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Jul 12 2013

Orson Scott Card and Intolerance

I’ve been told by friends that Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a very good sci fi novel; I’d have no idea, as I’ve never read it. But I do know that Card himself is a bigot who has frequently spouted off ignorant nonsense about evolution and gay rights. But now he’s pleading for tolerance for his intolerance:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Very slippery wording, designed to frame the issue in a way that makes him look totally innocent and his critics as intolerant oppressors. But the problem isn’t that he merely disagreed, it is that he has said some truly vile things, as Towleroad points out:

Yes, the Full Faith and Credit clause will likely render state bans on gay marriage moot, eventually. It will not invalidate Card’s decades of hateful statements: that homosexuals are the products of abuse and rape and suffer from “tragic genetic mixups”; that homosexual acts should have remained criminal actions; that any government that would change the definition of marriage is his “mortal enemy” that he would act to destroy.

Basically he’s arguing that if people don’t spend their money to make his movie a success, they’re being “intolerant.” And that’s pretty damn stupid.

131 comments

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  1. 1
    asonge

    He was also a board member for NOM, who definitely made appeals for folks to boycott around this issue. Turnabout is fair play here, no?

  2. 2
    Chiroptera

    I’ve been told by friends that Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a very good sci fi novel; I’d have no idea, as I’ve never read it.

    You were told wrong. It may be considered a fair effort if it were marketed as a “young adult” book, but in no way is it very good.

    On the other hand, I stayed interested in continuing the story to the end because I wanted to see what the next test for poor Ender was going to be and how he was going to solve it. (That kind of puzzle solving thing interests me.) But I was never inspired to ever read anything else Card wrote.

    ‘Course it’s all subjective, and other people’s opinion are equally valid as mine, but I would never recommend Ender’s Game to someone who has standards for what they read. (I don’t.)

  3. 3
    Jasper of Maine

    I think I’d be willing to validly tolerate his invalid intolerance in the past, if he’d recant/apologize.

  4. 4
    dingojack

    Orson Scott Card redux:

    When you were tired, hungry, homeless, sick I said FUCK YOU!
    When you criticised my hatefulness I ATTACKED YOU, BRANDING YOU HATEFUL & AN ABOMINATION!
    Now I need something from you, uh… time to turn the other cheek?.

    I think we all know what response that deserves.

    Dingo
    ——-
    “Why watch a homophobe’s movie? Go see a musical. Supportt homosexual equality”.

  5. 5
    Chiroptera

    The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

    Actually, it will more likely be the Fourteenth Amendment’s guaratee of the equal protections of the laws (and may it’s guarantee of due process) that will do it.

  6. 6
    Stacey C.

    Yeah…Rebecca Watson read it recently and her review reminded me a lot of what I thought. A book about horrible people that you’re supposed to identify with. A bit like Atlas Shrugged. I’m sure the parallel is not completely due to coincidence but a certain shared mindset of the authors. (‘The I’m right and everyone else is fools’ attitude, for instance.)

  7. 7
    Martin Wagner

    I am an admirer of Ender’s Game (most of Card’s other work, not so much, to put it politely), and I make an effort to judge an artist’s work independently of individual failings. (ie.: Roman Polanski being a child molester doesn’t mean Chinatown isn’t a great movie.) But Card’s hypocrisy is so typical of religious entitlement it disgusts me far more than his homophobia, which I find so common in America I’m not even shocked by it any more. The whole “be tolerant” and “I’m the true victim here” attitude is something that makes my skin crawl like nothing else.

  8. 8
    Abdul Alhazred

    A well written book does not become less well written in my mind just because it is written by someone whose politics I detest. Evelyn Waugh for example.

    That said, Ender’s Game sucked. I thought so when it came out. It did not leave me wanting more. And I did not know Orson Scott Card’s then or until recently.

    Spoiler to save you the trouble:

    Kid in some sort of highly regimented future society plays video games to train him to kill the insectoid aliens besieging Earth.

    The “surprise” ending that you see coming a mile away is that he was really killing aliens all along. He finds this out after he destroys the alien home planet.

    That was the end in the original serialized version. When Card made it into a novel he added a couple of extra chapters with New Age shit like corplinx said.

    And Card even can’t write convincing dialog or create characters you can care about, either.

  9. 9
    RickR

    The website Geeks OUT put the money quote right at the top of their coverage on this-

    “The Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech but it does not protect your right to a blockbuster opening weekend.”

    Fuck this guy, and fuck his movie.

    http://geeksout.org/blogs/jono/geeks-out-responds-orson-scott-card-still-plans-skip-enders-game

  10. 10
    Amphiox

    I consider the sequel book and the series it spawned (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind) to be quite a bit better.

  11. 11
    John Pieret

    With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.

    Hardly. There are still 30+ states that won’t allow gay marriage. Neither the Full Faith and Credit clause nor a decision by SCOTUS that marriage inequality is unconstitutional are slam dunks, at least in the immediate future. Meanwhile, the discrimination continues in much of America.

  12. 12
    Kevin

    And once again, we see someone who does not discern the distinction between discrimination (ie, unreasoned hatred) and evaluation.

    Card is doing the former. We’re doing the latter.

  13. 13
    doublereed

    Yea I heard the film studio producing the Ender’s Game movie was in a serious bind because they really don’t want to let him talk, but on the other hand, they want him to promote the movie.

    I really liked Ender’s Game and the other books in the series. I don’t know what’s up with all the hatin’.

  14. 14
    Raging Bee

    Last night I saw a trailer for “Ender’s Game,” not long after I heard Card trying to get out of the trouble his bigotry had got him into, without actually apologizing or admitting he’d said anything wrong. “Coincidence” noted.

  15. 15
    rory

    I enjoyed the book, and I would like to see the movie, but then again, the fact that I want to eat Chik-fil-A on occasion doesn’t change the fact that I won’t give my money to bigoted assholes.

    The beauty of it is that with a movie there are ways to see it without putting a dime in Card’s pocket, so I imagine I’ll eventually avail myself of one of those opportunities.

  16. 16
    Raging Bee

    What bothered me most about the book itself is that it was so deterministic: Earth already had plenty of already-seasoned troops, recruits, hardware, know-how and firepower, but they still needed to find That Extra Special Kid and train him up to be a virtual warrior-god before they could actually win the war. And they all knew from day one (or rather chapter one) that Ender was The One, and that he was destined to win as prophesied. It kinda took the suspense out of the story, so I just gave up around one-fourth of the way through or so. And since then, nothing I’ve heard from anyone else tells me I was wrong to do so. Card is just not that good a writer.

  17. 17
    bcmystery

    It may be considered a fair effort if it were marketed as a “young adult” book, but in no way is it very good.

    How it is marketed would change nothing about its merit. Further, the notion that a bad book might somehow be considered a fair effort if marketed as “young adult” suggests you don’t know anything about young adult fiction.

  18. 18
    Chiroptera

    On the other hand, movies can be very different from the books from which they are made. Without naming them, I can think of a couple of movies that I thought worked better than the books (although I thought the books were still quite good).

    Still another question whether one wants to put money into Card’s pocket, though.

  19. 19
    davefitz

    I read the book as an adult and loved it. I was sad and angry to learn of Card’s disgusting views. And he really should have not said anything at all about the upcoming movie. This does nothing to quell the controversy. No apology, introspection or contrition. Just him being petulant, snarky and saying, “if you don’t see this, it’s YOU who is intolerant”. I was on the fence before, but this is too much. Eat shit, you lunatic.

  20. 20
    Irreverend Bastard

    Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

    To be fair, it is perfectly respectable to admit to being wrong, and then changing your mind when you know better. I don’t know if that’s what he’s doing, but I will not criticize him for having been a bigot, only for still being a bigot.

  21. 21
    Modusoperandi

    From what I understand they just redubbed To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. True story.

  22. 22
    Ray Ingles

    As I’ve said elsewhere, he can have my tolerance, but he can’t have my money.

  23. 23
    gshelley

    I’m curious as to what he means by “show tolerance” If he means “will not campaign so that people with their views can’t get married or adopt”, then I imagine there will be a lot of tolerance

  24. 24
    Martin Wagner

    Raging Bee: Card’s storytelling choice there makes sense in context of his Mormonism. I interviewed Card in 1985, and he talked about how to Mormons, children are as innocent and perfect as God. One of his favorite themes, in stories like Ender’s Game and Unaccompanied Sonata (with children as their protagonists), was the corruption of that very innocence by the evil world.

  25. 25
    Modusoperandi

    Abdul Alhazred “Spoiler to save you the trouble: Kid in some sort of highly regimented future society plays video games to train him to kill the insectoid aliens besieging Earth.”
    Publisher: “So, Orson, what have you got for me today?
    OSC: “I’ve got a tale about a kid who plays video games, but he’s really training to kill aliens.”
    Publisher: “So, basically The Last Starfighter, which came out last year, then?”
    OSC: “Yes, but it’s the future and the game is actually killing aliens.”
    Publisher: “Huzzah!”

  26. 26
    Randomfactor

    I won’t see it. Period.

    And I’m a big fan of SF (although I never did read Ender’s Game, and won’t now.)

  27. 27
    Reginald Selkirk

    The obvious compromise: they go ahead and make the movie, but rewrite it so the lead charater is gay.

  28. 28
    Cal

    I read Ender’s Game and the other books in that series as a young adult, and while they were OK, not something that stuck with me. I also read his Return to Earth series which is basically a rip off of the Book Of Mormon, and his Seventh Son series which “borrows” liberally from Early LDS church history. Both series “borrowed” so heavily that I actually kept checking the author comments at the end of each one to see if he mentioned this and that the books were actually his way of proselytizing. At about that time I started learning his views about LGBT people and even though I was not yet out, determined that he would never receive any more of my money. I do not think I am intolerant if I don’t pay to see his movie.

