Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

A slow, analog alternative to the internet

Moderators: SecondTalon, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
Chfan
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:26 pm UTC
Location: American East Coast

Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Chfan » Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:47 pm UTC

I understand that his series is a staple of the xkcd reading diet. Although I don't read a lot of science fiction, it was recommended to me by quite a few people. Are they worth it for someone like me, even if I haven't read much science fiction?
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

bigstrat2003
Posts: 420
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 2:18 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby bigstrat2003 » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:49 pm UTC

Absolutely.

And don't listen to the comic, which is on crack. Xenocide was definitely the best in the series (the Ender series, anyway, I think I like some in the Bean series better).

User avatar
Mighty Jalapeno
Inne Juste 7 Dayes I Wille Make You A Hero!
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 9:16 pm UTC
Location: Prince George In A Can
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

Outside of Orson Scott Card, science fiction is a rich genre.

Inside of Orson Scott Card, it's too dark to read.

Herman
Posts: 559
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 2:46 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Herman » Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:17 pm UTC

Yeah, see how you like him. My recommendations:

Ender's Game
Ender's Shadow
Speaker for the Dead
Enchanted
Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus

Instead of reading the rest of the Ender series, read Pastwatch again. It's at least as good as EG and SFTD, and easily better than anything else by Card that I've read (although I haven't read his Alvin Maker series, and that's supposed to be pretty good). It's easily better than most books I've ever read by anyone.

Okay, read the rest of the Ender series if you must. The quality goes downhill and there are fewer new ideas, but they're okay and you'll want to see how the story comes out.

Don't read Card if you find "soft" science fiction annoying -- Card doesn't know too much about science, and he doesn't care too much. But that's true of a lot of good sci-fi authors. Also, he's pretty socially conservative and it tends to show up in his writing. That annoys some people, but he makes it work.

Oh, don't read the Homecoming series. Boring.

User avatar
Schmendreck
Posts: 197
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 6:18 pm UTC
Location: New York

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Schmendreck » Fri Dec 19, 2008 9:23 pm UTC

Most of Card's work is excellent. Just don't read for too much meaning.

However, whatever you do don't read Empire. It's a gigantic piece of inflammatory, propaganda crap.
A critic is a person who creates nothing of their own and therefore feels entitled to judge others.
-Robert A. Heinlein

User avatar
Virtual_Aardvark
Posts: 882
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:27 pm UTC
Location: The Final Frontier
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Virtual_Aardvark » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:09 am UTC

Also Children of the Mind should never have been let outside of his skull.

Other than that, go for it! :D

User avatar
Gojoe
Posts: 3218
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:45 pm UTC
Location: New Zealand!!!

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Gojoe » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:43 am UTC

I still love me some Ender's Game. I think it was meant for younger readers.. But my god do i love it!
michaelandjimi wrote:Oh Mr Gojoe
I won't make fun of your mojo.
Though in this fora I serenade you
I really only do it to aid you.
*Various positive comments on your masculinity
That continue on into infinity*

Feeble accompanying guitar.

User avatar
ameretrifle
Vera
Posts: 814
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:32 am UTC
Location: Canada (the flat bit)

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby ameretrifle » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:40 am UTC

Ender's Game is a pretty good book, even if the philosophy's dodgy as hell. It's probably at the least worth a try, just because it is good, and it is iconic, and the conceit is rather clever (and the characters often are too). It should also be accessible even if you're not big into sci-fi. So yes, I'd definitely give it a shot.

Without knowing your tastes, I can say that if you like that one, try Ender's Shadow, it's not bad. If you like those, the Bean series is worth reading at least once, even if you start getting the uncomfortable feeling that the author is kind of an asshole. Which you probably will. Because he kind of is. I've never read the rest of the Ender series, so I can't help you there. I read one other book by him, and it was even worse with the creepy assholery, so... your mileage may vary.

Outside Ender's Game and some of the rest of said series, I think how you react to Orson Scott Card depends a lot on your ideology/personality. Are you the sort of reader who can deal with the author having an agenda, or not? Do hints of homophobia push special buttons in you? What part of a book is most important to you-- plot, dialogue, characters, writing-- and what would be a dealbreaker? If you don't know, reading some OSC is probably a good way to find out. And that's good information to have.

