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Ian Buckwalter’s “Everything at Stake” Creatively Threads Intellectualism

In response to Ian Buckwalter’s 811‑word review of Ender’s Game on NPR

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Ian Buckwalter’s “Everything At Stake, And Everything On The Table” is an excellent review of Ender’s Game that employs an intellectual tone and perspective that’s seamlessly in-sync with its quality venue. At every turn, depth of insight and criticism is at hand, and the creativity of that handling is what makes the review an excellent, engaging reading experience.

Buckwalter executes Everything At Stake with a precision of language and a mastery of verbs that evokes reader engagement through actively driven writing voice and style. He reveals and thoughtfully expresses the themes presented in Ender’s Game. He uses wit and reason to contextualize plot within those themes, while also deconstructing characters.

Each paragraph reveals the development of Buckwalter’s opinion, which is backed by concrete evidence, as well as high order conceptualizations and other loftier concepts. That he manages to keep his language in the non-pretentious zone is to be seriously admired.

Buckwalter expertly (yet briefly) shifts his tone to a more direct voice a little over midway in the review, which provides greater reader immersion. He delivers multiple insights about the film, and there’s a certain dimension to his writing that is at once artistic and academic. Underpinned with psychological lenses and sociological analysis, Everything At Stake is sure to satisfy well-educated reading audiences, yet, on occasion, it may unnerve or ostracize the more mainstream reader.

By the end of the review, Buckwalter winds the themes he presented in the first paragraph back into the final narrative, proving that Everything At Stake was meticulously planned and constructed, like a deductive essay written for grad school profs. If only his acumen for intellectualism and characterization were met with a little more personality, the review would have soared to exceptional heights. That said, engaging content and information are threaded throughout the review, making it ideal for its location in cyberspace.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation