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November 03, 2013

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I read Ender's Game just seven or eight years ago. I didn't read it as being about a boy who was different. I read it as being about adults who were so consumed with a fantasy about an enemy that they manipulated a boy into fighting an unnecessary war for them. I thought it was an amazing critique of the war in Iraq.

Of course, I had not looked at the date of publishing and knew nothing about the author.

I have mixed feelings about avoiding something politically neutral because of the political actions of the creator or sponsor. Knowing that Card is a paranoid asshole has kept me from reading any more of his books and will keep me away from his movie. But I don't feel strongly enough about it to urge anyone else to follow my example. It's just a personal reaction. I don't want to give any of my money to that slimy creep, so I won't. That's all.

OSC's 1992 The Lost Boys seems cloaked-autobiographical in tone and content, is set in the early 1980s, and has some material that might support Dr. S.'s narrative of early abuse.

Those of you dilating on the experience of being LDS will also find considerable fodder.

It was billed as Card's first attempt at horror, and I think it succeeds as a book.

joel:

I wrote a little about The Lost Boys in one of my 2011 OSC posts:

When OSC's novel Lost Boys was published (1992), I was initially impressed. "Whoa," thought I, "a Mormon who writes something about the Lost Boys of polygamy, the ones who get tossed out to keep the sex ratio weighted toward women! That takes a lot of guts." I thought too soon. It's actually a very slow-moving horror story about a Mormon family and the horrible outsiders they encounter, most terribly a serial killer who targets boys (though there's also a *different* man who's a pedophile targeting girls). For a Mormon with a polygamous family tree, this smells to me of projection: we don't have Lost Boys, no sirree! That's a problem that comes from the outside! And yet, the serial killer's victims turn out to be buried *under the house* (I haven't read the book, I'm going by the plot summary on Wikipedia -- and I hope for OSC's sake that the summary is making the ending sound more treacley than it actually is), and the killer turns out to be the owner's *father*, IMHO because OSC's Muse and his unconscious keep making sure that we know there's a danger in the house/in the home/in the traditional family, and it wears a fatherly face.
Does that analysis sound right to you?

I thought I mentioned this in the earlier thread, but I can't find it. I think that another reason why Ender's Game affected so many people was that it was first a novella, expanded into a novel which was then supplemented by 4 sequels. While the novella, (according to Wikipedia) was supposedly written to establish the character of Ender for the novel Speaker of the Dead (and I'm not sure if I believe that, as the trajectory of OSC's career and political beliefs and Doc's observations leaves me wondering if he is actually aware of what his writing really reveals), I think this is perfect example of how a work of art is created not in getting everything down, but actually subtracting to make the story more universal, with an impact of more people rather than less.

and following the wikipedia links, I find OSC's story 'A war of gifts', which seems to underline abuse as a formative experience while layering it with possible contempt of Muslims that OSC has decided fits him like a glove.

OSC: a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama's enemies.

Sounds like he's been reading The Dark Knight Returns.

It sounds like he's lost his grip on reality, Ugh.

I didn't vote for Obama (the second time...I really regret my first vote), I'm worried about the overreach of police authority, overuse of drones, the nanny-state, etc etc. And there's no way that sentence doesn't come across like industrial strength tinfoil hat.

I use the kitchen-grade stuff, myself. It's a little cooler in the summertime.

FWIW, the movie option for Ender's Game was all cash upfront with no backend, so Card won't be getting any more money the movie's ox office.

OSC's 1992 The Lost Boys seems cloaked-autobiographical in tone and content

I understand the desire to speculate, but imagine what a horrendous upbringing that Stephen King may have had.

We're only going to suggest a treatment of Clive Barker's possible childhood mishaps, though. I don't think I could stand to actually read about it.

"I understand the desire to speculate, but imagine what a horrendous upbringing that Stephen King may have had."

Except that, as far as I can tell from Dr. Science's posts on this subject, OSC consistently revisits the theme of childhood trauma in his books. Stephen King does not.

If you want to talk about Stephen King, by all means, let's: Stephen King consistently revisits the theme of writers and other creative types with substance abuse problems. See The Shining, Salem's Lot, The Stand. Not coincidentally, Stephen King struggled with addiction for a long time.