User avatar
Bluggo
Posts: 366
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2007 6:12 pm UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Bluggo » Sat Dec 20, 2008 3:37 pm UTC

Ender's Game is superb. Read it, or I will personally hunt you down. (Ok, I am kidding. But the point stands.)


Speaker for the Dead is a fairly good book, but its style is almost completely different from the first one. I advise reading it as a stand-alone novel, ignoring the fact that it is supposed to be about the same universe of Ender's Game.

Xenocide is... ok, I guess, but nothing exceptional. Also, it removes most of the cool stuff from Ender's Game and replaces it with pseudo-mystical mumbo jumbo.
Spoiler:
The secret for FTL travel is wishing really hard? What is this, Gurren Lagann?

I have not read Children of the Mind yet, but since I did not like Xenocide that much and almost all reviews are bad I will probably skip it and begin Ender's Shadow instead.

As for other works of Orson Scott Card, I once tried to read his Seventh Child series (the one with Alvin the Apprentice). Definitely subpar - I would avoid it.
Mary Ellen Rudin wrote:Let X be a set. Call it Y.

User avatar
Sir_Elderberry
Posts: 4206
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 6:50 pm UTC
Location: Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:11 pm UTC

I can only speak about the Ender series. Ender's Game is great. Ender's Shadow is great. Speaker for the Dead isn't bad either. Anything after that I read out of inertia to finish the series.
http://www.geekyhumanist.blogspot.com -- Science and the Concerned Voter
Belial wrote:You are the coolest guy that ever cooled.

I reiterate. Coolest. Guy.

Well. You heard him.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:45 pm UTC

The Worthington Saga is a neat take on the Foundation series, I thought.

I personally wouldn't go father into the Enderverse than Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

Minchandre
Posts: 524
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:36 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Minchandre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

Just do yourself a favor and don't read Ender's Game if you're over 10 or so. Maybe 11. Definitely pre-pubescent.

User avatar
Mighty Jalapeno
Inne Juste 7 Dayes I Wille Make You A Hero!
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 9:16 pm UTC
Location: Prince George In A Can
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:32 pm UTC

Ender's Game was the winner of the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, two notable awards in science fiction. The following year, the sequel Speaker for the Dead also won both awards; Card is the only author to have won both awards in two consecutive years. In 2008, it received the Margaret Edwards award for its long term impact on science fiction.

Many schools around the world have adopted Ender's Game as required reading, some for its psychological aspects, others for its science fiction background. One examples is the Marine Corps University at Quantico, as a textbook on the psychology of leadership.

Minchandre
Posts: 524
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:36 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Minchandre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:44 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Ender's Game was the winner of the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, two notable awards in science fiction. The following year, the sequel Speaker for the Dead also won both awards; Card is the only author to have won both awards in two consecutive years. In 2008, it received the Margaret Edwards award for its long term impact on science fiction.

Many schools around the world have adopted Ender's Game as required reading, some for its psychological aspects, others for its science fiction background. One examples is the Marine Corps University at Quantico, as a textbook on the psychology of leadership.



I'm not trying to insult the book (well, maybe kinda). I read it first when I was 7 or so, and reread it religiously for a while until I lost it at 12. I then found it again at 17 and reread it. I found myself highly disappointed. The book that had seemed world-changing when I was a child just wasn't the same when I was older. I found a lot of the writing to be somewhat clumsy, and a little bit overbearing in terms of the messages he was trying to bring across.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

Sometimes a story is just a story.

Sounds to me like you were looking for too much.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

Minchandre
Posts: 524
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:36 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Minchandre » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:29 pm UTC

telkanuru wrote:Sometimes a story is just a story.

Sounds to me like you were looking for too much.


Possibly. As I said, it changed my world when I was young. When I was older, it failed to, and that kinda made me sad.

User avatar
Clumpy
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:48 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:50 am UTC

Card is almost paralyzingly story-based: anybody looking for something that can be analyzed in-depth in terms of literary criticism had best move on. Card includes neat stuff in his books but they're never the most important party of the story (read: not "hard" sci-fi). Card values intercharacter relationships and family stories above pretty much anything else, but he rarely writes anything overly-sentimental. At any rate he's definitely not pretentious, and if you confine your reading to the Ender series, Lost Boys (just incredible) and maybe a couple of his goofy thrillers you'll avoid seeing him as an obnoxious curmudgeon, which he can be at times (stay the heck away from his website in other words).