  29. 29
    dogmeat

    I kind of see Ender’s Game in the same vein as Atlas Shrugged and Lord of the Rings, as a teen I enjoyed all three, as an adult I find them all tedious and pedantic. At least LoR has Orcs to redeem it.

  30. 30
    John Pieret

    Oh, just to show that the issue is not moot, the Prop 8 proponents are back in court in California arguing that the Federal District Court ruling only applies to the two couples who sued or, alternatively, that it only applies to the two counties that were named in the lawsuit.

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/07/new-test-of-california-same-sex-marriages/

  31. 31
    kestra

    Ender’s Spoliers: If you read the scenes where Ender beats other children to death (twice!) carefully, you’ll notice what Card was really trying (and in my opinion, completely failing) to do with Ender. He was supposed to be an Innocent Murderer. If only the adults had intervened, those children wouldn’t have been beaten to death! In fact, the kids are their *own* murderers, because they provoked Ender into killing them, just as the Buggers provoked the human race into exterminating them. The victim-blaming in that book is exquisite.

    Unfortunately, despite the nigh-unbelievable grammatical and moral gymnastics Card engages in to keep Ender “innocent”, it just doesn’t hold together for me. If you beat someone to death, even by accident, just to stop others from hurting you in the future, you are still a killer. You right to be free from pain doesn’t trump their right to be alive. (Side note: eerie how much this theme resonates in the current trial of George Zimmerman, another supposedly “innocent” killer whose defense I don’t buy for a second.)

    A thorough essay explaining the Ender-as-Innocent-Killer idea and why it leads to a failed morality, can be found here: http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

  32. 32
    Synfandel

    I started to read Ender’s Game many years ago on the recommendation of a teenager who loved video games. I was no longer a teenager, had never been interested in video games, and couldn’t get into it.

    For a young adult novel of a similar ilk that’s better written, more enjoyable, and much more edifying, I recommend Only You Can Save Mankind by Terry Pratchett.

  33. 33
    Raging Bee

    Card’s storytelling choice there makes sense in context of his Mormonism.

    Lame novel ideas based on totally crappy theology.

    I interviewed Card in 1985, and he talked about how to Mormons, children are as innocent and perfect as God.

    First, how is a child “perfect?” (And if educating a child makes him less “perfect,” then your definition of “perfect” needs a major reworking.) And second, a child is “innocent” because it has absolutely zero power or understanding over any significant part of the real world. How is that a good thing for anyone? And what good is a god with those characteristics?

  34. 34
    Kevin

    Sounds pretty much exactly like the script from The Last Starfighter.

    Plagiarism, much?

  35. 35
    ehmm

    I’m sure I’ve enjoyed the work of plenty of creative people who I disagree with on any number of issues. What makes Card different is that beyond just having an opinion, he has dedicated his name, his time and probably no small amount of his wealth to endorsing an ideology that has caused needless suffering for millions of people.

    Ultimately, the only choice I can make as a consumer is where I spend my money. Impossible as it may be sometimes, I try to let as little of my money as possible end up in the pockets of scumbags. If Card wants to call me “intolerant” for not seeing his movie, he is entitled to do so and we can decide just how reasonable his criticism is.

    He’s still not getting my money.

  36. 36
    Chiroptera

    John Pieret, #30:

    I’ve also heard that people were making the argument that Judge Walker’s ruling only applies to the jurisdictions covered by the District Court of Northern California, which covers more than two counties but is still short of the entire state.

    I have no idea whether that particular argument has yet made into the paperwork.

  37. 37
    Kevin

    @30…that case is leakier than a dimestore sieve. The chances of the court hearing it are somewhere between zero and none.

  38. 38
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    The obvious compromise: they go ahead and make the movie, but rewrite it so the lead charater is gay.

    *shudder*

    You obviously haven’t heard about Card’s version of Hamlet. Suffice it to say, the fact that it has men who are characters in it who enjoy sex with other men? Does not make it a good or gay-friendly book. He depicts Claudius as a pedophile whose abuse turned Hamlet, Laertes, and R&G all gay.

    Please do not suggest that Card should ever write a gay character again. Just…no.

  39. 39
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    As I said elsewhere yesterday, OSC isn’t just an ordinary everyday bigot. Oh, no.

    He’s the Utah State Fair 10-time Champion Blue Ribbon Bigot, with a 3-year-running Best In Show medal.

    He’s managed to limbo under the bar set by the Mormon Church in general.

  40. 40
    aaronbaker

    One can only hope that John Scalzi treats Card with the same respectful tolerance he accorded Kirk Cameron:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/03/07/speech-and-kirk-cameron/

  41. 41
    Drolfe

    Kestra (at 31):

    The victim-blaming in that book is exquisite.

    And as with all of Card’s work (apparently) its main premise is intent IS magic.

    So, defenders of the Ender series: what about it is good? I’ve read the first two around ’91, and couldn’t stomach more (despite being a teen/preteen in the 80s playing computer games). What is there beyond speaking to revenge fantasies and justifying genocide? Maybe it will help me find out what I’m missing if you start out: I liked Ender’s Game because… (no one’s answered that yet).

    Winning thoroughly is like the most fucked up euphemism for killing.

  42. 42
    lsamaknight

    Kestra @ 31. Thanks for that link. I read that essay a while ago and was trying to find it again. Bookmarked it this time.

  43. 43
    valhar2000

    I wasn’t going to boycott this movie: I liked the book, and I am good at separating artists from their work (I couldn’t enjoy Black Metal otherwise). However, Scott Card’s argument is so devious and disgusting that I do want to boycott his movie now, just for making it.

  44. 44
    valhar2000

    Drolfe:

    I liked Ender’s Game because I enjoyed reading it. No more justification is necessary.

  45. 45
    whheydt

    Of course I’m tolerant of Card. I’m not out there publicly advocating jail time for hate speech from intolerant homophobic bigots….like Card.

  46. 46
    bengilder

    I liked the book(and series) because I liked them. That said the author has shown himself to be a revolting piece of work who will not receive a single cent from me again. It seems if an author has views I don’t like, that is one thing, but when they use the profits from me buying their book(s) to support those views it’s a whole other story.
    In addition I might not have bothered seeing the movie even if OSC wasn’t a revolting little bigot as sci fi books have not be translated into movies all that well in the past, still pissed at what they did to Starship Troopers.

  47. 47
    aaronbaker

    ” . . . still pissed at what they did to Starship Troopers.”

    The horror, the horror.

  48. 48
    slc1

    Re L>John Pieret @ #30

    This action is going nowhere as you can’t challenge a federal court ruling in a state court.

    Professor Stephen Vladeck of the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C., an expert on federal court procedure. “You can’t challenge a federal court order in state court.”

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/12/19441850-prop-8-backers-make-long-shot-bid-to-stop-same-sex-marriage-in-california

    I suspect that they went to the California Supreme Court as they had no chance at either the 9th circuit or the SCOTUS, which has already ruled that they didn’t have standing to appeal Walker’s decision. This is what is referred to as grasping at straws.

  49. 49
    Rip Steakface

    Ender’s Game is probably one of my favorite books of all time. I’m also fairly certain I have completely execrable taste in books – I like reading fucking Warhammer 40,000 fluff. I won’t see the movie, because Card doesn’t deserve the money and I don’t want them to ruin the book.

  50. 50
    Drolfe

    I know I’m not entitled to anyone’s time, but you don’t need to waste everyone else’s — even yours — with “I liked it because I liked it” or “I liked it because I enjoyed it.” (Did you enjoy reading it because you liked it? Deep!)

  51. 51
    Trebuchet

    Sounds pretty much exactly like the script from The Last Starfighter.

    Plagiarism, much?

    Thank you. That was my first thought as well, but I couldn’t remember the name of the movie!

  52. 52
    Marcus Ranum

    I’ve been told by friends that Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is a very good sci fi novel

    Compared to anything by Iain Banks it’s predictable, mediocre, and clunkily written.

  53. 53
    Marcus Ranum

    You obviously haven’t heard about Card’s version of Hamlet

    Please make the blood stop squirting out of my ears. Someone? Please? Can no someone help me?

  54. 54
    Marcus Ranum

    Raging bee @#33 – that was beautiful.

  55. 55
    Marcus Ranum

    My friend who is a popular culture critic and who went with me to the opening of “The Last Starfighter” on a date… once said, “Card’s writing is so bad I think he went back in time and wrote ‘The Last Starfighter’”

  56. 56
    pacal

    CaitieCat No. 38.

    You obviously haven’t heard about Card’s version of Hamlet. Suffice it to say, the fact that it has men who are characters in it who enjoy sex with other men? Does not make it a good or gay-friendly book. He depicts Claudius as a pedophile whose abuse turned Hamlet, Laertes, and R&G all gay.

    Please do not suggest that Card should ever write a gay character again. Just…no.

    The Book is called Hamlet’s Father. If I remember correctly it is Hamlet’s father who is the Gay pederast, not Claudius. Hamlet’s father molests Horatio, Laetres and Rosenkratz and Guildenstein turning then Gay, on his hunting trips. Horatio in revenge poisons the king. Then the King’s ghost, maliciously and falsely accuses Claudius of the murder and Hamlet avenging his father’s murder commits wicked acts and is sent to hell upon his own death. There he finds out that dad had mislead him so that dad could have Hamlet all to himself to molest in hell for eternity. Gertrude had made sure that Hamlet was not molested by her husband during his life, much to his annoyance, you see and therefore the evil ghost had manipulated everything so he could molest Hamlet in hell forever.

    To call the above a sick homophobic piece of crap is understatement.

