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Ender's Game. Harrison Ford. Movie.
April 26, 2012 6:35 PM   Subscribe

Ender's Game is finally being made into a movie.

The producers are giving out photos and some commentary on their tumblr. People are excited. One site reviews all Ender's Game news and has been posting dissections of the photos.
posted by Night_owl (165 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wait. Harrison Ford's assistant in the movie is played by an actor named "Han Soto?"
posted by ColdChef at 6:43 PM on April 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


Will it keep the creepy psycho-sexual subtext? Maybe make even a more overt defense of fascism?

(I'm actually pretty interested — I liked the book as a teen, but when I tried to reread it, it was much worse than I'd remembered. So I kinda hope that filming it can fix some of the stilted dialogue and goofy retro sci fi.)
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


klangklangston: "Will it keep the creepy psycho-sexual subtext? Maybe make even a more overt defense of fascism?

(I'm actually pretty interested — I liked the book as a teen, but when I tried to reread it, it was much worse than I'd remembered. So I kinda hope that filming it can fix some of the stilted dialogue and goofy retro sci fi.)
"

Knowing a little something about Card's opinions about various things, all the creepy and weird stuff is probably completely intentional.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:46 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I AM EXCITE

(not so excite about the inevitable WHY ARE THERE BLACK/ASIAN/INDIAN PEOPLE IN MY ENDER'S GAME, but totally excite about the movie itself.)
posted by tzikeh at 6:46 PM on April 26, 2012


Does Card appear on screen to tell people that being gay is bad even though Ender's Game is gayer than a Tom of Finland exhibition?
posted by GuyZero at 6:46 PM on April 26, 2012 [72 favorites]


Han Soto shoots first.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:47 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


For myself, by this point Orson Scott Card has proven himself to be such a lunatic that I don't care about the movie. I read the book when I was younger and quite liked it, but his political views have given me a retroactive distaste for his works.
posted by barnacles at 6:47 PM on April 26, 2012 [40 favorites]


Han Soto shoots first his own feet.

FTFY.
posted by R. Schlock at 6:48 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's how I feel about Morrisey, but I still dig the Smiths.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:48 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do I see a Starship-Trooper-like fiasco in the making?
posted by Splunge at 6:49 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I want them to film the Tales of Alvin Maker.

Directed by Ken Burns.
posted by R. Schlock at 6:50 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why do I see a Starship-Trooper-like fiasco in the making?

There is no fiasco in Starship Troopers. Recommend a revisit.
posted by philip-random at 6:51 PM on April 26, 2012 [68 favorites]


That cast is incredible. My head just exploded. I guess I'll have to pirate it so that Orson Scott Card doesn't get any of my money.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:51 PM on April 26, 2012 [20 favorites]


A Starship-Trooper-like fiasco genius reworking is exactly what Ender's Game needs.
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:51 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


There is no fiasco in Starship Troopers. Recommend a revisit.

This.

x1000

Nobody puts Doogie Howser into an SS uniform by accident.
posted by R. Schlock at 6:52 PM on April 26, 2012 [103 favorites]


Starship Troopers was an amazing movie.
posted by bpm140 at 6:53 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Can't wait to not see this!
posted by Legomancer at 6:53 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think the thing is that Starship Troopers was good in its own right, it just wasn't the original book at all. To the extent they really should have given the movie a different name and filmed the actual book as well.
posted by GuyZero at 6:54 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


tzikeh: "not so excite about the inevitable WHY ARE THERE BLACK/ASIAN/INDIAN PEOPLE IN MY ENDER'S GAME"

If this happens, I will rage and fight those people. The book very explicitly talked about how there were people from so many different nationalities. It's actually, to my mind, a large part of Ender's relationship with Alai. I was very excited to see that the cast was diverse.
posted by Night_owl at 6:56 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Interesting that they've got Asa Butterfield cast as Ender. He's fifteen. I guess that means the movie won't be dealing with little kids, but teens, which is kind of a big change.
posted by philip-random at 6:56 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just hope this Asa Butterfield kid can muster up at least a LITTLE bit of charisma. I felt like Hugo was great but it was despite his "doe-eyed soft-spoken child actor" thing.
posted by ORthey at 6:57 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those of you who are unaware and don't want to read the wikipedia article: Ender's Game is basically a homoerotic, militaristic sci-fi coming of age story, where a prepubescent boy gradually learns more and more about his inner demons whilst attempting to save the human race. It ends with a stirring defense of fascism and was written by a deeply, deeply closeted Mormon homosexual.

It's everything you could ever want and so much more.
posted by Avenger at 7:00 PM on April 26, 2012 [64 favorites]


The two main possibilities that I see for the Ender's Game movie: it sucks and turns out to have been a massive waste of time for everyone involved; or, it turns out great and further inflates Orson Scott Card's ego (despite the massive rewriting that it would/will have to undergo in order to correct the book's many flaws) and further encourage his homophobic ranting. They should rename it The Kobayashi Maru.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:00 PM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


I don't know what people are on about, I've re-read it recently and it holds up amazingly well. Frankly I think the ending is the best part. There's a lot in there that will probably make a great movie, if everyone involved gets out of their own way.
posted by hermitosis at 7:02 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've already read "Starship Troopers." Is this anything beyond a derivative sort of retelling?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:03 PM on April 26, 2012


First Fifth Element, now Starship Troopers ... Metafilter is giving me a reason to update my Netflix queue.
posted by msbutah at 7:05 PM on April 26, 2012


Eleven year-old me is mildly intrigued about the movie, although the continuing thread of movies with militarized children slaughtering/pummeling other children is a little weird. But contemporary me has never forgiven Mr. Card for writing Empire which ended with an utterly terrible political screed, as well as being fairly execrable even for a thriller. I ended up hiding it under SkyMall in a plane seat in the hopes that the giant concrete BigFoot ad would scare off any takers.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:06 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ender's Game is basically a homoerotic, militaristic sci-fi coming of age story, where a prepubescent boy gradually learns more and more about his inner demons whilst attempting to save the human race. It ends with a stirring defense of fascism and was written by a deeply, deeply closeted Mormon homosexual.


Holy Holoprosencephaly, Avenger!
posted by R. Schlock at 7:07 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't even get why people liked the original book. Way way WAY before I learned Card was a nutcase, I got about 3 pages into it and couldn't get any farther. But maybe I'm more squeamish than most about child abuse.
posted by DU at 7:13 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Avenger: "...and was written by a deeply, deeply closeted Mormon homosexual"

Wait, what? I mean, apart from the general "homophobes are often closeted homosexuals" theory, is there anything to actually indicate this?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:13 PM on April 26, 2012


*sigh* Guys, "Starship Troopers" the movie was a fine movie but SHOULD HAVE HAD ANOTHER GODDAMN TITLE AND DIFFERENT NAMES FOR THE CHARACTERS (YES, I'M YELLING!!).

I wanted to see the goddamn book. I wanted power armor. I wanted the actual philosophy Heinlein was presenting, not some director just sneering at it. NPH made for a better film, but it didn't make for a better "Starship Troopers."
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:14 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


"It's everything you could ever want and so much more."

