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It's baffling that the same man who wrote the stories I loved can stand up and with a straight face tell everyone that gays aren't like us, and that gay marriage is destroying civilization.

He literally said that, at a reading I attended. After telling us about the power of stories and humanity, he veered into that as a total non-sequitur.




It's almost like the quality of art and the artist's character are not related...


This is what I tell people when they start telling me that they refuse to read his work, or pay for his work, etc.

But it's not like he's a painter; he tells stories of empathy, of understanding, of togetherness, of bridging chasms of understanding. He came up with the Hierarchy of Foreignness - he wrote stories of people emphasizing with insect hives, of aliens that have nothing in common with us, of people who suffer for others with no reward.

And yet, he can simultaneously see the other side of the Necker cube where two men kissing is somehow going to bring down America.

It's just... uncanny.


Do you ever wonder if he's just... I dunno, trolling us? Or performing some strange social experiment he'll write about at the end of his life?

I just don't understand how a man who wrote a book with such a thorough understanding of empathy can display so little of it in life.


I think it's useful to ignore the personal life of artists and just take the work at face value.

Surely a great many people who have accomplished amazing things are also deeply flawed (even reprehensible) humans.


I like to think of it the other way round --- look how good his books are despite some of his frankly appalling opinions.

That said, and while I like _Ender's Game_ a great deal and think it's an excellent book, I did find an analysis once about how fundamentally it's about how fear and violence are the only appropriate actions when faced with the unknown; Ender may be sorry for what he did afterwards... but that's afterwards. Unfortunately there are so many half-baked essays about the book online I've been unable to find this again.

Do go and read Haldeman's _The Forever War_ as a counter to it, though. (It's also an excellent book.)


I've read The Forever War, and it was good.

Have you read the sequels? The Speaker for the Dead branch of the sequels; Ender goes on to do more than just feel sorry for the Formics, and other intelligences that humanity discovers. Arguably, he more than makes amends for the mistakes he and the rest of humanity make.


> gay marriage is destroying civilization.

That's silly of him. Even if you're a fan of family-values theory, he's got cause-and-effect backwards here. Widespread acceptance of gay marriage is simply the ultimate realization in these times of the sexual revolution that firmly took hold in the nation in the 1960s; if something is "destroying civilization", it's that larger cultural shift.


It's not baffling. The same anti-gay, pro-genocide themes are present throughout most of Card's novels and short stories.


Examples please.


Calling Ender's Game pro-genocide is a riot, but I guess if you didn't read the next 3 novels where Ender is trying to atone for his unwitting participation through an allegory on the book of Mormon, it works. There's Pastwatch which is so pro-genocide that it has a future civilization go back in time to inoculate the Americas against European diseases, and they successfully Westernize their technology just enough to make colonization moot. If I recall correctly in the Alvin Maker series, the main character sympathizes with the Native American population under pressure from alternate-history Colonial America. Let's see, what else...

There's that allegory on the Book of Mormon - the pure allegory, the Homecoming one, meh, might be worth scrutinizing the last bits when they actually get to their little promised land and there's fractious conflict? Betting no one really reads that stuff outside of Utah, though - I certainly can't believe I bothered. (It was a slow summer that year and my standards may have been low.) Anyway, moving on... I skipped most of the horror except for the Sleeping Beauty novel...

Oh! There's also the Songmaster stuff in which - in 1980! - had a homosexual main character who (while ultimately a tragic character) was treated with such human dignity and respect that Card had to fend off scathing criticism from his own church (and others') for doing so.

Orson Scott Card is like Atticus Finch and we're all reading Go Set A Watchman. If all we can find for either of these characters today is hate and loathing and calls to pirate books, what kind of a future are we really setting ourselves up for?


> Card had to fend off scathing criticism from his own church (and others')

This actually supports my hunch that Card has been pressured to make a public pronouncement of homophobic values, since the messages in the Ender series are largely subversive and pacifistic.

I'm not too familiar with the Book of Mormon, so any detail you care to share about the allegory would be appreciated.


Ultra-abridged version: The prophet sees a new, better way of living, gathers a few people to himself, gets rejected by society at large, and ultimately they wander off to the wasteland to found a city which will be a beacon to humanity by showcasing a more enlightened way of living.

That's the Homecoming series plot (complete with the voice of a guardian spirit / computer system that only a chosen few hear), the (extended) Ender's Game endgame, the Alvin Maker endgame, the Wyrms endgame, and you can see deep dark shadows of it in Pastwatch and Treason, among others. Oh, and you can see clearly that the unfinished series that Lovelock is going that way to boot.

It's not a bad tale, but the variety's a trifle lacking.




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