Ender's Game

San Diego Comic-Con 2010: The Formic Wars: Burning Earth

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston flash back to the formative event in the Ender Saga



By Kevin Mahadeo

Ender Wiggin may have ended humanity's war with the Formic race in the best-selling, award-winning novel "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card, but the fight to squash the bugs began long before the battle strategist even took his first baby steps.

Now for the first time ever, fans will finally get to see how the Ender Saga first began with the upcoming seven-issue limited series THE FORMIC WARS: BURNING EARTH by Card and writer Aaron Johnston.

"This is a story that's never been told before," says Johnston. "That's what's exciting about it. This is obviously going to appeal to fans of 'Ender's Game' like myself, [who] grew up with the series and grew up with Ender. But it's also going to appeal to people unfamiliar with the series because Ender himself has no presence in the story [as] this is long before he was born."

Of course, while new readers can easily jump right into the front lines, fans of the novels receive an extra treat through revelations and explanations only previously hinted at before.

"These are things that have always been a mystery to readers-not only what happened in the first two Formic Wars, but what happened to Earth that led it to the state it's in geo-politically [in 'Ender's Game']," reminds Johnston. "How did all these nations unite to form the International Fleet, for example? Ender himself was a third child, which according to population control laws was not allowed. How did that happen? What kind of state was the world in that would lead people to agree to pass a law that limits family size? All that stuff has never been explored before in the Enderverse. So, I think fans of this series are going to be excited just as new readers will be."

While the novels and recent comic book adaptations fro Marvel have revealed bits and pieces of the story, mostly in regards to the legendary Mazer Rackham's virtual single-handed ending of the second war, BURNING EARTH delves more into the exact details of both wars and the history of Earth. In regards to whether or not Card already knew how the

ENDER'S GAME: BATTLE SCHOOL hardcover collection
entire story plays out, Johnston says yes and no.

"He lived and breathed the Ender series for 25 years," he explains. "When we first sat down and started talking about the Formic Wars, he had already mapped out in his head what the state of the world was and where we were technologically. Those kinds of details are what influences story creations. So, he had created this Asteroid mining commercial system, where miners go out and extract deposits. He had figured out in his head rudimentarily how it's mined and how it's shipped to the moon, where it's processed. He had an economic infrastructure established in his head. So, what we had to do was then create characters that fit into this universe [that] would be directly affected by the Formic invasion. We would have representation in the Asteroid mining community, the people who first encountered the Formics, as well as, what I think most people will be expecting, soldiers."

However, while many characters play a role in BURNING EARTH, Johnston admits the prospect of exploring the origins and back story of Rackham most excites him.

"This guy, who saved the world and ends the war and later becomes the mentor of Ender Wiggin, I think it's safe to assume that for most readers of 'Ender's Game,' Mazer Rackham is their second favorite character," he says. "He is a pivotal character. We learn in THE FORMICS WARS that he

ENDER'S GAME: COMMAND SCHOOL hardcover collection
is not only important in the second Formic War but also the first Formic War as well as a young marine. That's a really exciting story that we're looking forward to telling."

Johnston also confirms that the story mainly follows the human perspective. According to the writer, this decision came from wanting to keep an air of mystery around the Formic species.

"When 'Ender's Game' occurs and when Ender is trained and mentored and prepared for the mission he is going to complete, we still know very little about the Formics," explains Johnston. "This is even after we confiscated and reverse engineered much of their technology; it's after we've gathered up thousands of their corpses and after we studied them. We still don't understand basic, simple things about their culture and how they live and how they communicate with each other. So, you will see characters forming assumptions and opinions and speculations, but the Formics will primarily remain a mystery to the humans. They do things in the first invasion that leave all of us head scratching. Why are they scouring China? Why are they collecting all this bio-mass? Why are they spraying bacteria in our oceans?

"Various different characters witnessing different things the Formics are doing, forming their own opinions, sharing them with others. All these principal characters as they form an alliance and form a team will be critical in stopping the Formics."


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