Props for the Player of Games shoutout, Kelly! It's definitely no Use of Weapons or Excession, but Banks' use of the genre has always towered above everyone else's.
Jack Vance's first Alastor novel Trullion also featured a planetary culture centered around a game and even delved into its rules and tactics. He also died this year. Another shoutout/buzzkill a la Wand.
And you should know I appreciate these discussions and explanations. They reveal a much more nuanced character and moral quandary. I wish I had seen a movie adaptation of the book you guys are describing.
Thank you so much for this, Craig. This helps quite a bit. It also makes me consider something I had not considered before (because, to be honest, by the final battle I'd figured out there was a twist coming and did not care) and that is that *all* the battles in the simulation chamber (or whatever they called it) were real. I just assumed they pulled the rug out from under Ender (heh) for the last one only.
The idea that all of the test battles were real is truly horrific. Too bad the filmmakers didn't understand the power that realization could have had earlier.
Craig's response was totally on target and I endorse it.