  57. 57
    exdrone

    This is Card’s Emily Litella moment. “Homosexuals are a scourge. Wait, SCOTUS has ruled otherwise, and I have an upcoming movie. Oh, that’s very different. … Never mind.”

  58. 58
    democommie

    I read “Ender’s Game” and whatever came after it (yeah, it had that sort of “impact”). After reading the first one I thought, “Well, that is one FUCKED-UP individual and the author is prolly worser.”.

    I think I got partway through the next one and said, “fuck it.”.

  59. 59
    dexitroboper

    What happens when Ender is gay. (Also read and support Scenes From A Multiverse)

  60. 60
    pacal

    Bengilder no. 46

    …still pissed at what they did to Starship Troopers.

    I wonder why. The book is risible. The society that Heinlein tries to glorify and justify is militaristic and frankly fascist. The novel is brim full of justifications for authoritarianism, militarism with a huge soupcon of contempt for debate, the rights of people to participate in government and there is massive justification for being turned into a servant of the state. The fact is it is also full of military contempt for civilians. And frankly the novel shows also what can only be called contempt for democracy and the free exchange of ideas. It reminded me of Sparta with its Spartan military elite and Helots.

    Heinlein and the fanboys spent and the fanboys still spend time trying to back peddle and deny the authoritarian nature of the novel and the society in it. It is unconvincing. I especially loved it when Heinlein claimed that the society had freedom of speech etc. No doubt in the same way so many “Peoples Democracies” in Eastern Europe had ‘freedom of speech”. A formal right empty of meaning. Sorry but “citizenship” limited to a small elite that is properly indoctrinated and thinks itself superior to everyone else reminds me of a communist one party state ruled by a party of properly indoctrinated party members who alone are “fit” to rule. I seriously doubt that if there was real “freedom od speech” etc., there would not be a massive movement to extend “citizenship” and end the monopoly.

    During my first reading of the book I became convinced, and still am, that the bugs were the good guys resisting a genocidal military regime. I would hope that if I had been born in such a society, that is in my opinion simply evil, that I would have made every effort to overthrow it.

    The fact that the movie made fun of Heinlein’s conception didn’t bother me at all.

  61. 61
    Jordan Genso

    Drolfe,

    I am not a literature critic, so I’m not exactly sure how best to review a series of books. For instance, I very much enjoyed the Harry Potter series, but if you asked me why, I wouldn’t be able to explain it any better than my explanation for why I liked Ender’s Game (and Speaker for the Dead, and Ender’s Shadow, etc). But here’s my amateur thoughts:

    I could identify with Ender’s thoughts most of the time (as well as Bean’s). I felt that they approached things in an often clever fashion (even if their actions were obvious to some, when I read the books as a teen, I did not have a feeling of dissatisfaction regarding the way the story evolved). Take the “Speaker for the Dead” idea as an example- I think that is a very utopian idea. And the way the (SPOILER ALERT) one species has several different phases of life, including time as a tree-like plant, helped open my mind to different ideas about life and how what we are made of recycles.

    As the series progressed into Xenocide and Children of the Mind, I thought they moved too far away from Sci-Fi and into Fantasy, but the ideas presented were still interesting even if they were too convenient for the story.

    From what I remember of my feelings at the time, I actually preferred Bean’s series of books, especially Ender’s Shadow. To be able to “re-read” a story you really enjoyed, but from a different character’s perspective, was very original to me (even if other’s had done it before). I was not an avid reader at the time, and so any techniques like that were able to provide entertainment without me being cynical about their unoriginality.

  62. 62
    Jordan Genso

    I do find it interesting, yet not surprising, that a community of cynics are very critical of books that others enjoy. There was the thread not too long ago about Dan Brown’s books (which I also enjoy) that was very similar to this one.

  63. 63
    A. Noyd

    In addition to not wanting to give my money to bigots, I know that a high-profile Mormon like Card is for sure tithing 10% of his income to the Mormon church (and possibly donating more on top). So not only is he a bigot himself, but he’s a bigot who can empower other bigots in substantial ways. Same deal with Stephanie Meyer, even if she’s a bit less publicly loathsome as a person.

  64. 64
    Modusoperandi

    Drolfe “I know I’m not entitled to anyone’s time, but you don’t need to waste everyone else’s — even yours — with “I liked it because I liked it” or “I liked it because I enjoyed it.” (Did you enjoy reading it because you liked it? Deep!)”
    Now I know that this is going to be controversial, and I will probably lose more than a few friends over this, but I enjoy things I like.
     
    Jordan Genso “I do find it interesting, yet not surprising, that a community of cynics are very critical of books that others enjoy.”
    I don’t know if you’re aware, but on the internet people have opinions. Not me, though. I lost more than a few friends after voicing one of mine.

  65. 65
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    drolfe
    Bearing in mind that it’s been probably 20 years since I’ve read it, I interpreted Ender’s game as a powerful anti-war novel; swarms of brutalized children are manipulated into committing genocide in a war that turns out to be premised on a terrible mistake, and could have been averted had any of the paranoids running the Earth actually tried to talk to the aliens at any point.
    pacal

    I wonder why. The book is risible.

    There was no power armor. I went to that movie to see people in badass power armor bounding around and blowing shit up, and I’d have been better off renting Aliens, because at least there’s some power armor in it, plus it’s also a good film.

  66. 66
    brianl

    There’s also the small matter that the movie looks awful. The design is derivative. I hope the effects are unfinished because if that’s the final, Lionsgate should ask for their money back. The stills (and the merchandise) look like Harry Potter in Space with the salamanders as Gryffindor (or maybe Hufflepuff). It looks like a movie, and I don’t mean that as a compliment.
    There’s been a stench of failure hovering about this film since it was announced. The normally partisan literary purists have been defending the massive changes to the plot, particularly the aging of the characters and the compression of the timeline, both of which seem like an integral part of the book. I don’t know if the film will have as much commonality as the movie and book of World War Z did (they share a title and nothing else), but this is not improving the odor at all.

  67. 67
    raven

    This has probably been said already. (I haven’t read any comments yet.)

    Orson Scott Card had a few good books and stories.

    And then they went downhill. And downhill farther. And became not worth reading.

    I won’t buy or read his books and haven’t for a decade or so.

    1. My life is finite and there are IMO, better things to read.

    2. The fact that he is a Mormon fascist bigot is just icing on the cake.

    If you really have to waste your life or torture yourself, get his books from the library so you don’t end up paying him.

  68. 68
    Nice Ogress

    Drolfe, It’s been a decade or more since I read the original Ender trilogy, but here’s a few things I thought he got right:
    * He can, in fact, write believable male characters.(His ladies, yeah, not so much.) You can see the flaws that make them vulnerable and human, and their actions for the most part flow logically from their flaws. This also dovetails well with Ender’s point of view, since he spends almost the entire first novel in a panicked state of internal risk assessment.
    * He included people of color – Mazer Rackham is supposed to be of Maori descent, Bonzo and almost the entire population of the Piggy planet is ethnically Brazilian. So while the books are a sausage-fest, at least it’s not all white guys all the time. Also the planet full of chinese people with the geniuses who are genetically crippled with OCD. That was interesting.
    * He talks about colonialism and human (white) supremacy in the later books, with the alien race called the piggies, and how they interact with the humans on their planet.
    * On said planet, he puts together an alien ecology that is – however improbable – at least internally consistent and very alien. He then goes and does dumb things with it, but the original premise is very clever.

    Of course, he also gets a lot of things wrong or creepy-wierd, like the whole debacle with Ender’s brother and sister and philotic twining and so forth.But there are a few interesting bits along the way.

  69. 69
    raven

    If you really want to read great space opera, read Iain Banks Culture novels. An optimistic look at the future with happy endings. By someone who is 10 times the writer and human OS Card will ever be.

  70. 70
    kyoseki

    brianl

    There’s also the small matter that the movie looks awful. The design is derivative. I hope the effects are unfinished because if that’s the final, Lionsgate should ask for their money back.

    Trailer effects are nearly always unfinished, with the budget and time constraints that the studios force on the VFX vendors these days, it’s a wonder that the effects ever get done at all – I fully expect a couple of big movies next year to get delayed because of unreasonable demands on crews.

    Lionsgate are actually in a pretty awkward situation here, they’re a very LGBT friendly company (like most in California) and they’re trying to find a way out of this mess by hosting an LGBT benefit premiere.

  71. 71
    John Pieret

    slc1 @ 48:

    you can’t challenge a federal court ruling in a state court

    They are not challenging the ruling. But Federal courts and, in particular, district courts, have limited jurisdiction. In this case, the Prop 8 proponents are arguing a number of things. 1) Since the case was not a class action suit, the only parties bound by the decision are the individual plaintiffs and defendants (not a good argument as to limiting it to the plaintiffs but somewhat better when it comes to limiting it to the defendant counties); 2) the state defendants do not have the power to order elected county clerks to ignore Prop 8 (and, therefore, the ruling did not affect other counties, which depends on state law that I am not familiar with); 3) the state Constitution requires provisions be enforced unless an appellate court rules it invalid (and, since SCOTUS ruled the 9th Circuit had no jurisdiction, the 9th Circuit decision is, they say, a nullity). Ultimately they will argue that the district court decision is limited to the Northern District of California (the only place district court decisions are “binding” is within the district).

    In short, the issue before the California Supreme Court will be just who is bound by the district court decision, an issue that the California Supreme Court is competent to address when it involves what state officials have to do.

    I suspect that they went to the California Supreme Court as they had no chance at either the 9th circuit or the SCOTUS, which has already ruled that they didn’t have standing to appeal Walker’s decision. This is what is referred to as grasping at straws.

