Advertise gods away »« Neuro student articles

Oh, man, Orson Scott Card is such a warped little man

In his benighted quest to make everyone on the planet incapable of reading anything he’s ever written without muttering “what an asshole…” under their breath, Orson Scott Card has taken a great leap upward in arrogance and obsession. He is rewriting Shakespeare. Not only that, he’s rewriting him into a cranky Mormon bigot who hates the gays. This is from a review of Hamlet’s Father; I warn you, it completely gives away the conclusion of Card’s retelling, but that doesn’t matter, because it’s frikkin’ Shakespeare and you ought to just read the original, and it’s frakkin’ Card, who has become such a parody of himself that you shouldn’t waste your time reading him anyway.

Here’s the punch line: Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people. The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting him as a young boy—along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay. We learn that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now “as fusty and peculiar as an old married couple. I pity the woman who tries to wed her way into that house.”

He really needs to get himself a rent-boy and get these obsessions out of his head.

Comments

  1. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    This is a joke, right?
    Right?
    Please.
    … Oh, it isn’t. And you didn’t quote more of the fun:

    Hamlet is damned for all the needless death he inflicts, and Dead Gay Dad will now do gay things to him for the rest of eternity: “Welcome to Hell, my beautiful son. At last we’ll be together as I always longed for us to be.”

    *blink*

  2. eric says

    I predict we are less than a decade away from Card rewriting Ender’s Game to change “buggers” to “buggerers.”

  3. birger johansson says

    I thought it was Jack Vance who tended to picture the bad guys as sexually deviant (usually homosexual).

  4. Nice Ogress says

    @ eric, #3:

    He doesn’t need to. the slur was already pretty heavily implied in the original text.

  5. required says

    I feel sorry for him — all of those molestings he must have had. Unfortunately, the man (men?) who molested him was very probably straight.

  6. DonDueed says

    I lost respect for Card quite a while ago. The thing that put me over the top was this little incident:

    When the movie Serenity was released, he wrote a glowing review, and literally proclaimed it the best S-F movie evah. That was fine, I love the Firefly/Serenity verse and pretty much agree with Card’s assessment.

    Then, about a year later, Card released a list of his all-time top ten science fiction films.

    Serenity wasn’t on it.

    Oh, how soon they forget.

  7. raven says

    He’s getting worse. This will not turn out well.

    Methinks he does protest too much.

    The Mormons like all authoritarian cults have a big problem with child sexual abuse. Which they deal with by covering it up any way they can.

    One wonders what the Latter Day Saints did to young Orson.

  8. Sajanas says

    Its funny, back when I was first reading OSC books in high school, I noticed his gay characters were a bit weird, but they weren’t evil. In Songmaster, the main character was gay, or at least interested in men, but was unable to experience orgasm because of the castration-like procedures done to him. In the Homecoming Saga, there was a gay character who none the less married a woman because he wanted to increase the genetic diversity of their new colony. Of course, there could be other more homophobic examples that I’ve missed by not reading everything, or from just time passing. But still, he used to actually write characters, not frothing homophobic rants. I can’t imagine this will do wonders for his book sales, since I’m not sure there’s a big overlap between frothing anti-gay Mormons and Sci-fi fans (though who knows).

  9. muzakbox says

    Ender’s Game is still one of my favorite novels. When I read it at 13 I was so excited because I so strongly identified with Ender. But the more Card I read the more it breaks my heart. I can’t remember the name of the latest book I took out of the library but I couldn’t even get more than 1/4 of the way into it. This is unusal for me because I always finish everything I start to read. The moralizing was just so heavy handed, the projection of gender roles, the you must accept Jesus to be fully human, i just couldn’t take it.

  10. Nonsanity says

    So “Songbird” was just the TIP of the iceberg??? Then again, even “Ender’s Game” had prepubescent naked wrestling in it. I guess if one plotted the trend, this latest piece (of…) could have been predicted.

    One wonders, however: What comes NEXT on the curve? Something set in airport bathroom, methinks, and I don’t mean literature.

    Something’s rotten in the state of Hatrack…

  11. Lauren Ipsum says

    I’m only upset about this (and that’s slightly) because I just read Ender’s Game for the first time in the last month, and I thought it was a tremendously imaginative if depressing piece of fiction. The first two sequels bore out that assessment: really creative, and also real bummers. The end of Xenocide in particular left a bad taste in my mouth, enough that I didn’t feel inspired to pick up the rest of the series.

    Now I’m doubly glad I didn’t. I don’t want a penny of mine to go to someone who thinks that kind of crap.

  12. Bill Door says

    On his tombstone:
    “Here lies O.S.C. He wrote one good book, then mostly shit. Piss here.”

  13. Dhorvath, OM says

    I posted this comment elsewhere in response to this. Please excuse my lazy nature in reposting here:
    Because he’s (OSC) not the same person. It’s saddening, nay, it’s maddening, that he has shriveled in to hate when he started from such concern earlier in his career. However, it is also evident from his written words of late that he can’t write with the same compassion, he can’t stir the same emotions, his voice no longer commands attention because it says nothing to us. OSC is a twisted monster that grew out of someone with promise.

  14. unbound says

    Well, technically, he’s 6′ 2″…so not exactly little…

    Other than that, I do have to agree with PZ.

  15. Neil says

    I’d like to think that only brain damage (see his recent stroke) leads to this type of “creativity,” but this is the result of a different type of physiological insult that is part of our culture.

  16. PlayMp1 says

    Man, I liked Ender’s Game a lot. It was a good, engaging story with an interesting ending. Too bad Card is batshit insane.

  17. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Sad.

    I enjoyed his Ender books. And some of his early short fiction. He has now, however, achieved a roll of 18 (00) on the BSC* personality trait.

    *BSC = Bat Shit Crazy.

  18. dorght says

    Besides the blatant moralizing, the problem with his writing is his bulking out his books with repetitious soliloquies in the middle of action scenes. Soliloquies so mind numbingly dull that the bullets caught mid-flight by grandiose oration fall out of the sky from boredom thereby making the protagonist both boring and invincible.

  19. Brown Jenkins says

    I used to really like OSC. Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Hart’s Hope, Wyrms, and Songmaster were all excellent novels. I did notice that Songmaster had some interesting views about homosexuality– one character initially was gay, but then got married and had a child. When he lapses and was gay again, he punishment was castration and then suicide. The universe in which Songmaster exists is clearly far in the future, yet someone homosexuality is seen as deviant. I find this very unlikely.

    After those books, OSC became hyper-conservative and put uber-Mormonism into all his books. Women were baby-bearing machines and STUPID. Quite offensive.

    I also believe that OSC is a pedophile. I cannot know if he has acted on it, but in Hart’s Hope, Songmaster, and Wyrms, the naked children are written about in a sexual manner. In Hart’s Hope, a female character is described as the most beautiful woman of all time– yet she has no pubic hair and very small breasts. Ansset, the main character in Songmaster, is a beautiful boy, and is sexualized at that age. Clearly, OSC is attracted to prepubescent or barely pubescent children.

  20. Stephanie Zvan says

    We’re collecting some lovely (well-written) big gay books to read instead over here. Add your favorite or find something to read instead of this crap. And if you really like it, maybe even send a note to Card to thank him for driving you to the discovery. :)

  21. Anteprepro says

    Rewriting Hamlet, except now everyone’s ultimate motivation for doing something bad is because of The Gayness?

    Just goes to show that when you become a frothing-at-the-mouth, hard-right hatemonger, you tend to lose creativity and subtlety in the process. It’s just kind of ironic that Card and his ilk, so obviously invested religious and political fantasy and so visibly unhinged from reality, are so incredibly poor at writing fiction once they’ve had a sufficiently large amount of Kool-Aid.

  22. Leander says

    Has anybody read the “Empire” Novels by Card? They’re basically about the Evils of radical liberalism…

  23. Matthew says

    Two things come to mind:

    “Methinks he doth protest too much,”

    and, that there is likely to be a Rent Boy in his future.

  24. peterh says

    Some might enjoy Postmodern Pooh, Frederick Crews, North Point Press, 2001, ISBN 0-86547-626-8. It happens to be parody of style rather than of content, and the tongue-in-cheek is all up front(!). You might get an honest chuckle or two from it.

  25. Paul Rousselle says

    Funnily enough, I go to University in Lampeter, Wales where one of the founders/benefactors, Thomas Bowdler, lends his name to the term “bowdlerise” with his efforts to rewrite and censor Shakespeare and other works to make them ‘appropriate’ for the audiences of that day…

    Sounds like Bowdler and Card would have been close friends :-P

  26. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over. Why that among so many other possible “evils?” It’s like the canker sore they can’t stop poking with their tongue.

    I’m not asking rhetorically; I’m genuinely baffled and would love an explanation.

  27. Sili says

    Please noöne tell him about The Merchant of Venice or the Two Gentlemen of Verona.

    One good thing to be said of Mormons in this matter: They don’t pull the “Not All Like That” card like the True Christian™s do.

  28. Ant Allan says

    I liked his short fiction in OMNI years back, but gave up on him after the first of his novels I read, Hart’s Hope, which I found weird and uninteresting.

    /@

  29. Sili says

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over.

    You of all people should know that gay sex is better and more addictive than crack.

    (Sorry, I don’t know either. Cliché though it be, it’s hard not to assume it’s cognitive dissonance. They’re repressing their own desires.)

  30. AJKamper says

    @Josh:

    The reason crazies fulminate so much about homosexuality is because so much of how Western nations conceive of gender roles is founded on whom we choose to fuck. It’s not just the crazies, either. That’s why you get nice, liberal people like Joakim Noah who still think that “faggot” is an appropriate insult; he’s probably fervently for gay marriage, but homosexuality still seems like something that goes to the core of one’s masculinity.

    It’s still worse for conservative radicals–people who can’t deal with change or difference and who identify closely with those values. The existence of homosexuality calls into question their own identity, and they respond with loathing and repulsion.

  31. Stephanie Zvan says

    Josh, in addition to what AJ said, sex for pleasure is terribly dangerous. It can’t be controlled because it can be hidden. It’s not an accident that contraception and abortion come in for a similar share of obsessive hatred.

  32. SallyStrange says

    Funny, just last night I was exchanging tweets with Pixelfish, an occasional commenter here, about how sad it is to watch a brilliant mind become more and more twisted by a toxic belief system.