Well, it could be a musical.
posted by klangklangston at 7:14 PM on April 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


I blame Ender's Game for convincing me to waste my life trying to become ruler of humanity by spouting derivative political philosophy on the internets.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:14 PM on April 26, 2012 [57 favorites]


Torn between excitement and dreading disappointment. Somebody help me with Emotions.
posted by entropone at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2012


George_Spiggott: "I blame Ender's Game for convincing me to waste my life trying to become ruler of humanity by spouting derivative political philosophy on the internets"

Wait, you mean that doesn't work? God damn it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


For myself, by this point Orson Scott Card has proven himself to be such a lunatic that I don't care about the movie. I read the book when I was younger and quite liked it, but his political views have given me a retroactive distaste for his works.
It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore. You can enjoy a book without agreeing with its political message – at least I hope so, or else literature is simply a reflection of bipartisan politics.
posted by deathpanels at 7:15 PM on April 26, 2012 [35 favorites]


It's been awhile... how long does the book last? Ender enters Battle School around age six, but how long does the training take? What I'm asking is, is the casting of teenagers a ridiculous choice that completely changes the character of the narrative (as it seems), or does he age enough that after a couple quick time-lapse scenes of children in training, boom, Ender ages into Asa B. for the dramatic climax.
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2012


The actual philosophy that Heinlein was presenting, as I recall vaguely from my many teenaged re-readings of all his books, was in this case that only people who had fought in wars should be allowed to vote. There's another favorite writer of mine who doesn't hold up as well now.
posted by Peach at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why do I see a Starship-Trooper-like fiasco in the making?

More likely is a Starship Troopers 2- or 3-like fiasco in the making.

Anyway, is it Ender's Game where Earth ends up as a dictatorship run by a 12-year-old blogger? Because I remember something like that and it was really, really stupid.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 7:17 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


deathpanels: "
For myself, by this point Orson Scott Card has proven himself to be such a lunatic that I don't care about the movie. I read the book when I was younger and quite liked it, but his political views have given me a retroactive distaste for his works.
It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore. You can enjoy a book without agreeing with its political message – at least I hope so, or else literature is simply a reflection of bipartisan politics
"

That's true, but sometimes being made aware of an author's political and other opinions makes you see the work in a different light. Especially if it's a work you first read and liked when you were young. See also Narnia.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [25 favorites]


Also: Yeah, I think the thing is that Starship Troopers was good in its own right, it just wasn't the original book at all. To the extent they really should have given the movie a different name and filmed the actual book as well.

Uh, no, Guy. Whatever you think of the novel, it would make a horrible movie if done straight from the book. (Me, I think it reads about exactly what you'd expect from someone who was indoctrinated into the philosophies of the officer corps via a military academy, but never actually saw combat himself; contrast with Joe Haldeman's The Forever War, written by an actual combat veteran, although it should be noted that Haldeman and Heinlein held each other in high esteem.) Trying to film a literal adaptation that preserved all of Heinlein's monologues and lectures couldn't be redeemed by any amount of power armor.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well, it could be a musical.

Springtiiiime... for Ennnder... and Baaattle Schoool...
posted by Flannery Culp at 7:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [55 favorites]


God, I just hope they stop after two sequels and don't make a Children of the Mind movie. That book was only tolerable as toilet paper, and then just barely.
posted by deathpanels at 7:19 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I argue that verhoven was in fact presenting the actual philosophy of the book. It's just that he's insightful enough to know that the philosophy is risible and as such the only two options for filming it were intentional satire or unintentional self-parody. Reading Starship Troopers as satire is the kindest thing you can do to it.

That said, yeah, power armor would have been hella rad.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:19 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Splunge writes "Why do I see a Starship-Trooper-like fiasco in the making?"

Because there is no way to fit the book into 90 minutes. A half way decent treatment of the numerous battles alone would require more time than that so of course they'll condense that part of the narrative and all the gradual learning to do more with less against greater odds that results in the "Fuck it" final will be lost. The final battle will be there but it won't make any sense.

bpm140 writes "Starship Troopers was an amazing movie."

However it had little to do with the book. I'd still love to see an actual movie or even miniseries of the book rather than 90210 goes to war.
posted by Mitheral at 7:23 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's true, but sometimes being made aware of an author's political and other opinions makes you see the work in a different light. Especially if it's a work you first read and liked when you were young. See also Narnia.
It's one thing to update your opinion of an author after learning about their political views, quite another to whitewash your original experience of a book to better reflect your dislike of the author. Surely it's possible for a politically disagreeable author to pen an enjoyable book.
posted by deathpanels at 7:24 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Still and all, I have great hopes that Ender's Game will be put together and filmed in time for release in the summer of 2000. I EVEN have a tiny dream of having both Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow filmed at the same time, with the same cast. And then released in successive summers. But ... only in my dreams. And because you're going to ask, that brilliant young actor that i'm hoping will play Ender is Jake Lloyd, who plays young Anakin Skywalker in the Movie of May. Not since Roddy McDowell have we had a child actor so capable of carrying the emotional weight of a powerful film on his shoulders."

—Orson Scott Card, 1999
posted by designbot at 7:26 PM on April 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


Yeah, it's generally wrong to conflate a work of art with its creator. Horrible people often make great art, it's important to remember that it happens all the time.

But Ender's Game / OSC is sort of a special case: it's the exception that proves the rule.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 7:27 PM on April 26, 2012


Trying to film a literal adaptation that preserved all of Heinlein's monologues and lectures couldn't be redeemed by any amount of power armor.

He could be a bit screedy, couldn't he? He just loves the semicolon. God I loved reading Heinlein as a kid, now I can't see past all the semicolons and the screeds.
posted by disclaimer at 7:27 PM on April 26, 2012


deathpanels or else literature is simply a reflection of bipartisan politics.

Agreed, but I think "multipartisan" is the better word here. For example much of fantasy literature has a strong theme of inherited heroism, where the hero is a genuinely enlightened and better ruler, by virtue of superior bloodline ("genes" are a real-world-only concept); that division is very much orthogonal to a US "conservative"/"liberal" divide.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:28 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wanted the actual philosophy Heinlein was presenting, not some director just sneering at it.

Militarized, xenophobic fascism which isn't the "wrong" kind of fascism, you know, the Nazi kind, because the plot twist is at the end you find out the POV character is Hispanic? That philosophy?

I was quite happy to have a victim of WWII sneer at Heinlein's philosophy.
posted by thecjm at 7:29 PM on April 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


> I argue that verhoven was in fact presenting the actual philosophy of the book.

Also, Verhoeven was born in '38 and spent his early childhood in Nazi occupied Netherlands. So he's actually lived in a fascist government, and grew up with people trying to reclaim their identity after it's fall. Of course he is going to see the dark side to all the neat whiz bang power armor political theory that Heinlein puts forth.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:29 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore.

Not necessarily.

Books sometimes work on different levels, okay? Sometimes what you originally saw as a fun adventure has deeper repercussions that, once you come to recognize them, put a bad taste in your mouth.

Sometimes you can get past that when it turns out the author himself didn't see the repercussions, or purposely overlooked them for the sake of the story, which is excusable sometimes, especially since books are often written on a deadline while we have forever to beanplate a story's implications.

Sometimes however it turns out that the repercussions were recognized by the author and were considered by him to be important to the work, and the fun adventure was intended as a secret vehicle for terrible politics. It is entirely okay to be creeped out by that realization, and it very well does can make something that's otherwise fun into something legitimately unreadable.
posted by JHarris at 7:30 PM on April 26, 2012 [21 favorites]


Agreed, but I think "multipartisan" is the better word here. For example much of fantasy literature has a strong theme of inherited heroism, where the hero is a genuinely enlightened and better ruler, by virtue of superior bloodline ("genes" are a real-world-only concept); that division is very much orthogonal to a US "conservative"/"liberal" divide.

I guess you could call it "whiggish"?
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:35 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore.