    Oh, I don’t disagree. But the idea that the SCOTUS decisions made the whole issue moot is far from the truth, especially when your opponent will not stop

  72. 72
    Jason Fischer

    @Jordan – You don’t have to be reading a “community of cynics” to find people who dislike things other people like. If you want to have some fun, look up any popular and/or critically acclaimed movie on the IMDb and read a few of the threads on the film’s message board. I can almost guarantee you that there will be a thread to the extent of “This movie is the worst piece of crap ever made and anyone who likes it is an idiot.”

    In other words, welcome to the internet. You’ll soon discover that, no matter what you like – whether it’s Card or Tolstoy or Grisham or Faulkner or Crichton or Shakespeare – there are other people who hate it. There is NO book or movie or band or artist that is universally beloved – a fact which has nothing to do with “cynicism” and everything to do with the fact that there are a lot of different people with different taste in the world.

  73. 73
    John Pieret

    Pacal @ 60

    Re Starship Troopers “The book is risible.”

    Believe it or not, it wasn’t Heinlein’s worst. That “honor” goes to Farnham’s Freehold. In addition to all the faults of Starship Troopers, it is racist as well. I liked some of Heinlein’s work (Stranger in a Strange Land, Time Enough for Love) but Starship Troopers and Farnham’s Freehold were a terrible waste of trees.

  74. 74
    RickR

    Jason Fischer @ #72- I’ve read Jordan’s comment @ #62 a few times over now, and I still can’t parse it any other way than “it surprises me that people have opinions and express them”. Any why he would characterize the comments on this thread (or the entire board since he wasn’t specific) as a “community of cynics” is a mystery.

  75. 75
    fentex

    I read Enders Game when it was published as a novella in Analog and liked it, then decades later I read ‘Speaker For The Dead’ not knowing it was a sequel set thousands of years in the future and through out the story references to long forgotten history tugged at my own fading memories. It was very effective and I enjoyed it.

    I liked a lot of Cards stories, especially his short stories in Unaccompanied Sonata.

    It came as quite a shock to learn that an apparently empathic author was such a vile bigot going beyond merely disliking others but being preposterous enough to suggest civil war would be justified to oppress them.

    So now I cannot in good conscience give him any money and I certainly won’t be paying to see Enders Game (which is sad for me because space ships on the big screen are a bit sparse these days).

    I hope everybody helps Card reap what he has sown.

  76. 76
    Steve Morrison

    Plagiarism, much?

    Ender’s Game came first (the original short story was published in 1977).

  77. 77
    sundoga

    Very strongly disagree on Starship Troopers. Pacal @ 60 has clearly missed most of the political point Heinlein was making – particularly about the use of power and it’s relationship to violence, the danger of political power and the transferability of power – that political power, military power and monetary power are really all one and the same.
    I’ve heard a lot of people dismiss ST as “fascist”, “militarist”, “propagandist” – never seen any of those people actually try and refute the arguments.
    On the other hand, John Pieret @ 73 is dead on about Farnham’s Freehold.

  78. 78
    jakc

    Was going to make the same point. I read the story in Analog in the 70′s. Thought the surprise ending was obvious. (gasp he killed real aliens not video aliens) and haven’t ever bothered with the books. I understand the appeal the book has for some, but haven’t ever been a fan. Still, Card didn’t steal from Last Starfighter. They may have stole from him.

    As for some earlier comments on Starship Troopers (and i expect a lot of overlap between the fans of both books) i like a lot of Heinlein but don’t like ST very much. Still, given Heinlein’s work to fight the Nazis (civilian work yes because he was medically unfit), it made me think that the director, a Dutchman born during the Nazi occupation, was a POS for essentially calling Heinlein a Nazi in the movie

  79. 79
    Modusoperandi

    Skip this, go to a used bookstore instead and pick up a copy of Bill the Galactic Hero.

  80. 80
    whheydt

    One thing about Starship Troopers that often gets missed is the relatively minor subtext of Heinlein criticizing his own service (the US Navy…he was a graduate of Annapolis) over their treatment of Filipinos. To be true that that part of the book, by the time the film came out, the protagonist should have been gay.

  81. 81
    pacal

    sundoga No. 77

    Very strongly disagree on Starship Troopers. Pacal @ 60 has clearly missed most of the political point Heinlein was making – particularly about the use of power and it’s relationship to violence, the danger of political power and the transferability of power – that political power, military power and monetary power are really all one and the same.
    I’ve heard a lot of people dismiss ST as “fascist”, “militarist”, “propagandist” – never seen any of those people actually try and refute the arguments.
    On the other hand, John Pieret @ 73 is dead on about Farnham’s Freehold.

    Heinlein’s “politics” in Starship Troopers, is sub-literate. It is fantasy in which only those “deserving” of political power have it. That is authoritarian by definition. It is also remarkably close to the way Communist parties justified their rule in one party states. Since Starship Troopers was in some respects an anti-Communist fantasy it is interesting how Heinlein replicated Communist autocracies and their rationalizations for oligarchic rule. In fact the idea that political power, military power, money power are really the “same” is or should I say was a mainstay of Leninist political ideology. In this ideological view all power was ultimately the same thing and the form it took was mere form and had little real meaning. You do realize that the idea that all these forms of power are ultimately the same thing is a direct attack on most Western political thought since the Enlightenment which is predicated on the idea that different types of power are indeed different and need to be separated out and balanced against each other. In this way the idea goes tyranny is made difficult if not impossible.

    I see nothing in Heinlein’s book that would indicate that the oligarchs are limited. They seem instead to be a caste of suitably indoctrinated Citizens whose contempt for non citizens is obvious in the book. I ask again how without massive coercion would the Citizens be able to prevent non citizens from politically mobilizing to get citizenship.

    Heinlein in the book has his mouthpiece mouth the argument that force violence has settled more arguments and disputes than anything. Heinlein makes this lame argument with approval it seems. It is idiotic. To refer to Oscar Wilde whether or not force is an argument depends on what your trying to prove. If your trying to prove you have power that is all you have proved. Nothing else. Might makes right is childish as an argument for a position.

    That Heinlein’s argument in Starship Troopers is anti-democratic is obvious in my opinion. Heinlein’s political views in this novel are not worth much respect, although the novel indicates a profound contempt for American democracy, which I half suspect Heinlein didn’t realize was in the novel so great was his desire to wipeout the Communist Bug hordes.

    I have not missed much in the book. Do you deny that the society in the book is authoritarian and oligarchic?

    The union of political, military and money power has been the goal of autocracies throughout recorded history and this particular fictional autocracy is one I would hope I would oppose to my dying breath if it ever came to pass. .

  82. 82
    Drolfe

    Thanks, Jordan.

    Dalillama, that’s a good point, and I can agree with it. It’s just that ok, sure, war is hell and terrible authorities do terrible things (i.e., made the weapon, “aimed the weapon”, aka Ender; also “parents just don’t understand!”), but to me that rings hollow in the face of the pages and pages of excusing Ender as a super-genius, super-moral killing machine. I mean, Ender can’t figure out turning a planet to dust is a war crime? So it’s OK when he does it. Oh wait — there’s no such thing as war crimes, he’s just winning thoroughly. Bah. With hindsight it makes me think of Sam Harris “morally justified” nuclear pre-emptive strike — it’s not wrong with the good guys do it. Etc.

    Also thanks, Nice Ogress. I also thought it was interesting and novel enough to finish the first two books. It just got too creepy as another way of saying morally insulting to keep going.

    I liked Starship Troopers more than Ender’s Game because as mentioned: powered armor. I’m pretty sure it was my first introduction to the concept as a kid. Blew my mind. Also, the casual use of nuclear weapons was really scary to me. Nukes are still a deep existential fear with me, I blame the cold war.

  83. 83
    Robert B.

    Bonzo was from Spain, actually. And while Battle School was pretty diverse in a lot of ways, drawing from countries all over the world as it was, I don’t remember any Africans. Sub-Saharan Africa is entirely omitted in the sequels, too (the Shadow books, I mean, the ones set on Earth) despite being a series about global politics that hops constantly around Asia, Europe, and the Americas, with Oceania playing bit parts here and there. I think one African character gets some lines, but if I’m remembering right he was an ethnic Arab from Egypt. So… I would say that Card included people of some colors.

    I was really surprised when I first found out Card was a heterosexist, though, because he actually had a lesser-known novel with a bisexual protagonist – Songmaster or something like that. When I read it as a teenager, it struck me as a favorable portrayal. There was some stupid reason he couldn’t actually have a boyfriend – IIRC, side effects of the drugs that had kept his voice from breaking (boy singer raised in a monastic community) made sex excruciatingly painful – but back then every gay protagonist had some stupid reason he couldn’t have a boyfriend. In hindsight, what I can remember of the book is consistent with the “products of abuse” theory, but it fooled me (or I fooled myself) at the time.

  84. 84
    rrede

    Some excellent points made above, but one of the things that really enrages me is his claim that the
    political issues…did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

    OSC knows less than nothing about history.

