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Old 01-12-2011, 04:56 PM   #46
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Conversations gain their own lives. I was actually hoping to discuss OSC's views on how he handles his views. Whether it's OSC or any other author. I really thought he had interesting things to say.

1. He doesn't even WANT to discuss his religion via fiction because he thinks his religion is too important.

2. He has copied Mormon plot lines and story lines the way some folks have copied Homer. And not just the book of Mormon, he's also copied Shakespeare. It's not about prostletyzing.

3. He tries to be true to humanity, to his characters. He has characters say and believe what such a person really would. It's not a display of his own religious conviction in every character. He's actually gotten flack from Mormans because he's written characters who's value system are antithetical.

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Old 01-12-2011, 05:12 PM   #47
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Has anyone ever read orson scott cards book "saints"? It is a fictionlized version of the beginnings of the mormon faith and I enjoyed it, though I'm not a mormon. Honestly whatever his personal views I didn't really feel like the book was preaching mormonism to me or anything like that.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:23 PM   #48
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1. He doesn't even WANT to discuss his religion via fiction because he thinks his religion is too important.
I think that is an unfortunate viewpoint. Not that religion is important but that some how its importance means it is an unsuitable subject for fiction. Sometimes, I believe, things are so important that they are difficult to say -- at least in a way that others will be open to -- that the only way to really say them is in fiction.

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Old 01-12-2011, 06:14 PM   #49
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While I might agree about Ender's Game, I think it is pretty clear that J.R.R. Tolkien deliberately layered Christian/Catholic themes into The Lord of the Rings. He was being more subtle than his friend C.S. Lewis was, but not so subtle that a bunch of them can't be found without looking very hard. ...
How do you distinguish deliberate versus being a result of a person's own set of values, or values they believe are appropriate for the story? With Tolkien I was mainly thinking of accusations about how the war effected his work, but the main deliberate layering of anything I see in his writing is the deep background in language and the evolution of it (and society). I don't need a dozen "Catholic themes" examples, but one or two that tell me this was a deliberate act rather than just personal values feeding a story could be interesting.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:26 PM   #50
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Any traditional fantasy story featuring good vs. evil or light vs. dark can be interpreted as having Christian theme, if one wants to interpret it that way. I'm betting the same goes for pretty much any book of any length - look closely and you'll find something that can be interpreted in a religious way. Tolkien always maintained that neither the war, nor religion featured deliberately in his work and I see no reason to doubt him.

C. S. Lewis on the other hand meant his stories to have Christian themes, so subtlety or a lack thereof didn't enter into it.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:47 PM   #51
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I gave up buying Card's books after reading Yonmei's 5-part essay, Dissecting Orson Scott Card. A writer's personal failings may not be reflected in his art, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give money to homophobic bigots even if I like their art. (And I started to question his art; his sex-phobic approach to storytelling was obvious once I got past the angst of the individual characters and looked at the societies in which they lived.)

I actively seek out info about authors whose works I love; if I think they're despicable people, I don't want to be supporting them. I don't feel better by keeping myself ignorant of people who are working to destroy families I care about.

I reconsidered the content of his books after reading Elaine Radford's essay, ender and hitler: sympathy for the superman (20 years later).

And I stopped reading him entirely, and stopped recommending his books, after running across John Kessel's Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality. I hit the realization that these are not ethics I want to support, don't want to expose my children to while they're young. Kessel points out,
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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.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:09 PM   #52
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Thanks for the links! Kessel's essay is especially lucid, though I don't agree with every point nor even your concern over Ender's morality. And, wow, Kessel dissects thoroughly.

Stepping back for a moment, Ender saved the human race. We'll never know if it was the only way to do that. Later dialog with the queen bugger do not make it clear to me there ever was another way. Yes, Card goes to extreme lengths to generate sympathy for him. But at the same time he is indeed popularly known as the "Xenocide" later in history. I think Card gives enough balance in that description, how he becomes a pariah, a bogeyman, to say Card agrees intentions are not the end-all and be-all of morality.

You've got every right to control what your children read but I don't agree this series is so damaging on a moral level. Can't speak to Card's real-life phobias as I haven't studied the man's writing or interviews outside of his fiction. If homophobia or apologizing for Hitler show up in his fiction then it is too subtle or derivative for me to detect.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:26 PM   #53
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Thanks for the links! Kessel's essay is especially lucid, though I don't agree with every point nor even your concern over Ender's morality. And, wow, Kessel dissects thoroughly. ...
I liked your post ... but I can't agree that Kessel dissects thoroughly. His article is very much a matter of picking the pieces he wants and presenting them in the light he wants - and by saying so much that any thorough repudiation is going to take days and days of work. To claim "narrative’s sympathy is always and invariably on Ender, not on the objects of Ender’s violence" is to have totally missed the story - I think he was so busy reading the individual sentences he forgot to read the book.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:28 PM   #54
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Thanks for the links! Kessel's essay is especially lucid, though I don't agree with every point nor even your concern over Ender's morality. And, wow, Kessel dissects thoroughly.
That he does. There are other essays that go into Card's ethics and morality, mostly focused on his homophobia, but if I had to pick just one to recommend, it's Kessel's.

