Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat

By localroger in Politics
Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:07:27 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

As I write this there are enormous threads on DailyKos and Fark about This article by Orson Scott Card. Card is known to most people for his science fiction, including one of the most popular SF novels of the late 20th century, Ender's Game.

Many people are astonished to learn that the man who wrote about "that poor little boy" is such a rabid Fascist. But Card has always been a rabid Fascist, as well as several other species of asshat, and none of his works demonstrate that better than the sad tale of Ender Wiggin itself.

Here is a very respectful article by SF writer John Kessel which is suspicious of Card's motives. You should read it; it's pretty good. I'll wait.

Back in the mid 1980's I knew a struggling SF author who managed to get a few stories published and breached the threshold for membership in the Science Fiction Writers of America (or SFWA), the SF writer's union. She joined thinking it would help her fledgeling career.

In 1985 the big news in SF was Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game, which had swept both the Hugo and Nebula awards. Accordingly, my friend read it and passed it on to me, as she often passed on books and magazines. I read it and saw how it would be compelling to a certain mindset, but I didn't think it was all that good.

"So what did you think of it?" she asked me later.

"I think I see why it's so popular, but the guy really doesn't write that well."

"Well all it is is an apologia for Hitler. Sorry, but I don't buy that argument. When I was a kid I heard every Sunday how Jesus would forgive Hitler if he really really repented, but I say fuck that. Some things can't be forgiven or redeemed."

She could get a bit passionate about stuff like that, so I let it drop. As it happened, though, SFWA members vote on the Nebula awards, and Card's sequel Speaker for the Dead was out. Card's publisher helpfully sent all SFWA members a free copy to help its chances of getting the Nebula like Ender's Game had.

One day I spotted it on her coffee table.

"Have you read that?"

"No, I don't plan to. It'll just be more of the same."

"Buzz is it's going to get another Nebula."

"Well if it does, my colleagues are idiots."

So I took the book and read it. She was like that; if someone wanted to write about forgiving Hitler she wasn't the type to complain. It's a free country and all that. Just don't ask her to read past the point where she figures it out.

About fifty pages into Speaker I gave her a call.

"You are not gonna believe this," I said. "Ender ends up on a planet settled by Brazilians."


"And he's angling to prevent the genocide of the badly misunderstood aboriginal natives of Planet Brazil. And it's hinting that he's gonna pull some Buggers out of his ass before the end of the story."

"Wait a minute. You are telling me that if I wrote a story where Hitler escapes to Brazil, prevents a massacre of some Native Americans, and then raises a bunch of Jews from the dead, that this would be about parallel?"

"Well I'm only fifty pages in..."

"And they're going to give this crap a Nebula Award?"

"Well, it certainly looks that way."

"I think I'm going to need the book back," she said very evenly.

If you click back to Kessel's Innocent Killer essay and scroll down to the section titled The Guiltless Genocide you will see that Kessel mentions an essay called Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman by one Elaine Radford. Elaine was my writer friend and if you are among the many people who hate that essay and want to blame someone for it, you can blame me because it probably never would have been written had I not let Elaine know that Ender wound up on Planet Brazil.

I later found her with three very thick biographies of Hitler, methodically marking up her copies of Ender's Game and Speaker.

"Made any progress?

"You wouldn't believe how close the parallels are. He rearranges some of them to make Ender sympathetic, but everything ties in one way or another."

"Well, it's pretty clever in some ways."

"It's pretty damn sneaky. And if my colleagues want to vote to give this fascist propaganda another award they can do it, but if I have anything to do with it they will at least know what it is first."

Still, writing an essay is not the same as getting it published, and I didn't think anyone would be willing to publish Elaine's little rant. For one thing, in 1986 Card was more than just a popular writer; he was also a deft political animal. He was in fact a high mucky-muck in SFWA, and word was that bad things happened to people who got on his bad side. Not necessarily Italian mob style bad things, but bad things like not having a chance at awards yourself and publishers shunning you.

Elaine was a small enough wheel not to care about that sort of thing, but I doubted she would find a publisher. Little did I know that the always struggling rag Fantasy Review was planning to close its doors, and when Elaine's manuscript and inch-thick documentation pack landed on his desk the publisher decided to go out with a bang.

A couple of weeks later I got a call from her.

"I need your help. I just got off the phone with Card."

"Card who?"

"Orson Scott Card. I stalled him but I don't want to talk to him without a witness. Can you get over here?"

One of the perks she got as a SFWA member was a nice little directory with all the other SFWA members' phone numbers. Of course, all the other SFWA members got it too, and one of those phone numbers was hers. Fantasy Review had quite sensibly vetted Elaine's article to Card, and Card reacted by calling Elaine, who reacted by freaking out, because that's not how you react to literary criticism if you have any sense at all.

So I arranged to be there and listen in to what I later came to realize was something of an historic moment in modern science fiction, as Card tried to talk Elaine out of publishing her essay. It was a long call. He called her essay trash and a "hatchet job" and demanded to know what she had against him personally. She kept herself together and responded that she didn't have anything against him personally, didn't know him, and didn't want anything from him; she was writing about the words he had written and published. He came up with several rationalizations in a row to which she kept saying, "but I don't know about any of that; all I can really use to judge your words is your words themselves." In the end he was very agitated and whipped out his worst threat:

"Well you realize I can't just let this stand. I'm going to have to rebut this. If Fantasy Review wants to publish this hatchet job they will have to publish my response too."

"I'd expect that. That would be very fair."

It took some effort for me to keep from laughing out loud as Card sputtered on past this point; it didn't seem to have occurred to him that Elaine would not mind having her accusations answered. She really was writing about the words and not the man. That's the kind of person Elaine was. That Card thought the threat of a rebuttal might make her retract her own essay says a great deal about Card's character, IMO.

So anyway just as FR had vetted Elaine's article to Card, they vetted Card's response to Elaine. And this is where the story gets strange. Card's response was completely incoherent. In several places he denied that things are in the novel which are not only in the novel, but Elaine had footnoted them with page numbers. It's as if someone challenged me on the novel I would write six years later and I would respond "Incest? What incest? There isn't any incest in Prime Intellect."

I'd link Elaine's article at this point for you to read and judge for yourself, but I'm pretty sure she has never put it online. Besides which, it isn't really damningly complete without Card's half-coherent blustering rantback, which isn't hers to republish. Both articles were later reprinted by Literary Review, though, which is one of the reference collections carried by most libraries. So if you have one of those places where they keep a lot of these paper things called "books" printed on dead trees, a librarian should be able to find them for you without much trouble.

At first it didn't seem that there was much fallout from Elaine's little rant. She forgot about it and went on with her life. Speaker for the Dead won its Nebula award. Fantasy Review went out of business, and the whole affair pretty much stayed bottled up among the professional writers and reviewers.

Then a funny thing happened. The sequel to Speaker never appeared. Speaker ended on a cliffhanger with Ender waiting for a fleet to arrive and shag his sorry ass, and everyone assumed Card would write the third book and go for the Hugo/Nebula Trifecta in 1987. Instead, he started a whole different series and didn't get around to writing the Ender sequel until 1992. What the hell was up with that?

While Elaine was researching her essay, we speculated on what his motives might be. Her worldview was strongly informed by being raised among fundamentalist Christian nutjobs, which explains part of her anger. She felt Card was building a deliberate fraud, an artifice which seemed to be one thing but was in fact something else, and that when the third book had won its round of awards he would pull the SF community's pants down and reveal that they had given their imprimateur to one of the most controversial and difficutlt to accept tenets of his religion -- which would, of course, be a massive propaganda coup for the Mormon Church.

I tended (and still tend) to agree with this, but if the Hitler Hypothesis offends you I'm afraid I'm about to do her one better. You see, I'm not very convinced that Card even wrote the books.

On the phone and in his incoherent published reply, Card repeatedly shows ignorance of what he himself purportedly wrote. I simply cannot imagine how you could write such a stunningly well crafted piece of work (inasmuch as it is wildly popular and deeply affects people) without being aware of every fibre and splinter of its composition. About the third or fourth time I heard Card say something wasn't in his book that I knew was, I began to suspect that it was more of a committee effort.

Notice that even John Kessel distances himself from the Hitler Hypothesis even though he draws many of the same conclusions Elaine does. Card manages to sound very convincing when he says Hitler was never on his mind and that it's Elaine who has the Hitler obsession; I think he's so convincing because he wasn't in on the joke himself. Elaine's essay may have been as much a revelation to him as it was to anyone else.

I've seen Elaine's notes and heard Card on the phone, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Hitler Hypothesis is correct; it is simply impossible that Ender's Game and Speaker were written by someone who did not have a very detailed knowledge of Adolph Hitler's life. There are very exact parallels in there that you wouldn't even notice unless you read the footnotes to the most detailed Hitler biographies. I also tend to believe that Card does not have that level of knowledge about Hitler. Ergo, it is very hard for me to believe that he wrote the books. The assumption that he did not explains a great many otherwise mysterious things.

Once Elaine blew their cover, the committee might have decided the game was up and left Card out to dry. This would be why it took years for him to get around to finishing the story, and why when he did many of his fans complained it was inferior to his earlier work.

Card made it very clear in interviews in the 1980's that he was doing God's work with his writing. In essence he was the anti-Iain Banks; instead of reclaiming SF for liberalism, he was reclaiming it for moral absolutism. And he was doing it by being sneaky. Kessel nicely explains some of this sneakiness even without admitting the Hitler Hypothesis. Ender Wiggin, it turns out, is more than anything else one of the nice young men with the suits and ties and bicycles who just knocked on your door and who would like to talk with you about important matters of salvation and eternity. Except that he's dressed in a pizza delivery uniform and not admitting his real purpose.


Earlier I said that there was a sense that bad things happen to people who cross Orson Scott Card. A few months after the FR article appeared and the mini-shitstorm spent itself, Elaine got an invitation to appear as a guest at a local science fiction convention. The invite specifically mentioned "doing something about all this Fascism in science fiction." She wasn't really sure about it, so she asked me to go with her.

So we drove to a nearby city and did the honored guest thing, drinking the free booze and eating the free munchies throughout the day. The culmination of the evening was a party in Robert Adams' suite. I had never heard of Adams, but he wrote a fairly popular manly-man rape & pillage fantasy series called "Horseclans." He was there with another SF writer whose name you would recognize less from his SF than from a popular column he wrote for a computer magazine.

As Admiral Ackbar might have warned us, it was a trap. We did not know that Adams and his friend had a fondness for what one might call physical entertainment, and that I had been volunteered to be their punching bag for the evening. One of the organizers tried to warn Elaine but I was buzzed and having a good time and I was in no mood to leave.

Suddenly, the crowd parted and I was grabbed and I found myself staring, drink in one hand and other hand in pocket, at Robert Adams as he drew back his fist. I was barely registering that I was about to be punched when, at odds of more than 8 million to one, I was rescued. Specifically, Elaine placed herself between Adams and me. Adams showed no sign of holding his punch, but the crowd which had obviously been quite willing to watch me take it did not seem to be quite so willing to watch him whale away on a girl.

The fans pulled Adams back and the convention organizers sensibly responded by kicking Elaine and me out of the convention. Which was just as well; she shortly quit SFWA and science fiction in general and went on to explore other avenues. I have never been to another SF convention and I seriously doubt she has, either.

