At the end of Ender's Game, a Hive Queen egg is found by Ender exactly on the planet where he happens to arrive. As far as the rest of the Ender works indicate, this is the only Hive Queen egg found after the Xenocide. It seems that most of the queens were on the home planet, except for that single one. How is this possible, that the Formics knew where Ender would be, and managed to get an egg in that location, not to mention the other work in re-creating the Game that Ender knew so well? Something just doesn't quite add up in that story for me...

In summary, I'm asking:

  1. How did the Formics choose that particular planet? It seems like they must have known before the Xenocide where Ender was going, or else had a method of building after the queens had all died.
  2. How did the egg get there, given the distance from the world with all of the queens?
  3. If there was a queen at every world, what happened to them?
  • 1
    Wasn't that the closest bugger colony world?
    – The Fallen
    Feb 21, 2013 at 14:24
  • Are you asking how they knew what to build in order for Ender to recognize the setting? Or why they built it on just ONE world instead of all colonies? Or why they built it on that specific world, having decided to build only one? Feb 21, 2013 at 14:40
  • @PearsonArtPhoto - I've added another source to my answer, and I think it sufficiently explains OSC's answers to the first of your three questions.
    – ibid
    Aug 23, 2021 at 21:30

4 Answers 4


In Children of the Mind (or possibly Xenocide), it was revealed that

the Hive Queens had created a philotic link between them and Ender while he was in Command School. However, they weren't able to link directly to him (if they had, they would have been able to replace his will with their own). Instead, they used the Game software to create a bridge, as the software had already placed analysis of Ender's personality and thought patterns as a high priority. Thus, the Hive Queens had direct access to the content of the Game Ender experienced, and indeed were influencing it through a good portion of Command School. Since the Game was programmed to have exhaustive understanding of psychological profiles, it is entirely possible that the Hive Queen's interfacing with the Game could have had direct impact on Ender's behavior, both consciously and sub-consciously.

Because of this, the Hive Queens were able to anticipate his need to visit a Bugger colony world, and therefore gambled on placing the egg (and clues to finding it) on the closest one. It is also possible that they may have implanted subconscious instructions that would make it more likely for Ender to find it.

They also were able to accurately recreate the elements from the Game on the colony planet to provide the clues as to where the egg was hidden, since they either created the elements in the Game, or were actively watching while he interacted with those elements in the Game.

  • 2
    Good answer, but I think the first part wasn't what Pearson asked - he didn't ask how the buggers were able to recreate the place from Ender's mind, but why they created it on Sheakespeare (and not elsewhere/everywhere). I could be mis-reading the question, of course. Feb 21, 2013 at 14:39
  • @DVK I added the part about recreating the game based on this part of his question: "How is this possible...not to mention the other work in re-creating the Game that Ender knew so well?" I tried to address both portions of the question.
    – Beofett
    Feb 21, 2013 at 14:40
  • Hm... to me that sounded more like "how is it possible that they knew where to do that work"... but that's my parsing. I asked OP in a comment to clarify. Feb 21, 2013 at 14:46
  • @DVK Good point. I may be interpreting that incorrectly, but since the part in my spoiler text applies to "how did they know where" part (my speculation on anticipating his need to visit a colony and possible subconscious instructions), at worse it means I simply included some minor extraneous information. I'll edit slightly to change the focus, though.
    – Beofett
    Feb 21, 2013 at 14:52
  • @Beoffet - fair enough :) Feb 21, 2013 at 14:53

This is somewhat speculative, since I don't recall this issue covered in any of the books (though it's possible it will be addressed in the last book of the series that isn't yet published today).

  • After the Xenocide, Ender was consumed with the idea of figuring out what happened with the Queens and why they let themselves be killed. I don't think it is stated in the books outright, but it's not implausible that this thought was partially helped along by Queens' attempts to communicate with Ender. Even if not, they knew Ender well enough (due to to-become-Jane philotic conected mind reading) at that time to guess that he would concentrate on the idea.

    And it is pretty logical to assume that someone trying to answer that question WOULD travel to a Formic colony.

  • The Sheakspear colony world was the closest formic colony to Earth, therefore it was a logical assumption to place the egg there, as Ender would most likely start the search in the closest colony. It wasn't a sure shot, but it was the most logical step for the Bugs

  • A side question is, why didn't they twenty-twople the chances and places an egg on EACH of the colony worlds? That is possibly because they were worried about someone OTHER than Ender finding an egg.


It was the formic planet closest to earth, the Hive Queen used her philotic connection with Ender to make him subconsciously choose the planet, and even if Ender didn't see it first, someone would have posted a picture of it and he'd recognize what it was.

ABRA: How could they know you'd come here?

ENDER: It was the formic colony closest to earth. Even if I didn't find it first, somebody would take pictures of this and I'd see it and know what it was.
Ender's Game Alive

Did The Formics make the Giant corpse and simulation, Or was Ender controlling a real animal during the simulations?

The Formic were aware of and influencing Ender’s mind game, but there was never a real-world analogue to the game events. They made a three-dimensional image of the giant’s corpse so he would recognize it and start following the game’s map, leading him and only him to the cocoon. How did they know which colony world he would come to? Still working on that. Best guess right now: the queen in the cocoon was still in contact with Ender, and when Graff offered him his choice of colony, Ender felt a constant nagging attraction to the right one.
Orson Scott Card (via Quora)


It seems the particular planet that the egg was planted on was the nearest planet to Earth, making it the most likely for Ender to visit. And in fact, that is exactly what happened. As to how the egg beat Ender. Furthermore, it is known that at least some Queens existed off of the main planet, as was evidenced by the fact that one was destroyed in the second Formic war. I suspect that the one that Ender found was either in preparation to invade Earth, or perhaps that there were many queens that existed on many planets, but they ceased to function after the death of their home world in a meaningful way.

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