A Little Late on the OSC Train

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Late last year, the issue of Orson Scott Card’s political views came back into the public light in full force with the impending release of the film version of his critically acclaimed novel Ender’s Game. Everyone wanted to have their say on the matter criticizing him. There was even a major boycott of the film: Skip Ender’s Game. People supporting this movement didn’t care what was in the book or even how the movie was going to compare. They only cared that, as a result of this movie’s success, money would potentially be going into the pockets of this man with whom they disagreed vehemently.

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Now, I may be a little late to the game here, but there is no denying Card’s views on marriage. As a profoundly religious Mormon man, it is of no surprise to me that he opposes the idea of gay marriage. I am, however, surprised at how vehement and hateful he can sound while speaking his mind. I do not agree with these views and I do not like Card as a person because of these views. (I do find it interesting that Ender’s Game has been banned before on the grounds of profanity, sexuality and racism, of which I find no problem with the first and none of the other two.) However —I’m going to make a very controversial statement right now, be warned!— he remains my favorite author of all time.

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When I was a freshman in high school, my mother, an avid science fiction and fantasy fan like myself, gave me my first copy of Ender’s Game. Corners and binding bent, it was obviously well read. It took me only a few days to get through the whole thing and I was hooked. The message of love, tolerance, and acceptance echoing throughout and impressive character development had me looking to devour every bit of this man’s writing that I could.

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Over the years I read the entirety of the Ender Quintet (Ender’s Game, Ender in Exile, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind) and the Shadow Quintet (Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets, Shadow of the Giant, and Shadows in Flight), as well as all the short stories and prequels in the Enderverse. The questionable political views so many people have issues with are conspicuously absent from every single one of these books.

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Even in those books separate from this relatively secular sci-fi universe and more grounded in reality these views do not come to the surface. The book Lost Boys contained a rare link to Card’s religious belief, the main character and his family being Mormon, and the religious culture pervaded throughout the text in an interesting and enlightening way. There was nothing hateful or political about it. First and foremost, it was a story of faith, parenthood, and psychological horror.

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In all my experience with his writing, I have never once seen Card’s undesirable political tendencies expressed within his genius fiction. That’s right. I call it genius. As disappointed and disillusioned as I have become with my favorite author as a person, nothing has changed. I still love his writing. Despite all this controversy, I refuse to deprive myself of experiencing works of genius. I will continue to read books by Orson Scott Card, and —GASP!— buy them, too. Not because I support him as a person, but because I support him as an author, my favorite author.

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Now, my question is: Why should I care about Card’s political views when his works do not reflect them? Why should I have boycotted the Ender’s Game film, which I went to and saw only a message of acceptance and tolerance? Can someone please tell me why some people are so militantly against him as a person that they completely ignore everything he has ever done as an author?


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