I was wondering why every message, letter, etc. in Ender's game has no lowercase letters. Is it just because it was written in the 80's or is there a better reason?

  • Shortens the message in any event - you only need 8 bits as opposed to 16 or 32 Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 15:15
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    @AffableGeek - Only if you're using hexadecimal. 8 bits is sufficient for the entire basic ASCII table (256 characters). This includes A-Z, a-z, 0-9, punctuation, some monetary/language symbols and control characters (Such as ASCII codes 10 and 13 which are line feed and carriage return).
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 16:18
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    Upper case letters don't have any dangly bits that descend below the line, whereas lower case letters (j, g, y etc) descend below the line. If you want to be efficient, you just stick to the upper case letters. The descenders in lower case letters look ugly, and hard to read, in simple text systems where the letter needs to get printed all above the line. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 21:43
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    It was written by the fathers of today's YouTube trolls.
    – user46509
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 22:07
  • This would permit six-bit encoding. Perhaps bandwidth is precious. Perhaps not.
    – Joshua
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 18:19

2 Answers 2


It has been the habit to send naval messages in all caps. It is just 2013 that US has began the process to stop this.

US Navy ends dependence on capitalised communications

At press time it was estimated it be 2015 before the change could be fully tested.

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    Early teletypes only had uppercase (1850's), so it was common to represent official messages in all capitals.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 16:20
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    – Vogie
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 23:28

Out-of-universe answer

It's just a formatting thing. A way for the reader to distinguish them from the rest of the text.

In the original 1985 edition they were also in a larger typeface than the rest of the text, this was changed in the 1991 revised edition to be just caps. See How does the 1991 edition of Ender's Game differ from the 1985 edition?.

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