Science Fiction as a genre, by and large, has never tugged at my interest or imagination with any regularity. But even I know ENDER’S GAME. It’s one of those books I keep meaning to read, because hundreds of thousands of people simply cannot be wrong. (I mean of course they can, but if they are, I’ll get to feel smug about it for a little while. And if not, I’ll get a to enjoy a great read. Everybody plays, everybody wins.)
Orson Scott Card, the author of the ENDER’S GAME and its series, has been sent up in op/eds, blogs and in newspapers everywhere recently for his anti-gay sentiments in general, and, in specific, over his call to literal revolution in an article in The Mormon Times on the issue of same-sex marriage. While I happen to disagree strongly with his rant, however articulate it may be, I haven’t felt inspired to refute his position, point by point, primarily because it’s been done so well elsewhere. All my nodding has rattled loose my prose, leaving it to bounce off the pillars and posts of my indignation and fall in an incoherent tangle on the floor of my brain.
But today, I ran across this blast by Cracked.com blogger, Michael Swaim, and it sparked a question: will the sum of Orson Scott Card’s considerable literary efforts be relegated, as time passes, to a tainted curiosity, like a term paper by Ted Bundy or a grocery list of David Duke’s. And if it does, is this a shame or is it justice?
Card’s zealous question goes as so:
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.
and is answered by Swaim in his post, ripe with hilarious signature Cracked profanity. But as it often is with the accomplished and clever cusser, the point is there, delivered on a bed of sauteed expletives and garnished with the occasional F-bomb.
… you will be classed with all those others who stood in the way of expanding rights and humanity: the Ku Klux Klan, Apartheid, the anonymous boardroom of fat men arguing about which secretary has the best ass. And if there’s any justice, even though I’ve no doubt you could fire off a response to this post that would be perfectly eloquent and arresting (in fact, you totally should…my hits would go through the roof), your work will be read only as a curiosity, a way to peek into the mind of a caveman. Or else by lovers of great fiction, who will have to read them, set them down, shrug, and say “well, that was super good, even if the guy was a Neanderthal Nazi.”
Personally, I’m torn. I want works of literature to stand on their own merit. If a bubble-headed celebrity whose cinematic work I hate writes a book and it’s good, I shall call it good. (Not that it’s happened, so far as I can recall at the moment.) I’d also like to be brave and denounce immorality, when I see it and as I see it, and root out its influences. In this case, I would like to take the high road, but I’m not certain which one that is.
Weigh in and stay tuned.