Of course this attempted assault may have had nothing to do with Card, but it's obvious it had everything to do with Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman. I would probably find the irony much less delicious if Adams had in fact punched me. Card wrote a justification for anyone who ever has a violent thought; Elaine called him on it. And the ultimate reaction to her callout was violence.

From my ever-more-cynical vantage point almost twenty years in the future, I look at my former self and shake my head sadly. Such a schmuck. But people do learn, and I learned something from Elaine Radford during those interesting days. When you see evil, especially when it wears a smiling and angelic face, you must call it out. And you must deal with the consequences of calling it out, which can be bad. Because the consequences of not calling it out could be infinitely worse.

So, For Your Information, Orson Scott Card has always been an asshat. Keep it in mind.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Make a new account

Note: You must accept a cookie to log in.

Revenge of the...
o Asshats 10%
o Asshat-haters 5%
o Asshat ignorants 0%
o Asshat deniers 5%
o Asshat enablers 17%
o Asshat drunken liberal writers 62%

Votes: 40
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o DailyKos
o Fark
o This article by Orson Scott Card
o Ender's Game
o article
o Speaker for the Dead
o Also by localroger

Display: Sort:
Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat | 685 comments (670 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
I will probably regret this in the mornng. (2.22 / 9) (#1)
by localroger on Sat May 28, 2005 at 10:44:47 PM EST

But I won't regret what I've said. I've said it, and it's true. I call out all asshats with this post. That is all.

I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer
Hitler apologist? Oh please. (2.91 / 12) (#5)
by forgotten on Sat May 28, 2005 at 11:12:05 PM EST

Its a long bow you are drawing here.

I read the Kessel piece. I'm not sure what you mean by a "respectful" article. It certainly started from the premise that Card is a fascist, and sought to "prove" that by pseudo-analysis of his writing. I say pseudo-analysis because it is so easy to draw the inferences you want from a persons writing. There are plenty of similar works showing that J. K. Rowlings is a satanist, and that J.R.R. Tolkien is a racist. Just because Kessel doesnt come off immediately as a loony doesnt make him any more credible.

As for Card's article that sparked the debate, i found that it was more the tone, than the content, that got people riled up. He does come off a little fox news-ish, sure, but if his points had been reprhased in the style currently favored by liberal commentators, it might have been well received. Should the media bear more responsiblity for reckless reporting? There's certainly a case for that. Are Muslims being hypocritical in their condemnation of Koran-desecration? A very reasonable accusation. And if he had simply substituted Republican for Democrat in his criticism of American politics, DK would have been cheering him.

His books were ok though. Maybe he is a fascist; I dont know. Nothing you have supplied here is convincing. Whatever his politics are, and regardless of who might have tried to punch you in the face one time, I'd like to see some more evidence that he was a Hitler apologist than "both Ender and Hitler were virgins until 37."


Not thinking clearly (2.66 / 15) (#12)
by TronTron on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:21:27 AM EST

Bullshit.  I read the article you linked, and it's as inane as your arguments.  As has already been mentioned, Ender thought he was playing a computer game, a game to prepare him for war, but still a game.  

Kessel's article seems mostly concerned that genocide is committed, not by some raving demonic lunatic, but by an innocent child.  He calls this "guiltless genocide".  The fact of the matter is: there was guilt and blame to be apportioned, just not to E. Wiggin.  Heap all the blame you want on his teachers, the generals, his parents; they're at fault.  This is, obviously, not the case with Hitler; this is where it all breaks down.    

I don't know who almost punched you or whatever you're talking about.  Completely unrelated.  

Finally, you think that because the man was upset and couldn't remember every piddly detail about a novel--one of many--that he wrote proves that he didn't write it?  Wow, what do you have against this guy, personally I mean.  

Generally weak character assassination, too.-1

sci fi writer (2.62 / 8) (#13)
by C Montgomery Burns on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:30:26 AM EST

He was there with another SF writer whose name you would recognize less from his SF than from a popular column he wrote for a computer magazine.

Jerry Pournelle?

Intelligent design

Interesting (2.70 / 10) (#14)
by Eight Star on Sun May 29, 2005 at 01:47:45 AM EST

Two months ago, OSC was an author I had never read. Then I read Enders game, and I thought it was great. OSC was great. Speaker for the dead was, ok.. xenocide was... a book and the children of the mind I haven't finished (and won't) because it was boring and predictable. I was disillusioned.
Then a few days ago, I read this bashing of *Star Wars* for MORAL RELATIVISM and decided that being raised mormon had seriously damaged him.
I saw this title and voted it up without reading it.
+1 Shit on OSC, +1 localroger
Having read it, and OSC's other article, I am awestruck.
This looks like it will get voted up in time for memorial day, perfect. This will be linked to. (speaking of which, when are you going to pull a Michael Crawford and make some cash with your writing?)

sorry, that article is nonsense (2.63 / 11) (#21)
by Delirium on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:50:16 AM EST

Talk about projection. This is why there are whole segments of the Crit community nobody outside the community takes seriously.

Also, Ender's Game was an excellent novel. Your aspiring sci-fi-author friend sounds jealous.

Well I never. (2.00 / 7) (#22)
by blue car on Sun May 29, 2005 at 06:18:36 AM EST

I read that book a few years ago, but I didn't really suspect anything, I thought it was just an adventure story meant to appeal to youngsters who feel persecuted and wish they could fight back. As Kessel says, it appeals to the "adolescent ridden with rage and self-pity". That is why I think it is popular -- through readers identifying with the underdog and deriving vicarious satisfaction from his righteous extermination of his enemies (which of course cannot be done in real life, unless by one of those lunatics who commits an atrocity like a school shooting, and I guess there could be strong comparisons with religious fundamentalists also).

As for the comparison to the dictators, Card gives himself away when he says
"Despite their similar public image, however, every other element of Ender's story is designed to show that in his case the image is not reality--he is not like Hitler or Stalin..."
It's as if he is saying that if Ender can be seen as a mass murderer but not actually be culpable, maybe those other guys could be misunderstood too! So maybe it is what you claim it to be, who knows? I didn't think much about that when I read the book. Didn't think the book was that good but I will like it less now I suppose.

When I found that OSC was an idiot (2.60 / 5) (#27)
by ElMiguel on Sun May 29, 2005 at 06:49:25 AM EST

Two and a half years ago, when I read this article of his. It's not just fascist, it's also stupid.

In everyone ONE (1.00 / 6) (#28)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:20:44 AM EST


Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

I have to wonder. (2.88 / 9) (#29)
by ksandstr on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:56:16 AM EST

Had you and your friend been in post-soviet east europe, say Ukraine or Latvia, at the time of writing (regardless that the USSR didn't break up until 1991), would you have projected Stalin onto Card's (or some other writer's) product instead?

It just seems to me that your and your friend's distaste for moral absolutism might have led you to see strong parallels where for the most part only weak ones are found -- just as in the majority of all fiction. Not to dispute that Card is an extreme right-wing asshole by virtue of his Mormon upbringing among other things, of course.

I also find your conclusion, the one that suggests Hitler apologeia to be strongly equivalent with Evil, unconvincing in the extreme. According to this interpretation, any writing (be it historical, fiction or historical non-fiction, whatever) that doesn't go out of its way to demonize Hitler and whatever legacy he has left would be just as Evil as the man supposedly was himself. IMO, but this alone would go a long way to a credible argument that it is or was you and your friend who have the Hitler fixation.

Of course it could simply be that, being as Hitler himself was a moral absolutist (albeit not in any method consistent with a major religious sect, marginal Nazi mystical mumbo jumbo notwithstanding) much like Card is, that Card's writing would then take on many of the themes common to fantasies of such people. Further, perhaps the fact that apparently Card hasn't gone to the length of giving a coherent explanation for the parallels mentioned in the article (or the inconsistencies in the rebuttal, though I have read neither) would suggest that whichever group of ghostwriters he had employed had simply decided to fuck the fascist bastard over, only to have their clever sneaky backfire twice.


I've known... (2.22 / 9) (#35)
by Ender Stonebender on Sun May 29, 2005 at 09:09:59 AM EST

that OSC was an asshat since he posted his position on gay marriage. Your can read it here. Once I read that, I decided that I wouldn't be purchasing any more of his books. The thinking behind it is obviously ignoring the real problem in order to make a point...albeit a very flimsy one. --Ender

article seems confused and paranoid (2.54 / 11) (#41)
by spadefoot on Sun May 29, 2005 at 10:36:44 AM EST

You seem to argue that OSC is a moral absolutist but Enders Game seems to be a story of moral relativism or more narrowly it demonstrates situational ethics. By that I mean that Ender committed genocide but the situation was that he was unaware of his commission of the crime and therefore not morally responsible. It is true (if I remember correctly) that OSC continues the saga with Ender wallowing in guilt, but that is the character's point of view and not necessarily the author's. This guilt seems to be an obvious story line for the sequel books. So the hypothesis that OSC is a moral absolutist based on this book is a bit confusing to me.

Another problem I have is your moral absolutist view that Nazis are evil. If you really are the big moral relativist you claim to be then this should be something that you should think about. I believe the Nazi philosophy was evil but then I am not a moral absolutist. Your POV on this seems a bit hypocrital. It's like being a pacifist that wants to nuke non-pacifists. I am sure there are lots of people that fit that description, but that doesn't justify their warped philosophy.

As far as the Brazil/Nazi connection, on hunch I read OSC's bio. Having grown up in Morman country (no I am not a Mormon) I suspected that the link might have been something to do with his "mission". Mormons are expected to preform missionary work as part of their preparation for adulthood. Card's mission was in Brazil. There is a very high probability that Card was just writing what he knew and not a overt Nazi connection. He knew Brazil and so included that in the story. If his mission had been to Norway he would have written about a planet Norway (oops Norway has Nazi connections too but you get the point). As another post stated, you seem to be projecting this Nazi conspiracy theory, and maybe just a little bit paranoid. From his bio:

Only a few credit hours shy of graduation, Card left for Brazil on a two-year mission for the LDS Church. Serving in the cities of the state of São Paulo (Ribeirão Preto, Araraquara, Araçatuba, Campinas, Itu, and São Paulo itself), Card became fluent in Portuguese and fell in love with Brazilian culture.
Sounds like the Brazil/Nazi connection is a stretch, though people will believe what they want to believe.

I really don't understand why you included the part of the story about the punch int he face. You seem to imply that OSC's power of the Sci-Fi community is so total that he would arrange a situation for you to get punched. That just seems paranoid.

And finally, if OSC is an asshat as you say, I find that completely unsuprising. Many authors are asshats. Some of your favorite authors might even be asshats. It kind of comes with the terratory.

