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Old 01-13-2011, 01:51 AM   #61
jhempel24
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So I've read a couple of the articles that are linked above.....actually stopped reading the Sympathy for a Superman article, it seems obvious to me he didn't even read the book, or at the most just skimmed it.

The biggest flaw I see in all of these articles is that they gloss over most of the book and nitpick on certain paragraphs, which do NOT make up the sum of the novel.

YES they try to create sympathy or him, he's EIGHT! People seem to forget that these kids are NOT teenagers, they are SIX to EIGHT.

Is he exonerated from the act that he did? NO! He's persecuted for his actions, and goes to live in exile!

When being told that the thing wasn't a "game" and he sent someone to kill hiimself, and destroy a world, he was mortified! People seem to forget that the bigger picture was the government manipulation rather than the acts of the kids.

I think the Creating the Innocent Genocide was well written, but it seems the author of the article only wants to see small instances in an otherwise bigger picture.
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:41 AM   #62
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I think the Kessel essay leans a little too much on what he sees at the "intention-based morality". He cites it over and over again but provides only a small amount of evidence to back that up as the main thrust of the book.

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Throughout Ender’s Game, we are urged many times to judge a character’s actions not on their effect (even when that effect is fatal) but on the motives of the person performing the action.
But he only really offers a couple of points to back up this very, very large claim that this is practically the entire theme of the book.

Ender is portrayed as good, but not really good. I think Valentine is the only one that I can point to as truly good; and that's mainly because she is presented as a side of Ender.

Ender is ruthless when he is moved to conflict (normally by being pinned into a psychological corner of some sort) - overly ruthless. The adults purposely keep the results of his battles from him - the same way they would do with the simulator - in order to keep this ruthlessness of purpose. If he was actually to see the repercussions of his actions, he would probably cease to be quite so ruthless, because unlike Peter (as portrayed in Ender's Game only..ignoring the other books), he has a heart (like Valentine).

There's a good and evil thing going on here - Peter portrayed as Ender's dark side, and Valentine as his good side. It's pretty clear that the adults want a mix of both. The good side that lets you be a good leader, and the dark side that they need for the ruthless sort of war they feel they need, after two devastating invasions.

I think Kessel over argues Ender as a hero, and inadequately backs up his premise that Card is presenting an intention-only based morality.

For some reason this discussion makes me think of the documentary "The Fog of War" in which Robert McNamara, amongst many other things, discusses the devastating firebombing of Japan during WWII. Moral or immoral? Things aren't quite so simple. In war, one is both a hero and an immoral killer. I think that's the same kind of theme Ender's Game is striving for.

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Old 01-13-2011, 03:23 AM   #63
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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.
Ender says, "I thought I was playing a game. I didn't know it was the real thing. But...if I had known the battle was real, I would have done the same thing. We thought they wanted to kill us." The adults didn't keep him from knowing it was real because they didn't think he'd be devoted to the cause of killing; they kept it secret so he wouldn't be distracted by thinking the "games" had a directly important goal.

I'm not expecting to convince anyone here of my understanding of the themes in Card's books; I'm mentioning bits of them, and pointing out that I'm not alone in those interpretations.

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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.
He openly advocates overthrowing the government for allowing my friends to be married.

He may be a sweet guy in person, but he wants to cause a lot of misery for a lot of people I care about, for reasons that are founded in pseudo-science and his own religious convictions.

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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 read them. They're even more heavily moralistic, sex-phobic, and lacking in values I'd like to encourage.

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I don't see any hidden agendas with his works, it's all black and white and in the open.
I don't think it's got hidden agendas. I think it's firmly based in a morality that's directly opposed to my lifestyle. I think his RL politics are also firmly based in a morality that's directly opposed to my lifestyle.

I don't wish the man any ill; I just won't contribute to the success of someone who (1) preaches from ethics I don't want promoted and (2) tries to insist that his concept of family is the only one that should be allowed to thrive. (Also, there's that "overthrow the gov't" thing, insisting that I should be angry and threatened by my friends' marriages.)

