Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Sun Dec 28, 2008 10:11 am UTC

Man, maybe I just don't consider the story in those terms.

I think of it as the story of a man who has a particular philosophy that involves ending another's ability to hurt him, one he gets sick of but never ditches entirely. Whether or not OSC subscribes to such a preservationist idea seems irrelevant to me because I don't see the book itself as necessarily endorsing it.

Nobody is really condemned in those books for anything terrible, or even for being selfish or closed-minded (Grego, Nimbo, Marcao, Graff, Chamrajnagar, Bishop Peregrino, not to mention all of the Battle School children who freely kill for political reasons in the Shadow series). Strangely enough, the only real scorn I see in the series is directed toward the Calvinists near the beginning of SFtD for judging actions rather than intentions.

However, it's fair to say that the author gets off on each main character's infallibility (really just anybody who's "smart" enough), pretty much excusing anything they do because it always ends up being the correct thing.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Chfan » Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:06 pm UTC

Okay. I have my answer. Can a mod either lock this or change the title to "Orson Scott Card"?
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:09 am UTC

Hey, that's the formula:

1) Orson Scott Card book.
2) The book's philosophy.
3) Orson Scott Card's philosophy.
4) Jokes about gay-bashing.
5) Repeat steps 2-4.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:05 am UTC

Chfan wrote:Okay. I have my answer. Can a mod either lock this or change the title to "Orson Scott Card"?

Eh, just because You being the I in the question doesn't meant that someone else being the I in the question wouldn't find this thread useful.

The I no longer refers to you. It's now the Universal I.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:20 am UTC

Clumpy wrote:Hey, that's the formula:

1) Orson Scott Card book.
2) The book's philosophy.
3) Orson Scott Card's philosophy.
4) Jokes about gay-bashing.
5) Repeat steps 2-4.

Here, let's summarize the rest of the thread: OSC is a good storyteller with crappy views on morality and politics which he gets progressively worse at keeping subtle the further he gets from Ender's Game.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:27 am UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:
Clumpy wrote:Hey, that's the formula:

1) Orson Scott Card book.
2) The book's philosophy.
3) Orson Scott Card's philosophy.
4) Jokes about gay-bashing.
5) Repeat steps 2-4.

Here, let's summarize the rest of the thread: OSC is a good storyteller with crappy views on morality and politics which he gets progressively worse at keeping subtle the further he gets from Ender's Game.


That's not a concrete rule. He has the hero flushing out embryos in the Shadow series and has a bunch of gay characters in his fiction who are fully developed, both aberrations for a dogmatic Mormon writer. Seems the word on the street is that he was a douche in Empire, but I haven't read it.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Chfan » Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:10 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Chfan wrote:Okay. I have my answer. Can a mod either lock this or change the title to "Orson Scott Card"?

Eh, just because You being the I in the question doesn't meant that someone else being the I in the question wouldn't find this thread useful.

The I no longer refers to you. It's now the Universal I.


Thank you, now I don't have to check this thread anymore...
Just FYI, the guy isn't avatar isn't me. But he seems pretty cool.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:36 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote:That's not a concrete rule. He has the hero flushing out embryos in the Shadow series and has a bunch of gay characters in his fiction who are fully developed, both aberrations for a dogmatic Mormon writer. Seems the word on the street is that he was a douche in Empire, but I haven't read it.

I know he's anti-abortion, but I suspect that, like many anti-choicers, he has a bit of cognitive dissonance going on when it comes to in vitro.

As for his gay characters, yeah he has them, but they're often portrayed in homophobic ways. For example, there's that guy in the homecoming series (or whatever it's called) who marries a woman and makes babies because godthe mind reading space computer says so.

Also he believes that gay marriage means the end of democracy in America.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:42 pm UTC

THE GAY AGENDA

Step 1: Legalize Marriages For Same Sex Couples
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Destroy Democracy.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 7:36 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:
Clumpy wrote:That's not a concrete rule. He has the hero flushing out embryos in the Shadow series and has a bunch of gay characters in his fiction who are fully developed, both aberrations for a dogmatic Mormon writer. Seems the word on the street is that he was a douche in Empire, but I haven't read it.