  33. alkaloid says

    @Leander, #30

    Unfortunately, yes. I read Empire before I knew that he had turned into a nutcase (or perhaps that potential was always there).

    I’d have to rate it at one of the worst, most ideologically axe-grinding books I read that year. It was horrifyingly bad.

  34. says

    What’s wrong with rewriting Shakespeare’s stories?
    Virtually none of them were his original work to begin with. Hamlet already existed in several forms when Shakespeare picked it up; likewise King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and pretty much every other well-known work. (12th Night might be an original.)

    Granted, Card’s attempt may or may not be any good, but the stories shouldn’t get special protection because Shakespeare made them famous.

  35. Becca says

    what’s sad is that I have (somewhere) a cassette of a talk Card did at a science fiction convention in — 86? some time like that, called the Secular Humanist Revival, where he comes out in favor of a secular government, and against prayer in school. He really was quite sane and liberal. Then, I heard, his son died, and that started Card down his sad path.

  36. Leander says

    I found out about “Empire”, Card and his madness when I played “Shadow Complex” (a pretty awesome Game, by the way).
    The developers of the game wanted Card to write it’s backstory witch he promptly expanded into the “Empire”-Books…
    Fortunately I have not read anything by him, only some Summaries.

  37. Android B says

    I think the actual line from Hamlet is “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.” That is even more appropriate in this situation, given the fairly obvious tacit admission of the author’s homosexuality.

    If you click the link and read the review the reviewer makes a pretty compelling argument that Card’s Hamlet is gay, though he is not intended to be by the author. Card has clearly and unintentionally revealed a lot of things about himself here.

  38. Vicki, running low on patience says

    A friend of mine and I were discussing Card a few months ago (we’re both very book-focused SF fans, and these things happen), and she said that after reading one of his essays about homosexuality, she was convinced that he’s homosexual (or maybe about a Kinsey 5, but primarily if not exclusively attracted to men). And that Card thinks everyone, or at least all men, is primarily attracted to people of their own sex. His rants make sense only if you stipulate that sex with a same-sex partner is so much better than sex with an other-sex partner that only a huge exercise of self-control makes heterosexual relationships possible.

    I suspect that either he is a Kinsey 6 who has never actually tried the thing he finds so incredibly tempting, or he has had one bad heterosexual relationship (simple mismatch? lack of communication?), and being a good monogamous Mormon, he is assuming that all heterosexual relationships are functionally like his own.

    (I don’t normally speculate publicly about the sex lives of strangers, but Card seems to feel free to publish his assumptions about mine. I’m deliberately not identifying my friend here; keep any guesses to yourself, please. Any namecalling should be aimed at me only.)

  39. wlondon says

    I recently read ENDER’S GAME because of all the acclaim it was given. I knew nothing about Card when I started reading. I was shocked at how tedious, preposterous, and disjointed the book was. So I looked up info on Card and discovered what a hateful guy he is. Most of what I found about his writing was praise, but there were a few dissenters who seemed to mostly make sense to me. At least one of the dissenters suggested that some of ENDER’S GAME has significant subtext of homosexual sadism. I’m wary of reading too much into books, but those dissenters mayhave a point. Makes me wonder about Card’s proclivities. Reminds me of Ted Haggard.

  40. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over.

    I’ve never understood this either. I can understand an obsession with something like pedophilia, where other people get hurt because of someone’s sexual activities, but not homosexuality. Other than homosexual rape and suchlike activities, homosex isn’t any more abusive than heterosex. Yet certain people, many of them religiously inclined, get all excited about the “dangers” of homosexuality. What dangers? Two (or more) people loving each other and expressing that love in a sexual manner is not inherently dangerous.

    I honestly don’t get it either. And I say that as a straight man.

  41. Becca says

    ‘Tis @51 – I’ve often thought that the anti-homosexuality bit comes from the fact that it’s sex purely for fun, totally divorced from procreation, or any “wages of sin”. Sex it self is seen as being a *bad* thing, unless it has at least the potential to result in a baby.

  42. Michael Swanson says

    Card used to write enjoyable, engaging science fiction short stories (The Worthing Saga) and a couple of pretty good novels (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead). But that was a long time ago. Now he’s just an arrogant crank who vomits drivel derivative of his earlier successes. After unreadable schlock like The Crystal City he’s going to tackle Shakespeare?

    Give it up, Orson.

  43. Lauren Ipsum says

    David @45: It’s not that the plots were original to Shakespeare any more than the Hero’s Journey was a plot original to Star Wars or the Quest was a plot original to Lord of the Rings. It’s that when a work of fiction is done right, when it is done with beauty and meaning and resonance, you’d better have a damn good reason for redoing it. And if you can’t improve upon the previous versions, or if your version has nothing new or unique to add, then quit messing with what works.

    The complaint is not that OSC can’t reinterpret Hamlet. It’s that he made such a dog’s breakfast of it.

  44. jamessweet says

    My wife and I just watched The Meaning of Existence the other night, and both noticed that Card was one of the biggest douchebags interviewed in the entire movie. He even gave Brother Jed and some of the radical Islamists a run for their money.

  45. InfraredEyes says

    We learn that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now “as fusty and peculiar as an old married couple.

    I thought they were dead.

  46. Sili says

    It’s not that the plots were original to Shakespeare any more than the Hero’s Journey was a plot original to Star Wars or the Quest was a plot original to Lord of the Rings. It’s that when a work of fiction is done right, when it is done with beauty and meaning and resonance, you’d better have a damn good reason for redoing it. And if you can’t improve upon the previous versions, or if your version has nothing new or unique to add, then quit messing with what works.

    I thought we were talking about Card, not Lucas.

  47. madknitter says

    @Josh, Official SpokesGay, #35:
    Anecdotally, my own observations about the most virulent anti-gay people are that they themselves are deeply closeted homosexuals (I don’t use the term “gay” here, because that has a cultural meaning), and for some reason cannot admit to themselves and others that they are gay. So they take it out on the people who are out and living honest and proud lives. They obsess about gay sex and who does what to whom, to the point where it seems that it is all they think about. I think about people like Tony Perkins and Pete LaBarbara, and other Christian homophobes, who think about gay sex more than I do, and I’m a gay man. They are obsessed, and my own sense is that they are deeply closeted men who are deathly afraid of what Sky Daddy might do if they were ever honest with themselves. My observations lead me to believe that these people usually don’t come out, remain closeted, and rage against what their innermost selves are telling them. I think on some level they believe that since they can’t have what they want most, they have to work to keep others, who are not as self-dishonest, from having it at all.

    Again, my evidence is anecdotal, and I haven’t done real research about this. However, I did read a study somewhere/when that the most homophobic men were most sexually aroused by gay porn (using sensors to record heart rate and other indicators that were listed, but which I cannot remember).

    I stopped reading OSC many years ago when I realised how homophobic he is. I will not give any support to someone whose agenda is to deny me basic human rights because I’m gay.

    And unbound, #22, I don’t care how tall he is. He is a little man.

  48. says

    I gave up on card going on 20 years ago when I read a book of his, I forget the title, that’s about murdered children’s ghosts.

    One of the characters, not the “bad guy” but just a distraction, was a pedophile. The way Card described this pedophile’s thoughts creeped me the hell out, Card seemed to be enjoying himself WAY too much in those parts. I found myself thinking “Jesus, who the fuck thinks THIS shit up?”

    Something is seriously wrong with this guy.

  49. says

    Two (or more) people loving each other and expressing that love in a sexual manner is not inherently dangerous.

    It is if you’re trying to control them by insinuating your religion into every human relation. If that’s your goal then people having the option of relating to each other in a pleasurable and mutually supportive way outside the religion is very dangerous indeed.

  50. says

    I have to say I’ve never read any Card, and this doesn’t make me want to, either. It makes me sad to see Shakespeare defiled that way.

  51. AJKamper says

    @Cheryl:

    Oh, everyone should read his book Ender’s Game, even people who aren’t big fans of science fiction. Most people love it. If you don’t want to support him personally (a totally reasonable stance), check it out from a library.

    I’ve only read that book and a couple others in the series. Speaker of the Dead was quite good, but isn’t quite as universal in its themes, so not as broadly appealing outside the genre. Ender’s Shadow is sort of Card doing for his own books what he just did for Shakespeare, and I find it obnoxious. But some people like it.

  52. amphiox says

    It’s funny. Back when Card was still actually a decent writer, I took him for a liberal. Indeed, reading some of his works (Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, the first three Alvin Maker books, the first three Homecoming, despite the religious themes and inspirations running through the last two series) inspired me to become more liberal, back when I was a teenager and my world views were still being formulated. I mean, Xenocide‘s depressing ending (and in retrospect, most of the rest of the book) is a scathing indictment of religious fanaticism, and the corrosive destructiveness of blind faith.

    The Ender’s Shadow was more overtly reactionary in tone, but the early novels there were still entertaining. And he had sympathetic homosexual characters all the way up to that series (though in that one he had his sympathetic gay character weirdly extolling the virtues of heterosexual marriage).

    The later books are all pretty poor. The only entertainment is derived from the vicarious memory of the older works referenced therein, and the instinctive need for, and satisfaction derived from, the tying up of plot loose ends.

  53. Loqi says

    Some of the commenters here don’t understand what Shakespeare meant by “protest too much,” methinks.

  54. Tommy Lawrence says

    Scifi authors have a way of taking off into right-wing loony-land. See Dan Simmons’s latest slide into irrelevance, titled Flashback.

    Behold the fruits of your godless liberalism and Mohammedan sympathies.

  55. bealzamon says

    The only other time I have seen the name of this man was on the cover of a book: it was to attribute a quote to him on the cover of every book in “The wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan.

    Now that I am aware of the complete, to borrow a phrase from Stephen Fry, “Arse Gravy” the man spews, I will never be able to pick up one of those books without growling under my breath.

    It is said writers write about that which they have experience of, and Card seems to revel in the detail of things like, Homosexulaity, pedophilia and incest… indicative maybe?

    “Oh, man, Orson Scott Card is such a warped little man” – Agreed.

  56. Friendly says

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over. Why that among so many other possible “evils?”

