One of the books that my brother enjoyed was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. For some reason I picked it up and it was a book that I connected with and I ended up reading it cover to cover. In tenth grade our teacher asked to list all of the books that we had read, and my list contained one book.
Ender's Game is a series and to date there are 15 books in the series. I own more than half of them and have read two-thirds of them. The first read through the complete (at the time) series was when I was just out of high school. I enjoyed each subsequent book as much as Ender's Game.
A few years ago when I began reading daily, I read all of the novels that we had in the house. This included rereading the Ender's Game series. Again, I enjoyed them as much as I had the first time through, but that all changed this year, when I read Rebecca Watson's review.
I really wanted to like the book. The basic outline of the story is fine and even appealing to me: kids being trained with video games from an early age to join a war effort. But the writing was, at times, excruciating. To be fair, had I read it when I was a (fairly average, I'm sure) 12-year old, I probably would have found it more enjoyable. But as an (average, again) adult, I found it to be about 100 pages too long and filled with long passages during which I developed a loathing of the main character at precisely the moment when the author clearly wanted me to admire his cleverness, strength of character, and bold moral wrestling. "Ooh, how deftly he wins the admiration of his peers by suggesting that bully is gay! Aah, the psychological pain he endures at being the best at strategy and physical combat! Oh, the bravery of joking with the black boy about how he's a n****r! Oh why can't he find a teacher who can teach him something he doesn't already know!"After reading her review, I really didn't want it to affect my fondness of the novels that got me reading for the first time. These were books that I had liked enough to recommend them to other people to read. I thought, that is just her opinion, I still like them. But she had planted a seed of truth that was hard to ignore, similar to being told that the food that you are eating, that you are enjoying, is made from the most undesirable of animal parts. It makes you reevaluate your tastes, and may change your preferences.
Earlier this year I read Shadows in Flight. It is one of the newer books from the series. Unfortunately I had the bad taste from Rebecca's review in my mouth. I was able to spot her arguments in the novel and they strongly diminished my enjoyment of the book, a book that I probably would have enjoyed a year ago. Damn you Rebecca!
Over the years I had heard that Orson Scott Card had made some homophobic statements but that he has recently requested that they be put in context of the time at which he made them. But last week, a few bloggers that I read realized that he made some wild political statements.
I saw them first through PZ Myer's blog, Pharyngula. I forwarded this through to the article that PZ linked to on The Bilerico Project to Card's original article posted on The Ornery American. The article contains off the wall political ramblings containing racism. He ends the article with a very confusing statement.
Just kidding. Because if I really believed this stuff, would I actually write this essay?So how much of this stuff does he believe? Is he as mad as it appears in the article? I'll let you make up your own mind, but I would bet that he believes most of it. So my question is, should this matter? If an author is politically incompetent and a conspiracy harborer, should this have any affect on my view as his reader?
Unfortunately for Orson Scott Card, Rebecca's review probably ruined any of his other books for me, so his political and societal views will have little impact. But it would be hard for me to give my money to someone with possible celebrity influence and wild world views.
So thanks a lot skeptical movement, all I can taste is fish sperm sashimi.