I know he's anti-abortion, but I suspect that, like many anti-choicers, he has a bit of cognitive dissonance going on when it comes to in vitro.

As for his gay characters, yeah he has them, but they're often portrayed in homophobic ways. For example, there's that guy in the homecoming series (or whatever it's called) who marries a woman and makes babies because godthe mind reading space computer says so.

Also he believes that gay marriage means the end of democracy in America.


Ha - it's my understanding that "Rome fell" because of homosexuality. I guess there was just so much gay around that everybody started fighting and pretty soon just about everything was on fire. You know how it happens.

I've heard that from more than one person (though without the sarcastic spin), all hateful old ladies, admittedly a subsect of humanity from whom OSC tends to take more than his share of opinions. But I thought that the gay character Zdorab developed more of a close, professional friendship with his "wife" - though they eventually had children it wasn't like OSC tried to "cure" the character or anything like that. It was more of a close human connection in a bigoted culture.

I'm actually LDS myself, and I can say for myself that OSC is something of an aberration - he lives in and goes to school in Utah, then moves away because he dislikes the prevailing culture (all while occasionally writing squeaky-clean books for LDS audiences, as well as edgier LDS-themed work like the incredible Lost Boys). Then he gets way more self-righteous about modern neoconservative issues than the average Utahn, while insisting on a Democratic affiliation. Every so often he writes an essay so open-minded and well-reasoned that you have to think he's almost schizo, such as his comments about the Reverend Wright [manufactured] controversy:

Spoiler:
Orson Scott Card wrote:Reverend Wright made some outrageous comments, but keep some things in mind:

1. He is of a generation of black Americans who have every right to be angry and unforgiving. Just because white America would like to be forgiven does not mean African-Americans are obliged to do so.

2. He was speaking in a black church to a black congregation, not acting as spokesman for a presidential campaign.

Let's dispense with the "G-- d--- America" line first. He's a preacher. He can use the word "damn" and it isn't swearing. He can invoke the curse of heaven when he feels it's appropriate. I don't like that he said it or why he said it, but when a preacher damns something, it's different from other people saying the same words.

I was bothered by the "Jesus was a black man" line. Jesus most assuredly was not a black man, he was of the people living in Palestine in the first generation of Roman occupation. They're not black now and they weren't black then.

But then I remembered all the pictures of Jesus I grew up with -- the light brown hair, gently waving down to his shoulders, the white white skin -- and I realize that for centuries, white Christians have reimagined Jesus as a German or Belgian. Why shouldn't blacks have the same privilege?


So - what do you think? Is OSC a reasonable man at heart who says some crazy, shortsighted things sometimes, or a shortsighted man with his moments of lucidity?

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:36 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:2. Build landing strips for gay Martians?

I swear to God!

Now stop calling me Stuart.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Mon Dec 29, 2008 8:53 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote: But I thought that the gay character Zdorab developed more of a close, professional friendship with his "wife" - though they eventually had children it wasn't like OSC tried to "cure" the character or anything like that. It was more of a close human connection in a bigoted culture

advocating that gay people should just pretend that they are straight is a pretty homophobic position. Repressed sexuality causes (and has caused) a lot of problems. For instance: the Republican party.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:00 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:
Clumpy wrote: But I thought that the gay character Zdorab developed more of a close, professional friendship with his "wife" - though they eventually had children it wasn't like OSC tried to "cure" the character or anything like that. It was more of a close human connection in a bigoted culture

advocating that gay people should just pretend that they are straight is a pretty homophobic position. Repressed sexuality causes (and has caused) a lot of problems. For instance: the Republican party.


Yet the character doesn't really heal until he finds somebody who accepts him and sympathizes with the abuse laid upon him by the system. The fact that they obviously live in a corrupt system has quite a bit of influence upon him staying underground. It's not like OSC is saying "Yeah, that's right! Parade them in front of the town and kill them and you'll drive the rest underground!"

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:03 pm UTC

Assuming you're straight...