Non-issue (3.00 / 6) (#44)
by Wafel on Sun May 29, 2005 at 10:56:46 AM EST

Ok, I'm not making any judgements on any of the accusations made but still:
  • This article is way dramatized to be credible.. with the holy friend and all
  • Who cares about whether there are parallels with historical events? Stories speak for themselves on their own accord. You don't have to agree with them, and picking it apart to draw parallels with the holocaust draw more attention to it.
On a more general note:
I'm not saying that there is no connection, there might very well be. And it is despicable if someone believes Hitles or the holocaust weren't all that bad.
But it is not always a bad thing if someone describes an alternative viewpoint. Freedom of speech remember?
-- Wafel
OSC didn't write the books (2.00 / 3) (#49)
by yitz on Sun May 29, 2005 at 11:36:52 AM EST

this idea piqued my curiosity because it always frustrated me that from one book to the next, there were major incosistencies in the plot tools. (at least the more technical/scientific stuff afaik) he invented rules and then promptly broke them in sequels. This is true in the later ender series as well as the alvin maker series. I didn't finish any other series so i can't tell you for sure about those because OSC has become too redundant and preachy imho.. (Shrug) i liked his writing initially, but the more i see of it, the less palatable is becomes. Perhaps because he just doesn't have enough original ideas.. something that can happen from conservative/religious ideology. (a trap i'm affraid of falling into myself)

I've Never Understood... (2.00 / 5) (#52)
by stonemirror on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:14:34 PM EST

...the propensity of some people to conflate the political or moral views of artists with the value of their artistic output. To say, "I'll never read his books again..."--regardless of whether or not one might have felt they had merit on their own--"...because I disagree with his stance on gay marriage/abortion/minimum wage/zoning" seems extremely peculiar. If you demand that your artists subscribe to your political or moral views as a litmus test of whether they're worth your interest or not, you'll probably be depriving yourself of a lot o worthwhile art. Leni Riefenstahl was a Nazi; Roman Polanski's a child molester; Beethoven threw furniture out of windows when he lost his temper; Mozart was a petulant, sociopathic child his entire life. They were all "asshats," and worse. What's any of that say about their art?

Well, OSC won't see any more of my money (1.33 / 3) (#53)
by shm on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:15:38 PM EST

Even though "Unaccompanied Sonata" will remain one of my favourite stories, OSC's not going to see any more of my money.

I didn't know about his weird worldview until today, but just a little time spent reading some of his articles (Foxnews, anyone?) was enough to turn me off.

Ender's Law (2.00 / 7) (#54)
by sakusha on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:16:50 PM EST

Thank you so much for this essay. I thought perhaps I was the only person who thought Ender's Game is a totally reprehensible apologia for violence. I've often described the novelette (and make no mistake, this is a short story/novelette, not a book) as a "fantasy for people with a violent streak of megalomania."

The utter devotion of masses of people for Ender's Game is appalling. I finally formulated Ender's Law, similar to Godwin's Law. It states:

"As an online discussion of books grows longer, the probability of a recommendation of Ender's Game approaches one."

I've seen it over and over again. And not just SF book threads, I've seen it in discussions of books on politics, science, even art. It's like there's a league of mormon missionaries devoted to pushing this novelette in front of as many people as possible, under the flimsiest pretexts.

A copyright asshat too (1.50 / 2) (#58)
by Fen on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:37:54 PM EST

He was quite offended that copyright can expire on a living person.
what's that mormon stuff ? (3.00 / 3) (#60)
by fhotg on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:44:05 PM EST

Thaks for that interesting writeup.

What I don't understand is how giving an award to a book that justifies or glorifies Hitler or his psychotic worldview more or less openly means to give ones "imprimateur to one of the most controversial and difficutlt to accept tenets of his [Card's] religion", and how associating with Hitler or the Nazis in any way could possibly be a "be a massive propaganda coup for the Mormon Church".

What is that tenet of Mormonism you are talking about ?
Gitarren für die Mädchen -- Champagner für die Jungs

Question (3.00 / 3) (#65)
by Benny Cemoli on Sun May 29, 2005 at 12:58:40 PM EST

Why would two published writers, albeit a pair of scrofulous hacks, attempt to assault you in a public forum? If Adams had cold-cocked you, doesn't that amount to assault and battery in front of multiple witnesses?

"the fabric of space quivers at the touch of even a microbe."

Peter the Hegemon was the fascist, not poor Ender (2.80 / 5) (#66)
by Lode Runner on Sun May 29, 2005 at 01:02:31 PM EST

I appreciate what you're trying to do, localroger, but if you want to elucidate Card's fascistic streak look to his nauseating encomia concerning the Buggers and Piggies, both exemplars of organic statehood and the Volksgemeinschaft.

While we're on the topic of indulging fascism in non-Western peoples, when the hell is the left going to call the Islamist spade a spade? Allegations that a Koran was flushed--say, do any of you know how I can get the original Arabic Koranic verses printed on toilet paper?--frenzies these the nutters, but thus far there hasn't been a single major protest among religious Muslims anywhere against sending suicide bombers to blow up heretical mosques.

Very interesting (2.66 / 3) (#67)
by omegadan on Sun May 29, 2005 at 01:07:28 PM EST

I find this very interesting, I really never understood what the deal was with Enders Game, I read it and thought itw as interesting. Did't regret reading it, but it didn't capture my imaginiation either.

I find the hitler aspect interesting, I "want" it to be true but in the end its impossible to prove intent -- likewise about the authorship theory.

However, the one problem I have here, is that, if you accept for the sake of argument that the story is true, and the book is some sort of "win" for the hitler crowd. What *IS* that win? How does this help them in any tangible way? I suppose hitler folk dont have (and maybe in fact shouldn't be expect to) have entirely rational motives?

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

What's the point? (3.00 / 8) (#74)
by maniac1860 on Sun May 29, 2005 at 02:09:22 PM EST

I mean really, what is it that OSC or whomever you think wrote the Ender's saga is trying to accomplish. Now if the writer was actually a facist, it might make sense for them to try and rehabilitate Hitler's reputation. This would be a clear and comprehensible goal. The book doesn't do that. The similarites to Hitler, in addition to being flimsy, are for the most part orthogonal to a normal person's concept of Hitler. Adding in little touches that only Hitler obcessed people would get seems like a task with little purpose.
When prosecuting a case with weak circumstantial evidence you have to show motive. You haven't come close here. These come off as little more than paranoid ramblings.
On a side note, all of OSC's early work is very similiar stylistically to Ender's game. If someone else wrote Ender's game, then they must have written much of his other work. This seems rather implausible.

Yeah! (2.25 / 4) (#77)
by /dev/trash on Sun May 29, 2005 at 02:19:30 PM EST

And Stephen King apoligizes for Priests raping boys in 'Salem's Lot.

Really!  it's in there.  page 15.

Updated 02/20/2004
New Site

This is silly... (3.00 / 12) (#78)
by issachar on Sun May 29, 2005 at 02:31:32 PM EST

Fascism does not mean "Things I don't like". It's a word with a real meaning. Card writing simply does not reflect "centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship".

His sci-fi generally reflects two moral arguments. Firstly that motive is an intrisically important element in determing the good or evil in an action and that all people have value. (Even the monsters).

For the first principal answer this: Who has commited the most evil act, the trucker who falls asleep at the wheel and kills a busload of school children by running into them or the man who kidnaps, rapes and tortures to death a single child?

The second principal is an underlying assumption about the nature of people. Think about where a rejection of this principal takes you though. If there are people who are completely evil with no redeeming value in this world should you let them live?

Vegetarians eat vegetables. Humanitarians scare me.
Diary? I do a blog.

Ender-is-Hitler argument is not convincing (2.75 / 8) (#82)
by tmoertel on Sun May 29, 2005 at 02:48:04 PM EST

Roger, I am unconvinced.

Not that your argument doesn't have it's moments, but the threshold at which you accept the Ender-is-Hitler conclusion is too low. That Elaine was able to document incredible parallels between Ender and Hitler doesn't make for compelling evidence. What I would find compelling is if you also argued convincingly that finding such parallels would be highly unlikely in the general case.

Here's an experiment. Randomly select one thousand writers who are similar to your friend Elaine in terms of drive, tenaciousness, and writing ability. Assign to each writer the name of a famous historical figure (male) and instruct her to argue (in essay form) that Ender is based on her subject. Go away for a few weeks. When you return, count how many of the resulting arguments are as compelling as Elaine's original essay.

My guess is that we would find a significant number of compelling arguments, probably more than fifty. I would not be surprised if the number were as high as five hundred. The human brain is an amazing pattern-recognition device. It can spot patterns hidden in noise and even "see" patterns where they do not truly exist. (Remember your essay a few years back on the improbability of a sequence of Tarot-card deals? Classic example.) Given this reality, I don't have trouble believing that a skilled writer can weave the inevitable parallels between any two persons' lives into an argument that seems at least somewhat convincing.

My blog | LectroTest

[ Disagree? Reply. ]

Let's play by localroger's rules (2.90 / 11) (#84)
by regeya on Sun May 29, 2005 at 03:12:38 PM EST

OSC writes about fascist societies, so obviously he's a fascist.

This can mean one thing: Localroger thinks that we need to worship computers as gods and that the highest calling in life is to be a dominatrix.

Localroger, there have been times I've loved your work, there have been times I've hated your work, and a couple of times, I thought you were (God help me) OSC masquerading as a struggling writer. It warms my heart to see that so many kuro5hin readers are calling 'bullshit' on this rant of yours. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who finds your latest tirade to be barely adequate, and it amuses me to see that people have voted it to the front page. I hope it was to keep the discussion going rather than due to the herd's inability to spot irrational, illogical rants.

For the record, I voted this story down for one reason: I thought it was an inappropriately misguided attempt at an ad hominem attack, and further, the article made me feel that Localroger and his SO had read completely different versions of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead than I had. Add a rather lengthy non sequitur and paranoid conspiracy theories for what could easily be explained by laziness and/or boredom on OSC's part, and you get this flaming pile.

It's not up to Localroger's usual standards (no, I'm not a localroger fan, but I concede that he actually writes some good stuff here) yet I'm glad to see that it's right there on the front page and getting the public ridicule it so richly deserves.

Hell, I think if I were OSC, I would have called, too. I wonder where you got that 'six years later' figure. The original edition was a year before the supposed confrontation took place. I suppose I couldn't forgive the guy for not remembering, either, if I were that involved in research, but then again it sounds like Elaine had an axe to grind, whereas OSC didn't. I can imagine that if someone were to delve deeply into my work practices and started questioning me about things I'd done two years prior I wouldn't remember either. Does that mean that I didn't really do the work? No, it merely means I don't remember. Hell, if you were to ask me what sort of design work I'd done in the last week I'd have to strain my brain.

You're a sad little paranoid man, localroger.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Interesting article but... (2.90 / 10) (#92)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:08:58 PM EST

I can't see how anyone can claim that Ender's Game justifies or glorifies fascism - I thought it was quite clear that everything that happened to Ender was against his will and even with out his knowledge - even his act of genocide occurred in the context of what he thought was a simulation.

To claim that Ender is a Hitler analogue makes no sense. Hitler lusted for power, Ender did the minimum necessary to get the teachers to leave him alone. They're hardly similar personalities.

How many trolls could a true troll troll if a true troll could troll trolls?

Inside the mind of a real asshat. (2.33 / 12) (#94)
by lordDogma on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:12:14 PM EST

Localroger's thoughts before writing the article:

"OSC wrote an article last week expressing a conservative viewpoint. I don't like conservative viewpoints, because I disagree with them. Anything I disagree with is dangerous information. Should others be persuaded by his brainwashed viewpoints then it is likely to reduce the number of people adhering to my own brainwashed viewpoints, and that reduces the power I hold over people's minds.

Therefore I have to see to it that his viewpoint is not taken seriously by others. The best way to do this is to demonize, mock, and ridicule him in public, thereby (a) reducing his credibility among potential readers, and (b) making him a liability for others to associate with (e.g. no major magazine would want to publish something written by a Hitler apologist, for fear that they could then become a target of ridicule).