Sometimes though you learn things in the meantime that do change why and how you like works of art or books. I read Animal Farm and thought it was about talking animals, because I was eleven. That was the same year I read Ender's Game and I find it perfectly plausible that the person I was then could overlook some pretty dire politics and insinuations when it comes to science fiction, because I didn't actually really know about homophobia or what child soliders really are or any of it. I can't speak for anyone else, but sometimes the context of an author does matter.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:37 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Interesting that they've got Asa Butterfield cast as Ender. He's fifteen. I guess that means the movie won't be dealing with little kids, but teens, which is kind of a big change.

From what I've read, this has been a big point of contention for Card and one of the reasons this movie has been in Production Hell for so many years. Card wanted to cast a really young kid as Ender, keeping it in tune with the book, but casting a six-year-old, or more likely, casting a ten-year-old to play a six-year-old, would be a big gamble for the studio. Even the best kid actors can't lead a movie, though there are exceptions, like Haley Joel Osment (who was, back in the late 90s, the perfect choice for Ender).

You can just barely get away with making a six-year-old the hero of an epic SF novel, but just barely. Do that in a film and no kid is going to have the acting range necessary...have we all forgotten about poor Jake Lloyd? I think it's fine to make Ender older. I hope Asa Butterfield isn't as wimpy and suffering as he was in Hugo; Ender is a fighter, he's a tough kid. As for Gavin Hood, I have only seen the first part of Wolverine, which was actually entertaining for significant stretches, until it veered off into absurdity many many times. Hopefully Hood will knock it out of the park with this one.

As for the rest of the cast--awesome. Harrison Ford is, well, Harrison Ford. He can suck sometimes, but whatever. Viola Davis is the best actress this side of Meryl Streep. And Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham...perfection. All he has to do is reprise his character from Searching for Bobby Fischer and he's set.
posted by zardoz at 7:38 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes however it turns out that the repercussions were recognized by the author and were considered by him to be important to the work, and the fun adventure was intended as a secret vehicle for terrible politics. It is entirely okay to be creeped out by that realization, and it very well does can make something that's otherwise fun into something legitimately unreadable.
Oh, certainly. But I think that's a reflection on the author and the subtext/message, not the book itself. When child-me read Ender's Game, I was unable to pick up on the political implications that adult-me would most certainly find abhorrent and distracting. But I wasn't a gay-hating Mormon fascist as a child; I genuinely enjoyed Ender's Game, in a totally apolitical way. That's evidence enough for me that I actually liked this book and that it is/was successful as fiction. There is more to a story than its message.
posted by deathpanels at 7:39 PM on April 26, 2012


I mentioned this last year (under my old username) but I was asked by OSC back in 1997 (I was 15 at the time, too) if I would be willing to audition for the part of Ender because, in his words, I looked exactly how he had always pictured Ender would look. And 15-year-old me looked an awful lot like Asa Butterfield (minus the blue eyes, mine are brown). Of course I was willing, but the movie didn't happen and now I'm old and fat. *sob*

p.s. Orson if you're reading this I would still be willing to play Ender if you ever get to make Speaker for the Dead. I don't think I'd be too old for that part and I can hit the gym if properly motivated...
posted by Doleful Creature at 7:41 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Wait, what? I mean, apart from the general "homophobes are often closeted homosexuals" theory, is there anything to actually indicate this?

A lot of this ground was covered in a previous thread in which Card rewrote Hamlet as a badly-written anti-gay screed.

The links are all in that thread, but an overview of it is basically that Ender's life is very much a point-for-point revisiting of Adolf Hitler's - see the essay "Sympathy For The Superman" for more details. And there is, as I linked there, a pretty good chance that Card himself didn't write Ender's Game; that it's a very elaborate piece of propaganda.
posted by mhoye at 7:45 PM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


It's been awhile... how long does the book last? Ender enters Battle School around age six, but how long does the training take? What I'm asking is, is the casting of teenagers a ridiculous choice that completely changes the character of the narrative (as it seems), or does he age enough that after a couple quick time-lapse scenes of children in training, boom, Ender ages into Asa B. for the dramatic climax.
My thought is that Asa Butterfield is a teen actor who looks very young and can get away with playing a little kid. I suspect that the casting was more out of necessity (talented six year-old actors are very difficult to find) but that Ender's age will be unchanged in the film.
posted by deathpanels at 7:47 PM on April 26, 2012


This has probably come up before, but I wonder how many people liked Ender’s Game that read it originally as an adult? I read it when I was in my 20’s (guessing) and thought it was pure awful, in nearly every possible way.

And there are many of us who hated Starship Troopers who never read the book. "Watch what you may think is the worst movie you’ve ever seen again and give it another chance" is not advice I’m likely to take. Life is short.
posted by bongo_x at 7:48 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Get all excited. The Golden Compass.
posted by pianomover at 7:53 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


As above posts basically revolve around Ender, Rico and Mandella, I'll follow suit.

Starship Troopers was an awesome camp movie with a complex message behind it and I consider it a good pairing with Robocop (I consider these two the best of Verhoeven's American outings). Is it Starship Troopers a la Heinlein? Nah. And while I do enjoy the book (especially since the literary Rico has the same ethnic background as me and therefore made it even more awesome to place myself in his shoes) I enjoy it as mil-porn.

I have a feeling Ender's Game at this point is going to feel like The Hunger Games. A YA fantasy with a straightforward premise. Anything to do with understanding the bugger mentality and the tragedy of turning a child into a weapon will be removed from the film. Knowing the actor is a teenager kinda guarantees that.

The Forever War would be hard to turn into mil-porn and it certainly isn't YA stuff. It's in dev hell and I'd rather it stay that way until HBO decides to make it a six to ten hour epic. It is the one book out of these three that remains as good now as it was then to me. I can reread Starship Troopers and Ender's Game and enjoy them as good reads in their own right, but The Forever War hits me each and every time at the honesty of its characters and the tragedy of war.
posted by linux at 7:58 PM on April 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


an overview of it is basically that Ender's life is very much a point-for-point revisiting of Adolf Hitler's - see the essay "Sympathy For The Superman" for more details

Christ that's a stupid essay (not least because it repeats the urban legend that Hitler only had one testicle). The Kessel essay it links to is much, much better.
posted by asterix at 8:04 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know a lot of you are probably trying to reconcile your love for this book with your disdain for the person who wrote this book, and might I make a suggestion if so? Speaking as someone who approached the book with no prior knowledge of Orson Scott Card, but also as someone who approached the book as an adult: If your love for this book began when you were between the ages of eleven and eighteen, let's say, a modern reread may reveal to you that this book actually is kind of crappy and bad.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:04 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


the plot twist is at the end you find out the POV character is Hispanic

Filipino, yo.
posted by asterix at 8:05 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Trying to film a literal adaptation that preserved all of Heinlein's monologues and lectures couldn't be redeemed by any amount of power armor.

So let me get this straight - you remembered something about Heinlein's Starship Troopers that wasn't the part about powered armour and killing vaguely described aliens while they were sleeping in their beds?

Huh. As if the novel needed anything else.
posted by GuyZero at 8:06 PM on April 26, 2012


There is no need to adapt the battle suit parts of Starship Troopers to the screen, because a copy of the book apparently fell from the sky into Japan in 1959 and influenced every mecha anime ever.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:06 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


I can hardly wait for the video game.
posted by benzenedream at 8:07 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


a modern reread may reveal to you that this book actually is kind of crappy and bad.