I know it's a common mistake to confuse the artist with her art, but I don't think Dr. Science is being as obtuse as your comparison suggests.

but imagine what a horrendous upbringing that Stephen King may have had.

Actually, he had a rather tough time.

When King was two years old, his father left the family under the pretense of "going to buy a pack of cigarettes", leaving his mother to raise King and his adopted older brother, David, by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to De Pere, Wisconsin, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was eleven, the family returned to Durham, Maine, where Ruth King cared for her parents until their deaths.

King himself has said that his view of horror is the Dionysian intruding on the logically based real world. Imagining how life must have been like in a situation where you as a child sense that your parent is not sure about where the rent or the next meal is coming from would certainly provide enough grist for the mill.

One reason writers are can be so secretive is that their lives give them the raw material that they turn into neat narratives. You may want to suggest that Tolkien had encounters with orcs, but there is this:

In later years, Tolkien indignantly declared that those who searched his works for parallels to the Second World War were entirely mistaken:

One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead

After knowing about that and Tolkien's experiences in trench warfare near the Somme, you can't read about the Scouring of the Shire or the notion of Aragorn and the Army of the West sacrificing themselves in order to fool Sauron and think it is just fantasy.

Of course, sometimes, the papercut gets elevated into a mortal wound, but that is often how you tell the difference between someone taking their life experiences and making something interesting out of them and someone simply embellishing on a minor annoyance that everyone encounters.

Yeah, I think it's fine to heap abuse on OSC based on his actions and speech now, as an adult, and just skip the speculation about possible abuse as a child.

I understand the desire to speculate

Which I tried not to do.

My intent was to point out to Dr. S. for cosideration the additional material in Lost Boys. I purposely did no psychologizing and drew no conclusions myself.

Slarti's reaction shows that I crossed the line I had drawn for myself, and I regret the miscommunication.

I have no opinion about the presence or absence of abuse in OSC's background. Regardless, I do find his current politics repellent, and some of his early writing compelling.

[Obama] despises even his own toadies in the liberal press

You'd think this would a point on which Obama and Card could find common ground.

Actually, he had a rather tough time.

Yes, but he didn't have his arm torn off by an evil transdimensional spider in clown drag, nor was he bitten on the neck by a vampire, nor was he set afire by any of one or two pyrokinetics, nor was he assaulted by ghosts in an old semi-abandoned hotel.

Etc. King's father leaving when he was a kid doesn't translate to things he wrote about. Whether your speculation about Card is at all accurate isn't really factually supported here, so please stop pretending that you are doing anything other than rank speculation.

It's all very reasonable-sounding supposition, but OSC's life isn't some unexplored line of fan-fiction for which you can simply fill in the blanks. It's an actual, real life into which you have pretty much the same factual background as do I.

Which I tried not to do.

It wasn't my intent to rebuke you, joel.

Except that, as far as I can tell from Dr. Science's posts on this subject, OSC consistently revisits the theme of childhood trauma in his books. Stephen King does not.

This is a semi-understandable error if you haven't read a LOT of King. The guy has written entire books revolving around that very thing. It is about three-quarters childhood horror and the remaining quarter adults realizing that horror was a repressed memory of something real. The Shining is pretty childhood-traumatic, unless you consider the father to be the main character. Which he isn't. There are threads of childhood trauma woven in The Dark Tower series, and it's pretty much front and center in Lisey's Story, even though most of the story takes place in the adult life of the title character.

...and of course The Talisman is the story of a kid who embarks on a quest to save his dying mother, and who runs into all sorts of horrors on the way. Which we could examine in detail to find out whether they're bigger and more disgusting that more mundane horrors, but that might be overkill.

Oh, what the hell:

'In her name, you filthy, aborted thing!' Jack shouted. 'Get you off the skin of this world!' He opened his fist and slammed his hand into Reuel's forehead.