This is known as character assassination. It is a perfectly legal way to silence my political opponents, thereby helping me to retain power over my own constituents' minds. If I was the ruler of a totalitarian dictatorship I would simply throw him in prison. But since I don't have the power to do that (yet), I must find another method; one which accomplishes the same goal, but is legal.

One of the best ways to carry out a character assassination is to accuse someone of either being, admiring, or apologizing for Hitler. It doesn't matter if my accusations are true or not. I am well versed in rhetorical debate and I know all the dirty psycho-persuasive tricks in the book to convince the stupid masses that I am right (and boy are they stupid, he he he).

Therefore, today I will write an article accusing OSC of being a Hitler-admiring fascist. And I just know that all of my adoring useful idiots at K5 will shout kudos!"

Required Reading in Local HS English Classes (1.33 / 3) (#96)
by Misterfixit on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:15:21 PM EST

title says it all.

Ender seems more like Truman than Hitler (3.00 / 14) (#98)
by TheophileEscargot on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:37:39 PM EST

Interesting article which brings up a lot of points.

1. True: Orson Scott Card is a religious and social conservative, and this shows up in his books. It's pretty common for politics to come out in SF this way, more so than in other genres like mysteries. SF is about thinking up new worlds and new societies: that has to have a political dimension. Just as you've got Heinlein, Pournelle and Card on the right you've got Michael Moorcock, Iain M. Banks and China Mieville on the left. It's all part of the fun.

Now, this can be annoying when it's too strident and the book descends into propaganda. The problem people have with Orson Scott Card seems to be the opposite though: Card is relatively subtle about it, and in those threads his readers seem quite astonished to discover what he really thinks in his online column. This is why it's good to read critically, folks.

2. False: Ender is supposed to be Hitler. This just seems silly to me. Not sure about Mormons in particular, but Hitler was not a fan of obscure Christian sects in general; sending Jehovah's Witnesses to the concentration camps. It would be out of character for a patriotic Mormon like Card to idolize Hitler: a pagan/atheist who declared war on America.

The evidence you give for Ender being Hitler looks pretty weak to me: a lot like coincidence. In accepting immense civilian casualties to win a war, the situation seems a lot more like Harry Truman and Hiroshima to me.

3. Undetermined: Orson Scott Card has always been an asshat. This seems fairly plausible: a lot of bestselling authors are. On the other hand, we don't have much hard evidence. If Orson Scott Card had punched someone for giving him a bad review, that would be good evidence. Your story has quite a few removes though. First, nobody actually got punched. Second, it wasn't Card who seemed about to punch you, it was a friend of his. Third, Elaine was the one who wrote the review: why take revenge by elaborately plotting to punch out a random friend of the reviewer?

Fourth: you're a highly opinionated person, you were "buzzed and having a good time" in a room full of people with opposite opinions to you... is it completely impossible that you somehow offended the macho Robert Adams all by yourself? (IIRC Adams was described as "as tough as his heroes", and his hobbies included riding, fencing and making swords in his home forge). Occam's razor might suggest that it was Adams alone who was the asshat. Also, given a quarrel between a bestselling novelist / guest of honour and a couple of nobodies, it doesn't seem to require a conspiracy for the organizers to decide to chuck out the nobodies, even if they're in the right.
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death

Conclusion seems to be all wrong to me (3.00 / 8) (#99)
by boxed on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:47:44 PM EST

I've read all the ender books, and yes I do see the paralell to Hitler. What I don't get is how Hitlers actions are somehow justified by portraying him as a poor sod being misled and regretting his actions deeply. The analogy of Ender as Hitler is great for showing that evil, TRUE evil at its worst is ignorance and fear. It also says that humans can learn from their mistakes, regret them and repent. How is that a bad thing again?

By demonising Hitler to the point where he is no longer a human being but some kind of monster from mythology, we lose sight of evil. We look at heinous crimes and go "oh, but it's not as bad as Hitler". The humanity of Adolf Hitler must be recognized, so as to recognize the next evil when (not if!) it arrives.

You is bad bad baaaaaad man, localroger (1.71 / 7) (#101)
by killfile on Sun May 29, 2005 at 04:57:25 PM EST

*jumps up and down* you're wrong wrong wrong!!!! *points teh finger* wrong wrong!!!!

I love you --- but please get tested (3.00 / 8) (#104)
by Blarney on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:09:20 PM EST

Localroger, I'm a great fan of your K5 posts over the years, but sadly I have to point out that you are showing signs of a disease known as AP-itis and need to get tested immediately, for the sake of your readers.

Whenever I see a scientific article ("Scientists have found") or a medical article ("New studies show") on the AP wire, and I find it interesting, I know that a long hard slog to find the primary reference is in order. It's not just the AP - CNN does it too, maybe even worse as their science person often concludes articles with "Scientists are also working on (related topic)." What scientists? Do they have names? They work in "California", which University? Telling me that it'll come out in the next Nature is fine. Telling me that it'll come out in a "journal" ... well.... thanks so very much, guys.

On some occasions, I've only been able to track down the work by use of information outside the article - for example, I recall one article mentioning new prion work done by Prusiner that did not mention his name, only calling him a Nobel laureate - that's easy. Sometimes it is much, much harder to figure out just what they're talking about.

And now AP-itis has made to K5, in the form of a long article centered around an essay by Elaine Radford in the no-longer-extant Fantasy Review (which I had no trouble finding a cite for, by the way, but will I ever find the actual magazine?) - and a reprint in Literary Review with absolutely NO CITATION! Please, man, couldn't you have called her up on the telephone and ASKED her?

So far I've determined that it wasn't published in 1990 or later in LR. I'll reply to myself with a cite should I find one... joy.

Many K5 readers attend or work for Universities with quite good electronic and physical library collections - we can find it. But if it had a citation that would be even better!

Hitler vs. Ender (3.00 / 19) (#108)
by chroma on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:20:40 PM EST

I read Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead a while back, so I don't remember all of the details. But I'll try to put together my own Hitler-Ender comparision. Hitler details come from Wikipedia.


  • Son of customs official
  • 4th of 6 children, 2 survived to adulthood
  • Hated his father, until he died when he was 13
  • Bright, but unmotivated student
  • Aspiring, failed artist
  • Fought on losing side in WWI
  • Wrote My Struggle, detailing his desire to take over the world and commit genocide
  • Used charasmitic leadership skills and cunning to take over Germany
  • Started war to take over Europe
  • Began genocde of Jews, gypsies, etc.
  • Killed self and mistress in bunker after losing war


  • Bred and observed as part of eugenics program during war against bug aliens
  • 3rd of 3 children
  • Forced into military training as a young child, wasn't raised by parents
  • Excelled at military training
  • Unknowingly commanded human forces against bug aliens
  • After war, wrote book telling the bug alien side of the story
  • Eventually found work as a guy who would say nice things about you at your funeral

Wow, what a piece of drivel (1.85 / 7) (#109)
by jubal3 on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:20:53 PM EST

Sheesh, stick to ficiton. Oh, wait, you did. never mind.

***Never attribute to malice that which can be easily attributed to incompetence. -HB Owen***
Obviously Ender is supposed to represent America. (1.50 / 8) (#112)
by V on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:32:51 PM EST

America can do no bad and all hers enemies are jealous of her freedoms. America will comit genocide for the good of the world and the ingrate euro-trash will not even thank her for saving their asses.

What my fans are saying:
"That, and the fact that V is a total, utter scumbag." VZAMaZ.
"well look up little troll" cts.
"I think you're a worthless little cuntmonkey but you made me lol, so I sigged you." re
"goodness gracious you're an idiot" mariahkillschickens

My question... (1.60 / 5) (#115)
by mr strange on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:40:48 PM EST

What, exactly, is an 'asshat'?

I have a picture in my head of someone sticking their arse in the air and balancing a bowler hat on it. Am I close?

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus

OSC and his wacky ideas (2.92 / 14) (#118)
by Polverone on Sun May 29, 2005 at 05:49:34 PM EST

I don't read much SF any more, but I used to be a voracious consumer of it. OSC wrote some books that I enjoyed quite a bit (including Ender's Game) as well as others that I found terribly boring and didn't get more than 1/4 through. I always that he was certainly more realistic and interesting than other SF writers in portraying future societies incorporating religious elements, because most SF writers seem to write futures where religions are nonexistent, insignificant, or irredeemably malign. This is itself a great break with the present and the historical record, sometimes more significant of an alteration than the "central" premise of the story. No doubt more people would notice and comment if (say) the futures of SF writers were usually centrally planned economies, but the future death of religion attracts a lot less skepticism than the future death of free markets. I have my own unjustifiable suspicions that the unjustifiable suspicions of fellow SF authors toward him have more to do with how his fiction has failed to carry the banner of atheistic, permissive technocracy than how it has actually carried the banner of fascism or conservatism.

Now on to Ender's Game and genocides. If you have two armed nations, you can play an optimal strategy of tit-for-tat in iterated Prisoner's Dilemma. If you have two nuclear-armed nations, you can continue to play optimal IPD so long as you can convince the other party of the reality of mutual assured destruction. If you have (say) a civilization capable of destroying another civilization with little-to-no warning across interstellar distances, you cannot safely play optimal IPD with just the two civilizations. The more cautious civilization will not be able to tit after the first tat. Genocide is the optimal strategy for protecting your own civilization, presuming that you really do have the technical ability to carry it out. OSC is far from the only SF author to consider this scenario. If there is no enforced framework of laws to regulate behavior, even smaller conflicts (like individual bullies vs. the bullied) may precipitate deadly violence. This is not necessarily to say that murder or genocide is morally justifiable, but that it is understandable, theoretically optimal behavior in certain circumstances. The straightforward application of logic under certain premises can lead to very morally questionable actions (as I'm sure you know from your fascination with the history of nuclear weapons), but the actions are not irrational or inexplicable.

I see Ender's guilt as an inescapable, not entirely justified thing that he carries around after having been used as a tool (little different from a computer, spaceship, or warhead) by those who manipulated him. The entire system is what needs to be looked at if you're trying to probe the morality of the events of Ender's Game. It's probably a more engrossing story told as it is, but it would contain the same moral elements if told from the perspective of top military officials in Earth's fleet with very little focus on Ender himself.

Which individual of the Earth military forces perpetrated genocide? Which cell of a murderer's body perpetrated murder? Ender escapes full responsibility for genocide, but the system as a whole does not.
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.

Asshat meet Asshat (2.56 / 16) (#125)
by StephenThompson on Sun May 29, 2005 at 07:21:30 PM EST

Continually reminding us that you 'in' with writers because : you have a friend who published an article, you overheard a conversation with Orson Scott Card, were in a room with <Jerry Pournelle>, and almost got punched by some authorish dead guy, and oh yeah you wrote a story published on k5, does nothing to endear us to your person.  
This story reeks of professional jealousy.  Its disgusting.
It has no relationship to the article which Orson Scott Card wrote which is trolling the headlines, but instead is just a nonsensical uncorroborated ad hominem attack.  Card's new rant may be ample fodder for political attack, and is at lease current, but here you go raving about how an old fictional character is really Hitler and the author is evil because we can see his true character. Oh the irony.  

