In the Ender's game movie, Ender is told near the end that that

The Formics are building up military power, and that's why they can't wait to invade.

Is this reason for the I.F. rush backed up by the book? I seem to remember that the rush was because the ships were about to get to the Formics.

To clarify my question, why didn't the I.F. slow down their ships and wait a few months so that Ender could get fully trained?

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    I don't recall any explicit reason of that from the books. Probably simply logistical nightmare of re-coordinating the dozens of fleets that were choreographed to arrive in very precise timing. Nov 7, 2013 at 17:58
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    Also, I don't recall where in the book it's shown that they didn't have time to have Ender "fully trained". But there was a definite rush - see the huffing about the delay when Graff got Ender to spend 3 months on the lake on Earth to re-connect with humanity. Nov 7, 2013 at 17:59

3 Answers 3


Very simple.

  1. Not stated in the book explicitly, but they didn't have the foggiest idea when the Formics would stage the "real" next Third Invasion.

    So, they had to rush as much as possible to preempt that.

  2. The invasion was timed very precisely, with ships leaving between 40 and ~100 years ago scheduled to arrive in varying points within days of each other to not let the Formics time to respond and re-rally.

    As such, pausing the fleet mid-way to wait 1 more year wasn't an option logistically - they had no way to gracefully delay all those precisely timed jumps and re-jump and hope that the final timing was exactly as defined as before but 1 year (or whatever) later.

  3. Also, there was no need. Your central premise ("so that Ender could get fully trained") doesn't actually bear confirmation in canon. Ender was fully ready, he didn't need any more training. He, like Graff's researchers predicted before he was born, peaked in his early teens as a military commander. Bean was already as intelligent as he needed to be. The rest of Ender's jeesh was also in their prime training condition.


Many of the intricacies of the end of the war are addressed in later books mostly in 'Speaker for the Dead' and 'Xenocide'. Without including spoilers, your synopsis

"that the rush was because the ships were about to get to the Formics."

is pretty much right on. There was a building military presence that needed to be addressed.

Additionally from a military perspective in a war of this nature, waiting would be really bad. Human reinforcements are decades away, but the Bugs can field reinforcement just as fast as they can create them. The Human/Bug war at this point was essentially Attrition warfare the Human's were on the cusp of winning and had they paused the Bugs could have turned the tide.

  • How were the Humans on the cusp of winning when they were outnumbered like 1000 to 1? Without Ender they would have had no chance, or at least that was my understanding.
    – ike
    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:17
  • @ike Read the next two books; 'Ender's game' focuses on Ender as solider, The next two focus on Ender the civilian answering for himself the same questions you are asking. Card Answers them much better than I can. Nov 8, 2013 at 11:34
  • I've finally read Speaker and Xenocide, and I'm in middle of Children. I've got no idea what you're referring to the two I've read so far.
    – ike
    Dec 3, 2013 at 2:42

It's been a while since I read the book, and I haven't seen the movie...

As I recall it, the IF fleet was in hyperspace and unable to communicate with the IF. They couldn't get the fleet to slow down and wait a few months. The fleet was about to arrive and they needed a commander ready.

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    Sorry, this is 100% wrong. They could use the Ancible with the ships en route in canon - Ender communicated with both Sheakspeare colony and Graff when in flight; Mazer communicated with Graff after Second invasion while on the courier ship. Nov 7, 2013 at 17:56
  • @DVK Like I said, it's been a while. In my memory, the ansible had been upgraded/updated based on philotic connections AFTER EG.
    – phantom42
    Nov 7, 2013 at 18:06
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    Although isn't communication, even by ansible, very spread out when traveling at near-light speed? I recall from Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide that for every couple minutes on a ship, a few weeks pass by in real time on the planet. So communication would have been an issue while the fleet was en route
    – childcat15
    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:01
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    @childcat15 - correct (Mazer in Prison elaborates on timeline differences) Nov 8, 2013 at 1:54

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