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September 26, 2011


When you list Orson Scott Card, I wonder about your position (and everyone else's), both in general and in this particular instance, on connecting the artist with the person. Card's wikipedia page has the info, but this Salon piece gives a first person account.

The wikipedia page also has some things about Hamlet's father, and I'm curious at what point people say 'I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt' and 'Sorry, I'm not going to read that' occurs.

I agree with liberal japonicus. There are very few authors I have stopped reading because of political or moral views, but he is one. I think it is partly because I expect more from science fiction authors by way of tolerance and imagination.

Personally, I never had that problem with Card the Person vs. Card the Artist. By the time I found out about his politics and all that, my tastes in literature had matured enough that I'd already stopped reading him 'cause he's more than a bit of a hack. IMNPHO.

(Well, okay, it was moreso that I had sporadically read his works over the years as he published them, so it was a happy marriage of my tastes maturing while simultaneously his writing was getting worse and worse... and worse. Although... I can't conceive of forcing myself to go back and read his books that I ate up years earlier, so I'm still gonna argue he fell from on middling, not high...)

I read Ender's game as a short story, and didn't realize that he expanded it into a novel. I don't know what how I would have reacted reading the novel, but it sounds like the Peter/Valentine subplot sounds like pure crap.

Most of the SF fans are probably aware of this, but here is a link to John Kessel's essay about Ender's Game that I found quite revealing.

I made it up to Enchantment in 1999 and stopped reading Card in frustration primarily Card the writer but also Card the person. Card the author is incredibly talented, but can't leave well enough alone. His best works are found in his short story series, but inevitably any good short story or theme gets expanded into a mediocre to great book and any okay to good book is stretched into longer and weaker series.

I got tired of feeling like I was reading the same things over and over with Card - and I got out before the Ender's Shadow series churned out another 5 novels (wow - had to look that one up) after turning a great short story into a great novel into a good+ Trilogy into a long winded Quadrilogy (Children of the Mind).

Card the person also seemed to be more radical and more outspoken around 2000 but maybe that was just when I started noticing thanks to the internet. His ~2004 essay supporting the Bush Administration and crediting them with "leading us with amazing success in a war that was forced upon us by our enemies" didn't help and even made me question if he was as good as a writer as I thought (he is, just not at political commentary). The final straw was website and its parental advice and stronger bigotry about homosexuality. That was enough for me to move on and I haven't even heard of the last dozen or so books on the bibliography.

I do smile a bit at seeing that he's written one solo stand alone novel since Enchantment in 1999 (per wikipedia FWIW). I think I was right on this author and he either got lazy (with the success of the Ender series?), or just isn't able to control and focus his skill into a single novel.

My recommendations for reading would be to pick up either of Laura Hillenbrand's works (Seabiscuit or Unbroken) and dig in.

If Hillenbrand can ever summon the energy* to put forth another book, I'm buying it. I don't even care what it's about.

*She suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome.

Wow, that really is a good essay about Ender's Game. I enjoyed the book, though my my moral spidey-sense was tingling by the end*.

You can't read that book and not feel Ender is the victim in it all. And he is... but it's definitely rigged by Card. True to form, I missed that when I read it. I miss lots of stuff like that.

What Doctor Science will write about as regards the Card book is well-known to those who follow the sf online world.

Outcry over Hamlet novel casting old king as gay paedophile
Publisher showered with complaints over Orson Scott Card's Hamlet's Father

Oops, spoiler! :-)

And here I thought Ender's Game was boring and poorly written. Of course, after Frank Herbert that is my reaction to most sci-fi. Take me to another world or don't bother to pick up the pen!

I read Ender's Game (the novel version) when I was a teenager, and I loved it. In hindsight, it was for exactly the reason Kessel describes: it's a book designed to appeal to bullied kids, in which the bullied kid gets to wreak enormous damage and not have it be his fault and retain his moral superiority. I think that, now, I might find it disturbing for exactly the reasons he also describes. But I've also used it successfully in the past to introduce non-science-fiction readers to SF.

Heh. I read it last year (I'm 34) and I still kinda liked it for that reason. Yeah, I was bullied in school.

Hadn't read that (or anything by Kessel) in quite a while. I really, really wish he'd put out another novel or two. Alas...

I've liked Kessel's short stories, but Good News from Outer Space left me cold; it didn't quite hang together for me.

He is better at short stories; I'll admit that GNFOS was quite disjoint, but I still did enjoy it.

Francis Fukuyama? Shouldn't he be writing "The End Of History... Part 2"?

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