    As a former fundamental lunatic, one key that I’d like to point out is that while fundie Christians view the Old Testament’s ceremonial and dietary laws to have been “obsoleted” by the sacrifice of Jesus, they view the “moral” laws to still be in force. And while they eventually recognized that they didn’t have a Biblical leg to stand on in terms of discriminating against Jews, people of African descent, etc., they seize on the King James wording in the Torah and in the writings of Paul that calls homosexuality “unnatural” and an “abomination” as an excuse to hate homosexuality — or, taking the easier route, to hate and discriminate against homosexuals.

    The reason that it’s *so hard* to get them past that antipathy is because they know that to let go of it, they’ll have to choose to ignore The Only Common-Sense Interpretation of the Black-and-White Text of the Authorized Straight-From-Heaven King James Word of the Most High God, and once those passages have been deemed “not to apply as written”, why, *any* part of Scripture you don’t like is fair game. (I *know* there are plenty of other passages they conveniently ignore, but those bits have been Properly Explained and Sanctioned by the Authorities We Trust.) And allowing for independent individual acceptance or non-acceptance of which Scriptures to apply is a prospect they simply cannot deal with. (Cue the “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!!” quotes.) On behalf of the bigoted person I used to be, I apologize for the occasions on which I treated homosexual and differently gendered people with contempt.

  57. Some Bloke or Another says

    @58

    And unbound, #22, I don’t care how tall he is. He is a little man.

    Can we not just say “pathetic” or something? As a physically short (5’0, if you must know :)) chap, I get kinda bummed out by the use of “little” as an insult, in the same way that I’m sure it offends women to use “balls” as a byword for courage, or how it’s clearly unacceptable to use “gay” as a synonym for “bad”.

  58. says

    So I’ve never read OSC so I probably shouldn’t even comment….. (but where’s the fun in that?) I’ve heard amazing things about Ender’s Game and gather that Card rightfully deserves some respect.

    What I do know about Card is Mormonism. I was raised LDS and have only in relatively recently in my mid 30s broke from the faith. Being raised a believing Mormon can be a huge mindfuck. Card like many other LDS trying deal with the cognitive dissonance facing the religion is faced with a world that is turning upside down in relation to their LDS reality.

    The advent of the internet specifically has been hard on believing literalist Mormons. The faith at it’s most orthodox is a black and white on or off proposition. It either all has to work or it all doesn’t. Very little nuance is allowed. So what you get is people doing some serious mental gymnastics to keep it all together (faith being the “it”) as it were.

    Glad to be out.

  59. AJKamper says

    @Friendly:

    Well, then, doesn’t the question just become, “Why don’t they conveniently ignore the law on homosexuality? Why is this one so important to maintain?”

    Thanks for your perspective, though.

  60. Friendly says

    Scifi authors have a way of taking off into right-wing loony-land.

    Well, loony-land in general. Leo Frankowski springs to mind. But even when you look at the “Golden Age”, Lovecraft was a racist, Heinlein’s ideology flirted with fascism at some points, Campbell went goofy for pseudoscience toward the end, and Piper found modernity so depressing that he shot himself. As for Hubbard, I doubt he believed much of his own wacked-out spew, but he sure managed to make loads of money driving a lot of *other people* loony.

  61. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    I stopped reading Card when, in Xenocide, Ender Wiggin is described as the most moral person who ever lived even though he was the greatest mass murderer in history.

    Does not compute!

    Wiggin was sorry he’d killed all the buggers after he’d done so. But before he started his killing spree he knew, both from his own logical reasoning and from being told outright by Mazer Rackham, that his function was to kill buggers. All the time he was killing buggers he thought he was just practicing, but he knew and accepted that sooner or later he’d be killing buggers en masse. The killing turned out sooner than later but he didn’t object to the idea before or during the killing.

  62. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    In his benighted quest to make everyone on the planet incapable of reading anything he’s ever written without muttering “what an asshole…” under their breath, Orson Scott Card has taken a great leap upward in arrogance and obsession. He is rewriting Shakespeare.

    You know, sometimes rewriting (or, to be more specific, retelling) Shakespeare’s plays actually does work. Just look at Christopher Moore’s Fool (King Lear) or Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Hamlet). Both are simply fantastic.

  63. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Not that I think Orson Scott Card’s effort is anything other than puke-worthy. Just sayin’ that rewriting Shakespeare can lead to awesomeness. :)

  64. Friendly says

    Well, then, doesn’t the question just become, “Why don’t they conveniently ignore the law on homosexuality? Why is this one so important to maintain?”

    Fundamentalist Christians conveniently ignore the ceremonial laws because they think the Gospels say that Jesus said they can (and that he sometimes ignored them himself). They conveniently ignore the dietary laws and the laws on circumcision because they think the Acts of the Apostles (Luke) and the Epistles of Paul say they can. But when the Torah says of homosexuality “It’s an abomination!” and Paul says “Yep! It sure is a sin, and it’s against nature too!”, they feel as though there is a “consistent message throughout Scripture” against homosexuality, and they feel that not only do they have no Scriptural basis for ignoring it, it needs to be defended as a “core principle” of Biblical literalism: In their minds, acceding to the norms of current Western society by accepting homosexuality as normal and non-sinful (let alone “good”) is “abandoning God’s Word” and would be a sin in itself, a rebellion against the part of God’s Law that “has never changed,” inviting further abandonment of the literal Bible text (verily, a trip hand-in-hand with the Devil down “the broad road that leads to destruction”).

  65. raven says

    As a former fundamental lunatic, one key that I’d like to point out is that while fundie Christians view the Old Testament’s ceremonial and dietary laws to have been “obsoleted” by the sacrifice of Jesus, they view the “moral” laws to still be in force.

    Not really.

    Why aren’t they stoning disobedient children, nonvirgin brides, adulterers, false prophets, sabbath breakers, apostates, heretics, and blasphemers to death. These are all moral offenses and capital crimes in the bible.

    That false prophet one would do wonders for xianity. Most of the fundie leaders would have long since disappeared under a mountain of rocks.

    Fundie xianity is based on pure, raw hate. They use it for a motivator and organizing principle. It’s just tribalism, they didn’t discover it. They have to hate someone. In fact, the more hate the better.

    It does work or they wouldn’t do it. But it does have side effects. We all know the rules. The Protestants hate the Catholics and vice versa. The fundies hate everyone. Everyone hates them back.

    And oh, BTW, did you know xianity is the basis of all morality? LOL.

  66. says

    BWAAAHAHAHA!!! I hope the shame he feels over this rivals the pain I felt reading his op ed pieces in local newspapers. he is a total fucking prick and his contempt for women, gays, and other less-than-pure-n-delightsome folk is apparent in all his work. Fuck that guy.

  67. raven says

    they feel that not only do they have no Scriptural basis for ignoring it, it needs to be defended as a “core principle” of Biblical literalism: In their minds, acceding to the norms of current Western society by accepting homosexuality as normal and non-sinful (let alone “good”) is etc.

    Well really, why should normal people give a rat’s ass what the fundies think?

    It’s none of their business what normal people think and do. They are entitled to their own opinions, but they aren’t entitled to force them on the rest of us.

    It’s that democracy thingie that they hate so much. We all just wish they would stay under their rocks and leave the rest of us alone. FWIW, recent polls show the fundie xians are one of the most hated groups in the USA. They earned it fair and square.

    PS I know what the fundies think of me and people like me. They want to kill me/us. They say so themselves and have been sending me death threats for over a decade.

  68. says

    http://www.nationformarriage.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=omL2KeN0LzH&b=5075187&ct=6938473

    “We’re extremely honored that Orson Scott Card has joined with NOM in our shared mission to protect marriage and the faith communities that sustain it,” said Maggie Gallagher, president of NOM, “He is one of the great science fiction writers of our time and a real voice of courage and intellect on behalf of marriage.”

    The National Organization for Marriage funnels mormon money to anti-gay campaigns. NOM became more important as a veil behind which mormon fundraisers could hide after the LDS Church got caught directly funding parts of the Prop 8 campaign in California.

    NOM was started by mormons, with a mormon guy named Ballard as it’s head. That quickly changed when the PR shit hit the fan for the Utah theocrats.

  69. SallyStrange says

    FSM damn it. Why does this have to be the author of the sublime Ender’s Game? :(

    Hey, James Brown was a wife-beater, Elizabeth Moon (a very good sci-fi/fantasy author) has disturbingly classist notions about the value of aristocracy, Christopher Hitchens was a warmongering jackass for a while, and the often hilarious Ricky Gervais is fond of rape jokes, as is being well-documented in the other thread.

    I find life’s a lot less stressful when I just enjoy the artistic works of whoever I happen to enjoy, without the expectation that any of them are going to agree completely with me.

  70. Carbon Based Life Form says

    Akira Kurosawa brilliantly rewrote Macbeth in his film Throne of Blood and did an even better job of rewriting King Lear in Ran.

  71. Friendly says

    they view the “moral” laws to still be in force.

    Not really.

    Why aren’t they stoning disobedient children, nonvirgin brides, adulterers, false prophets, sabbath breakers, apostates, heretics, and blasphemers to death. These are all moral offenses and capital crimes in the bible.

    Sorry. What I should have said was, “They view the ‘moral’ laws to still be in effect, although the Old Testament punishments for breaking those laws are no longer to be enforced (cf. Jesus and the woman caught in adultery).” The fundies view disobedience, fornication, false prophecy, adultery, heresy, and blasphemy as dimly as ever; they no longer publicly stone or burn you for those offenses because that’s “no longer required” (although for some sects and personalities, the real reason is that they don’t think they can get away with it), but they’ll make sure you “know you’re outside God’s will” and they’ll do whatever they can to “bring you to repentance.” Sometimes this extends to making you sorry you were born, which can lead to you killing yourself, for which they will profess their “deepest sadness and sympathy.”

    They have to hate someone.

    I have to say that most fundies I’ve known don’t actively hate anyone, but rather are passively intolerant, by which I mean they cheerfully contribute to an environment in which certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are not tolerated. If you were a certain kind of sinner, they wouldn’t come after you with a pitchfork, but if your house burned down you’d get a nice card and a tract instead of financial assistance from the church’s relief fund and they’d never tell you why. A few of them could be persuaded to wave a placard in your face while praying for you, but that would be a minority of those I’ve lived among.

    And oh, BTW, did you know xianity is the basis of all morality? LOL.