Here's a thought (2.83 / 6) (#150)
by Tatarigami on Sun May 29, 2005 at 09:01:51 PM EST

If OSC is a moralist, in the sense of someone who finds questions of moral judgement and conduct interesting, is it possible that Ender's Game came out of a thought-experiment where he asked himself "Is it possible to write a protagonist who commits the crimes of Hitler and yet remains completely innocent"?

You are fucking retarded. (1.85 / 14) (#156)
by Danzig on Sun May 29, 2005 at 09:42:22 PM EST

First, Ender actually was blameless. Last I heard, Hitler knew what he was doing, and was happy about it. Ender did not until afterwards, and felt guilty anyway because he was stupid. The kid also felt bad for killing two people who fucking deserved it, for hell's sake.

Second, a Hitler apologist? Read OSC's political column sometime. Notice how he sucks Israel's cock every chance he gets? He is the anti-Baldrson.

Third, the man is not right-wing or Fascist. His politics are indeed abominable, but he is an authoritarian. He would call himself a communitarian. He is all for left-wing economic policies; he just hates gays and loves Israel, as discussed above.

You are not a fucking Fight Club quotation.
rmg for editor!
If you disagree, moderate, don't post.
Kill whitey.
Literary Review (none / 1) (#160)
by ffrinch on Sun May 29, 2005 at 09:59:51 PM EST

I had a quick look for the articles in Literary Review (your description of Card's response makes it sound like it's worth reading for the amusement value) and couldn't find them. Can you confirm they were reprinted?

"I learned the hard way that rock music ... is a powerful demonic force controlled by Satan." — Jack Chick
sorry (2.66 / 6) (#165)
by Kurosawa Nagaya on Sun May 29, 2005 at 10:25:56 PM EST

I just don't see the ender/hitler similarity at all.

However when you think of the authority figuires in the story, and how they manipulated ender into commiting genocide, dont they seem more like hitler?

The reason for this is simple: we're all full of shit ~ circletimessquare

I have some problems with this article... (3.00 / 10) (#178)
by jsnow on Sun May 29, 2005 at 11:18:35 PM EST

  1. I don't agree with some of Card's assertions in his article (like regarding the media, consumerism, makers of R-rated moves, intellectuals, and liberals as one homogeneous group that represents everything muslims hate about America), but his article seems to be little more than a fairly typical conservative rant. (I even agree with some of what he says.) Calling him a "rabid fascist asshat" does not engender an atmosphere of honest discussion where we can discuss the merits or lack thereof of his political views or literary works. Instead we have name calling, baseless acusations, and rumor-mongoring.
  2. Card went to Brazil for several years as a Mormon missionary. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he includes Brazillians as one of the cultures that he writes about.
  3. Article makes unnecessary reference to "fundamentalist Christian nutjobs". There are some to whom this label may apply, but it's not clear what you (localroger) mean: if you think a conservative is a fascist, perhaps you also think all Christians are fundamentalists and/or nutjobs.
  4. Making unsubstantiated accusations that Card didn't really write his books is not cool.
  5. Implying that someone tried to hit you because your friend wrote a negative article about Card is unsubstantiated conjecture. If you aren't trying to imply that Card was specifically involved in the incident, why do you bring it up?
  6. Stories (especially SF) are one medium for discussing difficult ethical dilemmas. Many of these are in some ways unpleasant, and lack any good solution. Is the existence of the dillema the fault of the author?
  7. If Ender is such an evil character, what do you think he should have done differently?
  8. Kessel's article summarized _Ender's_game_ quite well, but what he regards as flaws, I see as good character development.
  9. Kessel did not agree with Elaine's opinion that Ender's game was an apology for Hitler, yet the article calls Card a "rabid fascist". In other words, the article references an article that does not support it's point of view.
  10. The article say that Card's response to Elaine's article was incoherent, yet the quotes from the response that Kessel uses in his article seem perfectly coherent and reasonable to me. Kessel's objections to Card's objections to Elaine Radfords Objections to _Ender's_game_ to me merely indicate that Kessel just didn't (or chose not to) understand what Card had said.

localroger is a sad sad man (2.53 / 15) (#184)
by godix on Sun May 29, 2005 at 11:34:59 PM EST

Throughout the various threads in this article Localroger has repeatedly said the problem with Enders Game isn't Ender himself but rather that Card "asks us to sympathize and forgive because even genocide can be understood in the right circumstances." The problem is obvious, localroger (and presumably his lady friend) feel that genecide can not be understood and anyone who attempts to understand it must be a Hitler appologist. Which is a really odd position to take, if we can't understand genecide and how it happens how can we possibly prevent it? In order to prevent poverty you have to understand money. In order to prevent hunger you have to understand food and distribution. In order to prevent murder you have to understand what motivates murderers, even genecidal ones. Without understanding all we can do is run around trying random things that don't actually help the problem any (which, incidently, explains why post WWII history includes Ruwanda, Sudan, Khymer Rouge, Timor, etc). So basically localroger is claiming that taking the one action required to prevent future genecides means you are a Hitler appologist and apparently many, at least enough to vote up this article, agree. No wonder the world is the way it is.

Along with his stance that you can't understand genecide is the unstated opinion that being associated in any way with evil means you are instantly evil with no excuses allowed and no chance of redemption. In localrogers opinion Oscar Schindler must be an evil man who used slave labor because localroger certainly wouldn't consider the lives Schindler saved to be a mitigating circumstance. John Rabe (look up WWII Nanking if you don't recognize the name) is totally unsypathetic to localroger because he was a nazi, nevermind that he actively tried to save people from mass murderers. And localroger must consider Ender is even more evil than those because he commited a genecide, that he didn't realize he was doing it at the time or that he wouldn't have done it had he known aren't factors at all for localroger. Murder is evil and therefore murderers must be evil with no possability of being sypathetic, justified in their actions, or even just tools of the men who are really responsable.  Localroger is, in short, the type of man you'd never want on a jury for a battered woman who killed her husband.

So the basic point of this article isn't that OSC is an asshat (although I never met the man so I can't say he isn't) but rather that OSC forced localroger to think and apparently making your readers think is a sin in localrogers eyes.

- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

on the "innocent genocide" (3.00 / 10) (#191)
by khallow on Mon May 30, 2005 at 12:00:56 AM EST

First, I think that Mr. Card or his committee isn't particularly out of bounds when it comes to setting up contrived moral circumstances. Hollywood cranks those out by the hundreds and they are way too common in literature as well. While localroger and Mrs. Radford may have repelled the Mormon invasion of sci fi, the precedents seem to indicate this isn't a big threat.

After all, L. Ron Hubbard, John W. Campbell and A. E. van Vogt spearheaded a similar invasion by Scientology of sci fi in the 50's and 60's! While Scientology has done ok by this approach, I really don't see the Mormons doing any better here. My take is that whoever would convert to Mormonism from a contrived suprise Ender plot twist would have done so (though perhaps not to Mormonism). Who should care?

Finally, we get to the contrivance of the "innocent" genocide. If you glance through the legal systems of the developed world, you quickly see that intent matters. For example, in the US if you kill someone with a car, you can get charged with (not intended to be a complete list) vehicle homicide, manslaughter, second degree murder, or first degree murder depending in large part on whether you intended (or rather if the police can prove intent) to kill the victim with the vehicle or not. The penalties vary wildly. The police may even refuse to press charges if the victim was clearly acting in an irresponsible way (eg, lying down in the road at night). Intent matters even if it does pave the road to hell.

Hitler and his lackeys IMHO demonstrated considerable knowledge of various programs of murder and genocide. The intent appears to be there. While the Ender Wiggins situation is rigged so that he's "innocent" of the knowledge that he's ending an alien race.

So I don't see the Ender==Hitler comparison here. Maybe Mr. Card or his committee was planning some sort of clever analogy here, but if so, it falls flat.

However, I don't think the idea of "pretending its a game" is outrageous or unbelievable. After all, as I understand it, a launch operator at a US underground nuclear missile bunker doesn't know whether the command to launch is for real or just a test drill. This apparently was enacted when it was discovered that a lot (numbers unspecified as far as I know) of launch operators would balk if they knew they were really launching rather than just running a drill.

So it makes a lot of sense that if you employ superteens (or anyone else who you don't completely trust) in your quest to extinguish an alien race, particularly since the interface looks like a computer game, that you pretend it is just a full length test run. I find it quite believable and I'm quite mystified by the attitude that localroger and particularly Mrs. Radford show here. (I don't recall the ending to Ender's Game correctly, there appears to be a major contrivance in how Ender carries out the final act.)

In summary, Mr. Card or his committee has engaged in some serious plot contrivances (and it gets worse in the later novels) to exploit the audience. I think that's worth knowing. But to claim that is rationalizing forgiveness of Hitler or some such nonsense? You are engaging in the sins of contrivance you claim to detest.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

I took the liberty of e-mailing Jerry Pournelle .. (2.80 / 5) (#210)
by mikesum32 on Mon May 30, 2005 at 05:30:54 AM EST

"I make absolutely no sense out of what I saw on that web site. If there is a reasoned opinion there I did not find it.

Ender's Game was a better novelette than novel but it sure made him money. I didn't care for Speaker for the Dead because it needed an idiot block plot
to make it work.

Scott is a Latter Day Saint, and I do not think fascist is an appropriate description of his views."

Also, you should (1.80 / 5) (#216)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Mon May 30, 2005 at 09:29:09 AM EST

develop a point about how most sci-fi really, really sucks.


Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.

I've always wondered what a discussion about this (2.71 / 7) (#217)
by Sesquipundalian on Mon May 30, 2005 at 11:41:44 AM EST

book would be like, and I am totally amazed by how differently other people interpreted the Ender Wiggen story.

I always thought that Ender's Game was an allegory about the dangers of personal weakness. I thought that Card (or the LDS church marketing committee, if that's what you believe) was telling a story in order to illiustrate that each person has a responsibillity to stand up for themselves. I thought that Ender was supposed to teach us that if you allow yourselves to be dominated by crusading nutjobs, you will find yourself doing all sorts of horrible things.

Ender knew what the purpose of battle school was, right from the start. I always thought that any sane person walking in Ender's shoes would have turned on his handlers, right after that first incident in the shuttle. Personally, I'd rather die than have my whole life turned into one psychotic murderous episode after another (otherwise known as "being a soldier"). I always thought that the other children who washed out and were sent home, had failed deliberately (so they could escape from their crazy handlers). I may have been reading too much into this.

Throughout the whole book, I was thinking "Ender, Ender, Ender.. why don't you just maim one of the teachers, first chance you get. Show them that you are treacherous and unreliable. Show them that they will never be able to use you effectively. Then they will have to find someone else". Sometime later, I felt really clever when I applied the anthropic principle and decided that the real moral of the story was; "They'll always find someone, and this is what it's like to be that someone". I thought about how Ender's parents were (they seemed pretty complicit to me). I thought about those children over in the Middle East, who are raised exclusively for the purpose of becoming suicide bombers. I thought about those Aztec slave children, who were raised by families that needed a body for the yearly human sacrifice festivals.

See, I thought that Card was trying to tell us a story about how responsibillity is more than just being loyal and following orders, how life is anything but fair, and how sometimes it takes great personal strength just to break free of the assholes that surround you, but if you don't, you risk damnation. I still think that it was a pretty great book.