    From: http://www.infoplease.com: American LBGT timeline

    1924
    The Society for Human Rights in Chicago becomes the country’s earliest known gay rights organization.
    1948
    Alfred Kinsey publishes Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, revealing to the public that homosexuality is far more widespread than was commonly believed.
    1951
    The Mattachine Society, the first national gay rights organization, is formed by Harry Hay, considered by many to be the founder of the gay rights movement.
    1955
    The first lesbian-rights organization in the United States, the Daughters of Bilitis, was established in San Francisco in 1955.
    1956
    The Daughters of Bilitis, a pioneering national lesbian organization, is founded.
    1958
    Joe Cino, an Italian-American theater producer, opens Caffe Cino. Caffe Cino is credited with starting the Off-Off-Broadway theater movement. Six years after Caffe Cino opens, it hosts the first gay plays, The Madness of Lady Bright, by Lanford Wilson, and The Haunted Host, by Robert Patrick.
    1962
    Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
    1966
    The world’s first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco.
    1969
    The Stonewall riots transform the gay rights movement from one limited to a small number of activists into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance. Patrons of a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, fight back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots.
    1973
    The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
    Harvey Milk runs for city supervisor in San Francisco. He runs on a socially liberal platform and opposes government involvement in personal sexual matters. Milk comes in 10th out of 32 candidates, earning 16,900 votes, winning the Castro District and other liberal neighborhoods. He receives a lot of media attention for his passionate speeches, brave political stance, and media skills.
    1976
    San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appoints Harvey Milk to the Board of Permit Appeals, making Milk the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk decides to run for the California State Assembly and Moscone is forced to fire him from the Board of Permit Appeals after just five weeks. Milk loses the State Assembly race by fewer than 4,000 votes. Believing the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will never support him politically, Milk co-founds the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club after his election loss.
    1977
    Activists in Miami, Florida pass a civil rights ordinance making sexual orientation discrimination illegal in Dade County. Save Our Children, a campaign by a Christian fundamentalist group and headed by singer Anita Bryant, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history, 70% vote to overturn the ordinance. It is a crushing defeat for gay activists.
    1978
    On January 8, Harvey Milk makes national news when he is sworn in as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Running against 16 other candidates, he wins the election by 30 percent. Milk begins his term by sponsoring a civil rights bill that outlaws sexual orientation discrimination. Only one supervisor votes against it and Mayor Moscone signs it into law.
    John Briggs drops out of the California governor’s race, but receives support for Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative, a proposal to fire any teacher or school employee who publicly supports gay rights. Harvey Milk campaigns against the bill and attends every event hosted by Briggs. In the summer, attendance greatly increases at Gay Pride marches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, partly in response to Briggs. President Jimmy Carter, former Governor Ronald Reagan, and Governor Jerry Brown speak out against the proposition. On November 7, voters reject the proposition by more than a million votes.
    On November 27, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by Dan White, another San Francisco city supervisor, who had recently resigned and wanted his job back, but was being passed over because he wasn’t the best fit for the liberal leaning Board of Supervisors and the ethnic diversity in White’s district. San Francisco pays tribute to Harvey Milk by naming several locations after him, included Harvey Milk Plaza at the intersection of Market and Castro streets. The San Francisco Gay Democratic Club changes its name to the Harvey Milk Memorial Gay Democratic Club.
    1979
    About 75,000 people participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C., in October. It was the largest political gathering in support of LGBT rights to date.
    1980
    At the 1980 Democratic National Convention held at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Democrats took a stance supporting gay rights, adding the following to their plank: “All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex or sexual orientation.”
    1982
    Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
    1984
    The city of Berkeley, California, becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits.

    Card was born in 1951, four years before me. I remember these events many of these events, from the later 60s on though I admit to not remembering actual DATES which is why I googled…

  85. 85
    RickR

    rrede- good list. It also seems that Card forgot all about that little AIDS thing going on in the early 80′s, the one where scores of gay men were dying

    Ugh. I can’t even finish that sentence. Orson Scott Card is the posterboy for “Douchenozzle”.

  86. 86
    Joey Maloney

    I haven’t read much Card; after reading Ender’s Game and not understanding what all the fuss was about, I wasn’t much motivated. But there’s one thing of his that I found truly affecting. It’s not sf, it’s a horror novel. The setting is an apparently devout, happy Mormon family living in an apparently perfect Mormon neighborhood. But boys keep disappearing, and then coming back as ghosts. It’s a lot about what can lurk beneath the surface of all those apparently perfect, happy families.

    I’ve read speculation that perhaps Card’s own family life was less than perfect when he was growing up, which put the adults in Ender – who are either oblivious to horrific child abuse and bullying, or enable it to serve some higher goal – in a somewhat different light.

  87. 87
    Robert B.

    Some excellent points made above, but one of the things that really enrages me is his claim that the political issues…did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

    Yes, thank you. That ticked me off too.

  88. 88
    iangould

    The novel-length version of Ender’s Game is an expansion of the original novella which was fist published in 1977.

    Orson Scott Card can validly be criticized for many things, plagiarizing The Last Starfighter is not one of them.

    I should also point out that the simplistic and moralistic plot i much less obnoxious a the original length.

  89. 89
    raven

    setting is an apparently devout, happy Mormon family living in an apparently perfect Mormon neighborhood.

    Utah leads the nation in per capita consumption of antidepressants.

  90. 90
    Moggie

    John Pieret:

    Believe it or not, it wasn’t Heinlein’s worst. That “honor” goes to Farnham’s Freehold.

    I’d try to refute this with a critique of The Number of the Beast, but I find my subconscious has mercifully erased all detailed memory of that garbage.

  91. 91
    John Pieret

    Moggie @ 90:

    I’d try to refute this with a critique of The Number of the Beast, but I find my subconscious has mercifully erased all detailed memory of that garbage.

    And if I had any memory of it, I’d still argue that Farnham’s Freehold was worse, precisely because my subconscious has not mercifully erased all memory of the latter.

  92. 92
    Jordan Genso

    @74 RickR

    My comment was:

    I do find it interesting, yet not surprising, that a community of cynics are very critical of books that others enjoy.

    And granted, that’s not very good writing, as I was in a hurry and just trying to get some points out there, but I don’t understand how your take away is:

    “it surprises me that people have opinions and express them”

    I’m not surprised (as I explicitly stated) by the level of disagreement over what are essentially subjective opinions, as this is (as others said) the internet. But it’s the level of confidence that some commenters express when making their negative opinions, almost as though they aren’t subjective but actually objective, that I think makes for an interesting read. And that’s not “interesting” in any sense other than it creates an enjoyable thread to read.

    You don’t have to be reading a “community of cynics” to find people who dislike things other people like. If you want to have some fun, look up any popular and/or critically acclaimed movie on the IMDb and read a few of the threads on the film’s message board. I can almost guarantee you that there will be a thread to the extent of “This movie is the worst piece of crap ever made and anyone who likes it is an idiot.”

    In other words, welcome to the internet. You’ll soon discover that, no matter what you like – whether it’s Card or Tolstoy or Grisham or Faulkner or Crichton or Shakespeare – there are other people who hate it.

    Usually, this community would not want to compare itself to the type of discourse found on other sites throughout the internet. And that’s what makes these threads “interesting”, as they are fairly similar to what could be found on those other sites, although at a more intelligent level. But when the disagreement is over subjective opinions about entertainment, it doesn’t really matter how much intelligence you inject into the debate, it will still boil down to (@44):

    I liked Ender’s Game because I enjoyed reading it. No more justification is necessary.

  93. 93
    democommie

    Moggie:

    I don’t know, that whole “Lazarus Long” thing was pretty much crap.

  94. 94
    slc1

    Re John Pieret @ #71

    My ;understanding is that Judge Walker ruled that Prop. 9 was unconstitutional. Thus far, no higher federal court, including the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the SOCTUS has overruled his decision. Therefore, it doesn’t make a particle of difference what the California Constitution says. Judge Walker applied his ruling to the entire state of California. The question as to whether he had the authority to do that is a matter for the federal courts, not for any state court. Since no higher federal court has overruled him, his decision stands until such time as a higher federal court overrules him or a Constitutional Amendment reversing his decision is passed. The bottom line is that no state court in California has the authority in any way, shape, form, or regard to rule that Judge Walker exceeded his authority.

    As the law professor quoted in the article I linked to said, the Prop. 8 proponents have a good argument they’re just in the wrong court.

  95. 95
    slc1

    Re John Pieret @ #71

    I suspect that the attorneys for the Prop. 8 proponents know they are full of shit. This is nothing but a ploy to increase the number of billable hours by them and a ploy by the proponents to fund raise.

  96. 96
    John Pieret

    slc1 @ 94 & 95:

    Walker applied his ruling to the entire state of California.

    No he didn’t. You said before you didn’t want to “play lawyer,” which is good advice you gave yourself.

    Here is his injunction:

    https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv2292/files/728.pdf

    It reads:

    “Defendants in their official capacities, and all persons under the control or supervision of defendants, are permanently enjoined from applying or enforcing Article I, § 7.5 of the California Constitution.

    The defendants are the Governor, the Attorney General, the Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Registrar of Vital Statistics, the Deputy Director of Health Information & Strategic Planning for the California Department of Public Health, the Clerk-
    Recorder of the County of Alameda and the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk for the County of Los Angeles. Those are, at least arguably, the only parties bound by Judge Walker’s decision.

    The proponents, as I said before, are arguing that the Governor and other named state officials have no power to control what the elected county clerks in the other 56 counties can or have to do. That’s a claim that depends on state law (that I do know the answer to). Determining that question is a question of state law that the California courts are competent to determine.

    The bottom line is that no state court in California has the authority in any way, shape, form, or regard to rule that Judge Walker exceeded his authority.

    That’s not the claim that the proponents are making. They are arguing the question of just what authority Judge Walker exercised and all courts are permitted to interpret the rulings of all other courts.

    This is nothing but a ploy to increase the number of billable hours by them and a ploy by the proponents to fund raise.

    The proponents are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, so billables probably isn’t important, but I’m sure fundraising along the lines of ‘we’re contining the fight’ is.

  97. 97
    Pierce R. Butler

    My take on Ender’s Game on first (and only) reading was that it was a masterful exploitation of male teen megalomania (a profitable niche in the sf world).

    Even accepting all the contrived sfnal premises (interstellar ftl travel takes years, but high-bandwidth communication is instantaneous), EG still couldn’t meet the plausible-enough-to-suspend disbelief test. The entire top brass of a united-Earth space military wholly agree that none of them have the tactical talents to fight alien invaders, so they bend all their efforts to duping a naive adolescent into running their command operations for them? Aw c’mon!

