What follows is devoid of spoilers for Nier: Automata. Instead, what I offer is an interpretive lens through which those who have yet to play the game, or who may have already done so, may interpret the narrative of Nier: Automata. This is, of course, only one possible reading among many others.
Thanks to some recommended reading from one of my sisters, I’ve come to read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game in an entirely different light. In “Creating the Innocent Killer:Ender’s Game, Intention, and Morality,” John Kessel offers a fascinating reading of the moral ambivalence, and even potential immortality, of Card’s novel.
In Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, Kessel sees the construction of an ostensibly “innocent killer” merely; in other words, that Ender, though guilty of tremendous atrocities by the novel’s end, is written off as simply a product of his circumstances and thus justified rather than morally culpable. … After his own damning character analysis of Ender, Kessel concludes, “If I felt that Card’s fiction truly understood this, then I would not have written this essay.” …
That said, and I’m tempted to say that Radford and Kessel may likely agree, I am not yet prepared to toss all copies of Ender’s Game — and Card with them — onto the pyre, cultural or otherwise. Instead, rather than a zero-sum condemnation of Ender’s Game, I believe Radford and Kessel’s critiques offer readers an additional layer to Card’s novel — though not at all necessarily one Card himself may have noticed or even intended.