I'm pretty sure that any book with a scene that starts as a prison-shower-rape and ends as a prison-shower-bare-handed-murder is the pinnacle of Western literature. And is not some sort of thinly veiled slash fantasy on the part of the author.
posted by GuyZero at 8:08 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait, what? I mean, apart from the general "homophobes are often closeted homosexuals" theory, is there anything to actually indicate this?

I'm not finding the link right now, but I've read several abhorrent editorials Card wrote for his local newspaper that have a pretty clear subtext that he's a closeted gay. He spends a lot of time talking about how hard it is to love his wife, and a lot of his arguments about gays is that "I pulled off loving a woman so you can too". It's heartbreaking, actually.
posted by zug at 8:10 PM on April 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


"...and was written by a deeply, deeply closeted Mormon homosexual"

Wait, what? I mean, apart from the general "homophobes are often closeted homosexuals" theory, is there anything to actually indicate this?


The rewriting of Hamlet as a queer molestation story isn't what convinced me Card is a deeply, unhappily closeted gay man, or perhaps simply had some terrible homosexual experiences as a young person. I was already halfway there after reading his insane anti-gay screeds; like you say, that kind of emotion almost always comes from a space of horribly conflicted feelings about homosexuality. Card's absurd out-of-nowhere take on Hamlet got me to 79% but what finished the job was the molestation scene from Songmaster, which prefpara helpfully summarized and then linked excerpts from.

It's a mess of a scene, just all over the map awful, and like prefpara it's difficult for me not to see it as at least semi-autobiographical. I feel so sad for Card at times.

And then he opens his mouth about queer equality.
posted by mediareport at 8:10 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


or perhaps simply had some terrible homosexual experiences

Please remove the "simply" in that one. Sorry.
posted by mediareport at 8:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hmm. I've read the original four books in this series, skipped the new Ender's Shadow books. Speaker for the Dead is still one of my favorite sci-fi novels. My question is, how can someone like Card write with such compassion and understanding in a novel like Speaker, and show so little in real life?
posted by Palquito at 8:12 PM on April 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


For those of you who are unaware and don't want to read the wikipedia article: Ender's Game is basically a homoerotic, militaristic sci-fi coming of age story, where a prepubescent boy gradually learns more and more about his inner demons whilst attempting to save the human race with video games.

Key point added. This is going to do mad business.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:21 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ender's game has always been Twilight for people who were told they were smart too many times.

The Ender character is almost completely lacking in any internal agency, which is part of what makes it such an easy book to read. Both Ender, and the reader encouraged to inhabit the character, are simply pulled through the plot without ever needing to make decisions of any kind, and yet he is AMAZING at EVERYTHING, including space quidditch. There is also the fucked up weird sexual shit going on (the charged soapy shower fight scene and how hot Bean is for being an independent sociopath who knows what he wants and gets it), Bella and Ender's inherent inability to relate to women, the rampant misogyny, its got everything.*
posted by Blasdelb at 8:24 PM on April 26, 2012 [28 favorites]


Did someone say that HBO is doing The Forever War? Cool!
posted by ovvl at 8:25 PM on April 26, 2012


It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore.

As a long-time and current SF fan, I'd say this is almost the modal experience of rereading SF and fantasy that you loved as a youth. Sure, the sentences and dialogue often age poorly, but what is so distressing, and depressing, about the suck fairy is how political she is. Larry Niven, Card, Lewis, even Asimov or Clarke. You go back to these books and discover they are riddled with misogyny, fascism, racialized essentialisms, and political philosophies so conservative -- divine rights of kings, eg -- that we hardly even recognize them as political now, let alone as children when we first read them.

On the other hand, it's so great when you do dare to go back and reread one of them and find that the author really was wonderful and compassionate, and not some "product of his time" but an actual sympathetic, and sympathizing, human. Card, however, is not one of those. It's too bad -- it was an awesome read, and I wouldn't prevent my kids from reading it, but I certainly hope they see through the horrific politics sooner than I did.
posted by chortly at 8:29 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


And Startide Rising, too!
posted by fleacircus at 8:29 PM on April 26, 2012


I can reread Starship Troopers and Ender's Game and enjoy them as good reads in their own right, but The Forever War hits me each and every time at the honesty of its characters and the tragedy of war.

Hint: One of the three authors of the works above actually fought in a war.
posted by eriko at 8:29 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Anyway, is it Ender's Game where Earth ends up as a dictatorship run by a 12-year-old blogger? Because I remember something like that and it was really, really stupid.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 4:17 PM on April 26 [+] [!]


I like XKCD's take on this.
posted by Sebmojo at 8:30 PM on April 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


Hey, hey now - did someone just badmouth Larry Niven?

Me and my interspecies concubines strongly object!
posted by GuyZero at 8:34 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just do the Zero-G laser tag with the flash suits.

I loved the description of the battles, and in the right hands this could be more exciting than the space battles in Star Wars when it came out.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 8:44 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like a super incompetent Ender when I play Starcraft and get my ass whipped in five minutes
posted by Renoroc at 8:50 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did someone say that HBO is doing The Forever War? Cool!

I said I'd love for it to stay in movie dev hell and get picked up by HBO for a miniseries treatment. And yes, I said that because it would not only be cool, it would be epic.

Hint: One of the three authors of the works above actually fought in a war.
Yeah, I know; and it shows.
posted by linux at 8:51 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Renoroc: Don't worry about it. They only give direct control over live units to Platinum league and above.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:54 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


OH YES there will be MICROGRAMMA
posted by Tom-B at 8:54 PM on April 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Why do I see a Starship-Trooper-like fiasco in the making?

Probably because both authors are fascist.

Love how Liberal ethics are constantly tossed aside by otherwise thinking mefites because its a cool sci-fi story.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:10 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


We have had this derailment before, but I did not detect a single atom of sincerity in Startship-Trooper.

Me, my friends, and most of the theater were rolling with laughter from beginning to end. Even the gore was so bad that for the first time in my life I heard hundreds of people retching and laughing simultaneously.

I expect Enders Game to be another action comedy like start ship trooper.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 9:14 PM on April 26, 2012


Ya'll are haters...
Granted, Ender's Game has some undertones that bother more as an adult than when I first read it.... but I thought Speaker For the Dead (and the following books, to a lesser extent) was a great depiction of how to think empathetically in situations where there's a lot of pressure to discriminate and oversimplify.
Orson may be the victim of some pretty heinous religious brainwashing; but I think deep down he's a pretty decent person.
posted by jeisme at 9:18 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well it's so deep down that after writing a weekly newspaper column for a few years he still hasn't managed to reveal his basic human decency.
posted by GuyZero at 9:20 PM on April 26, 2012


Ender's game has always been Twilight for people who were told they were smart too many times.

Card does love his child prodigies. Wes Anderson should have been hired to do the movie.
posted by fleacircus at 9:34 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Surely it's possible for a politically disagreeable author to pen an enjoyable book.

Sure. That doesn't mean anyone is obliged to continue to support his work once they discover how disagreeable he is, though.

I read Ender's Game when I was 16 - the year after it came out. It was indeed a good read, if horrifying. I read the rest of the series, and found it similarly horrifying, but a good read. Later, I learned what a shit Card is, and determined that I cannot support his work in light of his shittiness. I stopped buying his books.

So, as much as I did find Ender's Game to be a good read, I will not be seeing the movie, because I refuse to give money to such an abject shit.
posted by MissySedai at 9:35 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If anyone has any doubts about Card's closetedness, I point you to Songmaster.