I don't boycott every author I run across who's been a jerk, or said something bigoted, or votes Republican, or whatever. But someone who exhorts people to activism that directly affects several of my closest friends? I can't support that. Can't buy the books new and give him royalties; can't buy them used and let bookstore owners think they're popular; can't suggest that friends read them.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:39 AM   #64
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Ender is initially seen as a hero and very quickly is seen as someone who committed genocide. Ender feels an enormous amount of guilt for what he did even though he did not conciously (sp) know what he was doing. His nightmares and sleeping problems seem to indicate that subconciously he knew what was happening.

And I am not certain that Ender did the wrong thing. I don't think that the Queen was going to move away from Earth or other planets because she had a drive to colonize and spread her race across the galaxy. Ender can safely allow her to hatch and develop only because he knows that humanity has spread far enough and grown enough that it can protect itself from the Queen and her spawn. Is it genocide when you wipe out a species that has tried to wipe you out twice? It is not like Ender was raised and trained to kill whatever aliens that humanity encountered. Ender was trained to wipe out an enemy that had tried to wipe out himanity twice. Not because they hated humans or there was a political dispute but because they needed space to grow and expand.

What is really interesting is that Bean knew what was happening pretty early on. He never told Ender or anyone in the Jesh and kept on doing his job. Bean would have willingly killed the Queens and every living Bugger but he is somehow portrayed as sympathetic.

I love how Peter and Bean are developed in the Shadow books. You get a much better feel for Peter as he grows and becomes the Hegemon. Peter has that ruthlessness and a real desire for power that can be dangerous. Once he figures out that he was not selected for Batte School because he was too dangerous but because Graff realized that Peter was needed to do what he would do on Earth, Peter's entire persona begins to shift. The Shadow books show how much Peter craved knowing that he was as loved and respected as Ender was by his parents and Graff. It is fun to watch.

Graff and Mazer continue their manipulation of the Battle School kids in all of the Shadow books. They are pulling strings left and right because they realize that what they created has such potential to destroy the world that they saved.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:57 AM   #65
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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.
Well, in the case of The Lord of the Rings, I am pretty sure that Tolkien had admitted that he included Christians Themes within the story. As for the examples... Obviously simple good and evil is not a clear example since that is an extremely common trope in high fantasy stories. But here are a few that seem clearer to me.

Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo each can be regarded as a Christ figure. I can't remember where I read it, but it has been suggested that Gandalf represented Christ the prophet, Aragorn Christ the King (who returns to establish his Just Kingdom) and Frodo Christ the Sacrifice. Each undergoes either a symbolic or in Gandalf's case real death and rebirth (Frodo actually undergoes two of them I think...).

There are hints through the books that the Ring did not come to Gollum, Bilbo or Frodo by chance. In other words, in some sense providence plays a role in the destruction of evil.

I could dig more out but you said you just wanted one or two .

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Old 01-13-2011, 12:14 PM   #66
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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.
I don't think that Tolkien denies Christian themes, rather he denies overt Christian symbols and allegories. Indeed, from what I have read he intended this work to develop a pre-christian world that was consistent in morality and belief with Christianity (in the same way Christians would hold that the Prophets of the old Testament held beliefs consistent with Christianity).

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Old 01-13-2011, 06:12 PM   #67
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Prof, yes it was interesting to see Peter start off as weak in so many ways and sort of grow into or become a ruthless effective Hegemon. Bean is curious because he's not entirely human, something Card explores. How can you not like a runt when he's not acting like Napoleon?

But am I the only one reading those books and thinking Achilles should not have lived as long as he did? Card did not give me enough understanding of how he could continue to charm so many people when there was a bus-load of better-known-quality Battle School graduates to work with.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:37 PM   #68
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I don't think that Tolkien denies Christian themes, rather he denies overt Christian symbols and allegories.
Actually he denied all of those in at least one published interview and never said anything later to retract or contradict it. I can't remember where or by whom it was published, it being a good 25 years since I read it, but I remember the denial quite well.

