The Ethics of Children of the Mind

I recently finished reading the last book in the epic Ender’s Game sci-fi series. The plot involves an A.I. program (named Jane), which transports three alien races to colonize outside the galaxy. This is due to the fact that they are non-central ‘edge’ groups, according to the author Orson Scott Card, which seek to challenge human primacy. Meanwhile, the human race is ruling and xenophobic, solely determined to maintain control over everything. Jane loses her life force as she strives to save the alien races. Ender himself has died at this point in the series, but his descendants decide to use their equivalent of the Atom Bomb to attempt to decimate their challengers. A race ensues by the opposition to steal and disable that weapon. The characters engage in a great amount of philosophy throughout the story, as Japanese culture is again brought to the forefront.

It must be said that the story is very hard to follow. There are way too many characters, each of which sharing all their most inner thoughts, which also becomes a bit hard to follow. The plot , regarding moving entire colonies of aliens between galaxies, is awesome, yet hard to believe at the same time. Somehow I give the plot a pass, due to its creativity.

The author is mostly concerned with questions concerning military ethics, as well as with the concept of balance of power. Power politics and game theory seem to figure into his thinking. The idea of whether or not to use WMD pre-emptively, killing many now, for a quick and decisive victory, in order to prevent even more from being killed later (in an inevitable and prolonged war of attrition) is a constant theme in the series. The conflict between great powers, and second tier rising powers , is also constantly on display. Card posits that hegemons like the US were meant to rule. Second tier nations , wanna-be world powers , such as Japan should leave the colonizing to the US since the US is exceptional, in that we rule through spreading freedom and democracy, rather than through deifying military hierarchy, as the Shinto Japanese military did in WWII.