Oh BTW, does anyone know what the word for those poor suicide bomber children is? They've gotta be called something. It seems inconcievable to me that parents would do such a horrible thing without inventing a word for it. I would like to know what that word is.

Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
localrodger sounds like elaines intellectual whore (2.27 / 11) (#218)
by execute on Mon May 30, 2005 at 11:45:27 AM EST

It seems like localrodger hangs out with elaine, accompanies her to parties, etc. But he never refers to her has his girlfriend or wife or anything. He could either be trying to be private or this girl is not involved with him romantically. Does he love her too much to jeopardize their friendship by moving it to the next level?

I hung out with a bunch of sci-fi/d&d/mtg nerds back in my day and there were always a bunch of these non-couples. Guys who follow around and are friendly with girls (move furniture, fix cars, loan money, etc etc) but have no hope of being romantically involved with them.

Inevitably, the girl ends up screwing the skankiest guy while the nerd boy tries to warn her without again jeopardizing their friendship. When the skanky guy relationship ends, the nerd boy will be a shoulder to cry on.

Just a funny facet of nerd life. Is there some site which collects this stuff?

Subjective vs. objective (3.00 / 3) (#237)
by arthurpsmith on Mon May 30, 2005 at 03:40:30 PM EST

There is a central question here - the distinction between the subjective and the objective. Genocide and murder are the objective facts of Card's universe, and of the real world too. Card's position is that the subjective intentions and inner motivations of the person involved are what really matter - and as an author he can let us into the subjective world of his characters and we can judge for ourselves.

But localroger (or at least his friend Elaine) tries to argue both sides of this: they see morality in the objective actions, not the subjective intentions, when it comes to the characters in Card's books. But in judging Card himself, localroger/Elaine go outside the objective text that readers have clearly enjoyed for 20 years, discerning connections and insights to the subjective intentions of the author, and critique that as morally at fault.

As writings, the two books "Ender's Game" and "Speaker for the Dead" are quite remarkable. They feature technological ideas - the computer network that becomes an intelligence on its own, the "tablets" etc., space battles and interstellar travel with a great degree of physical realism. Card's emphasis on the foreignness from human preconceptions of 3-dimensional battle strategies is amazing, and the best concrete case I'm aware of that illustrates why we need people (and young people!) in space, not robots. The biology of the planet in "Speaker for the Dead" is of a uniqueness comparable to some of Vernor Vinge's stuff (pursued somewhat further in the not-so-great sequels) - even if it also pursues a concept of death and resurrection in a quasi-religious manner that may be somewhat unsettling to the atheist. The disfunctional family Ender resuscitates with love is a heart-warming contrast to the cruel outside world.

Card wrote "Ender" when he was quite young, and it clearly speaks to the alienation from the world and self-uniqueness felt by intelligent young people. "Speaker" is quite a different book; both address complex themes of trying to apply the notions of good and evil in a messy real world.

Card has written many other books too, some almost as good - it doesn't surprise me he would have forgotten details of his novels even just months after completing them, as we all change, learn new things, and lose some of what we knew. Writing a lengthy work is probably rather like cramming for finals - once you're out the door the details you slaved over are quickly forgotten.

Has Card always been a thoughtless right-wing nut? Maybe - I have absolutely no affection for Harlan Ellison as a person, but he's written some good stuff over the years despite his bad personality. Does it really matter? In the end, everything's about Hitler and the Nazi's anyway (Godwin's law, you know) so whether there was any relationship at the beginning is really pretty irrelevant. Despite the person (if he wasn't so great 2 decades back), despite any connections real or imagined to historical events, the books are good, and deserve to be read as they are.

By the way the committee idea is absurd on its face - have you ever read anything written by a committee?! In fact I've read quite a number of things written by LDS church committees - let's just say they're not going to be winning any awards.

Energy - our most critical problem; the solution may be in space.

Ender's evil deeds? Re-read the book! (2.60 / 5) (#240)
by alexboko on Mon May 30, 2005 at 03:45:34 PM EST

As I recall in the original "Ender's Game", as far as *any* of the characters knew, the Buggers *were* going to destroy the Earth and the only way to make certain that they didn't was to strike first. The ethical implications of the Bugger genocide were explored in the sequels, but in the original book IIRC the reaction was a great big collective "whew!". The ethical issue examined in the book is the exploitation of Ender by his superiors. In retrospect, it would seem that the Buggers would not knowingly destroy sentient life-forms (if we are to take what the surviving Buggers say in subsequent books at face value) but even so, it's not clear whether a diplomatic solution would have had enough of a chance of working at that point to have been worth the risk. I'm not trying to defend Card here. I was very disappointed when I found out how irrational his personal politics are. I'm just trying to set the record straight. The sequels did address the moral issues of genocide, and I don't really remember what conclusion, if any, they came to (partly because they all sucked compared to Ender's Game except the newer Shadow series), so for all I know you might be right about them. But reading any sort of deliberate genocide into "Ender's Game" is like reading gay rights or socialism into Shakespeare-- a superimposition of the reader's own values onto a text that did not address these values one way or the other.

Godwin's Law of video games: if a company is out of ideas for a long enough period, they will eventually publish another World War II shooter.
hm... (none / 1) (#254)
by samu on Mon May 30, 2005 at 05:04:07 PM EST

  1. stating that card did not write ender's game may be libel/slander without proof, right?
  2. is it completely impossible that the parallels that exist between Ender's Game and Hitler are a coincidence?
(not defending by any means, just... wondering.)

Um (2.40 / 10) (#259)
by trhurler on Mon May 30, 2005 at 07:45:10 PM EST

1) Your article assumes we've all read all this stuff, and makes no attempt to explain it if we haven't. Ergo, you are the bigger asshat.

2) You can read support for almost any ideological position into most good stories. This does not matter at all.

3) You provide no evidence herein to support any claims whatsoever about Card(as opposed to about his writings,) except that he wasn't about to allow himself to be written badly about without rebutting same. This is hardly a portrait of evil you've painted. As such, I see no ground for anyone to believe that Card is a Hitler apologist. And in case you haven't noticed, moral absolutism and Hitler apology are not the same thing.

4) You seem as petty, manipulative, and grudge-holding as anyone could possibly be, so why shouldn't we think YOU are an asshat?

5) All in all, why should any of us care about petty interpersonal squabbles between people too lacking in intestinal fortitude to get a real fucking job? I mean, seriously. Writers are among the most fucked up people on earth; we all know this. Just shut up. You are not that important, your friend is not that important, Card is not that important, and so on.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Further suggestions. (2.10 / 10) (#260)
by Back Spaced on Mon May 30, 2005 at 08:22:39 PM EST

1) Paul Atreides = Adolf Hitler. Publish a paper making this claim, and then visit Frank Herbert's grave. Stand over it and yell "How do you like that, bitch!"

2) Rewrite the section involving Adams so that he attacks you with a broadsword after you innocently stumble into his yurt.

3) Elaine should spy on a meeting of the "Ender/Hitler" writing comittee while wearing a skintight black leather suit. Describe how her breasts jiggle when she walks.

4) Needs more hot l3sbian s3xxor.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.

Orson Scott card is an asshat (2.25 / 4) (#262)
by speek on Mon May 30, 2005 at 08:34:25 PM EST

... and other tidbits of obviousness:
  • John Norman is a bit sexist
  • Ozzy Osbourne doesn't speak too clearly
  • Vincent Van Gogh might not have been entirely sane

    If you are arguing otherwise, all I can say is, enjoy your innocence while it lasts.

    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees

  • I'm having trouble responding to this (3.00 / 9) (#268)
    by GhostfacedFiddlah on Mon May 30, 2005 at 09:36:55 PM EST

    It's hard to pick sides on this article.  On one hand, it's simply a neat story about the "dark underside" of sci-fi.  I liked it for that.

    But I found the points were pretty poorly-argued.  Having a link to the original article (even if you had to call up the author herself beforehand) would have given a lot more context to it.  Nearly being punched in a gathering of sci-fi authors is a cool anecdote, but it was connected to the Hitler article pretty tenuously.  I've known guys who would simply pick a fight because it was there.  I'm not saying there's no connection, just that it wasn't made in the article.

    And the only actual evidence for OSC being an asshat that you've been witness to is whatever was said on the phone, which again isn't that good of an argument.

    I think if you're going to do a character assassination (even if true), it could be done a lot better.

    Am I being trolled? -nt- (1.00 / 3) (#273)
    by Plareplane on Mon May 30, 2005 at 10:32:15 PM EST

    Hmmm, another take on this (3.00 / 4) (#274)
    by khallow on Mon May 30, 2005 at 10:58:44 PM EST

    Thinking about it, "Ender's Game" and "Speaker of the Dead" read like massive justifications or apologia from the point of view of Ender Wiggins. That is, it's one of those memoirs where the politician plays up their good points and deeds (especially the ones that kinda sorta didn't happen) and downplays their faults. Sure I wiped out an alien race and left a trail of bodies in my short military career, but I'm the victim here!

    So did it really happen as he said or is it just a slick kid who knows how to play the game of sympathy?

    Stating the obvious since 1969.

    Asshat? (3.00 / 3) (#275)
    by cdguru on Mon May 30, 2005 at 11:04:08 PM EST

    Well, I will admit to reading Ender's Game and not liking it all that much. Not because I found any astonishing parallels with Hitler, but because I found many of the premises of the novel to be either objectionable to me or outright offensive. But, I have trouble understanding this article in general and that's why we're here.

    It is interesting the anecdote about a Con - but hardly all that unusual. People to odd things at cons. Ask Harlen Ellison about his relatively famous encounter with a neatly obtained cup of warm vomit. Mentioning some other attendees - such as a well known columnist/author - leads one to wonder what this person might have to say about it. Wanna bet his recollection might be different? Wanna bet that he would respond? Even if I don't your inclusion of that tidbit will probably prompt someone to ask him.

    Personally, I find Orson Scott Card includes a bit of himself into his work - as do nearly all authors. Whether this is "Mormonism" or just Mr. Card is probably something best left between him and is God. Or at least to his Elders. I don't care to get into it, and wiser folks than I have counseled such in the past. Frequently. OK, you don't like his work - I don't either. I'm not seeing this deserves much more than a rather subjective "I don't like his work" and possibly an extension to "I don't like him." Dragging his religion into it is a mistake, as would be dragging yours in.

    So, you don't like Mr. Card's work. Maybe you don't like anything he publishes, including his essay linked to in the very beginning. I can understand that. But, you seem to have wanted to connect your dislike of Mr. Card to disagreeing with his linked essay. Unfortunately, I didn't see one reference to that other than the link. So what was the point of this? Are we supposed to simply infer that because you don't like Mr. Card's work that his essay must be trash? How about something more meaningful?

    By the way, even though I don't like most of Mr. Card's work, I will agree he has a point in his essay. I would regard the Newsweek article as being about as responsible as an article in a Los Angeles newspaper about stem cell researchers paying black welfare recipients for aborted fetuses. Sell papers, would it? Sure. Start a riot where people die and property is destroyed? Sure.

    Heil Ender! Ich haben Enders Spielen gelesen (3.00 / 3) (#288)
    by nlscb on Tue May 31, 2005 at 02:42:24 AM EST

    Ich mussen die Welt auf die commie liberal untermensher sauber! Mein Kampf ist grosse scheizer!

    Sig Heil!


    Must ... stop ... lifting ... right ... hand ... in ... stiff-arm ... salute ...

