OK, when I was answering this question ("How to explain the ages of Valentine and Peter in Ender's game"), I posted a quote that now doesn't seem to make any sense to me:

He took one of the children along, an eleven-year-old boy named Abra; he had been only three when the colony was founded, and he remembered no other world than this. ("Ender's Game", Ch 15).

Now, as I have noted in the quotes in the answer, the colony was started 50 years before Ender got there, by the pilots who were fighting the buggers.

So, how could Abra be 11 years old 50+8=58 years after the colony was founded, but 3 years old when it was founded in the same sentence?

(the obvious guess would have been that he was one of the colonists sent with Ender, but I distinctly recall Card mentioning that he was NOT that and was born on the colony world somewhere else).

1 Answer 1


OK, figured it out (and while at it, answered the original question - will go update it now :)

It was one of the "didn't think it through in original book" things Card said in Chapter 15 that he discussed in Ender in Exile's afterword (quote below).

In Ender in Exile, Card explicitly elaborated on Abra:

  • Abra was NOT born on Earth. He was on the colony when Ender arrived, and therefore could not have been 3 when it was founded.

    In all eleven years of Abra's life, only one thing had ever happened that mattered: the arrival of Ender Wiggin.

  • In the afterword to "Exile", Card explicitly admitted to "the details and the timeline are not exactly right" in Ender's Game Chapter 15, especially as pertaining to existence of 40 years of the colony preceding Ender's arrival:

    Except for one tiny problem. When I wrote the novel Ender's Game back in 1984, my focus in the last chapter, chapter 15, was entirely on setting up Speaker for the Dead. I had no notion of any sequel between those two books. So I was rather careless and cavalier with my account of Ender's time on the first colony. I was so careless I completely forgot that on all but the last formic planet, there would have been human pilots and crew left alive. Where would they go? Of course they would begin colonizing the formic worlds. And those who sent them would have at least allowed for that possibility, sending people trained to do whatever jobs they anticipated would be necessary.

    So while the meat of chapter 15 of Ender's Game is exactly right, the details and timeline are not. They aren't what they should have been then, and they certainly aren't what they need to be now. Since writing that chapter, I have written stories like "Investment Counselor" (in First Meetings), where Ender meets Jane (a major character in Speaker) when he is legally coming of age on a planet called Sorelledolce; but this contradicted the timeline stated in Ender's Game. All in all, I realized, it was chapter 15 that was wrong, not the later stories, which took more details into account and developed the story in a superior way.

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