Critics received Ender's Game well. The novel won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, considered the two most prestigious awards in science fiction. Ender's Game was also nominated for a Locus Award in 1986. In 1999, it placed No. 59 on the reader's list of Modern Library 100 Best Novels. It was also honored with a spot on American Library Association's "100 Best Books for Teens. " In 2008, the novel, along with Ender's Shadow, won the Margaret A. Edwards Award, which honors an author and specific works by that author for lifetime contribution to young adult literature. Ender's Game was included in Damien Broderick's book Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985–2010. New York Times writer Gerald Jonas asserts that the novel's plot summary resembles a "grade Z, made-for-television, science-fiction rip-off movie", but says that Card develops the elements well despite this "unpromising material". Jonas further praises the development of the character Ender Wiggin: "Alternately likable and insufferable, he is a convincing little Napoleon in short pants. "
The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father's corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.
In the future, humanity is preparing to launch an attack on the homeworld of an alien race called the Formics who had attacked Earth and killed millions; however, their invasion was stopped by Mazer Rackham, who crashed his F-35 Lightning II into a Formic queen ship, stopping the invasion at the apparent cost of his life. Over the course of fifty years, gifted children are trained by the International Fleet to become commanders of a new fleet for this counter-attack.