Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Giant's Drink

In the book Ender's Game, there is a computer game the main character, Ender, plays, where the player is met with various scenarios. At one point Ender meets a giant.

"How about a guessing game?" asked the Giant. So it didn't any difference - the Giant only played the guessing game. Stupid computer. Millions of possible scenarios in its memory, and the Giant could only play one stupid game.

The Giant, as always, set two huge shot glasses, as tall as Ender's knees, on the table in front of him. As always, the two were filled with different liquids. The computer was good enough that the liquids had never repeated, not that he could remember. This time one had a thick, creamy looking liquid. The other hissed and foamed.

"One is poison and one is not," said the Giant. "Guess right and I'll take you into Fairyland."


He drank the creamy liquid. Immediately he began to inflate and rise like a balloon. The Giant laughed. He was dead agin.


He stared at the two liquids. The one foaming, the other with waves in it like the sea. He tried to guess what kind of death each one held. Probably a fish will come out of the ocean one and eat me. The foamy one will probably asphyxiate me. I hate this game. It isn't fair. It's stupid. It's rotten.

And instead of pushing his face into one of the liquids, he kicked one over, then the other, and dodged the Giant's huge hands as the Giant shouted, "Cheater, cheater!" He jumped at the Giant's face, clambered up his lip and nose, and began to dig in the Giant's eye. The stuff came away like cottage cheese, and as the Giant screamed, Ender's figure burrowed into the eye, climbed right in, burrowed in and in.

The Giant fell over backward. The view shifted as he fell, and when the Giant came to a rest on the ground, there were intricate, lacy trees all around. A bat flew up and landed on the dead Giant's nose. Ender brought his figure up out of the Giant's eye.

"How did you get here?" the bat asked. "Nobody ever comes here."

This excerpt is a great example of how people only look at the obvious routes, even though the one that isn't seen is the one that will lead to success. If you liked the excerpt, then read the book. The author, Orson Scott Card, makes a lot of really good points about how people live their lives.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, any gamer worth a lick would have tried something like that. Do you remember Myst where at the end, you are forced to make a decision, but both routes kill you? Everyone (and by everyone, I include the conforming masses) realizes before too long that they ought to try some unexpected alternate routes.

--Sudo Randon