    Yes, of course, I’ve heard that claim many times. Fundie Christians can’t imagine any other basis for morality, ergo no other bases could possibly exist.

  72. says

    Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Hamlet)

    Yes!

    Brilliant movie.

    Orson should watch it until he figures out how bad his approach is compared to Stoppard’s.

  73. raven says

    I have to say that most fundies I’ve known don’t actively hate anyone, but rather are passively intolerant, by which I mean they cheerfully contribute to an environment in which certain thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are not tolerated.

    Possibly true. We have few fundies around here and mostly you hear about them when they beat their kids to death or some minister gets caught doing something horrible.

    But the sheeple don’t have to. It’s their leaders who use hate and use it often. Pat Robertson is always drooling on about something stupid. Tony Perkins, Bradley, Scott “kill the gays” Lively, Hagee, Parsley etc.. are about the ugliest hate mongers our society has produced. James Dobson of Focus on Hating Everybody is legendary for his many and intense hates.

    And oh, BTW, did you know xianity is the basis of all morality? LOL.

    Yes, of course, I’ve heard that claim many times. Fundie Christians can’t imagine any other basis for morality, ergo no other bases could possibly exist.

    It’s obviously wrong. It’s also factually wrong. The statistics say fundies are worse than the general population.

  74. SallyStrange says

    Remakes of Shakespeare are a dime a dozen. I particularly like Scotland, PA as a MacBeth remake.

    There’s “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Ten Things I Hate About You”… The list goes on and on.

    The question is, is it good? Given OSC’s recent output, combined with the synopsis above, the answer is clearly NO.

  75. Hammy says

    A little while ago I was going on a road trip with a friend, and he’d brought along the first of the Homecoming saga as a book on tape.

    The book starts with a naked shower scene with a 14 year old boy.

    After 15 minutes of this, we turned it off. Also of note is that several of the pivotal scenes in Ender’s Game occur while naked in the showers. OSC clearly has some problems.

  76. SallyStrange says

    I actually haven’t seen “Ten Things I Hate About You.” It’s probably one of those extraneous remakes, one that the world could easily have done without. It just sprang to mind as an example.

  77. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Jesus Christ, even West Side Story is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet. They’re all over the place!

  78. wondering says

    Once upon a time, before I knew anything about him, I loved Orson Scott Card’s books.

    The first three Ender’s Game books, the first three Alvin Maker books, and a handful of his other early books were all great.

    But I choked on the Homecoming books and was unable to read them past the first of the series, and in the last 10 years or so I have refused to give him any more of my cash, because he has become such a hateful wad of camel spittle.

  79. says

    Agreed, SallyStrange. Ender’s Game is still awesome no matter what a tool the author is. Heck, right now I’m listening to an album by a guy who stabbed his own bandmate to death. Good album, too.

  80. peterh says

    @ #45, David:

    There are roughly ten “basic stories” to be told; all else is costume & dialogue.

    @ #68, Friendly:

    The KJV, in light of today’s scholarship & available manuscripts, is highly problematic in quite a few respects.

  81. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Ooooo, how about Sons of Anarchy?

    Sorry, now I’m just going to name entertaining/successful Shakespeare rewrites. :P

  82. Dhorvath, OM says

    SallyStrange,
    I liked the performances in Ten Things I Hate About You, but I hate the idea that drives the Taming of the Shrew. Once through was enough for me.

  83. says

    What’s wrong with rewriting Shakespeare’s stories?

    Nothing – when it’s well done.

    Check out some of Kurosawa’s films, for example.

    OR

    Forbidden Planet

  84. says

    I often upset people by stating my opinion that Ender’s Games is probably the most overrated science fiction novel ever.

  85. says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Kim Stanley Robinson – Not sure about being atheist (he seems to have at least Buddhist sympathies in his writings)

  86. SallyStrange says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    I’ve recently gotten into Lois McMaster Bujold, who is definitely a feminist, and incorporates her thoughts on the division of labor between men and women, gender roles, and child-bearing and -rearing into almost all her books. Fascinating stuff.

  87. Qwerty says

    What’s wrong with rewriting Shakespeare’s stories?

    This has been done plenty of times.

    Disney’s The Lion King is thought to be a reworking of Hamlet.

    Romeo & Juliet has been reworked several times. The plot used in numerous movies and plays. Notibly West Side Story.

    Does the reworking bring something new and is it entertaining is the question. Apparently with this book the answer is a resounding NO.

  88. peterh says

    Dunno atheist, but pro-liberaler than Spider Robinson they don’t get. You are guilty of being pro-violence if you simply` live next door to a gun owner! Plus he would seem to have a very alcoholic closet to hide in / come out of.

  89. MFHeadcase, not frothing, its just toothpaste. says

    I think OSC is beyond rent boys, he is to the point where he needs 2 wetsuits, a buttplug, and entirely too much meth.

  90. says

    If you look at the writings and speeches of Orson Scott Card’s fellow mormons, you can tell where he gets his ideas pimped for their literary ride.

    ‘Tis the season for mormons to get together at the Evergreen conference on homosexuality. As blogger Eric Ethington notes:

    … another high-ranking mormon official spoke at the Mormon’s Evergreen conference on homosexuality. Elder Bruce Hafen of the Quorumn of the 70 told participants that not only is it a myth that homosexuals can’t be changed back to straight, but most homos are only gay because of sexual abuse as kids.

         

    Make no mistake folks, this is the true face of Mormonism and their policies on LGBT people.

    Elder Bruce C. Hafen of the Mormon Church:
    A second misconception the activists promote is that therapy cannot treat, let alone change, same gender attraction. This false assumption is linked to the first one: if you’re born gay, there is no need to change; and since you have a permanent condition you can’t change anyway. Evidence that people have indeed changed threatens the political agenda of the activists, because actual change disproves their claim that homosesexuality is a fixed condition and deserves the same legal protections as those fixed conditions like race and gender. .. The angels of the devil convince some that are born to a life which they cannot change and are compelled to live in sin.

    Slanderous, murderous, SLEAZEMOUTHS. You won’t believe this next bit.

    For example, we know from the research that among women, up to 80% who have same gender attraction were abused in some way as children. Among men, especially during the years just before and during puberty, as President Boyd K Packer has said, “What would have only been a more or less normal passing phase in establishing your gender identity can become implanted and leave you confused.

    Let me paraphrase Harvey Milk here. I was born of heterosexual parents, in a fiercely heterosexual community, I never new a homosexual activist until a few years after I’d come out of the closet, nor did I know any prominent homosexual figures on TV and yet I turned out bisexual.

    Tell me Elder Hafen, if people are only LGBT because they were encouraged to be so, why are LGBT kids living on the streets because their Mormon parents kicked them out? …

    http://prideinutah.com/?p=4262

  91. says

    Arrgggh. I should be spanked for not paying attention. The quotes from the mormon Evergreen conference on homosexuality came from the 2010 September conference. Apologies.

  92. Friendly says

    Well really, why should normal people give a rat’s ass what the fundies think?

    No reason. I’m not trying to defend their beliefs, but AJ Kampfer @71 asked for clarification of their ideology on this point so I thought I’d give it a shot.

    It’s none of their business what normal people think and do. They are entitled to their own opinions, but they aren’t entitled to force them on the rest of us.

    The fundie Christians would earnestly reply that they’re engaging in oppressive political activity in order to “save people from themselves” or “protect the children” or “preserve God’s blessing and prevent His judgment on [nation, region, or locality].” In other words, they believe it’s perfectly OK to deny your civil rights because if they don’t, little Kenny will be traumatized by seeing two men kissing and the Sweet Lord Jesus will send people to Hell or drop an earthquake on their heinies.

    (As an aside, isn’t *any* political idea that has the potential to really hurt or disadvantage someone if enacted into law liable to be considered “none of their business” and “an opinion that’s being forced on the rest of us” by the aggrieved party? I don’t see that that charge can be levied exclusively against the fundies.)

    PS I know what the fundies think of me and people like me. They want to kill me/us. They say so themselves and have been sending me death threats for over a decade.

    “I’m horribly sorry” doesn’t remotely cover that. I can’t take away or ameliorate any of the hurt you’ve suffered, I know. I think maybe the best I can do is to try to sow the seeds of a questioning attitude among the fundies I know, even though the few of them that I suspect could possibly send an angry letter or death threat are probably beyond persuasion.

    James Dobson of Focus on Hating Everybody is legendary for his many and intense hates.

    I’ve had to listen to a lot of Focus and (more recently) Family Talk broadcasts over the last thirty years. More than a few of them I have laughed along with or have genuinely filled me with happiness or reduced me to tears of shared sorrow or joy. Believe it or not, a few have made me reflect powerfully on the human condition. James Dobson has done a great many things to make life worse in America and elsewhere for a lot of people, there’s no doubt of that. And, wittingly or not, he has inspired a lot of other people to take his negative political and cultural stances further into active personal persecution. Maybe it’s not unjust to characterize him as “legendary for his many and intense hates.” But beyond his messages of exclusion and divisiveness and intolerance that are the only ones you’ll see and hear in the national media, he has sent a lot of messages out into the world that I would consider caring and kind and healthy and which I value to this day. I’m not out to excuse him or sugarcoat him — the good doesn’t make up for the bad –, but I respect the Dobson who cares while deploring the Dobson who doesn’t, and I wish the former incarnation had predominated.

    The KJV, in light of today’s scholarship & available manuscripts, is highly problematic in quite a few respects.

    Yes, I’m well aware that it’s an extremely deficient translation. This does not stop fundies from arguing that it is the “correct” translation because it’s the one “God directed to be made” at just the right time and place to become the version of the Bible adopted by most American Protestants. In other words, we’ve always used it so it must be the translation God meant for us to have. Sigh.

  93. truthspeaker says

    Friendly says:
    7 September 2011 at 4:54 pm

    And allowing for independent individual acceptance or non-acceptance of which Scriptures to apply is a prospect they simply cannot deal with.

    Which is kind of funny, since individual interpretation of Scripture was originally one of the defining features of Protestantism.

  94. Friendly says

    Which is kind of funny, since individual interpretation of Scripture was originally one of the defining features of Protestantism.

    The irony is indeed thickly spread on this ground.