I loathe and pity Card, but I will love Ender's Game forever.
posted by callmejay at 9:51 PM on April 26, 2012


*sigh* Guys, "Starship Troopers" the movie was a fine movie but SHOULD HAVE HAD ANOTHER GODDAMN TITLE AND DIFFERENT NAMES FOR THE CHARACTERS (YES, I'M YELLING!!).

Verhoven's Troopers is a criticism of Heinlein's. A criticism. It is not miss named, it is a perfect response. Yes, that pisses a certain type of person off. That was the point!
posted by Chuckles at 9:53 PM on April 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


Wait, what? I mean, apart from the general "homophobes are often closeted homosexuals" theory, is there anything to actually indicate this?

Just chiming in to agree that if you've read a decent proportion of his books, you'll quickly come to the conclusion he's as gay as a French trombone (pretty damned gay, apparently). He's books are just roiling with homoeroticism. I mentioned it in one of the other threads, but before I knew what a terrible homophobe he was, I just assumed he was gay because it was so obvious.
posted by smoke at 9:58 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


deathpanels: It's one thing to update your opinion of an author after learning about their political views, quite another to whitewash your original experience of a book to better reflect your dislike of the author. Surely it's possible for a politically disagreeable author to pen an enjoyable book.

I may have phrased myself poorly. Joakim Ziegler was on track with what I meant, though. Knowing what I know about Card and his beliefs now, it is impossible to go back and enjoy Ender's Game anymore. I read nuance and personality into every little line, whether it's there or not, and all the while I can't help but remember how viciously cruel he can talk about people he doesn't like.

He's poisoned the well, and so I'm not going back to it. There are many more better authors out there who I like. Life's too short to give money to bigots.
posted by barnacles at 10:15 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]



Love how Liberal ethics are constantly tossed aside by otherwise thinking mefites because its a cool sci-fi story.


love how art can trump politics, even our own.
posted by philip-random at 10:23 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why You Shouldn’t Let Orson Scott Card’s Homophobia Affect Your Enjoyment Of Ender’s Game - I swear this is a stealth way of getting a list of Mormon things to boycott under peoples noses.
posted by Artw at 10:38 PM on April 26, 2012


an actual movie or even miniseries of the book rather than 90210 goes to war

But wasn't that awesome? To watch the too pretty 90210 type cast get brutally killed and brain sucked by space bugs while the awesome NPH nerd commands them from safety and security?
posted by Chekhovian at 11:01 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's pretty weak to like someone's creative work and then, after deciding you disagree with them on some other point, to retroactively decide that you don't like it anymore.
this is why i only like things in a safer, laughing-at-them way, which in turn is why i am alienated and depressed, which necessitates more schadenfreude, which long story short my computer is now powered by a dynamo hooked to my ego but also to home current because the other doesn't really generate enough juice to run anything
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:27 PM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I tried reading Ender's Game, just like I tried reading the Fountainhead. In high school. And I thought they were lame, but this may have been because I thought that the people that wouldn't shut up about them were awful people.

As far as military science fiction goes, one of the best and most unappreciated series is actually the Robotech novelizations. What I realized when I got older was that the books really reflected a kind of cynicism about the military-industrial complex that you rarely see in science fiction. One of the coauthors, Brian Daley, served in Vietnam. It shows in the writing.
posted by wuwei at 12:04 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The only way I'd be keen on this is if they somehow managed to hire actors who were openly gay for every single role in the film, but only told Orson Scott Card about it at the premiere, with a dozen cameras recording his reaction.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:12 AM on April 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


At the risk of being punched through the internet...

What I meant was that I see a movie being made that does not follow the actual book. Simple. I wanted Starship Troopers to be about powered armor and mini-nukes. And fighting huge bugs in their tunnels. And I could care less about the politics. I wanted the visualization of what I read as a kid and the board game that I played. What? You never played the Starship Troopers board game? I still have it, come on over.

As for Ender's Game the same feeling holds true. I do not care about the politics of the author (in this particular case). That's for a different FPP. In this specific situation, that of a book I read as a kid translated to movie, I do not expect it to be what I remember. I am sure that it will be changed into the vision of the director. And that's not what I want to watch.

I agree with what has been said up-thread about both Card and Heinlein. But that is not my point here. I just want the movie that I want to watch. I don't even think that the Starship Troopers move was that bad for what it was. It just wasn't the book-movie. As someone said, just change the name and I'm cool with it.

I don't watch science fiction movies for my politics. Nor do I read science fiction books for it. And I can separate the author from the work, usually. All I want is to think, "Cool! That's what power armor is like!"

Actually I don't remember that much about the Ender novels. My main memories are Ender being beaten up and then becoming some sort of supreme strategist. By beating up people in a three dimensional freefall box. And then the actual war being a crappy video game. And his sister being a political blogger. Then he becomes the father of a bug cocoon or something.

Now that I think of it, I'd rather see Starship Troopers remade with the cool stuff.

Nevermind.
posted by Splunge at 12:20 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Probably because both authors are fascist.

Welcome to Wrongsville, Population: You

Love how Liberal ethics are constantly tossed aside by otherwise thinking mefites because its a cool sci-fi story.

This is the real tragedy. If people would just stop reading these books, we could finally get out of these interstellar wars.

Love how otherwise thinking mefites sometimes don't know how to fucking read. Heinlein was a lot of things, but he was not a fascist.
posted by Snyder at 1:32 AM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


In a previous Orson Scott Card thread, Skygazer very insightfully said:

Ender's Game desperately needs to be re-envisioned as a homosexual coming of age story re-titled:

Rear Ender's Game: The Making of a Totally Fierce Intergalactic Queen


The fact that an Ender's Game movie is being made means that something like this will now really happen, except it will not be a delightful coming-of-age detournment. It will be feature-length pr0n.

Which I can't help but see as a victory for the forces of beauty, joy, and light.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:42 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Previously: How to be a fan of problematic things.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:59 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


SCENE: a STAIRCASE.

A large, tubby boy, STILSON, runs down the STAIRCASE. WIDE to show a CLOSET beneath the STAIRCASE. STILSON jumps on the STAIRCASE above the CLOSET.

STILSON: Wake up, cousin! We're going to Battle School! [laughs]

A boy, ENDER WIGGIN, tries to come out of the closet, but is pushed back in by STILSON.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:08 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, my goodness. Bob would be so very happy with so many of you. Starship Troopers was obviously a fantastic success. I'm so delighted to hear you all taking the time to speak out against it so boldly. It warms my heart.

After all these years, you're still thinking and talking. Mission accomplished.
posted by Goofyy at 2:20 AM on April 27, 2012


I think I'd say that jingoism rather than fascism was on display in Starship Troopers. Rico is also made out of cardboard.
posted by TheKM at 2:22 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bet you think I'm coming in here to mention the anagram GREASED MEN. Nope. I'm coming in here to mention the anagram SAME GENDER.
posted by emelenjr at 3:56 AM on April 27, 2012 [14 favorites]


Also ENEMA DREGS but thats just gross.
posted by Chipmazing at 4:20 AM on April 27, 2012


For an odd sort of crossover,

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality basically turns into Enders Game with wizards for about the middle third.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:10 AM on April 27, 2012