    Ed, if you get a craving to read science fiction, please find different friends to give you recommendations.

    PS: Bizarre sf trivia dept – according to an obituary in Locus, Robert Heinlein wrote his most militaristic novel (Starship Troopers) and his most hippie novel (Stranger in a Strange Land at the same time.

  98. 98
    Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    Basically he’s arguing that if people don’t spend their money to make his movie a success, they’re being “intolerant.” And that’s pretty damn stupid.

    Well, people who do boycott Mr. Card’s work because of his bigotry are being intolerant. Intolerance isn’t by default a description of behavior deserving of a pejorative, just like being discriminating isn’t necessarily immoral or unethical. E.g., when I was a hiring manager I I purposefully discriminated against idiots, poor communicators, and those who were emotionally immature. Intolerance for others’ bad behavior is a perfectly defensible position to take. I’m also happily intolerant towards bigots, and liars for that matter.

  99. 99
    slc1

    Re John Pieret @ #96

    That’s not the claim that the proponents are making. They are arguing the question of just what authority Judge Walker exercised and all courts are permitted to interpret the rulings of all other courts.

    That is absolutely incorrect and inaccurate. The state courts in California and in all other states have no authority to decide whether Judge Walker exceeded his authority. That’s a federal matter to be determined by appellate higher federal courts. Thus far, no such federal appellate court has overruled Walker. Period, end of story. What the California State Constitution or State law says is of no relevance as federal law takes precedence.

    I’ll repeat the quote from law professor Prof. Vladeck, who is an attorney and an expert on federal court procedure.

    Professor Stephen Vladeck of the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C., an expert on federal court procedure. “You can’t challenge a federal court order in state court.”

  100. 100
    sundoga

    Pacal @ 81 – Of course I don’t refute that the governmental system in Starship Troopers was authoritarian and oligarchic. That was the whole point.
    But you’re quite wrong when you say: “The union of political, military and money power has been the goal of autocracies throughout recorded history…” Rather, the various autocracies have used that political truth in the furtherance of their goals. Likewise, you have severely misunderstood the enlightenment’s lessons. It was not a realisation that these forms of power were different at all, for they are not. Rather, it was the realization that they could be separated, that walls could be placed between them at the political, social and legal levels, so that the wealthy could not buy political power, that the powerful could not use their influence to gain wealth, and the militarily powerful coul;d not use their strength to gain both.
    Heinlein DID understand this. And I do not believe his severe criticism of democracy in the book is any accident, but rather a fairly heavy handed indictment of our FAILURE to properly implement divisions between the various forms of power. Our modern democracies are corrupt, our militaries politicized, our magnates and entrepreneurs in bed with both.
    People have been so fixated on his depiction of the Bugs as an idealized form of Communism they’ve missed the fact that Heinlein reserved his greatest criticisms in the book for democracy, at least in it’s modern form. Heinlein had travelled in Eastern Europe fairly extensively – his view of the people there was not that of the Bugs. Why did he make the Bugs as they are in the book? Laziness. He needed a threat – and a bunch of faceless insects suited the political point he was making.
    Why DON’T the masses seek political power? Because in their culture, the strong willed go into the military, stick out their term and muster out a Citizen. There IS a way forward politically. Simultaneously, the non-citizen has no reason to think himself oppressed – Rico’s parents in the book are wealthy and successful. But more seditiously, he was pointing out that without leadership, the sheeple don’t act. And all the leaders were co-opted into the military…by their own ambition.
    Finally, while might makes right is a politically and socially primitive philosophy, it remains the only one largely viable on the international scene. Why does the G11 (or whatever number it is this year) make the decisions on world finance? Because they have the power, the might. Why did Croatia stop bullying it’s neighbours? Because someone bigger bullied it back. Decry it as much as you choose, and I will back you for it, but this is not likely to change any time soon.

  101. 101
    John Pieret

    The state courts in California and in all other states have no authority to decide whether Judge Walker exceeded his authority.

    “You can’t challenge a federal court order in state court.”

    As I said before, that is not the issue the proponents are arguing. They are not challenging the ruling nor whether Judge Walker exceeded his authority. But I can’t say it any slower or in words of fewer syllables. You will just have to remain in your confident ignorance.

  102. 102
    slc1

    Re John Pieret @ #101

    I am afraid I will have to go with Prof. Vladeck here, so we will have to agree to disagree, hopefully not disagreeably.

  103. 103
    typecaster

    I’ve tended to see Card as a tragic case. Yes, he’s a quite despicable asshat these days, but he didn’t used to be. I still have a recording of the Secular Humanist Revival Service that he did at SF cons back in the 70s, and while he makes no secret of his Mormonism, it celebrates reason. My understanding is that he turned to more and more fundamental Mormonism after the death of his son, which he did not take well. None of this excuses his vile statements over the years, of course. But there was a time when, from what I saw, he wasn’t a person who would have made them.
    .
    I probably won’t see the movie, but not because it would put money in Card’s pocket – it probably wouldn’t. He was paid when they bought the movie rights, and it’s unusual for a writer to get a percentage of the movie over and above the payment for the rights.
    .
    Pierce R. Butler @97 – At one time, when I met young fans who gushed over Stranger in a Strange Land, I’d tell them that he’d written other books, and gave them Starship Troopers. They’d come back and say that it couldn’t be by the same person. So I’d give them Glory Road and ask which of the two writers wrote it. Good times.

  104. 104
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Drolfe

    I mean, Ender can’t figure out turning a planet to dust is a war crime?

    That’s the thing; he doesn’t know he’s actually turning a planet to dust in reality, he thinks he’s doing a Kobayashi Maru: winning a deliberately unwinnable test scenario by going outside the parameters of the test.

    Pierce R Butler

    The entire top brass of a united-Earth space military wholly agree that none of them have the tactical talents to fight alien invaders, so they bend all their efforts to duping a naive adolescent into running their command operations for them? Aw c’mon

    Possibly the above mentioned is the reason for it; since they all knew the score, they couldn’t do something like destroy the alien homeworld and deny responsibility, but if they dupe some kid into it they can pretend their own hands are clean, and his are too because he didn’t know what he was doing. Still not perfect, but that’s certainly not outside the limits of the self-justifications real people have come up with to commit horrific acts.

  105. 105
    Chiroptera

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy, 104: Still not perfect, but that’s certainly not outside the limits of the self-justifications real people have come up with to commit horrific acts.

    Too often real life is too unrealistic to make believable fiction.

  106. 106
    John Pieret

    I am afraid I will have to go with Prof. Vladeck here, so we will have to agree to disagree, hopefully not disagreeably.

    I was somewhat miffed to be told I was “absolutely incorrect and inaccurate” when I had gone to the trouble of explaining in some detail what was going on and provided you with the original order of Judge Walker. It didn’t help that you keep referring to a quote from somebody in a newspaper, who might not have been quoted in full or might not have understood the issues fully at the time he spoke to the reporter.

    Be that as it may, if I had to make a prediction, the California Supreme Court will find a way to avoid part of the state having SSM (which I think is the absolute minimum under Judge Walker’s order) and part not.

  107. 107
    pacal

    Sundoga no. 100

    Pacal @ 81 – Of course I don’t refute that the governmental system in Starship Troopers was authoritarian and oligarchic. That was the whole point.
    But you’re quite wrong when you say: “The union of political, military and money power has been the goal of autocracies throughout recorded history…” Rather, the various autocracies have used that political truth in the furtherance of their goals. Likewise, you have severely misunderstood the enlightenment’s lessons. It was not a realisation that these forms of power were different at all, for they are not. Rather, it was the realization that they could be separated, that walls could be placed between them at the political, social and legal levels, so that the wealthy could not buy political power, that the powerful could not use their influence to gain wealth, and the militarily powerful coul;d not use their strength to gain both.

    So it hasn’t been the goal of at least some Autocracies to unify military, political and money power? Which is what I meant. The idea that they are the same is silly. I note that unless they are different they cannot be separated out. In the past Autocracies tended to amalgamate them together which is one of the reasons why such states are Autocracies. Just why was Heinlein so willing to swallow a return to this sort of pre-Enlightenment sort of crap is beyond me. The history of Autocratic regimes would indicate that they were no strangers to either corruption or brutality.

    Heinlein DID understand this. And I do not believe his severe criticism of democracy in the book is any accident, but rather a fairly heavy handed indictment of our FAILURE to properly implement divisions between the various forms of power. Our modern democracies are corrupt, our militaries politicized, our magnates and entrepreneurs in bed with both.

    Did he really “understand”? So his solution is Autocratic rule to the messy, flawed human thing called Democracy. His severe criticism is the same old whine of Autocrats throughout history and his solution is a return to Autocracy. The idea that Democracies are unusually corrupt compared to Autocracies is a good joke. The former “Peoples Democracies” ruled by “deserving” party members “citizens” along with past history would indicate otherwise. Everyone of the faults you listed has usually been much worst in Autocratic states.

    People have been so fixated on his depiction of the Bugs as an idealized form of Communism they’ve missed the fact that Heinlein reserved his greatest criticisms in the book for democracy, at least in it’s modern form. Heinlein had travelled in Eastern Europe fairly extensively – his view of the people there was not that of the Bugs. Why did he make the Bugs as they are in the book? Laziness. He needed a threat – and a bunch of faceless insects suited the political point he was making.

    So you admit that Starship Troopers has an anti-democratic message. Good. Then the book is thoroughly contemptible. The book of course feds into the fantasy that a lot of people have of wielding autocratic power and being “deserving”. I am reminded of something Churchill said about Democracy being the worst form of government except for all the rest.