Reuel and his father shrieked in harmony - Osmond a tenor-verging-on-soprano, Reuel a buzzing, insectile bass. The coin slid into Reuel's forehead like the tip of a hot poker into a tub of butter. A vile dark fluid, the color of overbrewed tea, ran out of Reuel's head and over Jack's wrist. The fluid was hot. There were tiny worms in it. They twisted and writhed on Jack's skin. He felt them biting. Nevertheless, he pressed the first two fingers of his right hand harder, driving the coin farther into the monster's head.

'Get you off the skin of this world, vileness! In the name of the Queen and in the name of her son, get you off the skin of this world!'

It shrieked and wailed; Osmond shrieked and wailed with it. The reinforcements had stopped and were milling behind Osmond, their faces full of superstitious terror. To them Jack seemed to have grown; he seemed to be giving off a bright light.

Reuel jerked. Uttered one more bubbling screech. The black stuff running out of his head turned yellow. A final worm, long and thickly white, wriggled out of the hole the coin had made. It fell to the floor of the engine compartment. Jack stepped on it. It broke open under his heel and splattered. Reuel fell in a wet heap.


Yes, that's adults reading about a thing happening to a kid, just as it's adults reading about things that happened to kids in OSC's The Lost Boys. Which I thought was the best of his books, for what that's worth.

Except that, as far as I can tell from Dr. Science's posts on this subject, OSC consistently revisits the theme of childhood trauma in his books. Stephen King does not.

This is a semi-understandable error if you haven't read a LOT of King. The guy has written entire books revolving around that very thing.

But you're making joel's point for him, Slarti. You can read a fair amount of King (but not a LOT) without encountering these themes. You can't read a lot of Card without running into them. Even when he doesn't have child protagonists, he tends to have alienated, impotent protagonists opposing overwhelmingly powerful villains who most people can't or won't oppose. Etc. The themes are irritatingly widespread throughout his oeuvre. To be honest, I never bothered to speculate on the whys and wherefores (despite having done more than my fair share of literary criticism as an undergrad), but the thematic style is so overwhelmingly present that it soured me on his work. King occasionally explores themes of childhood trauma and abuse; Card wallows in them.

*...can't read much Card at all without...

Yes, but he didn't have his arm torn off by an evil transdimensional spider in clown drag, nor was he bitten on the neck by a vampire, nor was he set afire by any of one or two pyrokinetics, nor was he assaulted by ghosts in an old semi-abandoned hotel.

By this metric, no one could ever write about those things because they have, as far as I know, never happened to anyone.

I'm not a big King fan, but I am drawn to his discussion of the horror genre in Danse Macabre, where he outlines the Apolloian/Dionysian distinction. Slart, you still have the keys, why don't you try your hand at a survey of King, you seem to be familiar with what he's written.

Oh, and I should add

Whether your speculation about Card is at all accurate isn't really factually supported here, so please stop pretending that you are doing anything other than rank speculation.

jftr, I didn't speculate about Card except to note that Ender's Game started out as a novella, was expanded into a novel and then became a series, though Card said he had the series in mind when he was writing the novella.

"I didn't read it as being about a boy who was different. I read it as being about adults who were so consumed with a fantasy about an enemy that they manipulated a boy into fighting an unnecessary war for them."

I read Ender's Game when it first came out, before the Iraq war. Read the short story, first, as a matter of fact. And I have to admit I can't identify, at this distance, what could possibly indicate to a reader that there was any fantasy about the enemy. Perhaps it's just my dimming memory, but could you explain this?

I haven't read the book for quite a while and maybe I'm remembering wrong, but didn't it turn out that the enemy organism wasn't hostile after all? Or wasn't planning an attack after all? I remember Ender feeling remorseful. And in the next book, which I also remember only vaguely, I thought he was trying in some way to make amends.

But it's been several years.

No doubt he felt remorseful, he was tricked into committing mass murder when he thought he was playing a game. Never read the next book, of course, I'm just saying I don't recall anything from Ender's Game to suggest the enemy they were fighting wasn't a real enemy. Might have come out in one of the subsequent books I didn't read.

I haven't read the book for quite a while and maybe I'm remembering wrong, but didn't it turn out that the enemy organism wasn't hostile after all? Or wasn't planning an attack after all?

