“Ender’s Game” has been on my to-read list for years. I’d read many other books by Card and just couldn’t get excited about reading a story centered on a pre-adolescent boy. When I saw that a movie is forthcoming, I got over the reluctance and began the series last Saturday. Im starting book 3, “Xenocide”, this morning and found the following dialog in the early pages.
This is a sort of telepathic dialog between a human and a hive queen. She is of an alien race that propagates like ants with all the “workers” and her connected by thought all the time, as if extensions of one organism. They do not use language, rather they have some perfect manner of communication within the hive-mind. So they, the human and the hive queen, are having this discourse about the merits of her mating and communication mode verses that of humans.
Hive Queen: The strangest thing about humans is they way they pair up, males and females. Constantly at war with each other, never content to leave each other alone. They never seem to grasp the idea that males and females are separate species with completely different needs and desires, forced to come together only to reproduce
Human: Of course you feel that way. Your mates are nothing but mindless drones, extensions of yourself, without their own identity
Hive Queen: We know our lovers with perfect understanding. Humans invent an imaginary lover and put that mask over the face of the body in their bed.
Human: That is the tragedy of language, my friend. Those who know each other only through symbolic representations are forced to imagine each other. And because their imagination is imperfect, they are often wrong
Hive Queen: That is the source of their misery. And some of their strength, I think. Your people and mine, each for our own evolutionary reasons, mate with vastly unequal partners. Our mates are always, hopelessly, our intellectual inferiors. Humans mate with beings who challenge their supremacy. They have conflict between mates, not because their communication is inferior to ours, but because they communicate at all.
To anyone who has not read these books and is remotely interested in science fiction, don’t be like me, 30 years late starting.