For an LDS author it's actually quite noteworthy for him to have sympathetic gay characters in his books, which he does, especially in the Earthbound series (whose general storyline is ironically pretty much cribbed from the Book of Mormon).

User avatar
mosc
Doesn't care what you think.
Posts: 5404
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 3:03 pm UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby mosc » Mon Dec 22, 2008 5:25 pm UTC

I think Ender's Game is somewhere between mediocre crap and the most influential book you'll ever read mattering mostly on your age. For young readers, it speaks to their feelings of invincibility and superiority. For those old enough to have learned their failings and the limits to their understanding, it can come off rather pretentious. Basically if you think you know more than the average guy twice your age, you will like the book. If you know better, you might not.

Card as a writer is not very talented IMHO. I think he is highly regarded because the works stimulate the reader's imagination. The joy is outside the book so to speak. I don't like this kind of writing, I prefer interesting characters with flaws and perspectives different from my own.
Title: It was given by the XKCD moderators to me because they didn't care what I thought (I made some rantings, etc). I care what YOU think, the joke is forums.xkcd doesn't care what I think.

User avatar
Charlie!
Posts: 2035
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:20 pm UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Charlie! » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:06 pm UTC

I really liked ender's game (speaker for the dead was alright, the rest of the series were eh), his series of stories involving somec (well, mostly), and the book about time-traveling and christopher columbus. Most of his other stuff is meh.

However, I will warn you against songmaster and the return to earth series specifically. They're mediocre and often sexualized for no clear reason, which always annoys me.

If you don't read much science fiction and want something xkcd-ey, I think it would be bad to get only into orson card. So I'll have to say you shouldn't. Unless you want other recommendations, in which case I'm sure you could be drowned in answers :)
Last edited by Charlie! on Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:20 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Some people tell me I laugh too much. To them I say, "ha ha ha!"

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26531
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 22, 2008 9:17 pm UTC

I read Ender's Game at.. I dunno, 23, maybe?

While I think I may have enjoyed it quite a bit more if I was about 5-10 years younger, it was still a pretty good book. Granted, Ender is The Chosen One and seems to get through things a bit easily, if only after quite a bit of internalizing the issue, but all in all, it's not a terrible horrific book, but it's also not the greatest piece of fiction ever.

It's pretty good.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
Clumpy
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:48 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 22, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

Yeah, you pretty much have to get used to the infallible protagonist thing if you want to read the Ender series (or the "Shadow" books). Card's protagonists usually reflect himself with only a thin veneer.

The main character in "Lost Boys" is fairly flawed, though, and there are a few characters who are still good but act like dilweeds. Have I made it clear that everybody should read that?

User avatar
Antimatter Spork
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: The third planet from the sun.

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

Just a quick reminder that Ender is Hitler (Link is kinda spoileriffic, but the plot twists aren't exactly the strongest point of the series anyway, so you can probably do without them).

I definitely liked the book, and I think that OSC is a great storyteller, but I have to say that whenever I reread any of his stuff it really bothers me how obvious it is when Card's own politics shove through the story and dance around like the ugly little creatures they are. (It's particularly bad in the Homecoming series, and it looks like it's even worse in Empire and the new War-On-Christmas-In-Battle-School book, neither of which I have read because I still do have some respect for the guy which I don't want to lose).

Basically - read Ender's Game. Read Ender's Shadow and the sequels if you like. Maybe read Speaker for the Dead. Probably stop there.
Albert Schweitzer wrote:There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:31 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:Just a quick reminder that Ender is Hitler .


Things like this just make me headdesk.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

User avatar
Clumpy
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:48 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:12 pm UTC

telkanuru wrote:
Antimatter Spork wrote:Just a quick reminder that Ender is Hitler .


Things like this just make me headdesk.


If Ender is Hitler, then every other "action hero" is a psychopathic killer, fully aware of what they're doing yet accepting any amount of collateral damage for the achievement of their goals.