    OK, it's pretty clear that Orson Scott Card leans a little to the right, maybe he did get flustered over someone seeing something in his book that he missed, and he might quite possibly be a jerk. But you know, I think I would find myself pretty defensive if someone accused my work of being a apology for Hitler as well.

    After just finishing Speaker for the Dead today, I thinkt this article wis a really interesting interpretation. I can see one seeing the parallels between Hitler and Ender, but only in the same way that Top Gun is one of the most hilariously unintentinally gay films ever. I fail to see the malicious intent of creating a new super-league of nazi comic book nerds who will take over the world.

    Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

    you don't win anything by dismissing o.s. card (2.00 / 5) (#295)
    by circletimessquare on Tue May 31, 2005 at 04:28:30 AM EST

    our time is characterized by rapid political polarization, all over the west. just a decade ago things weren't this heated. the root of this problem has to do with the rise of radical islamic fundamentalism and major camps are appearing in the west on how to deal with this, but they are all radically different, and they reveal more about the psychology of various individuals than any real wisdom in any camp.
    1. apathy: some people don't care about the fate of the west. but people who don't care never won any conflict, ideological or otherwise, so those who loudly proclaim their ambivalance and apathy to it all can be safely tuned out.
    2. denial: some say there is no problem, that angry fundamentalist moslems pose no threat, it is the overreaction to their existence that is the threat. such people are plumb blind and a little too comfortable in their western cocoon. the threat is real and they are like the rich upper class in the upper decks laughing and playing while the titanic sinks around them: "the west threatened? impossible!"
    3. sympathy: historical and current sleights by the west to the middle east anger some. but such people are also blind, as they seem to view western actions in a vacuum, and that only the west can and does do wrong. it's also provincial and racist to think that only the west can be held accountable for everything that happens in the world. if such people can't understand context, they also can't aid in any solutions for the same reason: context is needed. so these angry dorks with obvious mental shortcomings can yell and scream all they want, but their oversimplifying of a complex problem lends them to be nothing more than useless hot air.
    4. frozen: there are a lot of idealists in the world. they think that if they just think hard enough, magical solutions, that hurt no one, to deeply entrenched and very complex nasty problems will present themselves. and so when somebody does get hurt, the idealists get angry because they haven't accepted yet that we live in an imperfect world. so such people, in search of great wisdom, offer less wisdom than anyone else.
    5. war: people like o.s. card. they see a conflict, and they are engaged in it. these people will carry the day. this is not right, this is not wrong, this is simply inevitable.
    the reason why those in the west who will go to war with fundamentalist militant islam will carry the day is very simple: no other large camp of reaction to fundamentalist islam in the west has a plan.

    that's it, that's the only reason those at war will win. it's not a good thing, it's not a bad thing, it's simply a matter of the only attitude emanating from the west that promises any real change whatsoever to the geopolitical, socioeconomic, and theohistorical forces which conspire to create angry young men from the middle east hellbent on destroying the west. those in the west who are apathetic, in denial, sympathetic, or frozen to the middle east simply don't offer any solutions.

    no really, they don't. they complain about the solutions others present. that's not offering a solution, that's just useless negativity. you have to present something positive, an aciton plan, something for people to believe in, regardless of how flawed it is, or you never lead people in this world. a higly flawed dangerous solution is 10,000x better than accepting the status quo, since the status quo is getting worse all on its own.

    this is what i am saying: how the current conflict between the west and the radical militant islamicists will be decided has nothing to do with what you or anyone thinks is the right solution, but simply has to do with whoever offers any solution whatsoever, period.

    and lack of belief, refusal to believe, or belief in pipe dreams are no substitute for cold dead hard reckoning. that's it, that's all that is going on in the west right now: the victory of those who act over those who don't. that's the only game in town in the west's reaction to the rise of militant fundamentalist islam. a reaction, a plan, any reaction, any plan, over no plan, no action, however loudly proclaimed. talk is cheap.

    so when the author of this piece proclaims that o.s. card is an asshat, well so what?

    it's very easy to reject beliefs that appear to you to be malformed. it's very hard to present a belief, any belief, something positive, all on your own. but it is easy to find fault in someone else and tear them down. it is very hard to build something of your own and weather the doubts of those see it. but in the end, all that is left standing is all that there is going on that matters in a decisive way, no matter how shoddily it is built.

    no conflict, no ideological divide was ever solved by those who do nothing but criticize, react negatively, and reject. it is decided by those who present something they believe in, and act on it, in a leap of faith, no matter how full of holes the solution is.

    they don't have the right, they just do it. and that's all that matters. because reality is not some complex math problem with one perfect solution written down somewhere, reality is decided by what you believe: the principle of self-fulfilling prophecy, emergent phenomenon. there is no morality to what is going on right now in the world. there is nothing that those in the west at war with radical islamic fundamentalism are doing wrong or right, because there is no magical mathematical formula at work that has already decided who is right or wrong. who is right or wrong is determined simply on the principle of who acts and wins, and has nothing to do with anything other than the interaction of the players involved. to stand on the sideline and judge is to remove yourself from the conflict, and therefore matter not to either player, and therefore matter not to who wins.

    sure someone can judge and not help in a conflict. but then whoever wins has no allegience to those who did not help them. and therefore, those who stand on the sidelines are simply irrelevant. they judge from a position of an ivory tower that looks down on the ugly struggles of mankind and they turn their nose up at it. but proclaiming your distance from the human condition does not help the human condition. if you actually care about the human condition you will act. you will roll up your sleeves and take a leap of faith in whatever it is you believe will help. so standoffish positions reveals the children of the west to be spoiled rich brats.

    if some in the west think they are right by opposing and fighting and killing radical islamic fundamentalists because they see them as a threat, it doesn't matter if they are right or wrong. what happens is that they kill the radicals, and they write the history of what happened becaus ethey are the only ones left standing. and so what they think is happening is exactly what happens. those on the sidelines can write their own history, sure, but their history of the events as they unfolded is compromised byt the fact that they took no sides in a world that is now founded on the principles of those who fought.

    the winnners write history, they decide right and wrong. not the losers, nor those on the sidelines. this is not a good truth, this is not a bad truth, it's just the truth, period, end of story.

    whining morons in the west take note: believe in something, anything, and act on it, and make it positive and realistic, or be utterly useless to the world and the struggles in it that bother you. utterly loud, but utterly inconsequential, is no way to live your life in the end.

    because you're not helping, nor hurting, your simply watching on the sidelines. what i am saying, that people like o.s. card will carry the day, is not right, it is not wrong, it simply is, because none of you offer anything better. understand?

    so all we will see from large segments of the useless spoiled west is a lot of bitching and moaning, and not much else. people like o.s. card will decide the day.

    no matter how loudly you reject, the guy who quietly acts and builds something wins in the end, even if what he builds really does suck. so roll up your sleeves and build something better. but shut the fuck up either way.

    more action, less talk. what the world needs.

    I'm making a Low Budget HDV Filipino Horror Movie in NYC

    Can't buy the Hitler / Ender comparison (3.00 / 7) (#314)
    by aendeuryu on Tue May 31, 2005 at 09:36:31 AM EST

    Ok, I see all the motifs and the comparisons that can be drawn there between Ender's Game's Earth and 1930ish Germany, but there's a difference between using the motifs and building them into the same theme.

    I really have a hard time buying the Hitler / Ender comparison, basically (and perhaps I'm oversimplifying here) for the reason that Hitler was one of the engineers of the genocide, whereas Ender was the tool. The unwitting tool? I have no idea, and I don't want to sound like the bad-man-made-me-do-it Nuremburgish defence is legitimate, but the entire time Ender was bringing about the destruction of the buggers, he wasn't aware that it was even happening. He was fooled into it. Perhaps that's a metaphor for something, but literally, in the story, he was fooled into it. Sure, he agreed to the training, and presumably knew where it was going, and so probably would have done it anyway, but it's kind of besides the point... His use of that Doctor bomb to wipe out the buggers was the result of a need to rebel against his own superiors. How does that thematically apply to Hitler? In my eyes you have to make some serious stretches to go from that to Hitler apologetics.

    Looks, it's ludicrous, but imagine if you were in the kid's shoes, and all that shit happened to you? The obviously neat thing about literature is what you can take from it regardless of the author's intent. I mean, I'm a liberal, but what would I do if I thought my own sister was about to be killed by an enemy? Would I buy the logic needed to do the unthinkable, in order to prevent the unbearable? I don't know, but it was engaging to think about it. And what could one do upon realizing that he'd just unknowingly done something so heinously unimaginable? Would they react like Ender did? What would I do?

    Not trashing your article or anything, mostly because OSC's recent Newsweek article really showed him to have turned into a twit, and the events you talked about were really interesting, but the thing is, I can listen to Wagner without wanting to throw the nearest Jew into a furnace, I can laugh at old Dennis Miller without jumping on his Republican ass-kissing bandwagon, and I can read Ender's Game without thinking I'm brainwashing myself into getting desensitized to the next genocide.

    What the hell is this nonsense? Front page? (2.77 / 9) (#332)
    by CAIMLAS on Tue May 31, 2005 at 12:53:47 PM EST

    While the Ender == Hitler argument might be valid (I've never completed Ender's Game, so on the surface it seems remotely plauseable though unlikely), the body of this argument is horrible. It's rife with logical falacy; in fact, I see no actual content - just fallacy.

    What is this essay about?

    Let's start off with the first paragraph. In it, you have links to two forums which supposedly (or so it is implied) have long threads about how the article linked afterwards is complete and utter fascist shit. And there it stops - nowhere else do I see mention of this OSC article. I went through and read the majority of the articles/threads linked to - the one on Fark, DailyTOS, and the long Kessel essay which you closely mimicked.

    So, either you're a really, really bad writer yourself, or (the more likely conclusion, given the apparent cohesiveness of the rest of your article), you attempted to use a strawman logical fallacy and sidetrack the issue from his essay - you just provided an OSC article so as to provide a false sense of support for your article.

    Fascist, how, exactly?

    The only thing I get out of what you're saying is that you're basically pissed about OSC supporting general "Bush" ideals with a well-written and logical argument (evidently, as otherwise you'd not have bothered to respond to illogical nonsense). I've read the OSC article, and while there is definate evidence that he supports Bush, the general theme of his essay is as follows (for those of you that couldn't be bothered to read it):

    The behavior of the American press is thoroughly reckless and iresponsible. As a whole, the American press is dead-set on destroying Bush at whatever cost, regardless of facts. They are more than willing to manipulate the Islamist radical factions in order to make even the slightest tair in the positive public opinion of Bush.

    Furthermore, the Islamists aren't helping their cause any, either. If they want respect, stop acting like children; stop throwing fits. You won't get respect otherwise.

    The biggest thing that terrorists have going for them is that the West is divided theologically and philosophically. This is, at it's heart, due to the religiously dogmatic application of liberalism and pacifism over practicality and reason amongst the media.

    Now, my summary is brutesque, but I think it fairly close to the mark. It's pretty bloody obvious to me that you don't even begin to address the supposed article of initially stated contrition; instead, you sidestep and start right in on character attacks. Bravo, bravo!

    BTW, the Kessel article you linked to was shit. The stuff he said about Ender was in very little way directly synonomous with Hitler specifically (in fact, much of it is fairly contradictory to Hitler's post-schooling years); instead, it just reminds me of my middle school years. Card himself said, "Ender's childhood is based, albeit loosely, on my own" - how fucking obvious does it have to be?