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Indeed, from what I have read he intended this work to develop a pre-christian world that was consistent in morality and belief with Christianity (in the same way Christians would hold that the Prophets of the old Testament held beliefs consistent with Christianity).

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I don't think this is correct at all. Tolkien lamented the fact that England, unlike Ireland, Wales and (to a lesser degree) Scotland, lacked a national mythology and it was this that he sought to (sort of) amend. In his search for inspiration he went in particular to Norse mythology and the Finnish Kalevala, which influences are very clear througout his works to anyone familiar with them. Neither, obviously, is Christian, but like all religions and mythologies they contain the themes of light vs dark, etc, etc. Because the theme can be so easily attributed to Christianity, Christians have attempted to claim LotR et al for their side for decades, but in fact there is no basis at all for doing so. Quite simply, all the evidence is to the contrary.
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Old 01-13-2011, 06:41 PM   #69
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Prof, yes it was interesting to see Peter start off as weak in so many ways and sort of grow into or become a ruthless effective Hegemon. Bean is curious because he's not entirely human, something Card explores. How can you not like a runt when he's not acting like Napoleon?

But am I the only one reading those books and thinking Achilles should not have lived as long as he did? Card did not give me enough understanding of how he could continue to charm so many people when there was a bus-load of better-known-quality Battle School graduates to work with.
I think Card ended up showing Peter as a strong Hegemon but not particularly ruthless. Bean was an interesting characteristic and I enjoyed the exploration of his being human or not. I thought it was well done and yet it is too easy to give Bean a pass for his willingness to participate in the battles after he knew they were real.

I got the impression that Achilles was able to lay out pretty complex plans that ensured that country X would be the new world power if they worked with him. He chose countries that were bitter about how they had been treated in the past and whose leaders were motivated by power and a strong inferority (sp) complex.
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Old 01-13-2011, 07:15 PM   #70
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I think Card ended up showing Peter as a strong Hegemon but not particularly ruthless. Bean was an interesting characteristic and I enjoyed the exploration of his being human or not. I thought it was well done and yet it is too easy to give Bean a pass for his willingness to participate in the battles after he knew they were real.

I got the impression that Achilles was able to lay out pretty complex plans that ensured that country X would be the new world power if they worked with him. He chose countries that were bitter about how they had been treated in the past and whose leaders were motivated by power and a strong inferiority (sp) complex.
Just on a side note, I can't stand the Achilles character :/ I think he's the reason I'm having a hard time pulling myself through the Shadows of Hegemon...
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #71
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Well, in the case of The Lord of the Rings, I am pretty sure that Tolkien had admitted that he included Christians Themes within the story. As for the examples... Obviously simple good and evil is not a clear example since that is an extremely common trope in high fantasy stories. But here are a few that seem clearer to me.

Gandalf, Aragorn and Frodo each can be regarded as a Christ figure. I can't remember where I read it, but it has been suggested that Gandalf represented Christ the prophet, Aragorn Christ the King (who returns to establish his Just Kingdom) and Frodo Christ the Sacrifice. Each undergoes either a symbolic or in Gandalf's case real death and rebirth (Frodo actually undergoes two of them I think...).

There are hints through the books that the Ring did not come to Gollum, Bilbo or Frodo by chance. In other words, in some sense providence plays a role in the destruction of evil.

I could dig more out but you said you just wanted one or two .