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Stepping back for a moment, Ender saved the human race. We'll never know if it was the only way to do that.
The issue for me isn't whether there was another way, but how this way was portrayed: with Ender as undeniable hero, despite (1) deliberately annihilating a sentient race when compromise was possible or (2) being duped by his legal and moral superiors into doing it for them. Neither act is heroic.

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You've got every right to control what your children read but I don't agree this series is so damaging on a moral level.
Probably not to most people; it's directly antithetical to many of my religious principles. It's sex-phobic, victim-blaming, and glamourizes ignorance as a state of purity. The more I considered the ethics portrayed in Card's books, the less I liked any of them. I fully understand that non-Pagans aren't likely to have nearly as many of their buttons hit.

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Can't speak to Card's real-life phobias as I haven't studied the man's writing or interviews outside of his fiction.
He thinks that if gay people are allowed to marry each other, straight married couples should rise up and overthrow the US government.

I wish I were exaggerating.

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If homophobia or apologizing for Hitler show up in his fiction then it is too subtle or derivative for me to detect.
I don't think he's a Hitler apologist, but I think Ender's story correlates strongly with Hitler's, and that Card denies it shows that he wants to believe that the victors have written the *correct* version of history. Hitler *believed* he was saving his homeland from an incomprehensible menace--just like Ender did. Like Ender, he was wrong about that. And while the public in the Ender series reviled him as "the Xenocide," we, the readers, are supposed to sympathize with him, are supposed to believe that since we know the *real* truth of what happened, we know that he's not an evil mass murderer. (We're also not supposed to think of him as a deluded figurehead pawn and consider Rackham and the government as evil mass murderers.)
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:40 PM   #55
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No thanks, I am happy with how I read the stories.
I miss it all too. Sometimes I think if you look hard enough, you can see whatever you want in a book. I just like the stories.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:44 PM   #56
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The issue for me isn't whether there was another way, but how this way was portrayed: with Ender as undeniable hero, despite (1) deliberately annihilating a sentient race when compromise was possible or (2) being duped by his legal and moral superiors into doing it for them. Neither act is heroic.
If you've read the books, you would understand that Ender never saw himself as a hero. He was exiled to another planet and hid himself under another name for 3000 years. That's hardly recognition of an undeniable hero
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:44 PM   #57
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He thinks that if gay people are allowed to marry each other, straight married couples should rise up and overthrow the US government.
wow I can't believe I just wasted a few minutes of my life reading that drivel. After reading that I don't think orson scott card will be getting another cent from me. I'll be too busy showing my "contempt" (his words from the article) for marriage by "cohabiting" with my boyfriend to read any more of his books.

This is why most of the time I prefer not to know the political views of authors I like! Ugh.
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Old 01-12-2011, 09:54 PM   #58
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:15 AM   #59
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wow I can't believe I just wasted a few minutes of my life reading that drivel. After reading that I don't think orson scott card will be getting another cent from me. I'll be too busy showing my "contempt" (his words from the article) for marriage by "cohabiting" with my boyfriend to read any more of his books.

This is why most of the time I prefer not to know the political views of authors I like! Ugh.
Leave the remainder of his books until he's dead - then you can enjoy reading them without him getting to enjoy your money.
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Old 01-13-2011, 12:39 AM   #60
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I gave up buying Card's books after reading Yonmei's 5-part essay, Dissecting Orson Scott Card. A writer's personal failings may not be reflected in his art, but that doesn't mean I'm willing to give money to homophobic bigots even if I like their art. (And I started to question his art; his sex-phobic approach to storytelling was obvious once I got past the angst of the individual characters and looked at the societies in which they lived.)

I actively seek out info about authors whose works I love; if I think they're despicable people, I don't want to be supporting them. I don't feel better by keeping myself ignorant of people who are working to destroy families I care about.

I reconsidered the content of his books after reading Elaine Radford's essay, ender and hitler: sympathy for the superman (20 years later).

And I stopped reading him entirely, and stopped recommending his books, after running across John Kessel's Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention, and Morality. I hit the realization that these are not ethics I want to support, don't want to expose my children to while they're young. Kessel points out,

I've got to COMPLETELY DISAGREE with what you have to say here....the biggest point is that Ender was manipulated into doing what he did under the ruse of a "game". He didn't "believe" he did anything, in fact, after that ending, he went and retrieved the "queen" and spent the next few books trying to re-establish their colony.

And I've met Orson Scott Card on a number of occasions and he's got to be one of the kinder authors I've met, and very down to Earth. I was the last person in line for autographs, and we spent a good deal of time talking. Far away from despicable....very very far away.

I will say that I do see alot of religious overtones in some of his writing, if you read the Homecoming series (I did not finish the first one) you will find that it's a Sci-Fi re-telling of the Book of Moromon, which he openly admits.

I don't see any hidden agendas with his works, it's all black and white and in the open.
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