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I just finished listening to the Ender's Game audiobook and I'm currently listening to Speaker of the Dead.
It's pretty clear that the story takes place in the future but is it known when exactly? I might have missed it but I don't remember any mention of a year or something that gives a hint in what year the book begins.
The only references I recall are about in-universe events like the Second Invasion which took place some 70 to 80 years before Ender's Game. But how long before that did the First Invasion take place and when? I'm not sure if this was said in the book.

Speaker of the Dead only confused me more when when they introduced a new calendar/timeline (before and after Starways Code).

TL;DR - Is there any information in the books or other media that specifices or allows us to determine a timeline for the plot of Ender's Game? (matching the Gregorian calendar)

  • The Shadow books might provide a date - but I won't be able to check until tomorrow night. WP at least pegs Ender's Shadow as starting "about 2170", although the synopsis for Shadows in Flight says Bean left Earth in 2210, which doesn't really fit. – HorusKol Dec 5 '13 at 5:51
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    @HorusKol It would be nice if you could give it a look. The movie timeline surely looks nice but I'm sceptical that it matches the timeline from the books. Assuming the Enderverse has something like a coherent timeline and Card didn't just throw arround dates in his books. – Sebastian_H Dec 6 '13 at 16:44
  • Xenocide ch. 2 sets the events of Ender's Game in the twenty-second century, which is consistent with the other dates given here. – Tomari7 Feb 10 '14 at 9:13
  • Ender is 6 when he goes to battle school according to the original book so the answer by Phantom 42 should be sufficient. – user50866 Aug 20 '15 at 5:02
  • This is more suited to a comment than an answer. Please review the site info and take a look at how other more experienced users post answers to questions. Welcome to the site. – JMFB Aug 20 '15 at 6:10
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I'll try to do some more digging to find out if the books specify, but Lion's Gate (the production company behind the movie) released this timeline of the events leading up to the movie.

In the movie-verse, at least, the primary story of Ender's Game begins in 2195.

It seems that this timeline was probably constructed based on the non-final script (based on a conflicting date of the First Invasion and Ender's apparent age at the beginning of the film).

enders game timeline

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  • That timeline does not appear to be consistent with the movie. For instance, Ender is obviously not 6 years old when he enters Battle School. Also at the beginning of the movie it is started to be 2086 when Mazer Rackman defeats the Bugger fleet. – Jack B Nimble Dec 4 '13 at 18:49
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    @JackBNimble Everything I can find states that Ender is 6 when the book begins. I haven't watched the movie yet. Are you saying that movie-Ender is "obviously not 6" when it begins? – phantom42 Dec 4 '13 at 18:59
  • I'm saying that the movie starts by saying it is 2086, when Mazer Rackman defeats the first invasion (I don't think there was a second invasion), it means everything on that image you posted is already wrong. The movie also has Ender as 12 when he starts battle school. – Jack B Nimble Dec 4 '13 at 21:47
  • Guys, one of you is talking about the book, the other is talking about the film. Please specify explicitly in the question if you want sources from a specific material. The timeline is from the book I guess, because yes, Ender is approximatively 10-12 (maybe 13-14, but not older) in the film – Kalissar Dec 4 '13 at 21:54
  • @Kalissar That poster is for the movie (see just before the image in the answer), and in the movie Ender is definitely older than 6 at the beginning. The production company made a mistake somewhere when they created that timeline. That's what Jack's comment is about. I'd attribute it to poor choice of actor / they couldn't wait a few years for the actor to visibly grow up over the course of the movie, though. – Izkata Dec 5 '13 at 0:06
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I'm not aware of anything in the books that line up the timelines to our Gregorian calendar. However, the Enderverse Wiki has this timeline.

  • circa 2060 ad - First Invasion
  • circa 2080 ad - Second Invasion
  • circa 2171 ad - Destruction of Bugger Homeworld
  • circa 5173 ad - The events of Speaker for the Dead (extrapolated from Jane's statement that is had been 3002 years since Ender left the Solar System).

At one point it is stated that the first invasion happened roughly 100 years before Ender went to Battle School.

In the film Ender's Game, the First Invasion takes place in 2086 (as stated on screen). The timeline setup in the movie does not match the timeline in the books.

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  • They state that the dates are approximate. But to give even approximate dates they would at least need something as a reference point. Unfortunately no reference point or source is given for the timeline (at least I didn't see one). Though at least subjectively it feels right that that Card would let the story take place roughly 100 years after he conceived it. – Sebastian_H Dec 4 '13 at 18:59
  • The linked Wiki page has been deleted. Is there any more canonical source? – Rand al'Thor Jan 6 '19 at 6:52
  • -1: Suspect calculations, because the Ender's Game Wiki actually works with their own BX/AX timeline, where X is the destruction of the Formic homeworld in the climatic scene of Ender's Game. According to their scale: 2118CE (or AD if you prefer)=97BX (taken from the Swarm), so X, the destruction of the Formic homeworld is in 2215, the first invasion 2115, Ender landing on Lusitania in Speaker of the Dead is ~3000AX or ~5215CE Gregorian – Gwyn Jul 3 at 17:29
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This is similar to but a clearer timeline than my previous answer.

Note that the original books had no reference to the Gregorian calendar. There was only an internal timeline, with only references to how long ago certain things happened. Later books such as the Formic Wars and Shadows series books did have references to the Gregorian calendar.

According to the Ender's Game Wiki:

If you set the year 0 or X as the destruction of the Formic homeworld in Ender's Game, some of the key events are as follows:

  • 100 BX (2115) First Formic War

  • 95 BX (2120) Second Formic War

  • 11 BX (2204) Ender Wiggin born

  • Year 0X (2215) Third Formic War, Formic world destroyed, Ender leaves solar system

  • 8 AX (2223) Bean's ship leaves solar system

  • 41 AX (2256) The Hive Queen published

  • 3000 AX (5215) (1970SC)
    Andrew arrives on Lusitania Events of Speaker for the Dead

Note: this places the founding of Starways Congress and the year 0 of the Starways calendar as ~1030 AX or 3245 (Gregorian).

They also use the events of The Swarm from the second Formic Wars (2118CE) to tie the Gregorian calendar to their own rather than Shadows in Flight and Andrew's landing on Lusitania to tie in the SC calendar) and note that the ~3000 years between the destruction of the Formic homeworld and the events of SotD as mentioned in the book is most probably an estimate, but is the only reference to be had in order to tie the three calendars together.

You can check out the rest of the timeline here: https://enderverse.fandom.com/wiki/Enderverse_Timeline

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The original series had no direct references to the Gregorian calendar.

The Second Formic Wars book The Swarm have the date of 2118AD for the events of that book (quoted in a note in chapter 2) which take place approximately 92 years before the start of the novel Ender's Game (or 97 years before the destruction of the Formic home world). That would place the destruction of the Formic homeworld around 2223AD.

But Shadows in flight has Bean's ship leaving Earth in 2210AD,

**Opening Line: ** The starship Herodotus left Earth in 2210 with four passengers

This is supposedly 8 years after the last battle which would put the destruction of the Formic home world at 2202AD. Those two dates are the only ones I can find and they don't match up. So the best we can guess is Ender's Game takes place somewhere between 2200 and 2225AD.

The books The Hive Queen and The Hegemon are supposedly published 41 years after the last battle in Ender's Game, and the Starways Congress founding happens somewhere after that.

From Speaker for the Dead, the colonisation of Lusitania is in 1886SC and Ender/Andrew arrives on Lusitania 1970SC, supposedly around 3002 years after the ending of Ender's Game, which would be either around 5204 or 5225AD depending on which of the aforementioned references you use, which would place the SC year 0 as either 3234 or 3255AD.

That's as close as I can guess it.

The SC dating in the books end up giving conflicting info too, because the founding is moved from around 60 years after the battle to something like 600 years after.

So anyway, given the 21 year discrepancy, which really isn't much given the 3000+ year time span, you can use the arrival at Lusitania to calculate other stuff in the timeline.

**Edit: ** That whole attempt above at finding the answers is actually obsolete. The people at the Enderverse Wiki did a much more thorough job of setting up a timeline. You can check it out here: https://enderverse.fandom.com/wiki/Enderverse_Timeline

I will put a quick timeline based on their calcs in a new answer

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    This is a pretty good answer, but it would be a great answer if you could provide actual quotes from the books you reference showing the exact inconsistencies – The Fallen Jun 8 at 23:01
  • Well, for the first date, at the start of chapter two of The Swarm, there's a quoted message from the strategos to the hegemon which is followed by its origin (location and date) : Luna, May 12, 2118. I can't remember where else in the book, would have to go through and check. This is supposed to be after first invasion and before the start of the second. Shadows in Flight chapter 1 starts: "The starship Herodotus left Earth in 2210 with four passengers" then skips ahead 5 ship years or 421 earth years. That help? – Gwyn Jun 9 at 3:50
  • As a side note: continuity, what continuity? Every book published after the original Ender's Game had some stuff contradicting what happened before. It doesn't exactly help that Ender's Game itself was re-written and that the1991 version doesn't have the same "history" as the original. – Gwyn Jun 9 at 5:24
  • yeah, stuff like that. Editing it into the answer though is what I meant. As for continuity problems, just make a note in your answer about major ones and I'd just use the most recent version of Ender's Game for any dates/timelines – The Fallen Jun 9 at 20:38

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