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First Meetings in Ender's Universe, originally published as First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse, and also published as First Meetings: In the Enderverse, is a collection of short stories from the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card. There are four stories in the book, entitled "The Polish Boy", "Teacher's Pest", the original novella "Ender's Game", and "The Investment Counselor".


Other than the Ender's Game short story, "Investment Counselor" was the first story published from the anthology. It first appeared in Far Horizons: All New Tales from the Greatest Worlds of Science Fiction edited by Robert Silverberg in May 1999. "The Polish Boy" and "Teacher's Pest" were both first published as part of First Meetings.[1]

First Meetings was originally published in 2002 as a hardcover First Meetings: Three Stories from the Enderverse, and included the 1977 Ender's Game short story, "The Polish Boy" and "The Investment Counselor". It featured a cover and interior illustrations from Gail Cross.[1]

In 2003, it was republished as a hardcover First Meetings: In the Enderverse, now including "Teacher's Pest" for the first time as well as a cover by Julie Bell and nineteen interior illustrations by Craig Phillips. Finally and most recently, it was republished again in 2004 as a softcover First Meetings in Ender's Universe and included a reader's guide giving a synopsis of the included stories and discussion questions.[1]

Plot Summaries

"The Polish Boy"

John Paul Wieczorek was born as the 7th son to a non-compliant family in Poland (which very likely was part of the Second Warsaw Pact). John Paul was an unusually brilliant boy, who began reading at a college level at age 5. Because of his family's non-compliance to the Hegemony population laws, only the eldest two children were allowed to go to school; but being devout Catholics, their mother taught all of the children at home. John Paul's parents did not realize his potential; subsequently John Paul did not like school because it was too easy for him. When the International Fleet came to test the older children for Battle School, John Paul wanted to be tested as well despite the fact that he was underaged, contrary to his parents' wishes. None of the older ones tested in, but the tester Helena Rudolf realized his potential, and would come back in a few months when John Paul would be old enough. Eventually, what John Paul wanted most was the well-being of his family, so Captain Hyrum Graff arranged for his family to move to America under the assumed name of Wiggin. However, Graff was thinking ahead, which led to the events in Teacher's Pest.

This short story was also later published in the illustrated anthology Ender's Way.[2]

"Teacher's Pest"

Years after his family had moved from Poland to the United States, John Paul Wiggin became a student at a university. While attending Human Communities class, the teacher (a young graduate student named Theresa Brown) proved herself to be smarter than John Paul, intriguing him.

After the class had ended, Theresa was called to the dean's office, where she was informed that, while she will still work on a project she created, she will not be given credit for it in an attempt to convince Theresa's father, Admiral Hinckley Brown, to come out of retirement.

As she returned to her office, John Paul caught up to Theresa and asked if he can talk to her in her office. She said no, and though he got a few words in, she proved her standpoint by slamming the door in John Paul's face.

Theresa was curious about what John Paul said, so she accessed the student files on her desk, and read John Paul's file. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary; none of it seemed like it would be a lie. Her father then called her via her desk, and they talked for a while about her project. She ended up hanging up on him, and started to cry.

Theresa opened the door to leave, and found John Paul sitting on the floor outside of her office with food set up on napkins. He explained that he didn't know when she was going to come out, and that he had just been ordering food and throwing it away every fifteen minutes so that when Theresa came out it would be hot and fresh.

They ate together and discussed the Hegemony and its lies, and how John Paul moved from Poland to the US when he was six. He told her that he had many brothers and sisters, not just one. As they continued to talk, John Paul told Theresa that he had fallen in love with her, but that it's "just a hair ball," and if she disregarded him, he'll get over it. John Paul kissed her on the cheek and forehead, and Theresa quickly kissed him on the lips. They discussed how funny it would be if the Hegemony and International Fleet were somehow forcing them to fall in love.

This short story was also later published in the illustrated anthology Ender's Way.[2]

"Ender's Game"

Main article: "Ender's Game" (Short Story).

Ender Wiggins has just been made the commander of Dragon Army at Battle School, an institution designed to make young children into military commanders against an unspecified enemy. Armies were groups of students that fought mock battles in the Battle Room, a null gravity environment, and were subdivided into "toons". Due to Ender's genius in leadership, Dragon Army dominated the competition. After his nineteenth consecutive victory, Ender was told that his army was being broken up and his toon leaders made commanders in their turn, while he was transferred to Command School for the next stage of his education. Here, veteran Maezr Rackham tutored him in the use of a space battle simulator. Eventually, many of his former toon leaders served under him once more. Once familiar with the simulator, they fought a series of what Maezr told them were mock battles against a computer-controlled enemy. Ender's team won again and again, finally destroying a planet that the enemy fleet seemed to be protecting. Once the battle was over, Maezr told Ender that all the battles were real, and the children's commands having been relayed to the extant fleet, and that he has destroyed the enemy's home world and ended the war.

"The Investment Counselor"

Andrew Wiggin had been voyaging through space at near-lightspeed for 400 years. When he arrived at the planet Sorelledolce, he had just turned twenty in relativistic time, so he must file his first tax return on the trust fund which had been given to him by the International Fleet at the end of the Third Invasion. He showed his list of investments to Benedetto, a tax collector in the starport, who immediately planned to steal some of it. Meanwhile, Andrew received an email offering him financial software, which has an interactive personality that called itself Jane.

While they were on Sorelledolce, Andrew's sister Valentine Wiggin took him to a "speaking" for a dead man. Andrew talked to the Speaker and learned how the profession was done.

Andrew decided to accept the assistance of the Jane program. She prepared his tax forms, showing him ways to minimize what he owes. The amount was much less than he had expected. When Andrew delivered the forms to Benedetto, the tax collector tried to blackmail him because he had discovered Andrew's identity as the hated Xenocide. But Benedetto found that his files had mysteriously disappeared. In an attempt to get revenge against Andrew, he tried to leak what data he still had to the media, but Jane appeared on his screen and gave him a choice: "Either say nothing, or tell the whole truth." Benedetto rejected the first option, but when the media received his story, it had been mysteriously integrated with a full confession of his embezzlements.

Benedetto was arrested, and while he was in prison he was killed. Andrew did a Speaking at Benedetto's funeral. He had thus inadvertently given himself a career, that of a "Speaker for the Dead."

This short story was also later published in the illustrated anthology Ender's Way.[2]