Five Reasons Why Orson Scott Card is (Not) Losing Fans

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Five Reasons Why Orson Scott Card is (Not) Losing Fans

Postby Beyond Birthday » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:28 pm

This is inspired by the general style of the articles of Cracked.com

The Ender's Game movie is set to release sometime in 2012, coinciding, symbolically enough, with the supposed end of the world. By now most people are aware that the author of the book the movie's based on is incredibly homophobic and has more screws loose than a screw...factory (shut up).

Expect petitions from Gay Rights activists and even more petitions from the same people who considered Watchmen unfilmable. But, what if Orson Scott Card isn't sabotaging himself?

5: Orson Scott Card is an insanely good writer.

Whatever political party you belong to, whatever beliefs you hold dear, the fact of the matter is that Orson can write and he can write damn well.

Except when it comes to Iron Man.

So the man has won several awards and has topped the New York Times' best seller list half a dozen times. So, if your average joe is thumbing through his/her local library (Americans do go to the library. Shut up.) chances are they'll pick up the book that has the 'Hugo Winner' stamp on it.

Either that or another Star Wars 'Expanded Universe' novel.

4: Most Americans are homophobic.

Most Americans are, at least, secretly homophobic, and not in the 'two dudes kissing makes my slightly uncomfortable' way, either. So you hear about this Orson Scott Card person and how he really, really hates gay people and also that he's considered one of the best Science Fiction authors ever, even by those dirty birdy Democrats!

The weird thing will be when they start reading Dune and watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while quoting Asimov. Who knows, by 2042 the next Bill O'Reilly could end up looking like George Lucas.

He'll still hate gay people, though.

3: History tends to gloss over the politics and personalities of its authors.

Quick! What's the first five things you think about when you hear the name H.P. Lovecraft? Probably terrible merchandise and some of the scariest shit ever written. Now, how many of you remember how racist the actual person was? Would it have stopped you from reading his books? No, not really.

That's the funny thing about authors: their work is always judged seperately from the actual person who wrote it (except Hitler) and, if it's as well-written as Ender's Game or The Hobbit, will outlive the author by centuries. Of course, like Cthulhu , it'll eventually get merchandised to death.

2: Orson Scott Card sounds way too insane to be taken seriously anyway.

Remember how I said that homophobes would love hearing that Orson Scott Card also hates gay people? Well, Orson also said that he'd be more than willing to start a Civil War if gay marriage was ever legalized.

To any homophobes reading this right now, I have to ask you this: Civil War? Seriously? You'd be willing to risk the lives of yourself, your friends and entire family just so you won't have to see a gay wedding for all of one second on TV before changing the channel in digust? Really?

Of course this doesn't really hurt Orson all that much because crazy people have a history of being extremely talented...when they don't turn out to be serial killers or serial killers that other serial killers or...okay, well, that's bull but most people seem to innately think that crazy equals crazy talented, and Orson has crazy in spades.

Now all he needs to do is cut off an ear.

1: People have died waiting for the Ender's Game movie.

We've all been waiting for an Ender's Game movie since the days when Star Wars was cool. Even now I'm sure there are at least a thousand republicans and democrats waiting for this thing to come out and internet movie reviewers ready to tear it to pieces if it isn't perfect. There are those out there who claim they won't see it because the money will go to a man who donates large amounts to an anti gay marriage organization but you know, deep down, you'll go see it.

Because if there's one thing were good at here in America it's apathy. Now if you'll excuse me I have to not donate to the 'Save Cute Puppies' society.[/i]
Last edited by Beyond Birthday on Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Quatermass » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:16 pm

Point 3: I do know that Lovecraft was racist. But then again, Nigel Kneale dissed Doctor Who and Blake's 7, and yet, not only do I enjoy his Quatermass serials, but I took his character's name as my own on the internet. And you have to realise that Lovecraft had a Jewish wife who, I heard, rebuked him for his racism on more than one occasion.

The work of a writer can be judged as independently as possible from his views. Lovecraft's time was a more racist time anyway.


Point 4: I admit to being mildly homophobic myself. I don't hate LBGT people per se, rather, I feel that if a gay man propositioned me persistently, I would react rather violently. But I also feel that LBGT people do deserve their rights, particularly to live the lifestyle they wish. Certainly, I would have no trouble with having a gay friend, as long as they knew that I was off-limits.

Still, people like Fred Phelps take homophobia to a bloody art form.


Point 2: Seriously? He would start a civil war if gay marriage were legalised? Yep, that's crazy in a box with a side order of fries. Though given the religious homophobic nutbags in the US, somehow it wouldn't surprise me if it happened. If Orson Scott Card teams up with Fred Phelps to start a civil war over this issue, that's the day I buy a gun to shoot myself with, because humanity has officially gone down the crapper.