No and yes. The aliens had fought a terrible war against humans and were defeated at great cost. But there was no indication they were going to fight again: the war Ender trained for and fought was very explicitly a war started by humanity.

he was tricked into committing mass murder when he thought he was playing a game.

In the next book in the series, Ender actually says "I thought I was playing a game. I didn't know it was the real thing. But...if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us." So, um, I'm not sure it makes sense to talk about being tricked: if you're "tricked" into doing something that you claim you would have done no matter what, the trick doesn't seem to matter much.

So, um, I'm not sure it makes sense to talk about being tricked: if you're "tricked" into doing something that you claim you would have done no matter what, the trick doesn't seem to matter much.

It matters more than it should because of the extremely-squicky morality Ender is pushing in Speaker for the Dead. Intentionality is everything. So because he thought it was a game, he isn't guilty of xenocide. If he had known it was real, he would have been guilty of xenocide. It doesn't matter that the only difference between these two scenarios is his conviction that he's practicing xenocide (while committing it) rather than knowingly committing it; the actual outcome of his actions is irrelevant because he didn't mean to be doing them (even if he was planning on doing the exact same thing later). So even though there's no sane reason to talk about him being tricked under these circumstances, it's really, really important that he was in the series' twisted moral scheme. He's not a xenocide, ya see: he's a victim too...

Ender's Game is a book about (among other things) a child who is abused by his peers and manipulated by adults because he is different.

I don't think so.

First, Ender is abused by adults. Failure to intervene when you believe that one child is going to murder another is definitely abuse. And much of the peer abuse Ender endures comes about specifically because the adults orchestrate it.

Secondly, he's not abused because he's different. He's abused because the adults want him abused because they believe that this is how you create the best military commander ever. He gets abused because they believe that he's the best candidate. But if halfway through battle school, a better candidate showed up, they'd move heaven and earth to ensure that that candidate got abused and that Ender didn't. The only difference that makes Ender a target for abuse is how awesome he is.

build a more truly loving family outside traditional boundaries.

Yes, you too can have a near-incestuous relationship with your older sister!

Suffering can make you stronger, and in particular it can help you see the good in the alien, the stranger, the despised.

That's true, but not in the way the author intends. If you buy OSC's absurd moral claims that all actions can only be judged on intent, then guess what? You can see the good in everyone. Even murderers and genocidal killers. Tis true, if you apply a transparently idiotic ethical system, you can reap the rewards of idiocy. Whoohoo!


Here's an alternative explanation: OSC likes the idea of using violence but is troubled by the sympathetic human reactions for victims of violence. So he writes a book structured so as to force Ender to dish out (oftentimes lethal) violence while never bearing any blame or fault. That's how gets readers to cheer on violence. Ender's violence is always the only possible choice; his victims are always monsters who can't be deterred. And he always feels guilty, while OSC goes to great lengths to reiterate that his guilt is silly since he had no choice.

Ender is a kid who keeps killing other kids, and it always ends up being OK. Card even cooks up a kooky ethical system in which the only thing that matters is the intent of the doer not the nature of the act or its foreseeable consequences.

When I read the Red Cross report detailing how KSM was waterboarded 183 times, I remember thinking, wow, a bunch of CIA officers must be totally incapable of orgasm unless they're watching torture. 183 waterboardings is pretty clearly not the ticking time bomb scenario that torture devotees obsess about or anything that could be justified by any rational process. Looking at OSC's work, maybe he just likes the idea of hurting people? I get that a lot of people who have been abused find a bit of solace in Ender's Game, but it might be that OSC was never interested in that aspect at all except as a way to neutralize sympathy for victims of violence.

I imagine that if you're a modern day fascist, one of the really distressing things about this age is that people aren't as willing to beat the crap out of each other as they used to be.

This and this informed my thinking.

Eep, yeah, you're definitely on the same page as me with this Turb, so please do pardon me if my prior comment seemed pedantic, exasperated, or flip. Or even just insufficiently thorough.