  95. truthspeaker says

    Sally Strange: I highly recommend “Ten Things I Hate About You”. It’s a good adaptation and is very funny. Julia Stiles doesn’t do much comedy but she was perfect for this role.

  96. truthspeaker says

    Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says:
    7 September 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Ooooo, how about Sons of Anarchy?

    How about that season premier last night? Did they kill the Russians for revenge, or just to get their distribution business back?

  97. truthspeaker says

    Friendly says:
    7 September 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Which is kind of funny, since individual interpretation of Scripture was originally one of the defining features of Protestantism.

    The irony is indeed thickly spread on this ground.

    I think any ideology that encourages individual empowerment will eventually be perverted by somebody to encourage the opposite. Some people like to have power over others, and some people like to be told what to do.

    But with Christianity (as with Islam) the self-empowerment message is sabotaged from the get-go with the contradictory message of obedience and submission to God. Since God isn’t talking, this ends up being turned into a message of obedience and submission to the people claiming to speak for God.

  98. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    truthspeaker:
    I… um… haven’t, uh… you know, actually started watching the series yet.

    It’s on the list, though! Really!

  99. raven says

    They say so themselves and have been sending me death threats for over a decade.

    “I’m horribly sorry” doesn’t remotely cover that. I can’t take away or ameliorate any of the hurt you’ve suffered, I know.

    It wasn’t hurt at all. The first serious ones it was fear for myself but mostly for my dependents. The cops picked those guys up and charged them with felonies.

    I now have a security system and anti-terrorism training. I might be a target but definitely not an easy one.

    I don’t worry much anymore and if I do, I know who to call. The police and FBI are on my side.

  100. Friendly says

    But with Christianity (as with Islam) the self-empowerment message is sabotaged from the get-go with the contradictory message of obedience and submission to God. Since God isn’t talking, this ends up being turned into a message of obedience and submission to the people claiming to speak for God.

    Nicely put, thank you. I’ll have to remember that one.

  101. SallyStrange says

    WTF?!!

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead.

    No, I haven’t seen it. I only just found it because I was feeling like I wanted to watch Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (young Tim Roth and Gary Oldman, mmmmm yummy) again, and up it popped!

    Could be awesome or terrible, depending on your temperament, I suppose.

  102. Friendly says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Two of the classic authors that occur to me are Isaac Asimov and C. M. Kornbluth. Kornbluth in particular liked to skewer pretentious ideas of all sorts, religious and otherwise; I guess when you start your writing career at the age of 13 so you can afford to buy cigarettes, cynicism is already well entrenched.

  103. raven says

    Re fundies and their authoritarian fascism:

    This is relatively new. The core principles of Baptists are (or were):

    1. Priesthood of all believers. No one can dictate what someone else believes.

    2. Freedom of the individual to interpret the bible for themselves.

    This is in contrast to their mortal enemy, the Catholic church.

    The Southern Baptists were taken over by a bunch of right wingnuts a few decades ago. They purged all the moderates and turned the church into a right wing hate group. They also abandoned the core principles of their own religion.

    They might pretend to care about your soul but what they really want are the usual human drives: more power, more money, and more sex.

    The best that can be said about the SBC is that it is in big trouble, steadily losing members. Their own projections have them being cut in half in a few decades.

    wikipedia:

    Most Baptist traditions believe in the “Four Freedoms” articulated by Baptist historian Walter B. Shurden:[37]

    Soul freedom: the soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body

    Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government or civilian (subject only to the law where it does not interfere with the religious teachings and practices of the church)

    Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual

    Religious freedom: the individual is free to choose whether to practice their religion, another religion, or no religion; Separation of church and state is often called the “civil corollary” of religious freedom.

  104. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    Sally,
    I have read Shakespeare Undead (spoiler alert: Will’s a vampire). It was as underwhelming as it sounds.

    Oh oh! On the adaptation theme: Two Gentlemen of Lebowski.

  105. SallyStrange says

    You are guilty of being pro-violence if you simply` live next door to a gun owner! Plus he would seem to have a very alcoholic closet to hide in / come out of.

    So… pro-liberal/pro-atheist means being absurdly pacifist and/or alcoholic?

  106. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    I’ll just go out the way I came in.

  107. Patrick says

    I’d never heard of this Orson Scott Card fellow before a few minutes ago, somehow I feel as though my mind has been dirtied. How this disgusting character gets his works published is beyond me.

  108. Marie the Bookwyrm says

    Urgh! Just reading that review squicks me out!

    And just to be contrary; I read Ender’s Game many years ago and really didn’t care for it.

  109. JMS says

    This is the second time he’s ruined tackled a Shakespeare play; the first time was his rewrite of The Taming of the Shrew, which he felt the need to undertake because the play didn’t dramatize male supremacy unambiguously enough.

  110. peterh says

    Sally,

    I’m not saying the two are directly linked in any way except by the perception I got from Robinson’s Callahan series. I was reminded of that by the multiple references to OSC’s possibly suppressed homosexual tendencies. The über-liberal came from Robinson’s notes/intros to his stories; the blatantly alcoholic elements his plot lines depended on were in the stories themselves. But both attributes came forth very strongly from a single writer & I found my reading tastes wandering to other pastures.

  111. Steve says

    I, too, had enjoyed some of Card’s early works, though I eventually lost interest with the Ender and Alvin Maker universes. Imagine my surprise when I moved to Greensboro, NC (Where Ender grew up) and found Card writing weekly columns in the local far-right weekly Rhino Times. By reading his work there I came to realize the arrogance and nuttiness of the man. His columns tend to mostly bash on, as he seems to see it, the liberal conspiracies, our dictatorial, Constitution shredding president, and the intellectual elite. And let’s not forget the “new religion” of global climate change! If any one dares write a letter disagreeing with his views, especially on the climate issue, it is immediately followed up by long and scathing replies, as if anyone who does not agree with him suffers from the height of intellectual arrogance, somehow missing that his entire reply reveals just this about himself.

    But wait, he also swears he is a Democrat! No, really, he promises he is, if only the Democratic party would think exactly as he does, he would vote for them! Most columns nowadays are just reviews of books and the chips or yogurt offerings of the local grocery store, but still, he manages to work in things that make my face hurt from all the facepalms I give myself while reading.

    So, want some more OSC fun? go to the search page at the Rhino and search for the Editorial Column “Civilization Watch”

    And it’s great to see people with the same opinion of the Empire series! I just read the first book this summer and couldn’t get over how paranoid it felt. I think he really believes that crazy liberals would actually do this! It’s a great insight as to how people like him are really viewing the world.

  112. truthspeaker says

    Audley: “Sons” is only loosely based on Hamlet. Having a big battle where everyone dies isn’t conducive to getting renewed for another season.

  113. Anat says

    For authors paying homage to Shakespeare – try Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (parodies Macbeth and Hamlet). Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies is based on Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    Pratchett is an atheist and pro-liberal, but most of his speculative fiction is of the fantasy flavor.

  114. 'Tis Himself, pour encourager les autres says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Michael Moorcock, J.G. Ballard and Brian Aldiss are or were liberals of various stripes. Isaac Asimov was both a liberal and an atheist. China Miéville is a socialist.

  115. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    I gave up on card going on 20 years ago when I read a book of his, I forget the title, that’s about murdered children’s ghosts.

    Lost Boys? My disillusionment with Card began with the Alvin the Maker series, but it was Lost Boys that put me off him forever.

  116. Alverant says

    Thanks for the suggestions. I looked up some of them and their books are well ….. old. Does anyone know of any more recent authors and books?

  117. eandh99 says

    for Alverant – here’s a very long list of newer scifi/fantasy/speculative authors for you, being compiled in response to OSC’s douchebaggery linky here

  118. Hairhead says

    peterh, you are entirely ignorant of what alcoholism is. Drinking to enjoy the flavour of a drinking, drinking to share experiences with friends, drinking to enjoy a mild buzz, drinking to relieve the stresses of the day, all that is in Spider Robinson’s writing. There is nothing of alcoholism in that.

    Yes, Spider is uber-liberal. No, he does not protray, nor does he approve of alcoholism.

    And about all of the heavy breathing re: OSC’s placing several scenes in the shower room in Ender’s Game — it was a major plot point that the boys believed that the shower room was the only room that wasn’t bugged, and so was the room where many important confrontations happened.

  119. melior says

    Hamlet is also secure in his religious faith, with absolute and unshakable beliefs about the nature of death and the afterlife.

    “Not to be, that is the answer.”
    – Hamlet 2.0

  120. says

    Great sci fi book with gay characters is Trouble and Her Friends by Melissa Scott. Most of Scott’s books have gay characters. I’ll admit I’ve been reading more urban fantasy lately because my tolerance for women with crap roles in books has steadily decreased as I have gotten older. I used to love the Honor Harrington series, but I find I have less patience with it now that I hate her newest love interest.

    I can’t say anything about Ender’s Game, as I’ve never read it, but the 7th son series annoyed me to no end so I swore off OSC at a young age.

    I will admit that I love Freehold by Michael Z Williamson. He is very definitely a libertarian, and there are times when I catch myself going ‘but seriously, in the real world how would that work?’ at various times in the book, but I still love the fantasy of a true meritocracy. But I guess that’s why it’s called ‘fiction’. It doesn’t have to be real.

  121. melior says

    John Barnes’ novels that span the Meme Wars (Candle, The Sky So Big and Black, Kaleidescope Century) show a clear atheist sympathy to me in the way they follow a clear parallel to a militant religious denominational war to the death. In his future, humans can freely choose to reversibly change their gender medically (and many do) which it’s fair to say is a liberal idea.
    They are also excellent reads. A Million Open Doors is as well.

    A few other not-too-old authors I like: Neal Stephenson (especially System of the World and Cryptonomicon, Iain M. Banks, the short stories of Ted Chiang.

  122. John Morales says

    Alverant, you need to distinguish between the author’s personal opinions and the author’s works.

    (You might try Charlie Stross)

  123. Nice Ogress says

    Has no one mentioned Samuel R. Delany as a liberal SF author? Shame on youse. Also, one can really never get enough Philip K. Dick, entendre intended.

    Also also, to the growing catalogue of ‘Authors who let their weird hangups totally ruin their writing’, I must submit the following:

    1.) Mark E. Rogers, who wrote the brilliant and hilarious Samurai Cat parodies, then slid slowly down the razorblade of ranting homophobia to write the thoroughly execrable Zorachus!, a book so bad it can only be explained as Flash Gordon without the plot, and in which all the villains are bad because they’re gay. It’s so awful. Words fail me.

