May 23, 2002 4:55 PM   Subscribe

Finally some more news about Orson Scott Card's book Ender's Game, and the plans to make it into a movie. Obviously I do have the fear that they'll make it suck - but if they do a good job with this, I'll be more excited about it than any movie I've seen in years!
posted by twiggy (42 comments total)
More info here.
posted by rushmc at 5:02 PM on May 23, 2002

All right! I always ignorantly thought Sci-Fi was a stupid genre until I read the Ender's Game series. Although I enjoyed Harry Potter, OSC is so much better at developing characters with real depth and turmoil! Blows Hogwarts out of the water! If you haven't read them, pick up Ender's Game. You won't be able to put it down.

Are any of his other series good? Never read'em.
posted by gramcracker at 5:20 PM on May 23, 2002

Link to Salon interview where lesbian interviewer becomes disgusted by her former idol Card's prejudices (including but not limited to homophobia) in 5...4...3...2...
posted by zztzed at 5:25 PM on May 23, 2002

(I would've posted it myself, but that would've been kind of self-defeating. And I'd rather leave it to someone who thinks they're trying to make some sort of point about what a horrible person Card is or something. Me, I think he's a good author and I like his books, and I don't really care about his personal beliefs.)
posted by zztzed at 5:26 PM on May 23, 2002

gramcracker, OSC's Tales of Alvin Maker is quite enjoyable. It's a fantasy world of colonial America and the first few novels are up there with the Ender Series, IMHO.
posted by rks404 at 5:35 PM on May 23, 2002

gramcracker, I recommend A Planet Called Treason (re-released as Treason), Songmaster, Wyrms, the Worthing Chronicle, and Pastwatch over his other series. Be sure you've read ALL the Ender series, though, including the new ones.
posted by rushmc at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2002

Does EVERYTHING need to be made into a movie?
posted by HTuttle at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2002

HTuttle: No. But this book does.

Thanks for the article, zztzed. I hadn't read that interview.

I detest Eminem's music and message because he talks about killing gays and women, and I'm very adamant about it. But I'm still trying to figure out how I'm supposed to react to Card's homophobia, when I really find great value in his books, but hate his views?
posted by gramcracker at 5:59 PM on May 23, 2002

Card's short fiction is also quite good, although I gave up on the novels several years ago when he started expanding short stories into, well, short stories pretending to be novels. Unfortunately, I have to limit my sci-fi intake these days to Gardner Dozois' annual anthologies.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:44 PM on May 23, 2002

Haven't heard of him befire ... but I'll chk it out.
Hmmmm .... The adaptation of SF to the screen
is always a worry .... will we ever get over DUNE
posted by johnny7 at 7:12 PM on May 23, 2002

Befire eh ?? good one
posted by johnny7 at 7:19 PM on May 23, 2002

How odd! Just this evening I finished "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus", by Orson Scott Card, only to come to Metafilter and see Card as the topic of the latest post here. The book was excellent, albeit a bit heavy on the teachings of J. Christ and how Christianity might have saved the New World if it had been implemented in a more intelligent, kind fashion.

I've always loved Ender's Game and I thought Pastwatch was an amazing story. I consider Card one of the best sci-fi authors out there, but his comments in the Salon article are troubling. One of the main themes of Pastwatch was that of tolerance and compassion. It is unfortunate to learn he does not hold those views himself.

I'm having the exact same dilemma as you gramcracker, and I'm rather glad I bought the book used. I get to enjoy the story yet not support Mr. Card and his discrimination.
posted by Bones423 at 7:20 PM on May 23, 2002

Ender's Game is chock-full of mormon propaganda!

Most sci-fi writers are opinionated cranks. Look at Heinlein, PK Dick, etc.

A lot of mormons think that Card is too liberal. He's definitely not fundy in the strictest sense.

Kuro5hin thread
posted by mecran01 at 7:36 PM on May 23, 2002

Card's short fiction is also quite good

Grab a copy of his omnibus short fiction collection, "Maps in a Mirror." Get the hardcover. It was also released as a series of paperbacks, but there's one section in the hardcover that never made it to paperback, I believe.

Might be hard to find, haunt your used bookstores.
posted by kindall at 8:00 PM on May 23, 2002

Ender's Game: good story, possibly a parable with staying power.

Ender's Game movie: Could be great.

Problem with a movie? Two words; Starship Troopers.

OSC as a person? Pass. But the writer is not the story. Sometime's that's the evidence of power of the story, that it bursts from the writer without control. Stanger in a Strange Land anyone? Old Man and the Sea?
posted by dglynn at 8:38 PM on May 23, 2002

For the sake of completeness, not to make a point, here's the aforementioned Salon article.
posted by jjg at 9:13 PM on May 23, 2002

The Earth's Children series made interesting reading through the 4th book, then the 5th disappointed somewhat. I can't wait to see who is cast as Ender, Bean, Peter and Valentine!
posted by Lynsey at 10:15 PM on May 23, 2002

I went on a pretty intense Read All The Classics of Sci-Fi binge during college. And of all the novel length works I read, I think my top three was The Left Hand of Darkness, Starship Troopers, and Ender's Game.