Think of your best male friend. The one you've actually had long conversations with, gotten through a lot of the macho bullshit and actually discussed your inner thoughts and feelings, your outlook on life, and so on. Imagine spending a decade or more living with them, and your relationship being just as strong, if not stronger.

Are you gonna fuck him, or what?

That's the argument that Card's putting forth, basically. That even a gay dude will totally bang a chick if he's around her long enough, and they're all nice and close and friendly.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Mon Dec 29, 2008 9:14 pm UTC

Clumpy wrote:Yet the character doesn't really heal until he finds somebody who accepts him and sympathizes with the abuse laid upon him by the system. The fact that they obviously live in a corrupt system has quite a bit of influence upon him staying underground. It's not like OSC is saying "Yeah, that's right! Parade them in front of the town and kill them and you'll drive the rest underground!"

OSC supports and endorses driving Gays back into their closets and underground. He thinks that all gay people should just shut up and pretend to be heterosexual because God says so.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

Well, keep in mind that I haven't read the book for awhile and don't remember the specifics of the story, but Shedemei was fairly asexual as well and their relationship was definitely not one of passion. (Keep in mind that after listening to your comments I'm more open to the idea that their coupling was some kind of veiled endorsement of driving gays underground. It's definitely true that he tries to build the relationship into sort of a "soulmate" thing, which isn't necessarily impossible in reality, as far as I know, but probably shouldn't be delved into too much by writers who don't have any personal experience being gay or some very close collaboration with people who are.)

In a question answered by OSC on his site Card gives a little more info on the significance of Zdorab:

Spoiler:
QUESTION:

I am a gay man who has loved your books since I was introduced to Ender's Game in middle school. Your stories have provided me with the passion to write and I am currently hard at work on my first novel. My question is in regards to the Homecoming series. Zdorab is a gay man that lives his life the early part of his life in shame, but, once away from the gay culture, spends the rest of his life content to be married and love his best friend Shedemei. Were you trying to make a statement about gay culture or homosexuals in general and what relation does that have to the priest that rapes Ilihiak in Earthborn?

-- Submitted by Gregory Hambrick

OSC REPLIES: - May 12, 2000

Zdorab was not intended as a general statement -- he was a specific character brought into a closed society where reproduction was at a premium. Since many men self-identified as gay have nevertheless fathered children, and many have close friendships with women, this did not seem an unreasonable way for Zdorab to respond to the situation in which he found himself.


I always saw their relationship in those terms - "a specific character brought into a closed society where reproduction was at a premium" - rather than an endorsement of any particular type of behavior in our or any other society. After all, the characters in his story still live in a patriarchal society. Sure, he's not waving the banner of gay rights (not something he would do anyway, of course), but doing what he always does - writing characters according to his understanding of how somebody would behave in a given situation. Now, he might be insensitive or ignorant (and that without even going into his personal statements), but I think that's a pretty consistent answer.

Whenever a writer or scientist deals with an issue, there will always be those who feel he/she should take part in some sort of activism, to use their position to push society forward. Granted, any professional may incorporate that function into their work (and, admittedly, I often respect them more when they do as long as it's transparent), but there's something to be said for just writing a story, no matter how much a douche you may be off the printed page.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:04 pm UTC

Yeah, but being a good storyteller doesn't make you any less douchey and pretending that it does is kinda dumb.

Also, any writer's biases are going to show up in their works, at least implicitly (that is, the universe of the story will function according to the author's perception of reality). This is why some books seem odd to people who have belief systems that conflict with the author's. The Homecoming saga is an especially good example of this, since it's pretty much the book of mormon in disguise (or so I've heard. I can't say that I've read the book of Mormon). Still, issues like the thinly-justified marriage of extremely young children (because Godspace computer said so) and the implication that being Gay is something that should be hidden/repressed makes me a bit uneasy (not to mention the morality of Ender's Game and Card's other work, which I've talked about earlier in this thread).

Our stories reflect our society. There's no escaping this, and, especially in Homecoming, Card's not really even trying. The ugliness of his views definitely shines through in his work.