If your last paragraph of your penultimate comment was not as rhetorical as it now looks, I'd again just underscore that from within the sick SftD morality, him being "tricked" into doing what he planned on doing would still matter. He planned to commit xenocide, but he did not choose to commit xenocide. He chose to do a dry run of xenocide, and got tricked into doing it. So he only intended to play the xenocide game, and never intended (in a moral sense; in a common sense he most certainly did) to commit xenocide yet. The planned xenocide was irrelevant the actual xenocide that it was meant to perfectly mimic. After all, Ender could have changed his mind before choosing to carry out his plan to commit a xenocidal act with xenocidal intent if not for that mean 'ole trick. It's almost an insane position, but it does have an unpleasant internal consistency. Honestly, though, it's probably wiser to ignore the pretzel logic required to grok why the "trick" matters, and instead just stick with "it matters because it means St. Ender is innocent".

I'm not going to go back to the books, but I believe the parts about him killing other kids were either not in, or very much elided in the first novella.

Also, I've only read that first novella, but the Wikipedia summary says that Ender discovers an egg of a queen in the expanded novel of Ender's game and more fully explained in Enders in Exile and finds out that the Formics only attacked because they thought that because humans did not have a group mind, they were non-sentient. Which is pretty slick (for various values of slick) in that Ender is no longer a Xenocide (because he didn't kill ALL of them) and the Bugger's (now named Formic) had a perfectly good reason to attempt to wipe humanity out.

Following up the summary, I'm pretty horrified how OSC scapegoats particular cultures in his characterizations, like the culture that is based on China and the children are genetically engineered to have access to hyper-intelligence but in order to keep them loyal are also programmed to be obsessive-compulsive, with the finale being that these aspects of their cultures are revealed to be lies. Like I said, Ender's Game, the original novella, seemed to be a wonderful story with overtones about childhood, responsibility and life. However, getting deeper in the weeds, I find myself saying I really am not interested in knowing more.

You can't read a lot of Card without running into them.

Oh?

I didn't see Ender's Game as being about abuse in the way that it's being used in the main thread. But perhaps I am misreading some sexual/physical abuse into the thread that's not intended. If that's the case, please disregard all of my comments here.

But assuming I have not misread, the ONLY book Card has written with explicit child abuse is Lost Boys. Here are the ones I have read where I have found no such thing, aside from the whole Ender's Game saga (of which I think I have read the first three or four books):

Seventh Son
Red Prophet
Prentice Alvin
Alvin Journeyman
Heartfire
The Crystal City
The Memory of Earth
Earthfall
Earthborn
The Ships of Earth
The Call of Earth

That may not cover all of them; I really don't keep a journal of all books that I have read. But based on my limited reading of Card (and I want to stress that by no means have I read Card with an eye out for magic signs of child abuse), I don't think he's significantly more or less inclined to write about childhood trauma than is King, or that it means anything more or less about Card, personally, if he did.

Which is really the whole point, here. You're taking this theory that Card must have been damaged somehow as a child, which naturally accounts for his purported homophobia (because no one who has not been abused as a child is ever homophobic), and then you've gathered some supporting arguments for that.

It's not really compelling, from my point of view. But as I have said: I have not done an exhaustive reading of Card, nor would I trust my own suspicions of such readings to represent any kind of truth. I think I've made myself clear regarding amateur psychoanalysis at a distance on previous occasions.

Which is pretty slick (for various values of slick)

I haven't read the book in question, but I think the whole group-minds-aren't-sentient thing was done up rather well previously in Haldeman's Forever War.

Slarti, Doctor Science thinks "Hamlet's Father" also refers quite a bit to child molestation

(http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2011/11/hamlets-father-at-penn-state.html)

I haven't read it, so my opinion isn't worth much, but her analysis convinced me on that book at least.


"The only difference that makes Ender a target for abuse is how awesome he is."

Turb, I thought Dr. Science's whole point was that "I must have been abused because of how special I am" would make sense as a coping mechanism for a victim of childhood abuse--which is what she proposes OSC is.

Slarti, Doctor Science thinks "Hamlet's Father" also refers quite a bit to child molestation

Yes, I skimmed over that. It was highly suppositional in many of the same ways that this post is. But as I said, I tend to view most amateur psychoanalyses as not being interchangeable with truth.