    2.) Sheri S. Tepper, a nominally feminist author whose universes tend to either have conveniently already ‘cured’ homosexuality just before the book starts, or conflate gayness with child abuse and make all the villains gay. It’s a shame because, like OSC, she’s written one or two amazingly awesome books, and twenty or so that start out interesting and slowly degrade into wtf-ness.

  124. says

    Along with ‘Authors who let their weird hangups totally ruin their writing’ are ‘authors who got so popular that they mistakenly thought they didn’t need editors any more’

    In that group I include
    * David Weber – we do NOT need 30 pages of technical detail about the ships before we get into all the fine detail of the battle tactics. Remember Start Trek 1? Look at how short “On Basilisk Station” was, and now look at your latest Harringtonverse…
    * JK Rowling – another case of bigger is not always better.
    * Mercedes Lackey – just how quickly can you churn them potboilers out when you don’t need to care about overusing cliches any more?

  125. latsot says

    And I say that as a straight man.

    I’m a bisexual man. I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the contempt I’ve occasionally had from homosexuals. The idea of a gay man or woman condemning bisexuals seems beyond bizarre, but it is not uncommon.

  126. inthegoldmine says

    @137:

    Thanks for the Pratchett Props. More Americans need to read Pratchett, and please, don’t miss his “young adult” stuff: he is a great teacher of reason and independent thought. He often sneaks his atheism into his writing without the unobservant reader even knowing it.

    As for Card: “Ender’s Game” was a fun ride, and I think that his anticipation of various aspects of the Internet and video games deserves praise. Card *re-wrote himself* in “Ender’s Shadow”, and I found this also an enjoyable deversion.

    However, I saw nothing about his actual prose that deserves the raves he receives. I read the first three “Ender” books, and realized that he had revealed about as much as he had to offer, so I moved on . . .

  127. gls says

    Ender’s Game wasn’t a terrible book, but it’s not nearly as good as most people think it is, imo. Possible spoilers here, if you haven’t read it.

    I think that a lot of the reason that people think so highly of it is because it resonates with a certain type of reader. They think “Man, Battle School sounds awesome. I was stuck inside a crappy shitty elementary doing shitty spelling worksheets when I was that age, but I SO could have made the cut for Battle School and played that awesome army game. Damn, man, I’d have been the next fucking Hannibal.”

    Or you saw Peter and Valentine change the world with blog posts. It was smart kids changing the world through sheer brainpower, which is something that a lot of smart kids like the idea of.

    Reading it again 14ish years later, and it’s still solid, but it’s lacking that same awesome factor. I find myself saying things like “Only two people EVER thought ‘maybe the insect people are a hive mind’?”, and “Seriously? They invent Dr. Device and they never realized the implications of firing it into a planet?”

  128. Teshi says

    On the topic of are there any liberal and atheist Science Fiction writers. One thing about the world of Sci Fi, especially the social kind, is that it does tend to attract people with strong ideas about the way the world is going. Someone who thinks about feminism a lot will write books which demonstrate different female futures. Someone who thinks about liberalism and homosexuality will write books about those two issues coming to their predicted head. People who are generally happy with the way things are are less likely to think up a future– although, of course they do. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, Gibson’s Neuromancer I’d say are relatively free of contemporary prediction.

  129. StevoR says

    Somebody far up-thread :

    “Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?”

    & answered :

    “Kim Stanley Robinson – Not sure about being atheist (he seems to have at least Buddhist sympathies in his writings)”

    Agreed – and very much pro-science.

    Also add :

    Isaac Asimov – Humanist, my all-time favourite author of both science fcat essays and SF novels and series.

    Pamela Sargent – feminist, not 100% sure of her political or religious views but got a fairly tolerant, liberal vibe from her works. She wrote (among other things) a great series on terraforming Venus starring female characters and perspectives.

    Andre Norton – outspoken for animal rights and anti-war judging by some of her novels

    Arthur C. Clarke – quite similar to Asimov. A few short stories that have atheist messages or implications – as does Clarke’s Law : any sufficently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    Plus lots of others incl. Buzz Aldrin – yes that Buzz Aldrin.

  130. Swati says

    Is this particular piece of hateful drivel, possibly a product of his right brain damage post-stroke? He does seem to have lost all discretion in his expression here, much like a a person with mania.

  131. puppygod says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    He was mentioned only in the passing in this thread, so I wanted to emphasise recommendation of Iain M. Banks. He is outspoken atheist and as liberal as possible. His Culture novels are good, though for some reason I like Feersum Endjinn the most.

  132. Spector567 says

    There is one thing I wanted to say here.

    Remember there is a difference between Card and his books and don’t let his personal views deter you from reading the good works of fiction he wrote. Don’t read into his books looking for secret messages left by the author. You would do it with other books don’t do it with this one.

    Another thing I don’t think many people have considered. Card could be nothing more than a writer for hire for the mormon church. As many of you have noted his writing has gone downhill since is original master pieces and he is literally just rehashing old stories. Maybe he has lost his inspiration in comparison to his older works and has been forced to take other jobs.

    He is a 60 year old man now. His successes happenend over 25 years ago.

  133. says

    I loved “Ender’s Game” when I read it as an adult and my son loved it. Now I can’t reread it without thinking about what a douchenozzle Card has turned into. I also think he wails on far too much about gays. Closeted?

    And Shakespeare??? Seriously? What will he rewrite next? “Rosencrantz and Guidenstern are Dead</strike? Gay"?

  134. NelC says

    Gls @154: I think from my second reading of ‘Ender’s Game’ (the novella version) I concluded that Ender was deliberately manipulated into using the Doctor Device on the Bugger homeworld, by the simple application of reverse psychology: “Whatever you do, don’t use the Device on a planet. That would be very bad, and would get you and us into a lot of trouble. And you don’t want to get us into trouble, do you?” and they abuse Ender, to make sure he does just that. If it had gone wrong somehow, they would have avoided responsibility by blaming Ender.

  135. peterh says

    Hairhead,

    The two basic frame devices in the Callahan series are the (usually hidden) fact of Callahan’s being an alien) and alcohol.

  136. Rasmus says

    I figured Orson Scott Card must be an atheist because of the religious stuff in Xenocide. I mistook his description of the eastern religion in the early chapters of the book for atheistic satire of the arbitrariness and ridiculousness of religion in general. I mean sure, I thought it was crappy and insufferably boring satire, but then I simply figured he isn’t a good satirist and that he wanted to bash religion so much that he decided to do it anyway.

    I got so bored by the religion stuff that I quit reading the book and the series because of that. I didn’t want to force myself through yet another long and detailed chapter about his fictional religion and I didn’t want to gloss over those chapters either because it seemed they would play an important role later in the book.

    I quit reading, but I got a little curious about the author. Someone who dedicates several chapters of a novel to painstakingly detailed religion-bashing satire, even though he must know that he is not a good satirist, must be a really really cranky hard core atheist. Right? Then I found out that he is a Mormon.

    What?!

    It is especially ridiculous considering that, like the religion that Scott Card made up for Xenocide, Mormonism is demonstrably fictional and made up.

  137. Raynfala says

    @59:

    Yeah, I remember picking up Lost Boys and reading it because I thought, “Hey, this is the same guy who wrote Ender’s Game and Treason. It’s bound to have something going for it, right?”

    I kept waiting for it to get better… and waiting… and waiting… until finally I reached the end. Guess what? It didn’t get better.

    I later read on Wikipedia that he considered this some of his most personal writing. Put that way, the book certainly explains a lot about Mr. Card, none of it good.

  138. anuran says

    Alverant says:
    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Plenty of them. Thinking of ones I’ve met (Powell’s City of Books events are great) that would include but is not limited to China Mieville, Jay Lake, Charlie Stross, Steve Perry, Steve Barnes, Lois Bujold, Tobias Buckell, Tim Powers, Phil Foglio, Scott Westerfeld and a number of others

  139. illuminata says

    A few other not-too-old authors I like: Neal Stephenson (especially System of the World and Cryptonomicon

    And The Diamond Age. I loved Cryptonomicon, but Diamond Age is by far my favorite.

  140. Ing says

    Wiggin was sorry he’d killed all the buggers after he’d done so. But before he started his killing spree he knew, both from his own logical reasoning and from being told outright by Mazer Rackham, that his function was to kill buggers. All the time he was killing buggers he thought he was just practicing, but he knew and accepted that sooner or later he’d be killing buggers en masse. The killing turned out sooner than later but he didn’t object to the idea before or during the killing.

    YES THIS!

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found people don’t pick up on this in the book. He’s “sorry” but even if he thought it was a training simulation it meant that genocide WAS his strategy. What did he expect to NOT use the strategy he developed when it came time to draw real blood? Pathetic.

    It blows my mind that fucking Digimon did that plot point better than an acclaimed sci-fi writer (a early villain was a human who conquered the fantasy world and acted like a huge tyrannical prick thinking it was basically a video game…though he was still a prick to begin with)

  141. says

    The Mormons like all authoritarian cults have a big problem with child sexual abuse. Which they deal with by covering it up any way they can.

    The handbook of instructions for bishops is online via wikileaks. The church has a special phone number for sex abuse emergencies (you know, one that isn’t the goddamn police). I am positive they cover it up and that they will get exposed just like the catholics. Hopefully it will coincide with a romney campaign.

  142. says

    I loved “Ender’s Game” when I read it as an adult and my son loved it. Now I can’t reread it without thinking about what a douchenozzle Card has turned into.

    I enjoyed it until I got to the part where they talked about how girls weren’t as pure (as killing machines) as boys are. That ruined my day because I was really getting into the book and he had to throw a bunch of nasty gender essentialist shit on top of it and I knew it wouldn’t be readable.

  143. RFW says

    Responding to #4, birger johansson, 7 September 2011 at 1:23 pm:

    I thought it was Jack Vance who tended to picture the bad guys as sexually deviant (usually homosexual).

    Jack Vance: IIRC, the only works by him that have anything gay in them are in the Lyonesse trilogy, and the relevant text is little more than a few throwaway lines. Take those lines out of the books and they wouldn’t be noticeably different. Though we’d lose a rather poetic description “range the near and far shores of unnatural congress.” Lead me to it! Gollancz published a one-volume edition of Lyonesse a year ago; that’s the easiest way to acquire a long fantasy written by a master of the genre.

