kind of a cross between a book and a card? We call them “precious size” books…and I don’t even know why. Could it be irony?

The conversation went on: What should it be? What about an Alvin story, Christmas at Horace Guester’s Inn? What about one of the other series?

“Wouldn’t it,” I asked, “be a good idea to ask Scott about this? Before we, you know, schedule the non-existent book or something? Not that we haven’t done that before.

But Scott Card had a better idea. That’s why he’s the writer—the creator—and we’re the editors and publicists and sales people who get it from him to you.

“What about an Ender story?” he said.

Ender? What? Christmas at the Battle School? You don’t normally think of Ender’s Game and heart-warming precious books together, you know? Well, at least I didn’t.

“Yes,” said Orson Scott Card. “Christmas at the Battle School. I have an idea. It won’t be warm and fuzzy, though. Is that ok?”

“Don’t tell Tom that,” I said.

So time passed. We plan these things really early, like years early. Months went by. Other books were delivered and edited and published.

Then one morning, I opened my email and found The Christmas Story waiting. It was like Christmas morning, all unexpected. I started reading it.

My coffee got cold.

I went to get a Kleenex.

It’s not warm and fuzzy—it’s deeply touching and emotional. There I was, crying over a sock. Really. No, I won’t say any more than that, you go read it. It’s not long, it won’t take you more than one wasted cup of coffee.

We called the story A War of Gifts. It’s out now. It’s an Ender story, set in his first year at the Battle School…and it’s so much more than that.

This article is originally from the December 2007 Tor/Forge newsletter. Sign up for the Tor/Forge newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox twice a month!

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.


  • It’s Throwback Thursday! Fiddlehead, the fifth book in Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century series, published this week. To celebrate, we look back to October 2009, when Cherie shared the genesis of Boneshaker, the first book in the series.

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

The Ender’s Game eBook Cover by Sam Weber

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Written by Irene Gallo, Art Director

The ebook edition of Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card’s classic science fiction novel, releases today with a new cover by Sam Weber.

There is a strange magic about that allows it to give us more work while making us feel like it’s Christmas. We were barely settled into the Wheel of Time ebook cover project when publisher, Fritz Foy, asked, “What’s next?” The answer was easy. Perhaps not coincidentally, the question came just as Sam Weber handed in the cover art for The Shadow Rising, which everyone loved. That, coupled with the fact that I had wanted to create a cover for Ender’s Game that addressed the emotional conflict of the novel for ages, sent us off and running on a dream project.

First step: asking the editor, Beth Meacham, how she felt about repackaging the book:

When Irene told me that she’d been cleared to create a new art package for Ender’s Game for the eBook release, I confess that I groaned. Covers for this book have always been a problem. It’s not a children’s book, but when you ask for a painting of a ten year old boy, it’s hard not to get something that looks like a children’s book. This can lead to problems, like the email I recently got from a school librarian who was sure that there was some mistake; this children’s book had “bad words” in it.

I had no doubt Sam could portray a boy who wouldn’t put off older readers. I have often felt a number of his paintings show a cool exterior while suppressing some kind of underlying trouble or anxiety; if anything describes Ender, that’s it. When I contacted Sam, I wasn’t surprised to hear that Ender’s Game is one of his favorite novels.

A few weeks later he paralyzed me with an amazing set of sketches. The more I looked at them the more I wanted to see all of them come to fruition. It seemed a crime to have to pick one. After a decade of wanting to see “my” Ender, I was suddenly staring at a dozen. I was afraid of picking a direction I would later regret.

In the end I was intrigued by Sam’s use of scale in the chosen sketch. I loved seeing Ender large with an entire planet underfoot—whether it’s Earth or the alien planet, the fate of both worlds depend on this small boy. The weightlessness, of course, refers to the Battle School exercises so memorable in the book. The flat-color triangles, representing the holographic game pieces, set against the realistic rendering of Ender and the planet, enhance the lie of the game.

I knew Sam would do a great job with the final painting…still, I don’t think I was fully prepared for just how well he was able to portray the depth of character Orson Scott Card gives us in Ender Wiggin.

At that point I was very excited to show Beth. Her response:

The sketches that I saw were very good. The artist is wonderful, and it looked very promising, though again the sketches were of children. Irene and Sam heard me when I said that if we were going to put a child on the cover, that child had to have old and wary eyes, had to look like a real child who had been under great stress. The finished art has that quality in spades. My reaction to seeing the finished art was “Oh! That’s Ender!”

The composition is spectacular, too—it actually illustrates something that is such a powerful part of the novel: Ender has been separated from Earth and humanity even as he is being forged as a weapon to protect them.

I asked Tor books and designer, Jamie Stafford-Hill, to do the type layout. He came up with a solution that gave further depth to the cover. Orson Scott Card’s name seems to float in front while the title shimmers in and out between the author’s name and Ender, adding to the sense of weightlessness. Perfect.

At this point the publisher seemed happy, I was ecstatic, the editor loved it, and Orson Scott Card called it, “the best cover art ever to appear on Ender’s Game.” A dream project with a happy ending. At least, so far. Now for the important part: to see how well new readers and fans respond to it.

I asked Sam Weber to share his thoughts on the project:

There’s a great interview with Orson Scott Card at the end of the Ender’s Game audio book. I remember listening to it only moments after those haunting final words call an end to one of my favorite books of all time. In the interview, Card talks about his theatre background and how writing plays affected Ender’s Game. For a book that is so incredibly evocative, there is surprisingly little in the way of specific physical description. Like theatre, it is the language and dialog, the characters that evoke the world in which Ender exists. In most ways that is what Ender’s Game is about for me. The characters. Although the situation is thought-provoking and unique, it’s Ender’s struggle that grabs you and breaks your heart. The weight of the actions he is forced to take in the name of both human and personal survival is crushing. It’s a personal and emotional struggle that feels relevant and timeless, completely independent of the set pieces and stage that Card has nonetheless so beautifully crafted.