I just tend to think that RL people aren't going to turn out to be the same as the stories people make up about them.

But I think there could be endless fun to be had taking various authors and invent fictional childhoods for them using their fiction as cues. Certainly no harm could come from that.

Which is pretty slick (for various values of slick)

Sorry, that should have been in the ironic font. I don't want to imply that I think a good defense of Ender's xenocide is that he was not completely successful in eliminating the Formics.

And yes, Forever War is a much better book and not only on the group mind notion.

Forever War is a much better book

Agreed.

I've only read about half the OSC on Slarti's list, and I was not troubled by any of those.

But Wyrms is the most disturbing to me of the Card I have read. Has anyone else read it?

LJ, I'm not going to go back and read one page of those well-written (but poorly-authored) pieces of crap either, but unless I'm very much mistaken, Ender didn't find the egg in the full-novel Ender's Game, but rather in the sequel Speaker for the Dead. As to killing other children, in the novel elided is a good way to describe his innocently homicidal tendencies. He kills several boys who were bullying him, and as a rule he never finds out about it ever, and we only find out about it chapters later, in one or two sentence throw-away lines.

Which is really the whole point, here. You're taking this theory that Card must have been damaged somehow as a child, which naturally accounts for his purported homophobia (because no one who has not been abused as a child is ever homophobic), and then you've gathered some supporting arguments for that.

So the point here is assigning Carnac penalties, then? I think you just earned yourself a pile, Slarti. I don't ascribe to any of what you're telling me I do. I think he writes his villains and conflict arcs in an exceeding frustrating and trite manner which revolve around a hero who perceives themself as much weaker than their enemy - who seems overwhelming powerful, and who the hero must stand alone against - and when they overcome the enemy it's only temporary, the enemy will rise back or quickly be replaced with an equally-or-stronger one. Coincidences and authority figures conspire callously to render the hero impotent again and again. It's frustrating, and it's manipulative, and it's lazy. Frankly, if I had to sum it up in a word, I'd say it's paranoid.

(I am aware that this style is not uncommon in narratives, and not just books. But it's almost always manipulative and lazy, and the slice of Card's oeuvre that I read was rife with it. Maybe the rest is free of it, and I just had really bad luck with my sampling prior to hitting my breaking point.)

I worked all this out as I gradually went from someone who really liked Card's work, to someone who was frustrated with it, to someone who couldn't stand to read it any more. I didn't find out his politics until a few years later. I'll honestly say that what I noted in his works was not a treatment of child abuse, but a thematic style very consistent with the perspective of an abused child. Perhaps I should have spoken less broadly earlier. However, contra you, that's as far as my speculation went. I didn't assume that it meant he'd been abused, or that it was why he was homophobic. As you say, there's hardly a straight line from the former to the latter, so it would be ridiculous to act as though there was.

I don't ascribe to any of what you're telling me I do.

Ah. Amended, slightly:

Dr. Science is taking this theory that Card must have been damaged somehow as a child, which naturally accounts for his purported homophobia (because no one who has not been abused as a child is ever homophobic), and then she has gathered some supporting arguments for that.

My apologies.

Nombrilisme, I was just going by the Wikipedia summaries, which can never be wrong! I'm also assuming that the original that appeared in Analog which is where I am pretty sure I read it was pretty coy about a lot of stuff as I think Ben Bova would have caught it since it was at the end of his editorship.

I read "Wyrms" and then "Ender's Game" back when I would read just about any science fiction available, and then never felt any desire to re-read them (which I do with every book that I like) or to read anything else of Card's. My main problems (as I perceive them) with his writing were: a) cardboard characters, except for one main character; b) the undercurrent of sadism.

I guess I have to credit him with technique, but I am amazed by how many people seem to consider him a good writer. If I could live my life over again (not that I want to), among many better choices I would make would be to save the couple of bucks I spent on those two paperbacks.

I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here:

http://www.salon.com/2000/02/03/card/

An interview with OSC where he says that Ender's relationship with Valentine was based on OSC's relationship with his own brother.