    Why DON’T the masses seek political power? Because in their culture, the strong willed go into the military, stick out their term and muster out a Citizen. There IS a way forward politically. Simultaneously, the non-citizen has no reason to think himself oppressed – Rico’s parents in the book are wealthy and successful. But more seditiously, he was pointing out that without leadership, the sheeple don’t act. And all the leaders were co-opted into the military…by their own ambition.

    Yes there is a way forward indeed very much like becoming a party member in a “Peoples Democracy” after you have proven you “deserve” it and are suitably indoctrinated. The non Citizen is denied political power and so is by definition oppressed. Yes co-option does help and is a standard tactic of Autocracies. Of course the ideological apparatus of this type of state strongly discourages the “wrong” sort of thinking. Sorry but the only way what you describe would work with perfect efficiency is because Heinlein wrote it that way. I will note that the French Middle Class was excluded from power by the nobility and clergy but eventually organized and help cause the French Revolution, and this was precisely because it was economically successful and excluded from political power. Oh and they tried to co-op the higher Middle class by making some of them Nobles.
    It doesn’t wash that their would be no opposition to this sort of oligarchic society. There would inevitably be opposition and the demand for political rights from some. So how would that be dealt with? There would have to be inevitably methods of coercion and in a modern state with mass education and knowledge that would be highly unpleasant coercion. In otherwords Heinlein’s state would inevitably have to be a police state in reality.

    We have seen in the twentieth century many examples of states similar to the oligarchic Autocracy outlined in <Starship Troopers, and they all have been corrupt, venial, brutal and in the end failures.

    Finally, while might makes right is a politically and socially primitive philosophy, it remains the only one largely viable on the international scene. Why does the G11 (or whatever number it is this year) make the decisions on world finance? Because they have the power, the might. Why did Croatia stop bullying it’s neighbours? Because someone bigger bullied it back. Decry it as much as you choose, and I will back you for it, but this is not likely to change any time soon.

    Murder is also common but we don’t elevate it or something like it to a “reasonable” principle. Power requires checks and balances to limit its effects and proclaiming that might makes right, which is simply false, doesn’t help. Instead it sanctifies force.

  108. 108
    democommie

    For all those people who think that Heinlein’s, “Starship Troopers” was just his take on how the world really works:

    I think that the Lazarus Long stuff was just his take on how it would be to fuck his mommy. We might both be 100% correct.

  109. 109
    whheydt

    Something that’s missing from the Starship Troopers bashing is that, in the text, it is stated that ANYONE can try for Citizenship and will be accepted. A job will be found (not necessarily in the military). The job will be tough, but within the capabilities of the person assigned to it, it will be hard work, it will be risky, but a job will be found that, if completed will give one the franchise.

    What I do is to recommend that people read ST (written by a memer of the depression/WW2 generation, and a military academy graduate) and follow it by reading The Forever War for the Viet Nam War generations answer.

  110. 110
    martinc

    There’s a bunch of people here saying “Ender’s Game” is a poor book. Everyone is entitled to their opinion: mine is that “Ender’s Game” was quite interesting, though certainly not a personal favorite by any means. However to suggest as some people seem to be doing that it was some kind of hopeless joke (‘Battlefield Earth’, anyone?) overlooks a lot of evidence – specifically that the book won both major SF awards: the Hugo (best SF book of the year as voted by the public) and the Nebula (best SF book of the year as voted by other SF writers). To downgrade the value of the book just because its author is later revealed as a screaming bigot smacks of after-the-fact justification.

    Please note I offer no approval or defense of Card’s virulently anti-gay statements. I simply point out that they do not make the book he wrote decades earlier which was hailed as the best SF book of that year suddenly a heap of steaming crap.

  111. 111
    martinc

    Pacal @ 60, John Pieret @ 73:

    As Moggie @ 90 suggests, if we’re getting into the topic of Heinlein stinkers, “The Number Of The Beast” stands alone in my opinion. At the risk of putting Moggie into therapy, I will briefly summarize bits of it for those who have not had the chance to enjoy it. Heinlein (who clearly must have had incriminating photographs of his publisher and editorial team) writes about a vehicle that can move through time, space, hyperspace, probability and anything else you can think of, allowing the characters in it to meet famous historical figures, fictional characters from other books, and fictional characters from other Heinlein novels (including the ones who were thinly veiled Heinleins themselves – every RAH novel from his ‘free love’ period seemed to include a chubby old wisecracking smartass who manages to hook up with gorgeous naked teenage girls who love him enough for his chubby old wisecracking smartassiness to sleep with him).

    The characters are a young man and his wife, his wife’s father and a woman roughly the age of the widowed father. The widowed father hooks up with the older woman, and as all the characters come to realize that free love is a Good Thing, the young man sleeps with the older woman as well. Realizing that rampant heterosexual exclusivity is a Bad Thing, the young woman sleeps with the older woman, and the young man sleeps with his father-in-law. Realizing that incestophobia is a Bad Thing, the young wife also sleeps with her father. All of this is a Good Thing.

    I was 15 when I read this. I remember being damn glad the family didn’t have a dog.

  112. 112
    martinc

    Modus @ 79: Harry Harrison’s enjoyable “Bill The Galactic Hero” was one of two parodies of Starship Troopers. The other was even funnier, in my opinion: Bob Shaw’s “Who Goes Here?”. Highly recommended.

  113. 113
    dingojack

    Martin – argumentum ad populum oooh now I’m soo convinced. (I still found the book as boring as batshit, populated with characters so dumb and unlikeable as to be totally unbelievable and so poorly written, plotted and paced to be a book ‘not to be tossed aside lightly [but one that] should be thrown with great force. )

    Are you sure Bob Shaw wasn’t thinking of ‘Who Goes There?‘ by John Campbell Jr.?

    Dingo

  114. 114
    martinc

    dingojack:

    As I stated, “Ender’s Game” won the award for Best SF novel that SF readers judge, and also the award for Best SF novel that SF writers judge. If it’s argumentum ad populum to point out that an SF book was found by SF readers to be the best, and by SF writers to be the best, I have to wonder what group you turn to in order to judge it? Or are you simply saying that any time your opinion disagrees with a majority of others, its argumentum ad populum? It’s a book – it’s not like there are objective scientific qualities that can be measured that make it a “good” book or not (words per sentence?) … whether a book is “good” is a matter of opinion, and the opinions that count are those qualified, and I’d think SF readers and SF writers would be pretty qualified, right?

    You are perfectly entitled to hate the book. But you – and anyone else – take a long bow in trying to paint as a universally crap book an SF novel that scooped both the Hugo and the Nebula.

    Re the Bob Shaw book, I am sure he was aware of the Campbell novel, but the point of the title “Who Goes Here?” is that the protagonist is unaware of his own identity.

  115. 115
    Moggie

    martinc:

    I was 15 when I read this. I remember being damn glad the family didn’t have a dog.

    Agent (appalled): And what do you call this book, Mr Heinlein?
    Heinlein (proudly): The Aristocrats
    Agent: Hmm, not skiffy enough. Never mind, we can fix that later.

  116. 116
    dingojack

    Ah I see, argumentum ad populum is reserved for a arguments you personally disagree with.
    Gothcha.
    Dingo
    ——-
    Phrases have meanings. Look it up.

  117. 117
    Jordan Genso

    Dingo,

    I think martinc was saying that “argumentum ad populum” is only a logical fallacy if it is in reference to an objective issue. Saying that a majority of people believe the universe is only 6,000 years old would be “argumentum ad populum”, as it is either objectively right or wrong (in this case, wrong) regardless of what people think.

    But stating a majority of TV viewers think Seinfeld is the greatest sitcom of all time would not be “argumentum ad populum”, since the issue is inherently subjective, meaning it is all about what people think. It’s a subjective disagreement, so people’s opinions matter. Now if 1% of the population doesn’t like something that 99% of the population does, it doesn’t make that 1% wrong, but that 1% shouldn’t be arrogant about the superiority of their opinion.

  118. 118
    democommie

    “Now if 1% of the population doesn’t like something that 99% of the population does, it doesn’t make that 1% wrong, but that 1% shouldn’t be arrogant about the superiority of their opinion.”

    I hope you’re not suggesting that only 1% of those who read Heinlein’s work think it’s less than universally wonderful. I never saw the attraction that captivated so many people for ANY television sitcom.

  119. 119
    Steve Morrison

    Alai is definitely black. In older editions of the book Ender specifically says so in the scene where Alai is introduced; only, well, Ender uses a different term instead of “black”. Details on Card’s site here.

  120. 120
    sundoga

    Paca @ 107

    “So it hasn’t been the goal of at least some Autocracies to unify military, political and money power? Which is what I meant. The idea that they are the same is silly. I note that unless they are different they cannot be separated out.”

    False. Water can be separated into Ice, Liquid Water and Steam – but it’s still all water. Power, likewise can be divided, but remains power, and unless there are barriers to doing so one type of power can turned into any other type quickly and easily.

    ” In the past Autocracies tended to amalgamate them together which is one of the reasons why such states are Autocracies. Just why was Heinlein so willing to swallow a return to this sort of pre-Enlightenment sort of crap is beyond me. The history of Autocratic regimes would indicate that they were no strangers to either corruption or brutality. ”

    True enough. What you seem to be missing entirely is the fact that we’re not talking about an Autocracy. The system in Starship Troopers is a democracy with limited franchise – there is no single Autocrat.

    “Did he really “understand”? So his solution is Autocratic rule to the messy, flawed human thing called Democracy. His severe criticism is the same old whine of Autocrats throughout history and his solution is a return to Autocracy. The idea that Democracies are unusually corrupt compared to Autocracies is a good joke. The former “Peoples Democracies” ruled by “deserving” party members “citizens” along with past history would indicate otherwise. Everyone of the faults you listed has usually been much worst in Autocratic states.”