User avatar
aion7
Posts: 1142
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 1:43 am UTC
Location: In a base with which you identify, killing dudes to whose team you belong

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby aion7 » Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:04 am UTC

If Ender is Hitler, The aliens must have been prospering on Earth, and have been blamed for various random things.


It truly offends and disgusts me how people compare innocent stories to horrible things they know nothing about, especially the holocaust. As a Jew myself, I cannot stand people who liken everything they don't like to Nazis.
Spoiler:
Zeroignite wrote:And you have suddenly become awesome.

joshz wrote:Oh, you so win.

internets++ for aion7.

jerdak wrote:Nothing says hello like a coconut traveling near the speed of light.

User avatar
ameretrifle
Vera
Posts: 814
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 6:32 am UTC
Location: Canada (the flat bit)

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby ameretrifle » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:46 am UTC

...Show of hands, how many of y'all actually read that essay instead of just reacting to the title?

If you read it and have a problem with it, good. I think it goes a bit far myself. Not gonna argue with you on that. If you haven't read it and are reacting to the title, it might be possible that the essay's a little different than you think. Just asking.

Anyway, I'm more a fan of this article myself. No Nazis, and a lot more in-depth. Want to think about the morality portrayed in Ender's Game and other of Card's works, whether you end up agreeing with it or not? That's the link for you.

In every situation where Ender wields violence against someone, the focus of the narrative’s sympathy is always and invariably on Ender, not on the objects of Ender’s violence. It is Ender who is offering up the voluntary sacrifice, and that sacrifice is the emotional price he must pay for physically destroying someone else. All the force of such passages is on the price paid by the destroyer, not on the price paid by the destroyed. “This hurts me more than it hurts you,” might well be the slogan of Ender’s Game.

User avatar
b.i.o
Green is the loneliest number
Posts: 2519
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 4:38 pm UTC
Location: Hong Kong

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby b.i.o » Wed Dec 24, 2008 3:53 pm UTC

I read Ender's Game and enjoyed it immensely. I've read a couple other books in the series and found them to be merely meh.

So if you haven't read Ender's Game, do so. And you may end up enjoying the others. But don't get your hopes up super-high.

User avatar
Clumpy
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:48 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Wed Dec 24, 2008 4:19 pm UTC

"Creating the Innocent Killer" is quite a well-written, enjoyable essay, and while I disagree with its ultimate conclusion I don't think it's necessarily flawed.

The parrot article, though . . . I've seen that one before as well. Not the most illuminating read.

I think the central premise of Ender's game is one more fully fleshed-out in the subsequent novels - that truly understanding and loving somebody can come only through a complete understanding of them as a person, including their flaws, however great. I fully agree with this. The writer of the parrot article disagrees with me. That's fine, but I think she doesn't really care to understand the issue in anything but simplistic terms.

It's plain that the writer didn't really pay attention to the story, either: Ender and Valentine's "quasi-incestuous relationship"[!] (and she elaborates on that, which suggests that she may have been reading not only between the lines of the story but beyond them entirely to some other story of her own imagining), saying that the plot of "the game that becomes real" is hackneyed and thereby dismissing the story as if it depended on that minor plot point for propulsion. Speaker For the Dead doesn't condemn Marcao "enough" for his actions, instead trying to "understand" them!

"The author's contempt for women shows most clearly in his creation of Jane, a sentient supercomputer. Now there is no reason on God's green earth for Jane to present herself as female or even human. But Card knows that the reader would die laughing at the image of a neutered computer focusing on Ender like this. "And with all that vast activity, her unimaginable speed, the breadth and depth of her experience, fully half of the top ten levels of her attention were always, always [Card's emphasis] devoted to what came through the jewel in Ender Wiggin's ear." Hard to swallow, isn't it? But Card expects us to understand when he depicts Jane as a woman in love. Surely the reader will recognize that a woman, no matter how intelligent, has nothing better to focus on than a man?"


Yeah-huh. Apparently she didn't pay attention to the whole Jane origin story.

She continues with all of the subtlety of evangelists proving that Santa is Satan himself. Hitler and Ender were both chaste! Both the third of three children for some time! Both. . . uh, well they killed a lot of people, didn't they?

