Ender’s Game Saga
Orson Scott Card has got to be one of the more intelligent men alive today. I recently finished listening to the entire Ender’s Game Saga. All 4 books were incredible! It was very interesting to see the evolution of Card’s writing style as the series progressed. Ender’s Game was full of complex and ingenious battle scenes at the battle school, but what really makes the book is the human insight.
Card’s ability to delve into the human psyche and explain in such great detail the multiple forces pulling at young Ender Wiggin is astounding. It makes one wonder if Card himself has gone through comparable self conflicts because of his obvious enhanced intelligence.
It seemed like Card shifted from battle and traditional sci-fi’ness to more and more human insight. We can learn a lot from the complex relationships that are brought to light through these books. Speaker for the Dead is definitely the best book about human insight. Why people do what they do and how we can never judge people because we never know the entire story. Now for sheer cool science, you have to love Xenocide. So many crazy and cool concepts.
So I’m waiting to start on the Shadow Series. It’s a parallel series to the Ender Sage with the main character being Bean, Ender’s right hand man in battle school and in the “simulation game” in command school. I wanted to move away for just a bit to give my mind a break. Although I love the books, they are very emotionally intense.
I’m also trying to find out if there is an additional book to the Ender’s Saga. In an special afterword of Children of the Mind, Card mentioned that he was going to write a book that would tie the two series together and specifically said that we would find out more about the descolada planet. I’d like to know whether he has already written it or it’s still in the future. I could only wish it’s out already…. and in audio format (I don’t have time to read and so all my “reading” is listening during commute).
And this made me laugh.
So, you probably didn’t think people would comment on your final aside, but I found it rather interesting.
I agree that Williams is off-base completely about his probably ironic assertion that Card’s books were written by a committee of the LDS Chruch, simply because it’s clear that any sufficiently dedicated member needs no impetus to produce Churchy writing. Cf. Glen Larson and Battlestar Galactica.
Radford’s more fundamental comparison is less easy to refute – knowingly vs. unknowingly is really a weak distinction, when in Hitler’s case, the killing was carried out by third parties. That layer of separation puts enough of an indirectness in to lessen the knowingness of his impact. (Which, BTW, I think is true of most genocidal maniacs, who themselves almost never have to do the killing.)
While I like a lot of Card’s writing (even excusing the Mormon angle), I have gripes with a lot of Card’s politics, including his support of the war on terror, the PATRIOT Act, media censorship in wartime, Israel, and institutionalized homophobia.
Alas, we disagree again. I think the claim for almost anything can be made if you try hard enough.
There is a *fundimental* difference in the entire book. In Enders Game, Ender and the Human race are in a fight for what they believe to be the survival of the human race. They are positive that they will be destroyed if they do not destroy first.
Further on, Ender later on, does all he can to ensure that those creatures are allowed to once again become part of the galactic ecosystem.
Card’s a nice man. His political beliefs are a bit all over the place, but you know what? That’s his right, and he tends to be more of a liberal than most members I know.
Obviously, Chris, I mostly agree with your assertion that any claim can be made if you try hard enough. The question is whether the underlying reasoning and/or sophistry is reliable. Now, here I will agree with you that it takes an act of will to see Ender as an analog for Hitler – that it requires dismissal of other attributes in the story. Nevertheless, fictional characters are not often transparent glosses (even in, say, a roman-à-clef), so if aspects diverge between fiction and life, that doesn’t necessarily say analogies cannot be drawn. (Cf. Alvin Maker vs. Joseph Smith.)
And yes, I know that Card has some fairly liberal views on certain issues. I just don’t find the overall package to be consistent. Regarding Card, I side with Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That people may have different views from me follows intrinsically from free will, as does my right to disagree. 🙂