As an illustrator, ultimately you want to find something in a story that grabs you, something that pleases a part of your own artistic compulsion and allows you to contribute to the work, even if it’s only in a small way. There is so much to draw upon in this book, from the strange and haunting metaphors that populate Free Play, to Ender’s own physical struggles in Battle School. In the end, Irene Gallo and I ended up settling on a simple solution. With its pared-down background and central figure, it feels theatrical to me, which I like. I’d hoped from the beginning to create something emotional and personal, an image that conveys the loneliness Ender is forced to endure because of his almost alien brilliance.

Reference can be a great asset to an illustrator and it became quickly apparent that I needed to base Ender on a real person. Like the figure at the center of some Greek tragedy, Ender suffers for no fault of his own. I wanted him to seem human and fragile in spite of this mythological quality. Certainly Card achieves this with great success. I am fortunate to have found a model who enabled me to bring this character to life. One of the great things about work set in imaginary places is the freedom that comes with envisioning the unknown. Grounding it in something (or someone) real is important, I think, as it gives the viewer a way in and can lend the work a sense of believability that is difficult to create without observing the world and people around us.

Below are a few of Sam Weber’s initial sketches. Again, so many of these would make great paintings. I imagine some of these would make incredible poster designs, if not book covers.

Cycle through the painting phases:

This article was originally posted on on April 12, 2010.


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The Evolution of Ender’s Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Written by Cassandra Ammerman, Digital Marketing Manager

This year, Orson Scott Card’s famous novel Ender’s Game celebrated its 28th birthday. And this month, twenty-eight years after it was first shared with the world, the novel that Card himself once called “unfilmable” finally opened on movie screens across the country.

This newsletter is entirely focused on Ender’s Game – its past and its present. One way to do that is to look at how the jacket copy has changed, from the first edition to the most recent, published just last month.

First up: the book description from the 1985 edition:

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. Ender is the result of genetic experimentation. He may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw him into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. His older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Driven by their jealousy of Ender, and their inbred desire for power, hiding their youth behind the anonymity of a computer terminal screen, they begin to shape the destiny of Earth—an Earth that has no future if their brother Ender fails.

The focus of the original copy is on the entire Wiggin family, the results of genetic experimentation. While Ender is a military genius in space, his siblings, driven by jealousy (though really, while Peter is driven by jealousy, but I’d argue that Valentine is driven by love of both her brothers) are political geniuses on Earth.

Now, how about the newest version of the jacket copy?


Once again, the Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?

Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.

Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home, Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.

Isn’t it?

The focus on the newer copy is on the more science fiction elements of the story—the Earth is under attack. The attack may have been decades ago, but we have no idea when the next invasion is coming, leaving humanity in a state of permanent paranoia and fear. That type of emotion can’t be maintained forever, particularly on a global scale, so humanity takes a drastic step and begins training child geniuses.

Peter and Valentine are pushed to the back-burner here, which I’d argue isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The main focus of the story is Ender, after all, and this way, there are still some surprises in store for new readers. Discovering that Ender isn’t the only fascinating Wiggin child is an added bonus.

And now, as a bonus for you, we wanted to share with you the New York Times review of Ender’s Game, published on June 16, 1985:

Intense is the word for Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (Tor, $13.95). Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses – and then training them in the arts of war from the time they are 6 years old. The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of “games,” both physical and computer-assisted. Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games. At the age of 10 he is assigned to Command School. He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?

I am aware that this sounds like the synopsis of a grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction-rip-off movie. But Mr. Card has shaped this unpromising material into an affecting novel full of surprises that seem inevitable once they are explained. The key, of course, is Ender Wiggin himself. Mr. Card never makes the mistake of patronizing or sentimentalizing his hero. Alternately likable and insufferable, he is a convincing little Napoleon in short pants. –Gerald Jonas

We hope you enjoy this look at Ender’s Game!


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Enderverse Sweepstakes

Sign up to receive emailed news about Orson Scott Card’s titles and events and you’ll be entered for a chance to win this collection:

Enderverse Collection

This collection includes a signed, limited edition leatherbound copy of Ender’s Shadow (this copy is #98 out of 200), a signed, movie tie-in edition of Ender’s Game, and an Ender’s Game T-shirt and hat!

Sign up for your chance to win today!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete entry here beginning at 12:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) October 28, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 PM ET November 22, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

  • We’ve shared quite a few cosplay posts from New York Comic-Con, but we never caught a glimpse of this costume, possibly the best we’ve ever seen. It’s even better in video format.
  • October 15th was Ada Lovelace Day! To celebrate, Professor Fausto-Sterling and Brown University hosted a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon, where people edit Wikipedia articles to reflect the contributions of women to science. This is something that should happen every day!
  • We can’t wait for the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special! Check out new set photos over at, plus details about the party…at Buckingham Palace.
  • Speaking of great works of fiction… is releasing an anthology of 21 of the best stories they’ve published. Staffer Carl explains why you should read them.

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.


  • This must have taken a massive amount of time, and it looks like it was entirely worth it. Helm’s Deep, in Lego. Awesome, in the truest sense of the word.

The Tor/Forge newsletter went out this week! Check out these fascinating articles from our authors:

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!