Richard Wagner. That is all.
posted by LMGM at 5:18 AM on April 27, 2012


Asa Butterfield cast as Ender

My brain first processed that as "Brian Butterfield cast as Ender" and I immediately started looking for presale tickets.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:19 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Despite the appalling politics of the author, Ender's Game remains one of my favorite books. I'm pretty sure I will not be able to bear going to see the movie especially given the age of the kid they cast as Ender. I will probably wait until it comes out on cable so I can turn it off or watch through my fingers if necessary.
posted by Kimberly at 5:29 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


smoke: as gay as a French trombone

I was not aware of this particular expression, despite my familiarity with queer French men and their fondness for brass instruments.
posted by LMGM at 5:31 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, we've gotten how many comments in and nobody has discussed this bizarre description of Ender's room on the Tumblr?
[N]ot every future is a dark dystopia. The world that Ender lives in is a world worth saving. That’s why he is willing to leave his family to go into an orbiting Battle School and risk not seeing his sister, Valentine, again until they are both adults. That doesn’t mean this world doesn’t have rules. Ender’s parents had to get permission from the state to have a third child, and if Ender ever had any doubt if he was unwanted, his mother and father’s shock at having their son recruited to be a future leader and transferred to space makes it clear to him that they’ve always loved him. They know that when Ender leaves the safety of his home, they will not be able to protect him any longer. We will keep your room for you just as you left it, Ender…
Regardless of whether you think Ender's room should be messy or not, this is a hilariously cutesy analysis of a eugenics-bred child (conceived at the request of the government, iirc) raised by either oblivious or negligent parents with a brother who skins animals alive and makes him fear for his life. I can't tell if it's just tone-deaf or setting up some kind of subversive alternate character interpretation where Ender's constant persecution is all in his head.

Neither of which is going to stop me from appropriating this for the darkest dystopias I can find if I ever get a chance. "The world that Winston Smith lives in is a world worth saving. That doesn’t mean this world doesn’t have rules. For example, chocolate rations have been cut again."
posted by Tubalcain at 5:33 AM on April 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


this is why i only like things in a safer, laughing-at-them way, which in turn is why i am alienated and depressed, which necessitates more schadenfreude, which long story short my computer is now powered by a dynamo hooked to my ego but also to home current because the other doesn't really generate enough juice to run anything

I'd like to nominate This, of course, alludes to you for Metafilter's poet laureate. Cutting stuff...the guy sure knows how to turn a phrase.
posted by victory_laser at 6:22 AM on April 27, 2012


Here are links to all of Card's review columns for the Rhino Times, going back to 2001.

I'm from Greensboro NC, and I loved Ender's Game as a kid, so I would often pick up the Rhino and read his columns. It's funny, I never picked up on his political views, though I'm certain that if I went back now and read those columns, I'd see it. At the time, I was just so excited to live in the same town as a ~famous sci fi author~.

To this day, I remember a column of Card's that I read in my early teens. He was discussing the problems with Greensboro's dying downtown and various methods that might fix them. It blew my mind- I had noticed all those problems too, but it had never occurred to me that they could be fixed! It made so much sense! I continued to be interested in that sort of thing, went on to take several urban studies classes in college, and am now considering going to grad school for city planning. So as much as I think the man's beliefs are abhorrent, and wish that he didn't have this platform to express those beliefs, I will still always be sort of grateful for that column.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:23 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait wait is there a tl;dr somewhere of just why and how Card is a piece of shit?
posted by Tom-B at 7:35 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a good start!
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:25 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Orson may be the victim of some pretty heinous religious brainwashing; but I think deep down he's a pretty decent person.

I'm betting that Card likes animals and his friends and his family and that maybe he even helps old ladies carry their groceries, as long as none of them are gay, that is. But someone who hates gay men and lesbian women so much that he'd rather overthrow the US government than permit same-sex marriages to happen isn't someone I'd ordinarily describe as "a pretty decent person."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:49 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread is proof that despite everyone rushing to say that Ender's Game is a lousy book and Orson Scott Card is a vicious hack, in fact we all really love that book. And care about how it's made into a film. I think it will be interesting. My only hope is they don't age the child actors up to be post-pubescent, that would completely destroy the horror of the book.

(And shame on anyone who doesn't recognize Starship Troopers as a work of genius filmmaking. I've never read the book, so maybe that's why it was easy for me enjoy the film. But its brilliant satire is only diminished by the way it was marketed without any hint of that satire, leaving most of the slack-jawed American viewing public to be very confused.)
posted by Nelson at 8:53 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a good start!

The weird thing about reading this is the realization of just how quickly things have changed with regards to "acceptable" opinions on homosexuality. I hit teendom in the early 1970s, a time at which two things were going on simultaneously.

A. the eruption of favorable public displays of homosexuality (ie: glam rock, David Bowie and Queen in particular),
B. gratuitous vilification of homosexual characters in various popular movies

That is, if you wanted to make your baddie really hateful in the audience's eye, make him a fag (and here I'm thinking of movies like Diamonds Are Forever, The Eiger Sanction, The Longest Yard ... and no doubt many others). And the scary part is just how effective this was, how easily won over I was as a young teen. And strange, because I was also a huge Bowie fan (go figure).

Anyway, this gets me thinking that Mr. Card would be anything but a villain were this forty years ago. He'd be a mainstream, normal voice speaking an accepted, non-controversial point of view.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


This thread is proof that despite everyone rushing to say that Ender's Game is a lousy book and Orson Scott Card is a vicious hack, in fact we all really love that book.

Know how I know you haven't really read the thread?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 AM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


in fact we all really love that book.

When Ender's Game came out in '85, science-fiction still made up about 80% of my literary diet, so I'm at a loss to explain why I never read it at the time, especially as I was just the sort of reader who might've identified with Ender. I did read the first Alvin Maker book and Folk of the Fringe a few years later (both of which I still more or less recall fondly), so I knew who Card was, but besides that, I totally gave him a miss. To this day, I've never read more than two books of Card's fiction. Dumb luck, I guess. Might've been that I was too obsessed with Neuromancer and PKD at that time, or it might've been that I (thought I) was just a bit too old for the book and was put off by the age of the protagonist.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:31 AM on April 27, 2012


Sadly, if this movie does well we'll get Enders Game: A XXX Parody and not Skygazer's suggestion of Rear Ender's Game. Which will as full of Buggery as the book, but with 20yo men as pre-teens so it is less creepy.

Because Big Porn has gotten lazy and needs a stimulus package.
posted by Mezentian at 9:40 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Han Soto should know to shoot fast. This startles your enemy enough that you have time to aim the second shot.

Also, Starship Troopers is rad, and no it isnt the book. I'd be quite interested to see a film version of Time Enough for Love.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:09 AM on April 27, 2012


METAFILTER: Because Big Porn has gotten lazy and needs a stimulus package.
posted by philip-random at 10:18 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Ender's Game is a very geographically and temporally specific thing - basically amongst teenagers in the US at a certain time in the 80s seems to have been ubiquitous. In the UK it hardly made a splash.
posted by Artw at 10:31 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


My high school English teacher must have been a teenager when the book came out, then. Because I read it as one of his picks for the class to study in 2005.
posted by Night_owl at 10:39 AM on April 27, 2012


I'm also sort of surprised that The Last Starfighter predates it.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Had dinner with a buddy who works at Digital Domain -- the effects house that's doing Ender's Game -- a few weeks ago and he mentioned they're doing this movie. One of the hold-ups, apparently, was the producers dithering on WHETHER TO CHANGE THE ENDING.

The argument was that if most people already know the surprise ending (o hai dead Bruce Willis), then they won't be interested in seeing the movie. I counter that only people who've read the book will know the ending; newbs will have no idea and be blown away. And if you change the ending, folks who read & love the book will be very upset.
posted by LordSludge at 11:28 AM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


And yeah I'd love to see Ender's Shadow (a better book, IMO) filmed at the same time and released in two years as a... not a sequel... but the same story from another character's perspective. I dunno that that's been done before, although Go (fun movie!) did it within the same short-story-ish movie.
posted by LordSludge at 11:39 AM on April 27, 2012


WHETHER TO CHANGE THE ENDING

TO WHAT, exactly?