Her final response is equally enlightening. It's plain that she only read the letters from people that condemned her for daring to analyze one of their favorite books, and not because they had some very specific points with a lazy, dogmatic essay. Card also attacked her with an uninformed, ad hominem attack, but so what - that's what he does sometimes.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:05 pm UTC

ameretrifle wrote:...Show of hands, how many of y'all actually read that essay instead of just reacting to the title?

This may be the internet, but it isn't 4chan.

The essay is a classic example of an analyst forcing their own view on a story.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

User avatar
Clumpy
Posts: 1883
Joined: Thu Jul 19, 2007 4:48 am UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Wed Dec 24, 2008 8:38 pm UTC

And did you read the article from the Salon writer who was so devastated when OSC didn't turn out exactly how she had planned? It makes for fairly comical, melodramatic reading.

User avatar
Antimatter Spork
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: The third planet from the sun.

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Thu Dec 25, 2008 4:57 am UTC

This may come as a shock, but I actually do agree that the Ender=Hitler comparison is reaching a bit (I think a more valid point is that the logic that forgives Ender is the logic that forgives Hitler). However, the point remains that a lot of the morality that Card presents in his stories is reprehensible, and the Ender series is definitely guilty of this. The genius of Card's writing is in how easy it is not to notice that this is happening.

Ender kills without remorse, and we are expected to forgive him. Card's morality justifies all of Ender's crimes, but I happen to believe that you are got not justified in killing to prevent possible future harm (as Ender does repeatedly. He does not defeat his opponents, he utterly destroys them without any justification other than that they will be a threat at some future time.) This logic is the logic that results in the philosophy of pre-emptive war and advocates and justifies the use of any weapon no matter the destructive capability.

Even more important is that the truth of the claim of future threat is never questioned. It is never relevant to Ender's guilt whether or not his enemies will pose a threat to him in the future, only that he believes they will. It is not that Ender is Hitler, it is that the logic that forgives Ender for his crimes can be used to forgive almost anyone of almost anything (even Hitler).
Albert Schweitzer wrote:There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:09 am UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:Even more important is that the truth of the claim of future threat is never questioned.


Well, that's just not true.

Specific to the buggers, there's a point where Graff tells Ender that they don't know at this point what their intentions are, but since they attacked twice already and there's no known way to communicate with them, Earth is forced to err on the side of caution.

With respect Ender's personal confrontations, in no case is that preemptive war. Ender does not seek out the confrontations. When a confrontation finds him, he wrecks the person. I agree that it's not morally correct, but it's coming from a much more primal Darwinistic base. Also, if you don't think the bullies are coming back after a fight, you've never been to public school.

Moreover, the logic that forgives Ender doesn't even come close to forgiving Hitler. Ender is forgivable and pitiable because he is still Innocent.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

User avatar
Mighty Jalapeno
Inne Juste 7 Dayes I Wille Make You A Hero!
Posts: 11265
Joined: Mon May 07, 2007 9:16 pm UTC
Location: Prince George In A Can
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:31 am UTC

Hitler was a socialist art student. There is no forgiveness.

User avatar
eightysevendegrees
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:55 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby eightysevendegrees » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:24 am UTC

I loved Ender's Game. I first read it when I was about 17 and I've read it since and don't think I'm too old for it. I've enjoyed most of the other books of his I've read (even Children of the Mind, but that definitely wasn't as good as the rest). I don't go through them looking for deep and meaningful insights into the human soul. I read them because they're good stories well written.

But I know there are plenty of books out there that other people rave about that I haven't enjoyed at all. I'm sure there are books I love that other people don't like. It's a very personal thing.

I think asking if you should get into Orson Scott Card is a question only you can answer. Pick up one of his books from a library (Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow probably would be the best starting points) and start reading. If you like his work, you'll like it. If you don't, you've lost a few hours of reading time and at least you've answered the question and know not to bother with the rest.

Science fiction is such a broad category covering an enormous range of styles and story types that there's no easy answer to your comment about not having read much sci-fi. I don't know which particular sci-fi stories you've read. There are stories about aliens and spaceships and things blowing up; there are books that go into the technology and the world building and don't bother much about plots or charectorisation; there are some that are very character-driven and some which are plot-driven; there are some that allow us to explore completely new worlds and some which give a slight twist on our own; and there's everything in between and more. If you talk about genres like thrillers or romances, there are certain patterns and similarities that will appear in most books. In sci-fi, there are some cliches and standards that creep into many books - and there are many books which through out the manual and do something no one ever expected.

