Book Rant: Author Controversy Ender’s Game

If you saw any blockbuster this summer, you probably saw a trailer for Ender’s Game.

Ender's Game Movie Poster

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The casting looks great (Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley) and it is based on a book of the the same name that has been popular for decades. So what’s this rant about?

“Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

“Married people attempting to raise children with the hope that they, in turn, will be reproductively successful, have every reason to oppose the normalization of homosexual unions.”

 

The above are two examples of Orson Scott Card’s writings on homosexuality. (The first is from Sunstone Magazine, February 1990 and the second is from the Mormon Times in 2009.)

Orson Scott Card is a board member of the National Organization For Marriage which is consistently in the news for making horrific anti-gay statements. (A great place to read about some truly egregious statements made by the National Organization For Marriage, please see this write-up by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

There is an effort to boycott the movie because of Orson Scott Card’s terrible views by Geeks Out (you can view their website where they layout the specific argument for the boycott here.) It remains to be seen how effective the boycott will be but it has forced Orson Scoot Card to address his views on homosexuality.

As someone who has not read Ender’s Game (it is sitting on a shelf, waiting to be read before the movie comes out), this publicity makes me very uncomfortable. I vehemently disagree with Orson Scott Card and consider the views the National Organization For Marriage puts out into the ether akin to hate speech. I do not want to give my money to someone with such abhorrent views. I am on the fence about boycotting the movie, but I certainly will have my distaste for the above quotes in my head if I do decide to watch Ender’s Game and finally read the book.

Does an author’s personal views make it difficult for you to read their books? 

 

Comments

  1. This is somewhat out of context, but people have read books by Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, and other classics, and those men were probably, by our standards, homophobic. I just look at a man like Scott Orson Card and think that he’s backward, out of time, and that he has certain views. The only difference is that he’s expressed these views. I don’t think people should burn him for having them (people can have whatever opinions they want), and my stance on reading a book is that I judge it by the content, not for the individual that wrote it. But that’s just me. If you don’t want to support him by paying for the book or the movie, you can get the book from the library and watch the movie online. At the end of the day, it’s a great book, and I’m sure many gay people have read and enjoyed it as well. It just seems like a shame that every action that a person makes or any piece of art they create is judged by one fault that has nothing to do with their artistic talent.
    Janita Van Dyk recently posted..Review: Sandry’s Book (Circle of Magic #1)My Profile

    • This is very similar to the argument my husband made when I discussed this post and the controversy surrounding the movie. He, as probably lots of 30-something year-old men who love sci-fi, read the series as a kid and loved it.

      It is a fair point that I have read, and enjoyed, many works of art created by someone with views I disagree with.

  2. I’d like to think that a book that he wrote in 1985 – long before the societal storm of the gay marriage issue – would be taken for what it is. A disturbing yet riveting look at just how far humans are willing to go in order to survive. This was a ground breaking piece of literature and continues to be relevant. I read it around 1994 and proceeded to read the next several books in the series. At the time, I had no idea what Mr. Card’s personal or political views were and didn’t care, because they had no bearing on the story. Let’s face it, if we stopped reading every author who we didn’t agree with politically or socially, you would spend more time researching the author than reading the book. Will you not read or watch any Alice in Wonderland or Alice through the Looking Glass books or movies because the author was a suspected pedophile? I doubt it.
    Judy-Ree recently posted..Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: Maven by S. A. HuchtonMy Profile

    • You’re right that worrying about an authors personal views could be taken to extreme’s and would probably cause me to stop reading all kinds of books. It might be a more moderate view to take a work for what it is and not worry about the person who created it.

  3. The problem is, we are aware what sort of man Orson Scott Card is. In other areas, we usually are not. Tom Cruise made Oblivion and I didn’t hear one person discussing boycotting that movie. And yet, Tom Cruise has very open views that are destructive in nature. The company that is making the movie has hosted plenty of LGTB based films in the past and are proud sponsors of such.
    Yes, I think that the author is a cad. But, as stories go, so is Metallica (for suing thousands of their fans), Cassandra Claire (for bullying online), Emily Giffin (who’s husband attacked a reviewer), Stephanie Meyer (for throwing a hissy fit over leaked content), etc.
    I completely, and very openly, disagree with his views, but that’s not what this story is about. In turn, he, like everyone else, is entitled to his own views – even if they’re ignorant and pathetic by my standard.
    Cherene recently posted..Charmed by Cambria Hebert: Promo + Signed Paperback Copy & Swag!My Profile

    • Very true, Tom Cruise has very destructive views about psychiatry and Scientology has hurt lots of people. I did see Oblivion and enjoyed it.

      It is a good point that the movie studio does seem to be speaking out in support of LGBT causes. As is the cast, I saw some quotes that Harrison Ford made at Comic-Con about his work with LGBT groups.

  4. I think it makes him a sad person, but if I voted with my wallet on every issue, I would never be able to buy, watch or read anything – ever. You have to decide what’s more important to you: reading a great piece of literature and watching what might end up being a spectacular movie, or standing up for the rights of gays to a man who will never know you did based on your principles. It’s a good principle, but ultimately, boycotting his works won’t change his mind.
    Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog recently posted..Hidden (Firelight #3) by Sophie JordanMy Profile

    • I am sure you’re right and it won’t change his mind. A lot of the statements he has made since this controversy came to light, indicate that he does feel the same way. I would think if a publicist and a major movie studio that invested millions into making your book into a movie (and probably has hopes to make it into a movie franchise) don’t get you to apologize, nothing will. I do think that it does show a positive step forward that I have seen (or read) very little agreeing with what he said. That at least shows that we are moving into the right direction.

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