Of course, I love his books anyway and thoroughly enjoy reading them anyway (though I haven't picked up Empire or the War on Christmas book yet, and I doubt I will).
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:52 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:The Homecoming saga is an especially good example of this, since it's pretty much the book of mormon in disguise (or so I've heard. I can't say that I've read the book of Mormon).


His series is based on the Book of Mormon in ways that pretty much only LDS people would recognize, much in the way that "The Lion King" is based on "Hamlet." He went a little further by using similar names to the characters in the Book of Mormon, pretty much just confusing the heck out of Mormons who have heard these stories since their youth because it almost comes across as alternate timeline fanfic. Other than a desert journey (with some kind of psychic space satellite as a placeholder for God) the actual story and ideas are really quite different.

Your other points are taken.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Dec 30, 2008 2:05 pm UTC

Clumpy, quoting Orson Scott Card, wrote:Zdorab was not intended as a general statement -- he was a specific character brought into a closed society where reproduction was at a premium. Since many men self-identified as gay have nevertheless fathered children, and many have close friendships with women, this did not seem an unreasonable way for Zdorab to respond to the situation in which he found himself.

Ahh.. it may just be more of a guy knowing just enough about a culture to really, really say something offensive without realizing what he's doing.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Rufaellie » Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:29 pm UTC

Personally I like Orson Scott Card's works. I disagree with some of his characters, but that's what I love about it. They force me to think about the situation. "Wait, that can't be right..." And then I either dsicover it is or I figure out more about the reason why that isn't right. It's not always fun reading fiction I agree with 100%, unless it's Alice In Wonderland.

For instance, you have Ender deciding that if he doesn't finish the fight with the bully at school (and we see a repeat of this in battle school) it will just come back next time. If that was me I'd probably help the guy up afterwards or not get in the fight at all, make a friend out of an enemy. But that begs the question of what if the bully is just an asshole. Can you beat him in a fight every time? This one I thought about a lot, and still do, but I like to think for the majority of people on this planet that behind any assholery (classholery?) there is a good, decent person. But my thanks have to go to Card for forcing me to think about it and question my beliefs.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby cmd » Wed Dec 31, 2008 3:56 am UTC

Ender's Game is awesome.

Other books were okayish.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:03 pm UTC

Your username and avatar is strangely hilarious.
While I almost removed this for being completely off-topic, I'm instead going to be a dick.

You either want to replace the word is with are, as you are talking about two separate subjects (username AND avatar).. or you want to change the two into adjectives by adding in the word combination, for example.

Your username and avatar are strangely hilarious.
or
Your username and avatar combination is strangely hilarious.

Subject/Verb agreement, yo.

-ST

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Cleverdan22 » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:44 pm UTC

Read it. Especially Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. Great, great series. One of the gorram best I've read in my life.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby BlackSails » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:29 am UTC

I dont get all the hate on Empire here. Yeah, its not one of his better books, but the point behind the book is not "watch out for liberals raising a secret army" but "Watch out for people seeking to turn America into Rome"

Besides that, I think pastwatch was his best book.


On the morality of Ender: There is nothing too evil or too low to not consider when defending your entire race. Quite simply, it is morally reprehensible to not be willing to delve to any depths to assure survival of humanity. In Ender's Game, we had been attacked twice by a more advanced species. After the first assault, they came back, this time with the clear intent of razing Earth. Iirc, a single ship broke through the Earth Armada and killed a few hundred million people in China. Should we have waited for the third wave, and perhaps sacrifice a few billion people this time? And then the fourth wave, which perhaps would have extinguished our species?

On Ender fighting bullies: He was attacked by an older, stronger, better trained attacker with the intent to kill him. The ONLY thing Ender had going for him in the fight was his fighting spirit. He had a choice to kill or be killed, and choosing to kill in that situation is not good or evil, its simply amoral, much like the decision to eat waffles instead of cereal for breakfast. He did not choose to start the fight, only to finish it.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:49 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
On Ender fighting bullies: He was attacked by an older, stronger, better trained attacker with the intent to kill him. The ONLY thing Ender had going for him in the fight was his fighting spirit. He had a choice to kill or be killed, and choosing to kill in that situation is not good or evil, its simply amoral, much like the decision to eat waffles instead of cereal for breakfast. He did not choose to start the fight, only to finish it.


