First Meetings
In the Enderverse
By Orson Scott Card
Tor, 2003.

First Meetings is a collection of three short stories and a novella surrounding (and including) Ender's Game. They are short and not particularly well developed, but are well worth reading if you enjoy the Ender's Game series.

It is worth noting that there was an earlier book, First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse, which did not include Teacher's Pest.

The Polish Boy (2002): We meet Ender's father, John Paul Wieczorek, as a young boy in Poland. He's exactly what the Battle School is looking for, a bright young boy (only five!) who maxes out their tests. But he doesn't want to go to battle school, and he may be smarter than the Fleet -- or at least, smart enough to get what he wants...

Teacher's Pest (2003): We find John Paul living in America, under his new name, John Paul Wiggin, and starting Grad school. He meets a girl who may be even smarter than he is, and naturally, starts to pester her. There's not much of a plot, but it is a nice story.

Ender's Game (1977): Well, I won't bother to tell you what this is about. This is the original novella, which either interests you or it doesn't. Seeing as how you have obviously already read the expanded version of Ender's Game, this is somewhat redundant content, but still interesting to fans.

Investment Counselor (2000): Previously published in Far Horizons (a collection edited by Robert Silverberg), this is the story of Ender and Valentine landing on the planet Sorelledoce, a far outpost of the human expansion. Ender has just turned 20, although since he has been spending much the intervening years travelling near the speed of light, the Earth has aged 400 years. He and Valentine are just having a quick stopover so that Valentine can publish her latest work and start on the next, but Ender has a new challenge -- he is now old enough that he has to pay taxes. The Fleet has been managing his money, and doing it well, and he now has four centuries of diversified holdings to dig through and report... and no one he can trust to help him do it. Until a program appears on his computer, and does all the work for him. This is Jane, who will feature in Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind, although we learn almost nothing of her here.

All in all, nothing of great import, unless you happen to need a copy of the original Ender's Game Novella. The stories are all isolate vignettes that do not do much to tie the Ender stories together, and are brief to the point of almost being disappointing. But only almost. This is a very small addition to the Ender Saga, but one worth picking up next time you want some bite-sized bits of the Enderverse.

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