|Orson Scott Card
Born: August 24, 1951
I have been avoiding writing this article, but it has to be done. It won’t be pretty.
Card’s novels are among the most beloved of science fiction and there is no way to overestimate his impact on science fiction readership; in middle schools across the continent “Ender’s Game” is a perenial English teachers’ favourite and the touching, heartbreaking, and valient story of Ender Wiggins often sparks a life-long love of the genre.
What sets Card’s writings apart from many other authors is his ever present theme around the greatness of the human spirit. It’s ability to overcome humankind’s most base aspects. Empathy and tolerance and love.
Which makes this writer’s political and “moral” beliefs that much more distasteful. No, too soft. Repugnant. Even nauseating.
Orson Scott Card is a homophobe of the first order.
I won’t cite all of his essays (often directed towards Mormon readers), his political affiliations, and public commentary on homosexuality; you can find them easily enough. For less “conservative” fans it’s hard reading. It was for me. And I came close to boycotting everything ever written by this man. And yet…
Whether he likes it or not, even if he knows it or not, his writings, from the Ender Series to “The Abyss” – virtually every word he has written in science fiction – advocates tolerance and acceptance for each and every individual, regardless of colour, creed, and (reading between the lines) sexual orientation.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite and if I had a stronger character I would cease reading what he writes and expunge him from this site. But I can’t. I feel somehow that his SF novels, so diametrically opposed to his religious/political stance, somehow say more than what he writes to other homophobes. That “Ender’s Game” and all of his other great books will have a greater impact, in the opposite direction, than his anti-gay rhetoric.
Years or decades from now I hope that someone Speaks for Orson Scott Card and explains this horrendous dichotomy. I certainly can’t.
Lisa K. Dec. 22, 2012
Reader Comment: Skeletons in the Closet
I will speak for Orson Scott Card (even though he may have a problem with that). I will also speak for every other hyper-talented misfit, eccentric and genius that may or may not have satisfied the expectations of others who consider themselves “normal”.
I wasn’t aware of this side of Scott Card. Nor will I look into his closet to see what skeletons lurk there. What I do know is that I admire his work and would still appreciate it had he written it from inside a prison cell or an institution for the criminally insane.
I did know about his religious beliefs and that should give a clue as to where much inspiration for fiction comes from. Some would go as far as to say that all of our collective stories have a common origin in biblical and other ancient texts.
The best fiction will contain an exploration of light and darkness. Just as with all artistic expression, life is portrayed with equal measures of exquisite beauty and the most depraved ugliness. The heroes and anti-heroes of mythology and the ones that emerge on the global stage are all slaves to the human condition, for better or worse. Can everyone evolve towards perfection or does a little darkness always need to exist so we can appreciate the light?
That said, if you’re a fan of the Alien movie series and the work of H.R. Giger, you’ll come across a similar problem, although much easier to point to. The guy screams Satanism from every pore, but Alien wouldn’t be as dark, disturbing or unique if were not for the artistic talent of Giger.
The world is a complex place and we may not like every aspect of it. The best we can do is to clean out our own closet and set an example for others. Just make sure not to base your world view too strictly on ancient rituals that are possibly in need of an update!
by Javier L. – Jan. 23, 2013
Ender in Exile (2008)
Ender’s Game (1985)
Speaker for the Dead
Children of the Mind
Shadow of the Hegemon
Shadow of the Giant
Shadows in Flight
The Crystal City
The Memory of Earth
The Call of Earth
The Ships of Earth
The Worthing Chronicle
The Worthing Saga