Although didn't Card tinker with the ending when he rewrote it from novella to novel, to set it up better for a sequel?

(And I think Speaker is a better book; but not as cinematic as Ender. But still, I wonder how they're going to pull off the Battle Room scenes without them looking cheezy -- a bunch of kids going pew-pew-pew! at each other? What makes them work in the book is the descriptions of the tactics.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:24 PM on April 27, 2012


In the UK it hardly made a splash.

Well, we already had Lord of the Flies as our "children are little shits" novel.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:26 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the way, the whole Starship Troopers = an Endorsement of Facism point in this thread is huge load of bullshit based on a shallow and uncharitable reading of the novel.

Does Das Kapital = a Endorsement of Mass Murder?

Clearly not. Neither work should be read as a point by point plan for how our current governing system should be replaced by another form. They're critiques of flaws of the system when they were written. Same as 1984.

So what is ST saying? The Heinlein makes is that power must be accompanied by responsibility. Those who decide what a society is going to do must be accountable for the results of that action. If you institutes some sort of welfare system to help the poor, you have to help pay for it some how. If you declare, you should be part of the war effort.

Basically ST presages the modern problems of the California popular inititive system. In wonderful Cali they have frequently voted to increase funding for schools and such, but then voted against the taxes that would have generated the funding. They want to eat nothing but cake and not work out more and not gain weight.

It just doesn't work, and Heinlein's ST is a cautionary tale about that trap.
posted by Chekhovian at 12:54 PM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Sadly, if this movie does well we'll get Enders Game: A XXX Parody and not Skygazer's suggestion of Rear Ender's Game. Which will as full of Buggery as the book, but with 20yo men as pre-teens so it is less creepy.

Because Big Porn has gotten lazy and needs a stimulus package.
posted by Mezentian at 9:40 AM on April 27 [+] [!]


Han Soto should know to shoot fast. This startles your enemy enough that you have time to aim the second shot.

Also, Starship Troopers is rad, and no it isnt the book. I'd be quite interested to see a film version of Time Enough for Love.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:09 AM on April 27 [+] [!]


Sometimes the juxtaposition of two comments just sort of works, you know?
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:58 PM on April 27, 2012


Thank you, thank you , thank you Chehovian. I have been trying to write a response the myopic, absurd reductionist interpratation to Starship Troopers and you nailed it. The novel states, in more than one place, that most of the citizens with voting rights got that without military service (however since humanity is now engaged in an interstellar war lots more veterans) and that getting a chance at that status can't be denied you due to medical infirmity, handicaps, or really any reason. Just that you might not survive the chance. 'And the novel is really good at portraying a broad range of ethnicities, and those ethnic backgrounds not mattering a wit.

And also, Ender's Game is Homoerotic? because a scene takes place in the shower, were *gasp* the boys are naked together! omigod they must be gay!? That scene took place in the shower because it was where the antagonist could corner ender alone without the immediate intervention of the teachers or fellow students. No idea where people are getting that makes him the gay. Or maybe that ender killed stilson with the final blow to his testicles? so that shows Card hates testicles? or is conflicted with his sexual identity? (he may be, I just don't buy it that Enders Game has any real basis for this conclusion) or maybe just that is universally recognized as a vulnerable point on any male and if you are weaker and being assualted it is a great target? I just don't get it and kinda think people are projecting their own problems on this novel because they don't like some of the political positions the author has taken (not that the novel takes these same positions) Enders game shows a very diverse slice of humanity and kids being kids, i always read it more as lord of the flies with the adults being morally culpable to save their own asses, not as some screed agaisnt homosexuals.
posted by bartonlong at 1:17 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


make that interpretation, i really should proofread...and sorry for misspelling your name, Chekhovian.
posted by bartonlong at 1:18 PM on April 27, 2012


TO WHAT, exactly?

To something that sucks and would ruin the movie, of course.
posted by LordSludge at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2012


By the way, the whole Starship Troopers = an Endorsement of Facism point in this thread is huge load of bullshit based on a shallow and uncharitable reading of the novel.

Does Das Kapital = a Endorsement of Mass Murder?


This comparison makes utterly no sense at all. Das Kapital is a non-fiction critique of capitalism. We don't have to wonder what it's about.

Starship Troopers is a work of fiction, and as such one must draw one's interpretations as to what it's about. The fact that it strikes so, so many people as an endorsement of fascism is not a coincidence, or a "shallow and uncharitable reading of the novel." It's blindingly obvious from what's in the novel itself.
Chekhovian

The novel states, in more than one place, that most of the citizens with voting rights got that without military service..
bartonlong

See, this is the problem and I think what divides the "it's obviously fascist" and "No way! It's a criticism of society/whatever!" camps. The latter seems to miss the context and overall tone of the book.

A lot of people reading the novel, myself included, see fascism in every aspect of way the book is written. The presentation of war as a noble forge of the human spirit turning men into something greater; the glorification of the military; the crushing of an implacable alien enemy that cannot be understood. is utterly antithetical to us, and cannot be reasoned with; the obsession with responsibility and obligation.

Yes, the book makes mentions about how the military doesn't actually rule everything, but taken in the context of the whole it comes across as, well, a deeply closeted person writing an obviously homoerotic work that says it isn't homoerotic. That's why that one long website dedicated to showing how the book says it doesn't support fascism misses the point.

Even the most charitable interpretation of the work, given by Chekhovian above ("The [point] Heinlein makes is that power must be accompanied by responsibility. ") strikes many of us as still creepily authoritarian, paternalistic, and fascistic. It sounds a lot like the eternal harping over "personal responsibility" we hear from the Right that they use to justify stripping civil rights, aid for the poor, etc. And it echoes classic criticisms of democracy from Aristotle to actual Fascist philosophical writings (for example, "The Doctrine of Fascism" credited to Mussolini but written by Giovanni Gentile) that the average person can't be trusted with power, they must be made to earn it and be locked within obligations lest their baser nature lead society to chaos. And,

So yeah, the book reeks of fascism.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:02 PM on April 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, how much cocaine are we talking about in this decision making process?
posted by Artw at 2:02 PM on April 27, 2012


The novel states, in more than one place, that most of the citizens with voting rights got that without military service (however since humanity is now engaged in an interstellar war lots more veterans) and that getting a chance at that status can't be denied you due to medical infirmity, handicaps, or really any reason.

No, no it doesn't.

(tl;dr: Heinlein said that, in an interview published in Expanded Universe 30 years after Starship Troopers came out.)
posted by asterix at 2:28 PM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


The real question is whether the movie (like the book) will pander to America's favorite foreign policy narrative:

"But we were attacked! We were innocent victims! So of course we had to respond with overwhelming deadly force. It was self-defense! We were backed into a corner and brutal, deadly, total victory was the only option! If that big bully isn't brutally destroyed, he might come back and hit us again! Other people might think we're weak and attack us as well! Poor, little, vulnerable us. Did you see what they did to us? Never forget."
posted by straight at 3:07 PM on April 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


> And it echoes classic criticisms of democracy from Aristotle to actual Fascist philosophical writings (for example, "The Doctrine of Fascism" credited to Mussolini but written by Giovanni Gentile) that the average person can't be trusted with power, they must be made to earn it and be locked within obligations lest their baser nature lead society to chaos. And,

The key point in Starship Troopers, that to have a vote you have to serve (and complete your service), implies that everyone who has served has in someway agreed to some or all of the existing power structure and party system. You have to attend the schools the political system tells you to, you have to achieve the accomplishments they want you to.