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Well, I did ask I don't remember ever reading Tolkien admitting deliberate Christian themes, but can't say categorically. Themes of prophecy, sacrifice, rebirth, providence, and higher forces are as old as ... well, let's just say older than Christianity. (I did have more written here, but such discussion really belongs in the Politics and Religion forum.)
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Old 01-13-2011, 08:27 PM   #72
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Just on a side note, I can't stand the Achilles character :/ I think he's the reason I'm having a hard time pulling myself through the Shadows of Hegemon...
I don't particularly like the shadow series much ... they're okay, but that's all. The introduction on my copy of Ender's Shadow says that Card was surprised how many younger readers enjoyed Ender's Game. I think he took the wrong message from that and wrote this new series specifically for younger readers - I feel they are more patronising and less thought provoking. Not that they are that bad, but in comparison to Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead they will always be poor seconds.
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Old 01-13-2011, 11:14 PM   #73
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Seeing as we're already pulling away from the OSC references as we jump into Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.....

I usually hate the retrospective analysis of fantasy tales in this manner - not because I don't like people drawing a deeper meaning from books than the plot they provide, but because it tends to warp enjoyment of those books for newer readers.

I would classify myself an atheist but that does not mean I would not use Christian, Mormon or even Satanic themes in art that I produce whether that's a story, poetry, song etc... It doesn't mean I'm being preachy or forcing a religion down someone's throat. It means that those themes are useful to me in providing the work of art.

Taking C.S. Lewis for example, it seems quite harmless to me that he would use Christian mythology to create a fantasy tale. As a child reading the stories I didn't see the connection and even though I can now (with everyone shoving it down my throat how could I not), it just seems to be an interesting basis for a fantasy story. I haven't ever bothered to find out what he had intended with these stories and I do know he provided more obvious and deliberate Christian literature, but to me it just doesn't seem that relevant.

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Old 01-14-2011, 02:37 AM   #74
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Seeing as we're already pulling away from the OSC references as we jump into Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.....

I usually hate the retrospective analysis of fantasy tales in this manner - not because I don't like people drawing a deeper meaning from books than the plot they provide, but because it tends to warp enjoyment of those books for newer readers.

I would classify myself an atheist but that does not mean I would not use Christian, Mormon or even Satanic themes in art that I produce whether that's a story, poetry, song etc... It doesn't mean I'm being preachy or forcing a religion down someone's throat. It means that those themes are useful to me in providing the work of art.

Taking C.S. Lewis for example, it seems quite harmless to me that he would use Christian mythology to create a fantasy tale. As a child reading the stories I didn't see the connection and even though I can now (with everyone shoving it down my throat how could I not), it just seems to be an interesting basis for a fantasy story. I haven't ever bothered to find out what he had intended with these stories and I do know he provided more obvious and deliberate Christian literature, but to me it just doesn't seem that relevant.

Regards
Caleb

I read CS Lewis for the first time last year, without knowing about the whole Christian overtone. And I got it, boy did I get it....the Christian overtone is shoved down your throat in the books LOL.

Now, back to Ender and the Shadow series....I had a hard time with it because I had a hard time dealing with the kids as military powers, I don't know why, it just seemed really far fetched, maybe because it was on Earth and not in Space where they were controlled.

I loved Enders Shadow, that was a great book, but last few just kind of fizzled out and I really had a hard time reading them until towards the end because I did get kind of attached to the Bean character and Petra.
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Old 01-14-2011, 03:56 AM   #75
mjhudston
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
There's absolutely no way that "Speaker for the Dead" is Fantasy. It's pure SF! What elements of the story do you consider to be Fantasy?
We are not going to agree on this HarryT, because to me it definately is not "Pure Sci Fi". To Quote OSC himself "Sci-Fi has Rivets, Fantasy has trees", now Considering one of the main plot lines of Speaker for the Dead is about an indigenous species and their religious worship of trees, I feel that the enders game series stopped being Sci-Fi from Speaker for the Dead onwards.

In a later book, a major plot line is a girl who religiously follows the lines of grain in a wooden floor.

The only Sci Fi element I really find in these books, is that they are set on another planet. That for me is not enough!.

Even the origional Endersgame short story (Not the novel), could be considered nothing but a war movie. After all it was set on planet earth, in a building, not a space station like the Novel.

Its not what I would call True Sci Fi.

Having said that "Enders Game" is my favourite book, and I have enjoyed the complete Enders Shadow series as well.
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