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Old 01-01-2011, 11:58 PM   #1
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Orson Scott Card and his Mormonism

My favorite author is Orson Scott Card. I liked him for a long time before finding out that he is Mormon and there are Mormon themes in many of his books. I would never have guessed, though I did notice (and appreciate) that he did have some religious characters portrayed well (not all that common in science fiction).

Here is an excellent interview where OSC is asked about the Moemonism in his writing: http://mormonartist.net/issue-13/orson-scott-card/

I loved his perspective on the topic and it explains why I've been able to appreciate his writing without ever being particularly fond of Mormonism

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Old 01-02-2011, 01:05 AM   #2
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Thanks for the link, that was interesting.

I enjoy a lot of Orson Scott Card's writing. Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead stand out for me, and some of his short stories are quite stunning. I can't say I've ever noticed anything particularly "preachy" in his books, certainly nothing more than you see from pretty much any other author.

(I'm afraid his standing as an author suffered a decline with me: waiting for him to finish Alvin Maker, among other reasons. But that doesn't take away from just how good he is when he's at his best.)
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:26 AM   #3
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Nice article. One part I really liked was what he had to say about academia killing literature.

I've only read one of Card's books, which was "Ender's Game". I didn't notice any LDS preaching in it, though there was some mention of God. It certainly wasn't propaganda...

...as far as propaganda, there have been some who claim that "Ender's Game" is a work that's sole purpose is justification of Hitler. I think some of those people may want to collaborate on a book and call it "Godwin's Game".
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:38 AM   #4
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I loved Enders Game and went no further with that series. Maybe the other books are good but I thought that book ended perfectly and I didn't feel the need to go further.

I read the Alvin Maker books but although I found them readable, I don't think they impressed me enough to rave about them.

I didn't really feel like Mormonism came out in any of those books. Although admittedly I have no real background in the Mormon religion.

However, I did read The Lost Boys which used a Mormon family and community as characters/setting. I didn't find the constant Mormon references too stifling although they were pervasive.

In any case, I sometimes enjoy experiencing a story through the eyes (and beliefs) of people quite dissimilar to myself.

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Caleb
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:03 AM   #5
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I loved Enders Game and went no further with that series. Maybe the other books are good but I thought that book ended perfectly and I didn't feel the need to go further. ...
I am perhaps getting a little off the topic intended but ... I agree that Ender's Game ended well. Speaker for the Dead is ostensibly a sequel but, aside from re-using two characters (Ender and his sister) and borrowing Ender's Game as their now far distant background, it is really a completely new story and completely different in it's feel to Ender's Game. I think this book is truly excellent science-fiction, every bit as good as Ender's Game but very different. (But I would recommend stopping there, Xenocide and subsequent novels I found disappointing - at least in comparison to these two such remarkable books.)

Actually I guess you could argue that Speaker for the Dead is very much on topic here, since religion definitely shows up as a strong element of the story, but I found it an essential and well managed part of the story.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:16 PM   #6
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I think his mormonism comes out most in _The Lost Boys_. I still enjoyed the story though. What bothers me more is his Libertarianism.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cearbhallain View Post
I think his mormonism comes out most in _The Lost Boys_. I still enjoyed the story though. What bothers me more is his Libertarianism.
If anything, Card is anti-Libertarian.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:19 AM   #8
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I think his mormonism comes out most in _The Lost Boys_. I still enjoyed the story though. What bothers me more is his Libertarianism.
Well, considering the main characters in the books were Mormons (according to the blurb, I've not read that one), it seems likely that some mormonism would appear. I think I'd almost be disappointed in the book if it didn't.

Care to explain what you mean by "his Libertarianism" in more detail? I can't say I've noticed anything much in his writing that would mark him as any more or less Libertarian than many other science fiction and fantasy writers ... but then I've probably read less than half of what he has written.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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What I liked about his answers was that he tries to be true to his characters and story. He has characters that portray values completely opposite to those he holds -- as he's far more interested in telling a good story with his fiction than prostletyzing for his own personal religion. He says that fiction is not a good place to talk about his faith. I found that very interesting.

Of course, his own world view is going to come out in his writings, just like every other author.

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Old 01-03-2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Even the setting in the Lost Boys didn't bother me.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:00 PM   #11
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I have not read Lost Boys so I cannot comment on that particular story. I have read many of his other works, Alvin Maker, Enders Game, The Shadow series, Speaker of the Dead, and The Homecoming Series (The Memory of Earth ect). I would not have known that he is Mormon except that I read about it. I know that Ender's parents were Mormon and Catholic but that was about as close as I could have come to figuring anything out from his stories alone.

If anything, I would have said he was Catholic because of Sister Carlotta in the Shadow series.
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Old 01-03-2011, 03:31 PM   #12
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I've read many of Card's books, but never knew he was Mormon until I read Folk of the Fringe. Great collection of short stories, but many (all?) were based around Mormon culture or had Mormon protagonists. The setting and religion of the characters didn't bother me any more than other religious characters in fiction, but the Amazon reviews make it seem like it's propaganda. I didn't think it was preachy, but it's been a while since I read it.
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:50 AM   #13
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I liked "Ender's Game"; I remember reading the original novella in Analog way back when, liking it a great deal then, and being very happy to discover later that it was expanded into a full book. But I'm afraid Card lost me with his virulent homophobia. I won't read him now.
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Old 01-04-2011, 02:49 AM   #14
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I liked "Ender's Game"; I remember reading the original novella in Analog way back when, liking it a great deal then, and being very happy to discover later that it was expanded into a full book. But I'm afraid Card lost me with his virulent homophobia. I won't read him now.
Yeah, he's VERY anti-homosexual. It's made me not want to support him financially, but I love Ender's Game, the Shadow books are good, Speaker for the Dead is pretty good. Not a huge fan of Xenocide.

I was baptized a Mormon (whatever RLDS is now) - I'm not a fan though. I've been agnostic bordering on atheist since my teenage years - I never really got it or felt anything like some of my family.

I thought his strong religion came out a little the second time I read through the Shadow books. He came out a bit strong on some "family matters most" themes as well as some of Bean's character development that seemed a bit unlikely to me in the end.

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Old 01-04-2011, 05:14 AM   #15
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... But I'm afraid Card lost me with his virulent homophobia. ...
Come on people, you can't say something like that and leave me hangin'. Which of his novels give you that impression? (I'm sitting here trying to work out whether it's from books I've not read, or whether I am really thick and totally missed this in his books - some of which I've reread only recently.)
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