IE no matter what your political differences and attitudes before given the right to vote in the Starship Troopers society, by the time you've completed your service period, you come out a good soldier who understands why things have to be the way they are, and are not likely to to change them. The story ends with Rico having completely bought into the political system, and having successfully converted his father to the cause as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:19 PM on April 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Now I'm not exactly stating the book was intentionally Fascist, but you provide a plot like that to someone like Verhoeven, and it isn't much of a surprise that he walked away seeing it as a Fascist story, and also wanting to lampoon american geopolitical issues and satirize hollywood movies (i.e., the cast is from 90210, but are supposed to be in Brazil).
posted by mrzarquon at 3:25 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a very interesting point, mrzarquon. It seems like a concrete codification of the system we have now, where social norms and status and such are enforced by actual laws. I wonder what the people who don't agree with the system or don't agree with the way the system is operating would do.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:26 PM on April 27, 2012


They are sent to the camps.

YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW MORE

posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, they are sent out as colonists. See first bugger attacks.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:41 PM on April 27, 2012


Love how Liberal ethics are constantly tossed aside by otherwise thinking mefites because its a cool sci-fi story.

I'm not sure I'd call it unethical to ignore the creepy message that underlies a work of fiction. In fact, sometimes, that creepy message is what makes the story work.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:25 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


the average person can't be trusted with power, they must be made to earn it and be locked within obligations lest their baser nature lead society to chaos

Its more like they just don't care about the system. What are American voting rates again?

Of course, Australia has 100% voting record, because its illegal not to vote. So instead the problem is that they're Australians and they show up drunk to the polls.
posted by Chekhovian at 6:12 PM on April 27, 2012


"But we were attacked! We were innocent victims! So of course we had to respond with overwhelming deadly force. It was self-defense! We were backed into a corner and brutal, deadly, total victory was the only option! If that big bully isn't brutally destroyed, he might come back and hit us again! Other people might think we're weak and attack us as well! Poor, little, vulnerable us. Did you see what they did to us? Never forget."

Wait, what? The book was a subversion of that. As you find out in later books, that was all a bunch of propaganda BS.

I mean, it's a flawed work, and Card is a flawed writer, but still.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:03 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Idea:

Remake of Flash Gordon, but with Tim Tebow being taken instead of Flash.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:30 PM on April 27, 2012


Ugh. I'd take Ming over Tebow.
posted by GuyZero at 7:35 PM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Flash the QB for the Giants? And Isn't TT supposed to become the new QB? (I try to limit the amount of football knowledge that reaches me)
posted by Chekhovian at 8:12 PM on April 27, 2012


Nope, Jets, in both cases.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:56 PM on April 27, 2012


Lol, the Jets. Even better!
posted by Chekhovian at 10:19 PM on April 27, 2012


Obligatory: Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat
posted by mr. strange at 2:14 AM on April 28, 2012


Remake of Flash Gordon, but with Tim Tebow being taken instead of Flash.

With a soundtrack by Scissor Sisters, Miley Cyrus as Dale Arden, and Lady Gaga as Princess Aura.

"Take my Tebow. Please!"
posted by octobersurprise at 6:14 AM on April 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wait, what? The book was a subversion of that. As you find out in later books, that was all a bunch of propaganda BS.

I'm talking about the situations Card writes his protagonist into that "forces" him to kill other kids.
posted by straight at 9:18 AM on April 28, 2012


Ah, crap. Another good story chewed up and spit out.

Heinlein: I loved him when I was a kid. He believed in the renaissance man. He thought that voters should be citizens, and citizens should provide a service to their country...not necessarily as cannon fodder, but if you don't want to put your ass on the line, you don't get to vote or hold office. He almost, but not quite, glorified the "Warrior." He glorified the soldier, but didn't believe in the draft. After you write a poem and tend to your garden, you should go put shoes on your horse and ride him over to the border to guard your country.

Card: hahaha. I loved Enders Game when I was younger. I got it that it was about fucking over children. I also thought he hit it spot on, when the government used children to destroy an entire civilization, and the children weren't actually let in on the big picture in any meaningful way until they after were old enough to understand what they had done. Ah, yes. War as a video game. Good thing it can't happen here.

Heinlein and Card couldn't be further apart politically. They were both sort of nuts, but prescient in the way of many of the better SF writers.

Starship Troopers stood alone as a movie, but the theme of the book was consistent and interesting--so long as you are willing to believe in simple-mined slogans (an armed society is a polite society). Heinlein wrote polemics. One outgrows Heinlein in a way that one doesn't outgrow, for one example, LeGuin, but at least you're not ashamed to know him. Card sticks with you, sort of like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth, and you'd rather your friends not find outthat you liked his books.

Card is a nutcase, but he's only a little further down the continuum than Heinlein. I wouldn't vote for either one of them for a political office, but I wouldn't mind having coffee and donuts with Bob. Not Orson--I would have to conk him on the head with my shoe now and then to keep him in the room.
posted by mule98J at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's one thing to update your opinion of an author after learning about their political views, quite another to whitewash your original experience of a book to better reflect your dislike of the author. Surely it's possible for a politically disagreeable author to pen an enjoyable book.
posted by deathpanels
The problem is that as a child or teenager, I often missed virulently misogynistic, racist, facist or pedophilic subtext.
If it is one theme, or characer, in one book, you don't realise it is a creepy, recurring obsession. Once you realise this is not just something happening in the story, but the authors head, not one place, but every place, once identified as a recurring theme, you cannot unsee it.
It was alway there, contaminating the original work, I just didn't have the context to understand it.


For other examples:
A couple of Frank Millers works can seem ok, but then the rest of his work gets so riduculously crap, that you realise, for example, he just cannot write female characters, ever. I have had recommendations for his other 'ok' works, that I hadn't read before realising a dickhead he is, but - I won't be able to read it with obliviousness. His homophobic misogyny is there in pretty much everything he writes.

Piers Anthony, was another personally horrifying author, in that I read a bunch of his work as a kid, and only very slowly started to get creeped out. Basically, he finds a way to include pedophilic treatment of little girls in almost every story. In some stories it's about how the victim deals with the abuse, but the more you read, the more you realise even those go into disturbing, creepy, and clearly (to him) titillating detail, and that he just likes to include any form of child/adult sex he can, in any context he can, and generally on the side that he is a pedophile apologist.
It made it even worse that he included a few letters from sexual abuse victims saying that they'd seen themselves in his earlier characters, and then as I read more, I realised he's not writing from their perspective, even when they are the main character, he as the author is writing from the pedophiles perspective.


I have had similar stories from friends describing how they slowly realised their idyllic golden childhood wasn't as idyllic as they thought. That they were growing up in South Africa with racist family members. For myself, I remember seeing green poppy heads in a bucket in my neighbourhood, and wondering why you'd put them in a bucket, not a vase. Many, many years later, I realised it was part of heroin production, and which adults had been junkies, and why some of them had suddenly died (of OD's etc).

I used to think that an author should be viewed separately to their politics, but more and more I've realised that's ridiculous. You can't separate an author from the works of their creative brain. They are just different mediums of expression for their opinion.
The personal is political.
posted by Elysum at 6:12 PM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ender's Game. Hunger Games. Game Change. Game of Thrones.
posted by ColdChef at 8:50 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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