Which makes me worry a bit about the movie, considering how much the Starship Troopers movie sucked...

Here's to hope, though.
posted by Cyrano at 10:28 PM on May 23, 2002

But I'm still trying to figure out how I'm supposed to react to Card's homophobia, when I really find great value in his books, but hate his views?

i have read many of his books, and liked them a great deal. however i'm not going to do something to promote hate. yes the book is good, but according to that article he doesn't even understand why it's good. you can't separate the author from the work, if it becomes more popular with no dissension he will have a wider audience. i say fuck it, i don't need good books written by bigots, i won't see the movie now regardless of how much i liked the book when i was younger.

also, the homecoming series has a gay character who, when the population becomes very small, becomes straight so he can breed. he talks about this forever. about how he doesn't love having straight sex, but really does come to love his wife, and their children. i read this in junior high before i came out to anyone... i remember thinking it was neat that there was a gay character, and that he was portrayed in a good light. but i also prayed at night to become straight. even if the homophobia isn't outright in the enders saga it may be more concealed, and i think the more open "discussion" in the homecoming books is damaging, especially to younger people, which is probably the main audience with these books.
posted by rhyax at 12:04 AM on May 24, 2002

The best part of the book was the jaw-dropping realization of what was really happening. I won't spoil it for anyone. Read it yourself. After that point, it was almost heart breaking seeing how Ender could live with what happened.

It would be very hard to bring that emotion to the big screen. And it wouldn't be the surprise plot twist for those who read the book.
posted by shackbar at 12:08 AM on May 24, 2002

I agree, shackbar... mind-blowing revelation at the end.

I disagree that the Starship Troopers movie sucked, however. In fact, I loved it. It was a brilliant satire on the absurbity of war and the blatant manipulation of the public through war propaganda and "patriotism." I mean, who were we really supposed to be rooting for in that picture (if we were rooting for anyone at all)?
posted by Down10 at 1:16 AM on May 24, 2002

After a discussion a couple of months ago here about the series, mostly expressing great adulation (bar rodii's comment that I remember for some reason describing them as fairly unremarkable potboilers (apologies if I've misquoted)), I figured 'what the hell' and read the Ender books recently, my first dip back into science fiction in many years.

Not to pee on the OSC parade or anything, but they were really pretty darn average.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:50 AM on May 24, 2002

Card has said in previous discussions (years ago) that any movie of Ender's Game would necessasrily employ dramatic irony, with the audience knowing what Ender does not.

you can't separate the author from the work

Yes I can, and do.
posted by NortonDC at 5:56 AM on May 24, 2002

So you find out that a person who's work you enjoy has a difference of opinion on a topic with you. Big deal. It doesn't make that individual suddenly "bad" or his work less enjoyable. Why allow his opinion on homosexuality or capital punishment or war or (insert hot topic here) to take away from the experience you had as a result of his work prior to your knowing his opinions.

Yes, I disagree with Card on a number of topics. However, he remains one of the most heavily represented authors in my personal library. For the most part, I enjoy his writing and can comfortably continue to disagree with him. Card's own thoughts on the topic can be found on his website.

I was surprised the author of the Salon article didn't realize Card would express some of the opinions he did. While I'm sure she read some of his books; I don't think she did enough research on him before the interview. In addition to his own website, Card's columns on beliefnet clearly show his opinion on a number of topics. It should not come as a surprise to her that a number of her questions were not well received by him. She was looking for some magical connection between them and found a person who had different life experiences and a different POV.
posted by onhazier at 6:36 AM on May 24, 2002

Down10: Ok, the movie didn't suck so much as it wasn't faithful to the original story. It could have just been called "Bugs" or something and then they could have gone off and still make an adaptation of the actual book.
posted by Cyrano at 6:42 AM on May 24, 2002

Just a question that maybe someone can answer..

Why is it that if someone doesn't like homosexuals, that person is 'bad' and is named a bigot? Or if someone has an opinion about homosexuality that a homosexual doesn't agree with, that person gets labelled a homophobe?

I don't get it.
posted by eas98 at 6:53 AM on May 24, 2002

The "homophobe" label is iffy as it depends upon knowledge of that persons fears, but "bigot" is dead on.

Why is it that if someone doesn't like Jews, that person is 'bad' and is named a bigot?
posted by NortonDC at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2002

Excuse me Norton, but are you saying that Jews are homosexual?
posted by eas98 at 7:30 AM on May 24, 2002

eas98: someone who says things like "I do not believe homosexuals should be given a whole raft of rights analogous to what blacks have" is a bigot (read the Salon article jjg linked to). He is ignorant of what homosexuality is (he seems to view it as a perverse, conscious choice) and he advocates increased or continued institutionalized discrimination against homosexuals (he feels being gay is adequate grounds for termination of employment from some jobs, for example). Much of this is related to his religion, but I don't think that changes how abhorrent some of his ideas are (which wouldn't really be an issue if it weren't for the fact that he involves himself in movements which seek to actively harm others, like the Mormon anti-gay-marriage movement).