    Vance’s oeuvre includes a number of archetypes among his characters, notably the “competent young man” (who always has narrow hips), and the gargoylesque older woman, akin to P G Wodehouse’s infamous aunts. But no gay archetypes at all that I can think of offhand – and I’ve been reading and re-reading Vance for decades.

    [Footnote: Vance’s real forte isn’t characterization: it’s his visualization of scenes and action that makes me shake my bootie. Also his knack for dreaming up all sorts of strange alternate cultures. His characters tend to be pretty two-dimensional, with all the reality and emotional impact of a Javanese shadow puppet play. Notwithstanding this weakness, I still rank Vance as #1 in the realm of fantasy writing.]

    Now if you want to read fantasy featuring gay sex in a very positive light, try Tanith Lee’s “Tales of the Flat Earth”, four long multi-part novels and one book of short stories. Without descending to anatomical grossness, she writes extraordinary flights of erotic prose that capture better than any other writer’s the ecstasy of good homosex. Just a few, perhaps half a dozen, such episodes sprinkled over a couple of thousand pages.

    Another of Tanith Lee’s early fantasy trilogies features a culture that’s as gay as pink ink – or at least its denizens prefer buttsecks to the alternative. Look for “The Storm Lord” and its two sequels.

    Regrettably, most of Tanith Lee’s titles are o.p. so you have to scout dingy second-hand book stores that are happy to handle shabby old paperbacks. But the titles are no rarities.

  144. David Marjanović, OM says

    I like the Simpsons meta-version of Macbeth.

    A tacit admission that early child molestation led to his latent homosexuality?

    A (sort of) tacit admission that he’s gay. Being Mormon, he believes he must blame teh ghey on something, so he picks the apparent fact that he was molested as a child.

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over. Why that among so many other possible “evils?” It’s like the canker sore they can’t stop poking with their tongue.

    I’m not asking rhetorically; I’m genuinely baffled and would love an explanation.

    I think it’s a vicious circle: religious gay men who believe they’re prone to sin or constantly taunted by Satan or whatever retreat deeper and deeper into fundamentalism, or become priests or monks, as a method of helping themselves in their struggle. Naturally, it doesn’t work…

    And yes, I did say “men”. Patriarchy – nobody cares what women think anyway.

    and she said that after reading one of his essays about homosexuality, she was convinced that he’s homosexual (or maybe about a Kinsey 5, but primarily if not exclusively attracted to men). And that Card thinks everyone, or at least all men [but you’re repeating yourself], is primarily attracted to people of their own sex. His rants make sense only if you stipulate that sex with a same-sex partner is so much better than sex with an other-sex partner that only a huge exercise of self-control makes heterosexual relationships possible.

    So, exactly like Alan Keyes. He’s gay, and he projects himself onto everyone else.

    They are obsessed

    And they know it. Next round in the vicious circle. Wheeeeee!

    I did read a study somewhere/when that the most homophobic men were most sexually aroused by gay porn (using sensors to record heart rate and other indicators that were listed

    Penis circumference.

    The apparatus is called plethysmograph.

    Some of the commenters here don’t understand what Shakespeare meant by “protest too much,” methinks.

    Someone should explain that claim, methinks.

    ‘Tis the season for mormons to get together at the Evergreen conference on homosexuality.

    *snortle* What, every year? They have a regular conference on homosexuality?

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Sad. X-D

    as President Boyd K Packer has said, “What would have only been a more or less normal passing phase in establishing your gender identity

    What? Phase? Establishing a gender identity?

    Speak about yourself, Mr Boyd Isolated Letter Packer.

  145. says

    I honestly don’t get it. What is it about homosexuality that is so irresistible to fundamental lunatics as a thing to obsess over. Why that among so many other possible “evils?” It’s like the canker sore they can’t stop poking with their tongue.

    I didn’t get it before moving to Utah. There is a whole prescribed social program of sad, sad people in loveless marriages doing exactly what the church wants (including forking over 10% of their money for life). They are all convinced that their lives are as good as it gets, and are told to feel sorry for the rest of us (who have partners that we actually like and fuck whoever we want to). One of the church presidents actually said that “any two worthy” church members would make for a good marriage. The only way this makes sense is if women and men are made for each other and generally share complimentary sets of personality traits. It is a key component to the church’s major philosophical claims. If there are shades of gray (in orientation and gender) then they can’t tell anyone what to do anymore. Things like gay people threaten their ability to shape the identities of cult members. Women do the majority of the work of the church, in my opinion, but do it thanklessly while dudes take credit. It takes industrial strength sexism and gender essentialism to keep that system in place, and homosexuality is not compatible with gender essentialism. Homophobia has always been an outcropping of sexism. Anyone who has lived here or read Under The Banner of Heaven knows how infuriated mormon men get at “uppity” women, too, it is cause number 2 under gays and considered part of the same problem. Folks who defy their narrow gender roles challenge their version of the truth about the world in a powerful way, in a way that makes men less important, less central to the happenings of the world. Church leaders have tried to say that god would never make someone that wasn’t totally male or female for the same reason they would never make someone gay; it defies the “order” of the universe somehow, and heavenly father wouldn’t make some kind of crazy mixed up world where things don’t make sense to white heterosexual men, would he? Its totally gross and stupid but I certainly understand why they are so obsessed with gays.

  146. GravityIsJustATheory says

    I quit reading, but I got a little curious about the author. Someone who dedicates several chapters of a novel to painstakingly detailed religion-bashing satire, even though he must know that he is not a good satirist, must be a really really cranky hard core atheist. Right? Then I found out that he is a Mormon.

    What?!

    A lot of the more extreme Protestant sects (I don’t know if Mormons count as Protestant) have a nice bit of compartmentalization going: “Religion is completely made-up nonsense designed to control people. What we have is faith, which is totally different“. That could be the explanation.

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Joe Haldeman’s Forever War was definitely liberal (well, the author seemed to be very pro liberal; the society it takes place in is a bizarre mix of extreme liberalism and extreme authoriatarianism).

    The novel has been described as “Starship Troopers, as written by a pacifist”, although I haven’t read that one so I can’t say how good an analogy it is.

  147. says

    A lot of the more extreme Protestant sects (I don’t know if Mormons count as Protestant)

    only if christians count as jews. Mormons have a whole new set of prophets after jesus and a new book and a different philosophy about what happens when you die (and before you are born, actually). It seems to be a totally separate thing, despite the focus on jesus. There is a lot of heated debate in christian churches on if they consider mormons christians at all, I don’t see a good reason to.

  148. Vicki says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    Add Ken Macleod to the list. And Jo Walton if you’ll include fantasy or count alternate history as sf (definitely progressive, though not an atheist).

  149. Nentuaby says

    Skeptifem: The difference being that Mormons feel very strongly about considering themselves Christian, and Christians do not (generally speaking of course) consider themselves Jews. That, and there are often hateful overtones to the way many other Christian sects deny the LDS’ Christianity.

    I’d say it’s by far best to practice the general principal of respecting another’s self-identification, as in so many other social areas.

  150. Dan L. says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    I didn’t see anyone mention Bruce Sterling. I haven’t really read any of his SF so I don’t really know what themes he harps on, but he’s definitely One Of Us (secular humanist/environmentalist/liberal).

  151. Dan L. says

    I’d say it’s by far best to practice the general principal of respecting another’s self-identification, as in so many other social areas.

    Second this. Telling someone that they’re not what they self-identify as is totally asinine. It’s like calling an mtf person who identifies as female “hey fella” just to get under her skin.

    Also makes you a hypocrite when you try to argue against “atheism is a religion.” If you get to decide whether your opponent’s a Christian, doesn’t he or she get to decide what you believe too?

  152. The Swordfish, glorious leader of the war against reality says

    Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?

    It would be remiss of me not to second (third?) the recommendation of Iain M. Banks. His books are quite possibly the most brilliant things I’ve ever read (even if he is absolutely shameless with mind-screwy plot twists :P), and an interview he gave to Wired a while back in which he spoke rather forcefully about his atheism and liberalism had me almost cackling with glee.

  153. TAD says

    @skeptifem – speaking as someone who lived in Utah and was trapped in a sexless marriage (not loveless thankfully, but still empty) you can get better. It wasn’t until I moved back to California and met actual gay people and saw they were normal, happy, and well adjusted and I came out knowing I would have a support system even if my very Mormon family rejected me.

    As to OSC; I loved Ender’s Game when I was younger, but a lot of it comes across flat to me now. I stopped reading after I learned more about him, but also when I saw that his Alvin Maker series basically covers a lot of the stories of Joseph Smith and early church history thinly veiled and his Homecoming Saga is basically plagiarized directly from the Book of Mormon, just set in Space. Maybe that is why he kept adding to the Ender Series since it was his only original idea.

  154. truthspeaker says

    I don’t know if Mormons are generally considered Protestant but LDS came out of the Protestant tradition. When Smith wrote the Book of Mormon he copied the language of the KJV and where the Book of Mormon references the Bible, it references the KJV translation.

    Catholics were pretty rare in the US in Smith’s day and Orthodox Christians were almost unheard of.

  155. CJO says

    heavenly father wouldn’t make some kind of crazy mixed up world where things don’t make sense to white heterosexual men, would he?

    Great post, skeptifem. I especially liked this bit.

  156. says

    If you get to decide whether your opponent’s a Christian, doesn’t he or she get to decide what you believe too?

    It isn’t like I am going to go up to a mormon and tell them what they are, and no it is not like telling a trans person that they are their assigned at birth sex. Jesus christ, when fundies compare their struggle to civil rights you all burst out in laughter, don’t ya? It is the appropriate reaction. I thought this was a site where people were encouraged to examine religion like they would any other issue, and that is exactly what I am doing. A person can claim to be any religion while practicing another, it doesn’t make it true, it certainly doesn’t mean I have to believe that someone who say, worships satan is really a scientologist. It is absurd. It seems ridiculous to me that in every other case adding a prophet, several holy books, totally new belief systems, and changing the name of the church ends up being recognized as a distinct difference except for this one time. Shouldn’t words have meaning? The function of a label is to make an issue comprehensible, to allow a certain level of generalization to allow thought or discussion. I know that there are many different kinds of christianity and so on, but when discussing the mainstream of mormonism and christianity you come up against very significant differences. It isn’t stuff that is discussed out in the open too often by mormons but they have a very different belief system, even about things like the role of jesus in the universe and the workings of the afterlife and pre-existence. It is clear to me that mormons claim to be christians for the same reason that the church put out those awful “…and I’m a mormon” ads. It is to appear normal to the non-mormons. There is stigma attached to non-christian religion in the US, it isn’t a bad idea from a PR perspective, but it just doesn’t make sense to me when I attempt to classify it as a religion.

