Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ender's End

I pretty much gave up on Orson Scott Card when he came out with Empire. I have never read a less pleasant political screed, and I've read several Terry Goodkind novels. It was just purely offensive crap, mixed with a couple of interesting sentences. Bah.

And now, two years later, I am giving up on him again. This time, it has to do not with his novels, but with his assertion that gay marriage is a sign of the end of democracy. Anti-sodomy laws should remain in force, he says. Gay Mormons need to feel that they are sinning; being comfortable with their own orientations is unacceptable. Check out this article, especially the title.

So now I have a problem. Card remains the only fiction author I've ever read who has created a character who speaks Old Church Slavonic. Speaker for the Dead is still a fascinating book, as is the rest of the Ender series (I admit I have not delved into the "Shadow" companion series). But the author of all of these ascribes to views I cannot condone.

Let me clarify: I don't have much of a problem reading works by conservatives. I read William Safire, ferchrissake. I do have a problem reading the writing of someone who considers me to be sinful by my very nature, and who demands that I give up my sexuality in every natural form in order to achieve grace.

I know I am not the only queer to read Ender. I know the queer sci fi community is rather larger than one might expect. Hell, reading sci fi at all is tantamount to being caught giving another boy a blowjob, in terms of elementary school social hierarchy (I do not, by the way, condone blowjobs for ten-year-olds). Queers-of-the-mind and queers-of-the-body need to stick together, especially for those of us who are both. In fact, full disclosure: as a child I masturbated to the cover art of Prentice Alvin. Too much information? Yeah, probably, but if he wants me to be ashamed of my orientation, this seems like a great way to push back.

So, I am choosing to engage in personal censorship. It won't have any effect on my day-to-day life, as I haven't read Card in years, but it will affect my rereading eventually. I want to reread these books (well, not Empire). And yet, I know that if I do, I will constantly be remembering that the mind that created these words has no use for me. Prentice Alvin would probably try to "heal" me, not reciprocate my affections.

Et tu, Ender?

1 comment:

Gray said...

I think Card starting being an unbearable asshole shortly after 9/11/01 (at least, that's when I started to become aware of his blogging and column-writing). That guy sucks in too many ways to count. And don't bother with the Shadow series; the first one is OK, but the rest are shit shit shit. They totally lack the care and thought that Card put into the Ender series. You really get the sense that he just sat down one weekend, shat out four books, and refused to revise them.

I've been reading Dan Simmons's Hyperion series, and I'm finding it a good way to fill the epic, distant-future, child-savior-centric, four-book hole left by shunning Card. I'm not sure what Simmons's politics are, but they can't be worse than Card's.