The guy was unconscious and his gang was backing off. Ender's choice was kill or walk away from a fight that was already over.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby SecondTalon » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:25 pm UTC

What Elderberry said. When you beat an opponent into surrender - even if it's the surrender of death because they refused to give up.. that's one thing.

When an opponent is in no position to surrender (because they're unconscious) or they're backing off and you press the attack to finish them off... that's a complete other thing.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:13 am UTC

Clumpy wrote:So - what do you think? Is OSC a reasonable man at heart who says some crazy, shortsighted things sometimes, or a shortsighted man with his moments of lucidity?

How about a smart and insightful observer who had the misfortune to be given clouded lenses by a religious upbringing? I think he's brilliant, but saddled by an unwavering faith in implausible stories.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby darwinwins » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:24 pm UTC

don't give that nutjob any money. buy his books used. and skip the bean books.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:41 pm UTC

darwinwins wrote:don't give that nutjob any money. buy his books used. and skip the bean books.

If he writes books you like to read, what's wrong with compensating him for his work? You aren't supporting his politics or religion by buying his sci-fi novels.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby icenine » Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:37 am UTC

Ender's Game always appealed to me when I was younger, but now I find myself liking the Shadow series more. EG just seems more simple now - or maybe I already know the storyline by heart.

And I've given up waiting for the movie, even though it seems to be progressing a little. (I'm sorry if this is offtopic :? )

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby darwinwins » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:57 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
darwinwins wrote:don't give that nutjob any money. buy his books used. and skip the bean books.

If he writes books you like to read, what's wrong with compensating him for his work? You aren't supporting his politics or religion by buying his sci-fi novels.

um ... i'm not entirely sure you understand the flow of commerce.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:37 am UTC

Clumpy wrote:Your username and avatar is strangely hilarious.
While I almost removed this for being completely off-topic, I'm instead going to be a dick.

You either want to replace the word is with are, as you are talking about two separate subjects (username AND avatar).. or you want to change the two into adjectives by adding in the word combination, for example.

Your username and avatar are strangely hilarious.
or
Your username and avatar combination is strangely hilarious.

Subject/Verb agreement, yo.

-ST


Well, at least I can quote a locked post...

When I was referring to cmd's username and avatar, I was referring to it as a single unit, much in the same way you might say something like: "A shave and a haircut is two bits" rather than "are two bits".

Naturally, to avoid the grammarian fifth-grade teacher's red pen mess I stumbled into here I should have said something like "Your username/avatar combination is strangely hilarious." Eh - that's not the best way either.

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Clumpy
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Clumpy » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:44 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Clumpy wrote:So - what do you think? Is OSC a reasonable man at heart who says some crazy, shortsighted things sometimes, or a shortsighted man with his moments of lucidity?

How about a smart and insightful observer who had the misfortune to be given clouded lenses by a religious upbringing? I think he's brilliant, but saddled by an unwavering faith in implausible stories.


Well, that's a loaded statement. If his faith informs his work you can't pick and choose the bits you don't like as evidence of his intellectually-toxic upbringing. His self-righteousness in movie reviews or tendency to turn against some of his favorite works when the artists involved say something he dislikes (among other things) has as much to do with human nature as anything inherent to Christianity or Mormonism.

Still, I can't help but notice little LDS-influenced bits from time to time, most notably in Xenocide and the Alvin Maker series, though he usually distorts doctrine and culture beyond recognition in an attempt to make the story work rather than tableau his religion up on the printed page.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Dan Frank » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:08 am UTC

On the topic of Zdorab, I just wanted to say very briefly...

At no point does Card imply that Zdorab has finally come around to the straight man's way of thinking, or that he's decided to just suppress his urges and have sex with a woman.

