Any work of fiction that is marketed as the first installment of a “saga” is more likely than not to disappoint on the literary merits.

Still, when Library Journal describes a book in a manner that positively screams caveat emptor, one has only oneself to blame: “A gripping tale of adventure in space and a scathing indictment of the military mind. Recommended.”

Title: Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

Motivation: The recommendation of a colleague who had previously been on a roll. (The same fellow who pointed A Superfluous Man toward American Gods earlier this year.)

Completed: July 12, 2012 (#49)

Recommendation: Diverting, but does not provoke further interest in the remainder of the Ender Wiggin series.

In the distant future, Earthlings are threatened by an ant-like species of UFOs called “Buggers.” Mankind’s only hope rests with pre-pubescent boys, trained up to generalship through increasingly elaborate war games that would have greatly appealed to A Superfluous Boy. Ultimately, a predictable twist averts disaster, and freedom and order are restored to the Universe. Charitably, one might stretch to praise a premise that is slightly more clever than the norm, but not by much.