User avatar
Chfan
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:26 pm UTC
Location: American East Coast

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Chfan » Fri Dec 26, 2008 2:53 pm UTC

Okay! Okay! I'll read Ender's Game and see how I like it. Now leave me alone!
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

User avatar
Antimatter Spork
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: The third planet from the sun.

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Fri Dec 26, 2008 6:36 pm UTC

telkanuru wrote:Specific to the buggers, there's a point where Graff tells Ender that they don't know at this point what their intentions are, but since they attacked twice already and there's no known way to communicate with them, Earth is forced to err on the side of caution.
I have to disagree. Ender believes the Buggers are his enemy and no one in the story really seems to be at all interested in communication or even the possibility of a nonviolent response. However, I think it is at least as important to the morality of the series to look at the other incidents of violence.
With respect Ender's personal confrontations, in no case is that preemptive war. Ender does not seek out the confrontations. When a confrontation finds him, he wrecks the person. I agree that it's not morally correct, but it's coming from a much more primal Darwinistic base. Also, if you don't think the bullies are coming back after a fight, you've never been to public school.
If you agree that Ender is morally incorrect, what's the argument here? He takes reprehensible actions, and Card asks us to forgive him for a number of silly reasons (he didn't know, or whatever) but the book implies strongly that Ender did know that he was responding disproportionately. There's one passage (I'd quote directly, but I don't have the book on me right now) where Ender knows the fight is won, but he continues attacking anyway (and eventually kills his opponent). This is a morally reprehensible action, and the overarching morality of the book does not condemn this (Graff even praises this trait and says that it is why Ender was selected to be the savior of humanity. It is not enough to win, Genocide (on the grand scale) and murder (on the personal) is necessary).

And if you think that murder is an appropriate or acceptable response to schoolyard bullying, I honestly don't know what to say to you.
Albert Schweitzer wrote:There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

User avatar
SecondTalon
SexyTalon
Posts: 26531
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 2:10 pm UTC
Location: Louisville, Kentucky, USA, Mars. HA!
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Dec 26, 2008 7:19 pm UTC

Ah, the hand-wave on that over-the-top attack was that Ender didn't know he killed the guy, which means he's somehow absolved of murder. In the same kind of logic that tells me it's okay if I shoot someone and walk away, because they were still breathing when I left, I'm ethically in the clear.

I remember the passage you're talking about - if it's the one I'm thinking of, versus the bully at the beginning, because he wanted to utterly crush his opponent so as to frighten off any future attacks from both him, and anyone who knew of the battle. Which is the logic that says it's okay to nuke a country because then the other countries will know you're super cereal and not fuck with you.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

User avatar
HighCharity
Posts: 308
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:04 am UTC

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby HighCharity » Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:01 pm UTC

ameretrifle wrote:Ender's Game is a pretty good book, even if I disagree with his philosophies

Merry Christmas!
folkhero wrote:I feel bad for the hooker, but that guy is too annoying to not make fun of.


Are Thefinvispol, Child wrote:Life is, in a word, caverns.

User avatar
telkanuru
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:39 am UTC
Location: Boston MA
Contact:

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby telkanuru » Sat Dec 27, 2008 10:03 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:I have to disagree. Ender believes the Buggers are his enemy and no one in the story really seems to be at all interested in communication or even the possibility of a nonviolent response. However, I think it is at least as important to the morality of the series to look at the other incidents of violence.


You can't disagree! There's no room for disagreement! The conversation on that point is written in the book!

If you agree that Ender is morally incorrect, what's the argument here?


The argument is that just because an action is morally incorrect does not mean the person who committed the act bears the full responsibility for it, or is morally guilty.

And if you think that murder is an appropriate or acceptable response to schoolyard bullying, I honestly don't know what to say to you.

I'm fairly sure I never said that, so thanks for the straw-man, but try again.

SecondTalon wrote:Ah, the hand-wave on that over-the-top attack was that Ender didn't know he killed the guy, which means he's somehow absolved of murder. In the same kind of logic that tells me it's okay if I shoot someone and walk away, because they were still breathing when I left, I'm ethically in the clear.