He marries a woman to hide his sexual identity, true, and he plans on being her friend and talking to her and not having a sexual relationship. Later, when he sees how desperately his friend wants to have babies of her own, and realizes he wouldn't necessarily mind being a dad himself, he decides to try to conceive a kid with his friend. They don't have any turkey basters, so instead they have intercourse. He admits initially he doesn't know how many times he'll be able to bring himself to do it. After the fact, he says that he was sort of hoping to have a lightbulb moment and turn straight, but he didn't. Instead, he ended up having to fantasize about fucking one of his old boyfriends in order to actually reach orgasm.

I really don't see this as any kind of agenda or attack on homosexuality. I think you need to be looking for that agenda to find it.

On the other side of the coin, however, in the Shadow books a minor character who was apparently gay has a throwaway scene where he turns straight to have babies, and it feels very cheap and silly. Luckily, I feel it's easy to gloss over this section of the book (in fact, I'd missed the part where it's mentioned he was gay on my first reading).

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:23 am UTC

I don't remember much of the Shadow series beyond the first book.

In the Zdorab situation, the rationalization that "he had to pretend to be straight and enter a marriage that he could never really be in love because otherwise he would have been rejected from society/[insert rationalization here]" falls apart when you remember that the people he's with at the time are the only truly "good" people left on the planet (by Card's godspace-computer based morality).


And I wasn't looking for Card's anti-gay stance in his writing. I'm actually quite a fan of his work. It's just that I've reached the point where I can't read his works without being put off by the way his politics show through in his work (and also he's got a couple crazy anti-gay articles posted in various places around the net.)
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby ameretrifle » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:44 am UTC

Oh, THAT'S the other book of his I read. I don't remember any names, but if he's written two stories like that one, then I fear for his brain. Actually, the guy's wife freaked me out slightly more in that situation, what with her sudden need to have babies. If she had much reason for it other than there were too few people around, the colony had to survive, and all the other chicks were doing it, it's escaped my memory. To be fair, anything where the whole "Oh, we have a limited gene pool, all the women must get pregnant" trope comes into play freaks the living hell out of me. Anne McCaffrey did one too, and I was equally squicked. Being a female who'd prefer to remain childless at the moment probably has something to do with that, though I maintain that the loss of choice in such a scenario should scare ANYONE.
Dan Frank wrote:On the other side of the coin, however, in the Shadow books a minor character who was apparently gay has a throwaway scene where he turns straight to have babies, and it feels very cheap and silly. Luckily, I feel it's easy to gloss over this section of the book (in fact, I'd missed the part where it's mentioned he was gay on my first reading).
Yeah, that was the real WTF moment for me. It just... made no sense, on so many, many levels. To hell with the philosophy, it didn't make sense for his character, the characters who were apparently listening to this rambling, or the plot. Am I misremembering this? Isn't it this guy and this conversation that precipitate the decision that causes pretty much all the conflict in the rest of the book? By which I mean
Spoiler:
Doesn't Bean reconcile himself to having kids after that dude's nonsensical ramblings about genetic destiny or whatever?
Anyway, whether I misremember or not, it was still just way too surreal a conversation for me to just gloss over. Your mileage may vary, of course.

I do not believe in extramarital affairs, but that poor girl he married... I always hoped devoutly that she had something going on on the side, because that nutbar wouldn't be much fun to live with even if he weren't gay and insistent on impregnating you so he could be a father himself instead of just raising your kid. EVERY reason he cited for marrying her was exclusively about him. Oh, and he was so PROUD of himself for managing to have sex with her! I mean... just... what the fuck? It was some of the weirdest shit I've ever read.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Antimatter Spork » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:30 pm UTC

That's pretty much what I'm saying. The Homecoming saga has a lot of Card's religiopolitical opinions showing through.

And yes, "everyone MUST HAVE BABIES" is kinda creepy in that the society that Card sets up is heavily patriarichal and just generally weird.

also
Spoiler:
wait, Bean was gay? I completely missed that part.
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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby ameretrifle » Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:58 am UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:also
Spoiler:
wait, Bean was gay? I completely missed that part.
No,
Spoiler:
he just had an issue about not wanting to risk having kids with the same genetic alterations as him. Because, while it makes you smarter, it also dooms you to an early death. Petra does want kids and keeps trying to talk him into it. Then they have that weird conversation with the nutcase, which apparently convinces them to get the crazy doctor who toyed with Bean's genes in the first place to make embryos for them and select only the normal ones to be implanted. Naturally, the dude is totally lying, and blah blah intercontinental hunt for the villain blah blah whatever.