    Except that, as noted, the system in the book ISN’T an autocracy, making your entire point moot – Heinlein’s “solutions” (really, talking points and debatable ideas) were issues and attempts to deal with problems in modern democratic structures – he did not throw out the baby with the bathwater, as you wrongly suggest.
    And, as Whheydt @109 points out, unlike the “People’s Democracies” example you give, the government in ST could not refuse you. If you volunteered, and completed your service, you were a citizen, no exceptions.
    Are you sure you’ve actually read this book?

    “So you admit that Starship Troopers has an anti-democratic message. Good.”

    No, and I hesitate to ask why you think I did. This is a tremendous leap of illogic. What I said was he severely criticised modern democracy. If you think criticism of a thing is opposition to that thing, then I suspect you belong back with McCarthy and the HUAC.

    “Then the book is thoroughly contemptible.”

    So, any criticism of, or opposition to, democracy is “contemptible”. Interesting. Never mind the fact that democracy, in a number of cases, simply hasn’t worked at all, or been co-opted into pre-existing power frameworks, or just outright proven a bad thing at that time and place. No, democracy cannot be challenged.
    Bull.

    “Yes there is a way forward indeed very much like becoming a party member in a “Peoples Democracy” after you have proven you “deserve” it and are suitably indoctrinated. The non Citizen is denied political power and so is by definition oppressed. Yes co-option does help and is a standard tactic of Autocracies. Of course the ideological apparatus of this type of state strongly discourages the “wrong” sort of thinking. Sorry but the only way what you describe would work with perfect efficiency is because Heinlein wrote it that way. I will note that the French Middle Class was excluded from power by the nobility and clergy but eventually organized and help cause the French Revolution, and this was precisely because it was economically successful and excluded from political power. Oh and they tried to co-op the higher Middle class by making some of them Nobles.
    It doesn’t wash that their would be no opposition to this sort of oligarchic society. There would inevitably be opposition and the demand for political rights from some. So how would that be dealt with? There would have to be inevitably methods of coercion and in a modern state with mass education and knowledge that would be highly unpleasant coercion. In otherwords Heinlein’s state would inevitably have to be a police state in reality.”

    I’m now really wondering if you have ever read this book. There IS opposition mentioned. Not everyone is content with the status quo. But everyone gets a reasonable standard of living, enjoys the basic human rights (yes, including non-citizens – the only thing they can’t do is vote or run for office). Why rebel when you can either enjoy a peaceful life or become part of the ruling class?
    I outright reject your definition of oppression – unless perhaps you mean it in a “help, help, I’m being oppressed” Monty Pythonesque manner. The middle and lower classses in France really WERE being oppressed, economically, politically and socially – none of that is present in the society Heinlein gives us in this book.

    “Murder is also common but we don’t elevate it or something like it to a “reasonable” principle. Power requires checks and balances to limit its effects and proclaiming that might makes right, which is simply false, doesn’t help. Instead it sanctifies force.”

    Within limits, I agree. However, I should point out, we DO elevate murder to a “reasonable principle” – we execute people. And the only check or balance in international relations is who’s got the bigger gun. Like it or not, in the modern world, as in all times before, might does not decide who is right, but does decide who is left.

  121. 121
    Area Man

    @7:

    “I am an admirer of Ender’s Game (most of Card’s other work, not so much, to put it politely), and I make an effort to judge an artist’s work independently of individual failings.”

    Agreed entirely. I think it has a lot of potential as a movie, and I’ll probably see it if it gets good reviews.

    That said, Card’s whining doesn’t help my low opinion of him as a person.

  122. 122
    martinc

    dingojack @ 116:

    Phrases have meanings. Look it up.

    I believe I am well aware what “argumentum ad populum” means, however I have now looked it up. Surprise, surprise, it means exactly what I thought it meant. As Jordan Genso points out at 117, you seem to have entirely missed the point I was making. Never mind.

  123. 123
    dingojack

    Martin – Hmmm… on second thoughts perhaps you’re right.
    However:
    + Look at a list of ‘musical chart toppers’ or Academy Award winners. What are these measuring exactly?
    + The DaVinci Code was an extremely popular novel. Was it a good novel?
    + Do you remember the ’80′s? Would you dress like that now (aside from ‘ironically’)? That is: ‘Is ‘fashion’ a factor’?
    + What else was on offer? Was this the best of a bad lor? Was it the popular choice.rather than the best novel?
    + Who chose? How were they selected?
    + Look at the novel now (putting aside Mr Card’s views) is a good novel? Does it work?
    Dingo

  124. 124
    Raging Bee

    To downgrade the value of the book just because its author is later revealed as a screaming bigot smacks of after-the-fact justification.

    No one is doing anything of the sort — we’re saying that the book had no value to “downgrade,” and this was apparent to us long before the author’s bigotry was known to us. I, for one, didn’t give up on the book because I’d heard of his opinions of gays (I only heard of that last year); I gave up on it because the characters were made of cardboard, the writing was less than gripping, and the premise was ridiculous.

    You know how it’s said that some SF authors have really great and interesting ideas, but lame writing and character-development? EG was like that, only without the great and interesting ideas. An entire world ready to fight for its very existence, but still waiting for just the right naive teenager to graduate from high school and make victory possible? That’s kinda like “The Last Starfighter,” bur it’s also kinda like “The Lion, the Wtich, and the Wardrobe.” Why not just take out Harrison Ford and have a talking lion with Harrison Ford’s voice? Or does the talking lion have to have a proper English accent?

  125. 125
    Raging Bee

    martinc: if you liked the book, then you liked the book. You don’t have to justify it by reminding us of the awards it won. All that does is remind us that lots of crappy books win awards, and lots of really interesting books just vanish without a trace (or don’t win the awards we thnk are Big). If I read books that won Big Awards, I’d be reading a lot of “literary” fiction and have no time left for SF.

    As for what SF Ed should be reading, in case he’s lookiing for suggestions, I recommend Neal Stephenson (but not “Zodiac” or “The Big U”), Dan Simmons, and James K. (P.?) Morgan.

  126. 126
    slc1

    To the surprise of no one, other then John Pieret, the California Supreme Court gave the Prop 8 folks the middle finger.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-court-gay-marriage-20130715,0,4559972.story

  127. 127
    John Pieret

    To the surprise of no one, other than slc1, slc1 still doesn’t understand the issues:

    http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/07/marriage-dispute-ready-for-ruling/

    Which sets out what I have have been trying with all the patience I can muster to him. The case continues in the California Supreme Court and the briefing will not be completed before August 1.

    I’ll also remind you that I still expect the California Supreme Court to avoid any ruling that would result in SSM being legal only in parts of California.

    But simplemindedness remains simplemindedness.

  128. 128
    jakc

    @dingojack
    Ender’s Game won the Hugo in Atlanta. World con attendees/supporting members are the only ones who vote. The list of nominees was weak that year (as I said earlier, I’m not an EG fan but I didn’t think any of the other four were particularly good). Sometimes in these kinds of awards, you see a year with two good novels and sometimes you see a year without any exceptional books. I don’t know the raw numbers or the exact procedures for that, but I think its possible that EG could have won with a small plurality. The pool of Nebula voters is even smaller. EG has always struck me as a work that some people like a lot but one that a lot of people don’t like and not too many people in the middle. Certainly, anyone who really liked it is entitled to that opinion but its not something I would recommend.

    As for the ongoing conversation on ST, I dont think the criticism that Heinlein abandoned democracy in the book is fair. I think a far better criticism is that the Mobile Infantry was dreamed up by a man who never served in combat, part of the reason that Haldeman’s Forever War is such a better book.. The MI seem far more like a teenage boy’s idea of combat troops

  129. 129
    sundoga

    jakc@128 – Regarding ST, yeah, you’re largely correct. You need to remember, though, that ST is one of Heinlein’s juveniles – specifically targetted at younger audiences. It’s an open question whether it was his lack of personal military experience or whether he was deliberately simplifying.

  130. 130
    Raging Bee

    …ST is one of Heinlein’s juveniles – specifically targetted at younger audiences. It’s an open question whether it was his lack of personal military experience or whether he was deliberately simplifying.

    It’s not really that open a question: a good chunk of Heinlein’s books show that he had a pretty juvenile and immature mindset himself, and didn’t do all the growing up he should have done, even in his old age. Even when I was a teenager myself, I found it just plain sad and suspicious that so many of his characters were clearly pulled from either sexual or adventure fantasies that I was already in the process of outgrowing (or at least consigning to the “nice wank material but not in my serious SF please” category).

    The problem with Heinlein was not that he wrote for juveniles — it’s that he WAS juvenile, which made his books that much less useful or reliable for juveniles to read.

  131. 131
    jakc

    The distinctions that made Heinlein’s books in the 50s juvenile or adult seem pretty slim. Last week, feeling like a little Heinlein, I reread Between Planets and Puppet Masters. I don’t think that a 13 year old SF fan reading them today would notice the difference. I don’t know if that means Heinlein wrote up for juveniles or down to adults but he seemed to write about the same for both. As for ST, it was too be one of the Scribner juveniles, but they didn’t accept it. By then, he didn’t seem interested in writing juveniles for them anymore anyway.

    As for the book, it’s fair to call the attitudes towards war and soldiers juvenile – the MI are brave and carry out their duties nobly because their cause is just – but its an attitude often shared by grown men. On the other hand, writers such as Haldeman and Vonnegut, who served in combat, treat soldiers and their attitude toward war very differently. Heinlein served in peacetime and had a great respect for those who served. Perhaps he felt he had to write respectfully

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