Should I chuck out my copies of The Abyss and Ender's Game? :?
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:49 pm

Quatermass wrote:Should I chuck out my copies of The Abyss and Ender's Game?


Is there anything in Ender's Game that is Homophobic or insults homosexuals - I can't think of anything but its years since I've read it?


Out of interest would you react equally violently if a woman propositioned you persistently?
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Postby Tonyblack » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:04 pm

I've had friends who were gay, both male and female. Believe it or not Q, they don't have sex on their minds all the time and they also tend to respect my sexual preferences. They aren't interested in trying to start a sexual relationship with someone who isn't interested. I have no idea why people should think they would.

Having a gay male friend is no difference to having a straight female friend or a straight male friend. It's perfectly possible to have a friendship without even thinking of sex.
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Postby Quatermass » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:15 pm

Doughnut Jimmy wrote:Out of interest would you react equally violently if a woman propositioned you persistently?


Hmmm, good question. I'd have to say that it is a possibility. Dunno about equally violent, but if I was being pestered to do something I didn't want to, well, I could snap, badly. The end result would be the same, with me ending up in prison for assault and/or GBH. In all likelihood, though, in a realistic assessment of both situations, I probably would run away from the propositioners before the potential violence began. I'm being perfectly honest here.

BTW, I haven't actually read more than the first couple of chapters of Ender's Game. I have read The Abyss, but can't remember any possible homophobia.
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Postby Quatermass » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:43 pm

Tonyblack wrote:I've had friends who were gay, both male and female. Believe it or not Q, they don't have sex on their minds all the time and they also tend to respect my sexual preferences. They aren't interested in trying to start a sexual relationship with someone who isn't interested. I have no idea why people should think they would.

Having a gay male friend is no difference to having a straight female friend or a straight male friend. It's perfectly possible to have a friendship without even thinking of sex.


I know, I know, I'm sorry that I brought it up. I was just trying to be honest about what is really an unreasonable paranoia, rather than true homophobia. I actually have no reasonable problem with being friends with someone of any orientation. The actual problem is that I can count my proper friends on one hand only, and I have no desire to make any more. Sad, isn't it?



....


Okay, so let's get back on topic. Or rather, find a related topic: should authors try to be careful about how their views influence the way they write? You have Orson Scott Card, HP Lovecraft, Ayn Rand (oh, dear, GAWD, Atlas Shrugged was awful) and of course, L Ron Hubbard. Opinions?
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Postby poohcarrot » Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:09 am

If a gay man tried to hit on me, I'd feel flattered. :D
Then politely decline. :P
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:40 pm

I've been reading Card for more than 25 years, and although I was aware of his Mormon background, I really wasn't aware of his politics, particularly his anti-gay stance.

It's too bad, because his best books are about people (usually boys or young men) who are "different" and are often treated harshly by militaristic or intolerant societies. Most of his early (and best) books dealt with these themes with great sensitivity.

Clearly, he's gone off the deep end politically, which often happens when you get older. Then again, he hasn't written anything worth reading in years.
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Postby deldaisy » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:01 pm

With ANY group of people (or race or creed) you can't generalise.

I have gay friends who have never hit on me. Then again I have straight men friends who have never hit on me. I would think it strange if my male partener had no female friends, and its a deal breaker if any prospective partener insinuates that I can't have male friends.

I also know gay men who are crap at interior design and fashion. :lol:

There are some writers who use their art to try to subtlely influence their audience (I do not like Ron L Hubbard and in fact his Dianetics book is the only book I have ever flushed down the toilet).

There is one psychologist who writes best selling books on how to raise boys who unless you did your research thoroughly, you would have no idea that he also runs very expensive "camps" where the homophobic rich send their gay teens to be "reprogrammed. No idea what his name is.

If you are a racist through and through how can it NOT be an influence in your books?

Can you really seperate the author from the work? Or do you read the book without researching who the author is and thier views (presuming you can find that info). I have read books and couldnt care less who the author is..... Classics and best sellers generally expose who the author is. I admit that after hearing something gross about an author it colours thier book on a second reading or when reading a new book (if its really bad I don't rush to read their new book... plenty of other fish int he sea).

Can you read "Mein Kamf" (?) without knowing WHO Hitler was and what he did? I think not.

Didn't we discuss all this once before?

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Postby Quatermass » Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:15 pm

Well, wonderful.

And for my next trick, I will put my other foot in my mouth. :|
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Postby raisindot » Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:27 pm

deldaisy wrote:If you are a racist through and through how can it NOT be an influence in your books? Can you really seperate the author from the work?


Sure you can. It's entirely possible for a writer, purely for the sake of commercial viability, to write a book, article, speech or anything else that represents a certain point of view that is totally the opposite of the writer's real-life views. If this weren't true, advertising copywriters wouldn't exist. :D
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Postby Doughnut Jimmy » Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:27 pm

raisindot wrote:
deldaisy wrote:If you are a racist through and through how can it NOT be an influence in your books? Can you really seperate the author from the work?


Sure you can. It's entirely possible for a writer, purely for the sake of commercial viability, to write a book, article, speech or anything else that represents a certain point of view that is totally the opposite of the writer's real-life views. If this weren't true, advertising copywriters wouldn't exist. :D


But can they write a good book that resonates with their audience that way?
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Postby Beyond Birthday » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:24 am

Wow. I didn't think the post went through. Here's my opinion on what's been said so far:

Q: Should I throw away my copy/not read Ender's Game?
A: No, you shouldn't. If you already have a copy then, unless you can get your money back for it (and buy a used copy later, that way the author doesn't get any money from it), read it. I cannot stress this enough. I never actually finished the book (I made the mistake of finishing Ender's Shadow, which told the same story from a different perspective) but it still remains one of my favorite books ever and really got me into reading along with the Harry Potter series.

Q: Is Ender's Game homophobic?
A: Not unless it goes in that direction for the last hundred or so pages. I mean, sure, there are no gay characters but I wouldn't call it homophobic. I did hear, though, that the fourth book in theShadow series has Anton (who is, apparently, gay) marry a woman and have several children so make of that what you will.

Q: Would Ender's Game have been as good if Orson wasn't the way he was/is?
A: Not directly asked but this seems to be the elephant in the room. I'm going to say no. Yeah, while it is bad form for an author to, say, have his characters give long-winded speeches about things that have nothing to do with the plot or make the main character Jesus with a different name you can make work inspired by your life/moral code work. Hell, that's what authors do all the time! Star Trek was created based on one man's view of a culturally evolved humans, Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms, from what I heard, draws from a certain political view about guns and still manages to be awesome, etc. etc..
If you read a few interviews Peter Wiggin, Ender's brother, is based on Orson's brother, who seems to have been somewhat of a psychopath.

I mean, if you put Ender's Game into a machine that stripped out every ounce of influence Orson's life had on it, then you'd be left with a story where generic characters say what the machine deems 'politically correct', none of the slang terms would be present, and the unique psychology of the characters would be lost.

It would be completely stripped of its soul. You see, Orson isn't a hack writer, he knows how to reign himself in (most of the time) when it comes to putting in his own personal views into a work, and even when he doesn't he doesn't just shove in pointless speeches, he makes these elements an integral part of the story (the whole thing about procreation in the Shadow series).

Q: But can they write a good book that resonates with their audience that way?
A: You mean if Orson Scott Card wrote a book praising gay people in the hopes of getting more gay readers? No. I think that even if Orson Scott Card tried to rite a 100% pro-gay book it'd still come off as false because, for him, it would be like a pacifist trying to understand a soldier: no matter how hard the pacifist tries to be civil and nice you can sense her/his teeth gritting the whole way through.

Besides, if the author is doing her/his job right then you'll at least be able to enjoy the story even if you don't enjoy the opinion it gives. EVA by Phillip K. Dick, for example: preachy as all hell but the story is good enough that you can still plow through it. If it was some kind of cold construction made to appeal to republicans then you'd sense the eerie unpleasantness of it all and find the various holes that the author doesn't know exists because it isn't actually his opinion.
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Postby deldaisy » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:31 am

raisindot wrote:
deldaisy wrote:If you are a racist through and through how can it NOT be an influence in your books? Can you really seperate the author from the work?


Sure you can. It's entirely possible for a writer, purely for the sake of commercial viability, to write a book, article, speech or anything else that represents a certain point of view that is totally the opposite of the writer's real-life views. If this weren't true, advertising copywriters wouldn't exist. :D


:lol: :lol: True! I am going to buuuuuuuuurn in hell......
(guess who used to write advertising copy)

Bit different from a book though you have to admit.
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Postby Quatermass » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:14 am

deldaisy wrote:
raisindot wrote: If this weren't true, advertising copywriters wouldn't exist. :D


:lol: :lol: True! I am going to buuuuuuuuurn in hell......
(guess who used to write advertising copy)

Bit different from a book though you have to admit.


Well, I think if that's the case, poor Terrance Dicks would be going to hell. :(
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