Though I'm sure there are people out there who think he's gay. I have observed enough fangirls to virtually guarantee it.

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Re: Should I get into Orson Scott Card?

Postby Okita » Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:It's just that I've reached the point where I can't read his works without being put off by the way his politics show through in his work (and also he's got a couple crazy anti-gay articles posted in various places around the net.)


I'm a bit curious as to how many have read OSC's political articles on the internet. I've read the Ender's Game series and Shadow series multiple times and somehow I fail to see the extreme pressing of a political agenda but then again, I haven't paid much attention to what OSC writes outside of fiction. Nor do I really care. Well, the anti-abortion shows up in the Shadow series but I think it's more complicated than "Abortion = bad!" Anyway, I wonder if people have had their opinions of the books spoiled by the political attributes that they attribute to OSC. Kind of a personal question of mine as to whether knowing an author's personal agenda can irretrievably ruin a book.

The books post-Ender's Game (ie. Xenocide/ Speaker for the Dead) tend to focus on different themes than the Shadow series. The way I tend to see it, Ender's Game has a bunch of different aspects wrapped inside which is why so many people can like or dislike it over a period of time. In fact, depending on the experiences a person has had since a prior reading, they can actually develop a dislike or better appreciation of the book with a subsequent reading. Specifically, Ender's Game contains deals with Sci-Fi Battles, Strategy/Psychology, Xenocide, Morality, amongst others. The ramifications of Ender's actions spin off into the Speaker for the Dead part while the battles/ strategy & psychology head in the Ender's Shadow direction.

So personally, I like the tribulations of Bean because of the whole Global Strategy thing going on which is vaguely space-opera like but not really in space. There are other themes too but I kind of gloss over them.

On Bean + Anton + Gay/Abortion
Spoiler:
When Bean goes to talk to Anton, it's basically outright said that Anton is gay. Supposedly during the first two Formic Wars, governments encouraged homosexuals who were entirely focused on their work to be focused on their work in order to propel the human race forward. Basically, it relates to the 1 child per family thing and the unilateral focus on the external threat (the Formics). The argument is that since Anton takes a wife later on, it's an anti-gay agenda because he was gay but eventually due to X reasons, marries anyway. And when you throw in OSC being anti-homosexual and anti-abortion then I suppose it becomes an overarching agenda that is hard to stomach. But I think there's another theme there, which is the theme that convinces Bean to finally have kids.

Bean doesn't want to have kids due to the genetic deformity they might have. He's also convinced he's a selfish person. Anton points out that really Bean is full of love because he loves the children he hasn't had yet so much to want to prevent them from having the pain of giantism that Bean has. The question then is "What good would it do to love his children as much as he already did, if he never had those children?" It's sort of anti-abortion except that when he does have the kids, Bean is entirely willing to kill the embryo's that he thinks have Anton's Key turned. You can attribute it to Bean having to be with a woman like Anton. But the way I see it is that Anton's basically pushing a "You should have kids somehow in some way" agenda on Bean. Ie. As a human, we all strive to be a part of the Human Race. The best way to do that is through children. That's why Anton is getting married to a woman to whom he has no sexual desire. He still is a part of the human race through raising that woman's children (who already exist) and by using his pension to help them. Anton also adds a hope to have his own biological children implied through in vitro. Again, the point is that you can't be a part of the human race unless you add to it through children.

I think if you have to really force an OSC anti-gay marriage agenda anywhere, it's that he doesn't really consider the idea of having Anton be with a gay guy and raising kids or having a kid through the magic of future science. But it's not as flagrantly awful to me given that the point of talking to Anton isn't about pointing out the merits or demerits of gay-marriage but the merits of being a part of the human race through children and the focus on children in general which pretty much covers most of the rest of the series. Actually most of the Ender's Shadow series in general.
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