"Soldiers, in a sense, never come home," he said. "[Those] who have seen radical violence are never able to share that. We regard it as pathology if they do."
This complex weave of emotions has made Ender especially difficult to film and has resulted in two decades of fizzled studio meetings, dead-end scripts and a marathon director search. The author said he was not interested in a "tough-hero action film" and refuses to condescend to green-screen Hollywood. Card imagines a "film where the human relationships are absolutely essential -- an honest presentation of the story."
"Ender's Game" was recently in development with director Wolfgang Petersen ("In the Line of Fire," "The Perfect Storm," "Troy") on board, but Card did not feel comfortable with the movie's direction. That project was scrapped early in November.
The novels did step into the visual medium in October with the first issue of "Ender's Game: Battle School," a Marvel Comics five-issue adaptation of "Ender's Game."
The third issue of the series by writer Chris Yost and artist Pasqual Ferry hits stores Jan. 28.
A second Marvel miniseries starring Card's boy soldiers -- "Ender's Shadow: Battle School" by the team of Mike Carey and Sebastian Fiumara -- debuted in early December. This is an adaptation of Card's 1999 novel "Ender's Shadow," which retells the original story from the perspective of Bean, a young orphan who becomes Ender's ally during training.
Considering the Hollywood attitude that comic books are now the trendy storyboards for pitch meetings, perhaps the well-received Marvel series will actually give the saga of Ender Wiggin some traction in Hollywood. If so, Card will be pleased to see his space opera reach a whole new audience of young people.
"People sneer at escapism; I see it as training for life," he said. "Training people as heroes is extremely important."