That being said, I love OSC's writing and I have no problem buying his books and separating the author from the work, and I hope the film does the book justice.
posted by biscotti at 7:36 AM on May 24, 2002

eas98: Norton is saying insert some other minority group into your comment. You said:

Why is it that if someone doesn't like homosexuals, that person is 'bad' and is named a bigot?

Would your statement have been acceptable had you said:

Why is it that if someone doesn't like blacks, that person is 'bad' and is named a bigot?
Why is it that if someone doesn't like Jews, that person is 'bad' and is named a bigot?
posted by gramcracker at 8:34 AM on May 24, 2002

While I think eas98's a dumb-ass, I think people can lay off him a touch - my reading of his post was that he had confused the definition of the word "bigot" with that of "anti-semite".
posted by Marquis at 9:08 AM on May 24, 2002

really?, if you assume he thinks the words are interchangeable it still makes no sense.
posted by rhyax at 9:37 AM on May 24, 2002

What's wrong with you people? Everybody knows that gays are immigrants Homoslavia.

"Give me your sweaty, huddled masses, yearning for release."
posted by NortonDC at 9:54 AM on May 24, 2002

No way they could make a movie worse than that rotten book. I don't really understand what the big deal is with it. All the geeks I've known were ga-ga for Ender, I never understood why.

The book has the most unrealistic set of characters *ever*. Plus all that Mormon garbage.

posted by rocketman at 11:22 AM on May 24, 2002

Actually, the book is full of Catholic garbage. The author is the one full of Mormon garbage.
posted by NortonDC at 11:25 AM on May 24, 2002

I am obviously a bigot since I do not like to look at gay men kissing on TV. I am obviously a bigot since I don't like to look at fat people naked. I am obviously a bigot since I steer clear of stupid people.

Did I miss anything/anyone?

You people who use 'bigot' so freely are doing a disservice to the word, just as feminists lessened the meaning of 'rape' when they insisted that it be used to describe any type of coercive sex.

Nobody's buying it.
posted by eas98 at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2002

eas98: how is coercive sex of any kind not rape? Merriam-Webster defines "rape" as "sexual intercourse with a woman by a man without her consent and chiefly by force or deception". If your objections to the use of the word "bigot" are the same as your objections to the use of the word "rape", I think you're on pretty shaky ground. It's not bigotry to dislike watching gay men kissing (that's a personal preference), it would be bigotry to discriminate against those men because of their homosexuality.
posted by biscotti at 11:59 AM on May 24, 2002

Regardless of the areas where my moral code differs from his, I can still enjoy OSC's excellent story-telling. (And in fact, if you put aside his blind spot regarding certain forms of bigotry, he has some interesting things to say about other areas of morality.) Anyway, if I limit my appreciation of literature/art/music/etc. to exclude everyone who has said/done/believed things that I find morally wrong, my world will be a much smaller place. (For a start, I'll have to cut out practically everything created before the late 20th century, since severe bigotry in many forms was the societal norm.)
posted by tdismukes at 12:27 PM on May 24, 2002

When I was younger, whenever I head the word 'rape', horrible visions came to me of men brutalizing a woman and forcibly having sex with her.

Nowadays, rape could mean: "He told me he loved me, so I had sex with him" or "I got drunk and slept with him" or "He kept asking and pleading, so I just let him".

True rape victims surely cringe when they hear these acts being grouped together with the horror of what happened to them.

Nothing shaky about my ground.
posted by eas98 at 12:36 PM on May 24, 2002

eas98: There's a big difference between not liking to look at fat people or gay people and not liking them for who they are.

If you don't like black people inherently because they're black, yes, you're a bigot. Or gay, or Jewish, or whathaveyou.

OSC was saying he thinks gays are evolutionarily backwards. That their very essence is wrong. To me, that's bigoted.
posted by gramcracker at 1:43 PM on May 24, 2002

i found the increasing religious content of the books in the 'ender's game' series undermined the themes of the books. i lost sympathy for the characters and subsequently the universe constructed to contain them faultered. i lost interest as the series continued. having said that, the first book was described as 'just a boy's own adventure', by the lender, and he wasn't far wrong.
i have not read an entire elron hubbard or heinlein for much the same reason. the author's myopic pov limits their imagination, the worlds they imagine lack depth. not to mention the characters. just my apeth worth.
posted by asok at 5:26 AM on May 26, 2002

eas98 - ease back on the representation of 'true rape victims' unless you by some chance are running an international rape-victim support charity, for which you are also the spokesperson. the fact that you have had to re-appraise your understanding of what constitutes a rape could be more due to changing understanding of this topic, rather than some 'lessening' of the meaning of the word.
i am fairly confident that all rape victims consider themselves 'true', while understanding that there can be variations in the type and levels of force used. maybe there is no easy way of defining this particularly degenerate behaviour in humans.
posted by asok at 5:44 AM on May 26, 2002

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