Correction: Ender's relationship with Peter*

"FWIW, the movie option for Ender's Game was all cash upfront with no backend, so Card won't be getting any more money the movie's ox office."

Pretty irrelevant from a boycotter's point of view. If the point is to keep as much money out of OSC's wallet as possible, then this movie tanking would probably prevent any more of his books from becoming movies.

The only book of his I have read is Lost Boys about 19-20 years ago. I don't remember too many details about it, but I do remember getting a really creepy vibe from it that OSC might very well be a molester himself which is why I've never read another word he's written. I think it was something about the way he described children's bodies, but I'm not sure. What I am sure about is being seriously creeped out.

I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here:

Having an interviewer who wants to fill in the blanks with her own worldview is not really compelling. The Ender novels being treated as some kind of militaristic object of reverence? That kind of makes me chuckle. Red Storm Rising I could believe. But she is really filling in the blanks on Card's relationship with his brother using her own words and feelings, rather than using his.

I've been beaten up by my older brother. I've been beaten up by people I went to school with, some of whom I am now Facebook friends with. My older brother I am now fairly close to. I am completely not getting this leap from episodes of violence with an older brother to that violence being somehow life-altering trauma. This kind of thing is a common part of life, or at least it is in my generation.

The subtitle of the article actually kind of made me throw up in my mouth a bit, but it did ease my expectation level from "high" to "very low" before reading the content.

FWIW, the movie option for Ender's Game was all cash upfront with no backend, so Card won't be getting any more money the movie's ox office.

Note that no one has actually said this on the record. There's really no reason to believe it is true unless Card or a studio exec is willing to say it with their name attached.

"I've been beaten up by my older brother. I've been beaten up by people I went to school with, some of whom I am now Facebook friends with. My older brother I am now fairly close to. I am completely not getting this leap from episodes of violence with an older brother to that violence being somehow life-altering trauma. This kind of thing is a common part of life, or at least it is in my generation."

You don't know how bad the violence OSC experienced was (maybe it was worse than what you experienced) or how it affected him (maybe you're more resilient than he is or had better family support). One sign suggesting that violence affected him more than it did you is that when OSC was 34 he published a book where the sociopathic murderous older brother was modeled on his own brother. You have not, to my knowledge, written such a book.

OSC himself denies (in that interview, at least) that what his brother did was all that bad, but looks like he did not feel that way in 1985.

You don't know how bad the violence OSC experienced was (maybe it was worse than what you experienced) or how it affected him (maybe you're more resilient than he is or had better family support).

I agree with this, but I don't think you know, either. It's a detail that's not present in the interview.

I just remembered that Alvin's chief familial threat in that series is from his younger brother. His older brother, dying, delays his own death until Alvin is borne so that Alvin can be a Seventh Son of a Sevent Son, according to some set of rules or other, so there's a sort of stereotype-breaking beneficent older brother there.

I guess if we're going to generalize, we'd say that Card has brother issues to a similar extent that King has bogeyman issues.

Dr. Science, this and your previous post on the subject indicate that Card should be more sympathetic because he may have suffered from or witnessed abuse, but aren't the abused more likely to become abusers than those not touched by it? Seems to me that if your central thesis is correct, his actions are both despicable and quite easily understood.

Turbulence:

FWIW, the movie option for Ender's Game was all cash upfront with no backend, so Card won't be getting any more money the movie's ox office.

Note that no one has actually said this on the record.

It is very rare for the movie rights to books to involve back end payments. It is also worth noting that the rights paid for books typically are only a tiny faction of the expense to produce the movie. I have no idea what Card got, but it is a near certainty that it was not that much (in relation to the overall cost to produce the movie), and involved a single upfront payment.

Book rights are valuable for a few simple reasons. One is that the movie piggybacks on a successful book's reputation, although the same is available when they make movies out of old TV shows. Second is that there is a good story that has already had success, so it is easier to pick that than select one of the countless scripts floating around with uncertainty as to which will have appeal. Movie making is risky, and companies like to minimize risk.

Just retrieved dmbeastmaster's comment from the spam. Again, the only explanation for this is solar flare activity.

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