    As far as them deciding what I should be labeled- they do it all the time. You all are acting as if my not saying the obvious here would spare atheists some shit, but it doesn’t, and even if it did it isn’t a good reason to call a spade a diamond. They can say whatever they want, when they have an actual reason for calling atheism a religion I will listen to them.

  157. says

    The difference being that Mormons feel very strongly about considering themselves Christian, and Christians do not (generally speaking of course) consider themselves Jews.

    If christians did consider themselves jews, despite adding a messiah, a book, and a whole bunch of new beliefs, wouldn’t that seem odd to you? How would you have a coherent discussion about jewish beliefs without having to make disclaimers for christian ideas over and over? Wouldn’t you just be bending over backwards for the feelings of the faithful about nonsensical bullshit instead of making reasonable criticisms of their nonsensical labeling scheme?

  158. says

    Swati:

    Is this particular piece of hateful drivel, possibly a product of his right brain damage post-stroke? He does seem to have lost all discretion in his expression here, much like a a person with mania.

    No. Far as I know, he’s always had a thing against Teh Icky Gays.

    During a prolonged argument with OSC that started with an editorial decrying some of the perceived attitudes Card displayed in his fiction, Stephen P. Brown of the now (sadly) defunct SF Eye brought up a simply joyous screed OSC wrote for the Mormon magazine Sunstone entitled “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality” to prove his point about Card’s attitudes. Brown even sent me a xeroxed copy of the original. It’s online now, of course (Google pops it up as your third choice if you just type “the hypocrites”), but it’s not going to give you a different impression of Card than you already have. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  159. David Starner says

    Mormons worship Jesus Christ. I see no reason they have any less claim to the title of Christian then any other group.

  160. Janine, The Little Top Of Venom, OM says

    Mormons worship Jesus Christ. I see no reason they have any less claim to the title of Christian then any other group.

    The holy book of the mormons was written in the nineteenth century as opposed to being edited in the fifth century. Big difference.

  161. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    If christians did consider themselves jews, despite adding a messiah, a book, and a whole bunch of new beliefs, wouldn’t that seem odd to you? How would you have a coherent discussion about jewish beliefs without having to make disclaimers for christian ideas over and over?

    Or maybe more importantly, how would early Christians have explained the emergence of vitriolic antisemitism in their own nearly-jewish communities?

  162. says

    Glad to see PZ posted this. I’m echoing Dvorath’s statement from #21. I read Ender’s Game for the first time when I was 14 – it and Speaker for the Dead remain two of my favorite sci fi books ever (and his novelization for The Abyss remains one of the best examples of how film novelization can actually be done WELL), which is why his slide to batshit crazy has been so heartbreaking. I even met the guy once in college during a booksigning for the last Ender book – he was pleasant and courteous despite having been cooped up in a poorly a/c’d sci-fi mall bookstore in Harvard Sq. Having read his unfortunate diatribes against equal marriage rights, women’s rights, liberalism, etc., if I were to meet the man today I would at the barest minimum refuse to shake his hand and inform him that while I loved his earlier work, his repugnancy as a human being prevented me from ever supporting any of his future work.

    My copy of EG includes a forward written by Card in which he talks about some of the criticism he got for the way he wrote the child characters – “But kids don’t really talk or think that way!” – and defended his portrayal of Ender and the other kids by saying that just because the characters weren’t adults, it didn’t mean that they weren’t intelligent or that their own thoughts and feelings were any less real or valid to them than those of an adult. For someone who had spent most of her life to that point in a school for gifted kids, the way he wrote about children being patronized, underestimated and having their feelings discounted by adults hit home on so many levels. It’s beyond disappointing to see how a man who originally wrote with such compassion and empathy has degraded into a vile caricature of himself, with nothing left to say except “GAY IS BAD!!!” and nothing original to write, instead churning out piss poor revisionist history fiction and bastardized “retellings” of classic works.

  163. Quotidian Torture says

    Throwing in one more recommendation for Ian M. Banks, Charlie Stross, and Issac Asimov in the “good liberal/atheist sci-fi writers” category.

    I might also recommend Richard K. Morgan’s “Altered Carbon” series, which not only features as a protagonist a totally bad-ass antitheist ex ‘space marine’ turned private detective, but also has a ton of anti-corporatist, anti-bigoty and pro-social revolution themes and is imminently quotable. You’ll love Quellcrist Falconer. Trust me.

    Oh, and I loved Ender’s Game as a kid, read it a few years back and liked it then too. I even liked some of his later novels as well. I’d say it’s a shame how Card has fallen, but it seems he was always an ass.

  164. ignus says

    “Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?”

    Most classic SF authors try to take a rational view of the world. Asimov, Adams, Le Guin, Wells, Clarke, Neal Stephenson.

    Apart from the ones mentioned Greg Egan is an excellent writer of so-called ‘hard-sf’ that focuses on rather well-founded and serious speculation about science. No need to say he’s an atheist and abhors discrimination of all forms.

  165. says

    “Are there any good SF authors that are pro-liberal or pro-atheist?”

    Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles would neatly fit the pro-liberal bill, although I’d have to go back and re-read before saying whether or not it’s pro-atheist. It is definitely pro-humanist, however, and a damned good story to boot.

  166. Ing says

    Bradberry is not, if I recall an atheist. And has on some occasioned skated close if not dove into anti-liberalism.

  167. Ing says

    On a related note, my Catholic friend has stated he enjoys the atheistic slant (his view) of Doctor Who

    Mind blown.

  168. Steven Schwartz says

    Heh. I have been remiss, letting this thread get to 197 entries without posting this link to “Creating the Innocent Killer”, an essay by John Kessel about the morality of Ender’s Game, which finally explained to me why the book drove me up the wall.

    Short form: Ender’s Game is an argument for the morality of intention — that because Ender was a Good Person, his deeds were good. A quote from Card from the essay:

    “I don’t really think it’s true that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good people trying to do good usually find a way to muddle through. What worries me is when you have bad people trying to do good. They’re not good at it, they don’t have any instinct for it, and they’re willing to do a lot of damage along the way.”

    With that screwed-up a philosophy, I can see how Card ended up the kind of loon he has.

  169. David Marjanović, OM says

    Short form: Ender’s Game is an argument for the morality of intention — that because Ender was a Good Person, his deeds were good.

    Sickening.

  170. Aaron says

    When I was much younger I thought Enders Game was the best book ever written. I wanted to be just like Card. When I was a little older I was fairly happy being me, but I wanted to write like Card. Now I don’t want anything to do with Card. I have even stopped recommending any of his books. I just cannot support his propoganda… but I still love Ender’s Game. I just pretend he went insane after he wrote it.

  171. lopsided says

    Has anybody read the “Empire” Novels by Card? They’re basically about the Evils of radical liberalism…

    I tried to read the first one, but couldn’t get past page 50 or so; it was so insane and unreadable. It’s the book equivalent of Glenn Beck’s ravings. Hard to believe the same person wrote “Speaker for the Dead” and “Empire.”

  172. says

    Short form: Ender’s Game is an argument for the morality of intention — that because Ender was a Good Person, his deeds were good.

    I always took it to be an argument that even a good person with good intentions can commit horrific, reprehensible acts and that spending your entire life attempting to atone for them can’t ever erase what you did. Also, to not take what you’re told by Authority at face value. EVER.

    Given some of the responses I’ve gotten from people about Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead when it’s come up in discussion, I wonder if Card realizes how badly he failed if he meant for the books to be an apologia for genocide and criticism of secular society. Speaker for the Dead in particular was a one of the books I read in high school that solidified many of the problems I had with organized religion.

  173. Ing says

    “I don’t really think it’s true that ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good people trying to do good usually find a way to muddle through. What worries me is when you have bad people trying to do good. They’re not good at it, they don’t have any instinct for it, and they’re willing to do a lot of damage along the way.”

    What option is there for the “bad” people if even if they try to do good they do bad? The only possible outcome is for their extermination, is it not?

    Replace Good->Aryian and Bad-> Jew and this is shockingly familiar.

    Yes yes Godwin, but it’s Enders Game so it was inevitable.

  174. peterh says

    Hairhead, one last thought. You say I have no kno3wledge of what alcoholism is. It would appear you know nothing of what I know. I have dealt with four alcoholics in my immediate family and a very dear friend who was also an alcoholic. Don’t tell me what I know when you have no data to work from.

  175. Sallie says

    Good for Orson Scott Card. I haven’t bought any of his books in years but I’ll vote with my wallet and buy any of his books that I haven’t read.

  176. Ing says

    Good for Orson Scott Card. I haven’t bought any of his books in years but I’ll vote with my wallet and buy any of his books that I haven’t read

    Like you read *eye roll*

  177. says

    Good for Orson Scott Card. I haven’t bought any of his books in years but I’ll vote with my wallet and buy any of his books that I haven’t read.

    **FACE PALM**

  178. Nix says

    puppygod said:

    He was mentioned only in the passing in this thread, so I wanted to emphasise recommendation of Iain M. Banks. He is outspoken atheist and as liberal as possible.

    One minor note: I wouldn’t recommend calling him liberal in his earshot, given the way the word ‘liberal’ has flipped meaning in the US, and the opinions of, oh, pretty much everyone in Scotland and Northern England to the liberal regime of Margaret Thatcher. He’s a socialist.

  179. Brian M says

    Iain M. Banks may be a “socialist” but he is even more an ANARCHIST. In his cornucopian, post-scarcity Culture, there is no real need for coercive authority (although the Culture still engages in war and has a nasty dirty tricks group)and people do what they want because the post-singularity technology makes consequences less final. This is a very, very broad generalization about very complicated, very interesting books, of course!