No, the moral argument here is that if someone attacks you, your response is justified. This has nothing to to with shooting random strangers.

Since we're going with WWII analogies, it's the xenocide is justified the same way the US justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki after some of the very bloody island battles of the late Pacific war.

Once again, there is no preemptive war in the book. In no situation is Ender the aggressor.
Life in a box is better than no life at all, I expect. You'd have a chance, at least. You could lie there thinking, "Well. At least I'm not dead."
-R&G are Dead

User avatar
Antimatter Spork
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 3:13 am UTC
Location: The third planet from the sun.

Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Sun Dec 28, 2008 1:50 am UTC

telkanuru wrote:You can't disagree! There's no room for disagreement! The conversation on that point is written in the book!

Many of the characters in Ender's game are unreliable, and many are predisposed to consider a military solution to any problem. I would no more trust Graff to tell me that negotiation with the Buggers is impossible than I would trust Bush to tell me that negotiation with the Iraqis was impossible.

If you agree that Ender is morally incorrect, what's the argument here?


The argument is that just because an action is morally incorrect does not mean the person who committed the act bears the full responsibility for it, or is morally guilty.

However, the acts were still committed and guilt is still present. Even an infinitesimal portion of the guilt of wiping out an intelligent species is still tremendous. Card is saying that Ender's crimes (murder, genocide) are forgivable (or that he is not guilty to begin with) because he does not know he commits them. This is refuted by the book. Ender does know that he commits terrible crimes (or at least suspects). And it doesn't make the people he killed any less dead just because Ender feels bad. I'm not saying Ender is as guilty as he would have been if he had possessed full knowledge of the situation, but he's far from innocent.

And if you think that murder is an appropriate or acceptable response to schoolyard bullying, I honestly don't know what to say to you.

I'm fairly sure I never said that, so thanks for the straw-man, but try again.

telkanuru wrote:With respect Ender's personal confrontations, in no case is that preemptive war. Ender does not seek out the confrontations. When a confrontation finds him, he wrecks the person. I agree that it's not morally correct, but it's coming from a much more primal Darwinistic base. Also, if you don't think the bullies are coming back after a fight, you've never been to public school.

You're excusing Ender's response as justified because he was attacked first. Would nuking the Middle East have been an appropriate response to 9/11? It's the same question, it's only a difference in scale. I would argue that Ender is still guilty of killing Stilson (or whatever his name was), and that a self-defense claim is unjustified. Ender had already successfully defended himself, won the fight, and humiliated his bully. However, Ender knows this (as we can tell from his internal monologue during the fight) and continues to attack anyway. This is unjustified aggression.

SecondTalon wrote:Ah, the hand-wave on that over-the-top attack was that Ender didn't know he killed the guy, which means he's somehow absolved of murder. In the same kind of logic that tells me it's okay if I shoot someone and walk away, because they were still breathing when I left, I'm ethically in the clear.


No, the moral argument here is that if someone attacks you, your response is justified. This has nothing to to with shooting random strangers.

So you believe that any response is justified from any attack? So if I punched you on the arm, you would have no problem killing me and my family as a response?

I think that even in cases of self-defense there have to be issues of scale. Murder is not a justifiable response to schoolyard bullying. Genocide is never an acceptable response to anything.
telkanuru wrote:Since we're going with WWII analogies, it's the xenocide is justified the same way the US justified Hiroshima and Nagasaki after some of the very bloody island battles of the late Pacific war.

I disagree with you that the bombings are justified. The second one certainly wasn't, and there is evidence that the Japanese were looking for a peaceful resolution before the first bombing. Even if we were trying to scare them by the power of our weaponry, we didn't have to use it on a populated city. There were purely military targets that were considered for bombing, but the US chose to target a city (and even one that hadn't been bombed thus far during the war) so that they could test how powerful their nuclear weapons were. But the details of the nuclear bombings aren't important to this discussion anyway, since we had other options open to us at that point in history than the characters of Ender's Game claimed to have with the buggers (though, as I said before, there is reason to doubt that they ever really tried very hard).
Albert Schweitzer wrote:There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.


Return to “Books”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests