My whole question is a spoiler, here.

Ender's Game goes into great detail about how the buggers don't need to communicate because they all share one "hive" mind. In fact they appear to be completely unaware of the concept of communication, which is what made it so hard to imagine peace between buggers and humans.
Nevertheless, at the end of the book, it appears there are quite a few queens. Why don't the queens need to communicate with each other?

  • 4
    All of the entire sci-fi AND fantasy universe, and you couldn't come up with ONE turtle question? :))) Commented Oct 29, 2011 at 4:06

4 Answers 4


The short version: They do communicate with each other. It is only the concept of communication by language that is foreign to them.

In the subsequent trilogy (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind) Orson Scott Card elaborates a bit on the Buggers.

Warning: major spoilers

During Children of the Mind, it is revealed that the Hive Queens communicated through Philotic links (the same principle that allows the Queens to control their bugger minions and allows the Ansibles to communicate across vast distances of space instantaneously).

This is how they cooperated to

create Jane, who was intended to allow Philotic links between the Hive Queens and Ender.

This was revealed by

The revived Hive Queen

  • 4
    I vaguely recall the Piggies' trees being in on this concept, too
    – sq33G
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 11:34
  • 3
    @sq33G Yes, the trees communicated via philotic connection, which later allowed Jane to briefly live among their connections.
    – Beofett
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 12:04
  • Don't forget Ender's weird dreams...the bugger queens were trying to find some way of reaching him, and they were trying a mind link of sorts. Commented Sep 13, 2017 at 18:54

The queens don't need to communicate exactly because of the hive mind. Just like the Borg, they share all of their sensory information in a way that we can't comprehend. It's this very reason that it takes the hive queen so long to learn to communicate with Ender after she becomes the only one left.


They don't really communicate at all. What one knows, they all know, they think of the entire world as existing as just one collective mind, as the quote that you gave states.

I guess you could think of it like this. If there were two people who were could read each other's mind, they wouldn't even need to talk about anything. They simply would come to think together.


I remember that the Queens originally violently attacked each others colonies, with each Queen being an individual using her drone offspring as her limbs. When one was born that lacked this instinctive antagonism and tried to make peace, nothing could overcome the instinctive violence. She gave birth to other Queens, but they would also have this instinctive reaction. Finally, she had a daughter that also lacked that instinct. They allied and were able to overcome their neighbors. As they produced additional Queens that lacked the instinct of violence, they were able to continue to spread and conquer each other hive, as there was no possibility of any opposing alliances.

The reason for the initial violence with the humans, was that the Queens assumed the humans that were encountered were only appendages to an individual that was elsewhere rather than being individuals themselves.

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