    You get my "Godwin's Stamp of Approval" award for this one, to be sure.


    Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

    Ender's Game (none / 1) (#334)
    by screwdriver on Tue May 31, 2005 at 01:28:30 PM EST

    In my opinon, those who equate Ender with Hitler are simply reading too much between the lines.

    That out of the way, I'll also say that I only read two Ender novels: "Ender's Game" and "Shadow of Hegemon".  Neither was very good (IMHO).  They were rather boring, in fact.  Maybe if I had read them at an earlier age, I would have enjoyed them more.

    Same goes for "Dune" and "Starship Troopers".  All of them have interesting premises, but poor execution, and characters I simply can't relate to.

    Thanks for sharing. (2.94 / 19) (#362)
    by patrarch on Tue May 31, 2005 at 04:52:46 PM EST

    My friend described this piece as an analysis of Card's writing for the purpose, I suspect, of discrediting a political article by Card's that I considered to be thoughtful and fair (not the one linked in the article).

    This article is surely not an analysis of anyone's writing, but is a vitriolic, personal attack. The plot of this therapeutic tale can be summarized: this guy dislikes Card because he had this "writer friend" who wrote an essay that attacked him, compelling Card to confront her over the phone. But the piece is all over the place, and makes irresponsible claims without any evidence presented. The writer friend's motivations for composing an essay to attack Card's books are not fully explained. I can't find the link to her essay, only a link to another essay by Kessel that disagrees with the crux of her "intemperate" piece, the Hitler link, but argues along more provocative and interesting lines (I think it's interesting anyway). Nor can I find a link to Card's supposedly hideous rebuttal. I am also expected to be sympathetic to the idea that Card did not write the series at all, with absolutely no proof given, just conjecture and fuzzy rationale.

    Through the course of the article Card is called a fascist, and his book is called "fascist propaganda," all because he supposedly wrote an unproven (and unrecognized) apologia for Hitler's life, an idea, which, frankly, excites me (imagine if you could get your readers to sympathize with the modern symbol of evil itself - to even consider justifiable what he must do in your story - and then reveal to them at the finale that they've walked in the shoes of evil, cast in a scifi setting - that's art, isn't it?), but which the forum comments after the article dispute. This idea of making evil accessible is among the reasons that modern praise is heaped on the Church-censorship-wary John Milton for his portrayal of Satan the fallen angel as sympathetic - "It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven."

    I find the sentiment that such "fascist propaganda" should be disqualified from winning an award as hilarious, coming from a self-appointed defender of free speech and open-minded thought, as the author surely is. More hypocrisy leaks out later. Just a few paragraphs after portraying Card as a man who "instead of reclaiming SF for liberalism, ... reclaim(ed) [sci fi] for moral absolutism," the author advises his readers "When you see evil, especially when it wears a smiling and angelic face, you must call it out." (so Card or his work are evil now), a statement that follows an even more absolutist position "...Jesus would forgive Hitler if he really really repented, but I say fuck that. Some things can't be forgiven or redeemed." That statement has consequences. So, you ARE for the death penalty then, as long as it's an international court of some kind and not the US legal system?

    Much of what he has against Card seems like a childish tantrum or paranoia - I fail to see what Card's done to offend anyone. The title of the article calls Card an asshat - a nice hook, I'll admit, for a silly rant. The first few sentences establish Card as someone who voted Republican and dares to justify his position in writing; the next immediate point is to label Card, without establishing why, a Fascist with a capital F. With the fact of Card's political alignment firmly established at the get-go, I suppose everything else that follows is entertaining to your average left-minded k5 reader. But the piece is not rational, nor does it paint a rational picture, for reasons I've stated already, like the Bush-to-Hitler piece in k5 a month before. I've seen many of these pieces come out by the angered left, in which few reasonable conclusions are offered, but instead a long, winding personal account is presented - the author's journey from one unsupported, emotional revelation to the next. I've read excellent essays stating liberal position and this isn't one of them. Rather, it's an attempt to discredit someone on the opposite side by sharing an irrelevant personal footnote.

    Upon reaching the final segment of the article, I'm supposed to believe that Card is something like a Vito Corleone of the SciFi community, introducing his epilogue with an ominous first line: "Earlier I said that there was a sense that bad things happen to people who cross Orson Scott Card. " If Card had nothing to do with this incident, as the author admits later, why was this little end story included at all? Surely not to impart the self-congratulatory, absolutist moral advice at the end: "When you see evil, especially when it wears a smiling and angelic face, you must call it out. And you must deal with the consequences of calling it out, which can be bad. Because the consequences of not calling it out could be infinitely worse." Spoken like a true Christian.

    My thanks go to the author and his writer friend for calling out evil when they see it, despite the risks of almost having to get punched by a published scifi author. It's a scary world out there, and they held fast. Though they didn't quite prevent a scifi novel from winning the Hugo and Nebula awards, they can at least relax in the knowledge that they effectively ended the Ender series with an insightful essay, be it an ego-serving delusion or the honest-to-God truth.

    Since I actually know Scott... (3.00 / 8) (#411)
    by laird on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 01:41:57 AM EST

    Since I actually know Scott (since before Ender's Game was published, woo hoo), I think I'll jump into this debate. This article is a unfounded personal attack on a qute decent person, and I can't let that go without comment. I've seen him spend days (unpaid) reading and commenting on amateur writing for a local convention, and providing polite and valuable advice to every single author. I've seen him donate books, and his own time, to promote local SF.

    Yes, I disagree with his politics on pretty much every point (e.g. i think that his article on Newsweek is completely wrong), but that's not relevant to my opinion of him as a person, or as a writer, because I know how to disagree with people without hating them. As a person he's polite, generous and thoughtful. As a writer he always creates well crafted stories with characters with motivations that they believe, and worlds that fit together. So even if the stories aren't my personal taste (e.g. the "Homecoming" books), they're above average, and his best (e.g. Ender's Game, Hart's Hope, Lost Boys, Seventh Son) they're stories that I'll never forget.

    So if you disagree with Scott, feel free to say so. But don't feel that you have to attack him as a person, or his writing -- that's just juvenile.

    Politics, as would be done by Card (2.83 / 6) (#424)
    by Viliam Bur on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 07:54:27 AM EST

    Card's opinions are very useful tools for any American supremacist. "We are the good, we bring the democracy to the world. Out motives are pure. If during the process we will kill you, or put you to the torture chamber, it does not make us evil, because we follow a higher goal."

    In "The Riots of the Faithful" Card starts with saying that newspapers that published false information leading to death of people, and damaging the image of USA, is bad. So far, it is easy to agree. But later Card says that the falsity of news is not what bothers him. "Even if the allegations about Quran desecration were completely and absolutely verified," journalists should better shut up and support their country, right or wrong. Now that's something completely different; however a skillful writer - as Card no doubt is - can confuse the reader into believing that the first is somehow related to the second.

    In my opinion, telling lies is morally very dangerous. Why? Because people base their moral decisions on information they have. With different set of information, moral acts may seem immoral, immoral acts may seem moral. Of course, it is the information of the deciding person in the moment of decision, what matters. But, telling them lies, these people may choose to do acts, which if they had known the truth they would consider immoral (and if they later find the truth, they will feel that something wrong has happened). In such situation, the person who did the decision based on wrong information is morally good... but then morally bad is the author of the lie.

    (Imagine a following example: Orson Scott Card goes with his friend on the walk in dark forest. The friend has a gun. An innocent stranger approaches, the friend does not notice him. Suddenly, Card screams into friend's ears: "He's trying to kill you! Shoot him!" Friend is scared and without thinking shoots the stranger. Stranger dies. Then, Card starts laughing: "I lied!" - The friend acted morally OK; at least if you consider self-defense morally OK. So we can either have conclusion that nothing wrong has happened; or that Card has indirectly committed murder, and is morally responsible for it.)

    So, if American citizens are given wrong or at least incomplete information about the "war on terror" (and Card tells us this is the right thing to do) and their moral decisions are based upon this information, then American citizens are morally right, no matter what happens deep down in the shadows of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib. They do not know, should not know (according to Card, at least until the war is over), and even if you try to tell them, they usually put fingers in their ears and start singing: "la-la-la, i do not listen to you, la-la-la, why do you hate our freedom...". (Which is similar to reaction of German citizens when first told about concentration camps.)

    Somehow it seems like according to Card everyone or almost everyone is morally right, while terrible things continue to happen. That's a good way to feel superior to others, surely. ("You say I am evil, but my motives are pure, and I do not listen to you, la-la-la...") Ender Wiggin is the idealised image of American soldier. He may commit any evil; he is still morally superior, and will be admired. Well, fuck you, Ender! Your motives are pure only because you never listen to others, never care about what their motives may be, never discuss why they may feel morally good, never doubt any information you get from your superiors. Because you know better; and you never need to know more. Now that's the morality of the super-hero!

    I don't agree with you..however... (2.66 / 3) (#429)
    by haplopeart on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 10:52:24 AM EST

    At least you made me think, and I will have to go find those articles in the review.

    However by extention, I have to say that at least Card made you and your friend think as well.

    Personally I like the Ender series, I don't buy the Hitler thing.  Or the book by comitte thing either.  Still its an interesting article you wrote.

    At least as interesting as your own stories, which I also enjoy.
    Bill "Haplo Peart" Dunn
    Administrator Epithna.com

    On Hitler=mastermind / Ender=poor dumb fuck (2.50 / 2) (#430)
    by sertigo on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 10:57:52 AM EST

    I will first off say I've never read any OSC's books, nor am I much of a SF fan (for much of the reasons stated above here, not to mention the sheer juvenile triteness of many popular SF works and genres), but this thread is extremely interesting: mostly because it points to a kind of disguised elitism in SF culture. I should also point out that this elitism extends to the scientific culture as well: 'if its not science, its crap,' or 'if they are not a first-world (white) science-funding (European) people, bomb em,' et cetera, et cetera.

    With that out of the way, Ive read about four or five times now (in this and related/linked forums) an (unchallenged) assertion that Hitler and Ender are somehow completely different just because Hitler 'knew what he was doing' and Ender was just somehow innocently stumbling into genocide. The problem with this is that research suggests that Hitler had long thought about deportation as a first policy, and only after that was found to be unworkable did he "stumble" onto the mass murder idea. This doesnt make him any less of an asshole, of course, but it does make a distinction between the notions that he was dreaming of the Holocaust since childbirth, and the more realistic view that the Nazis were just fumbling around with themselves before throwing all their chips in and settling on mass murder.

    But if we are make gauged moral observations of evil/genocide/fascism/tyranny apologism among the loony right, we should also point to the dangers of simplistically demonizing demons like Hitler instead of drawing realistic comparisons between them and contemporary examples. Consider how the right tries to assert Nazism with leftist socialism, for example. Its utterly stupid and simplistic, but this kind of thing scores brownie points among fascists who think of fascism and Nazism as unrelated, and claim that the latter was flawed because it was "liberal" policy. Thats just an example of how stupid these people are. With a mo better and realistic view of Hitler, we can then compare Ender (and others) to that picture in more detail: If the "mastermind" model is used, then huge discrepancies between Hitler and Ender show up. If the more realistic model is used, dont they appear to be more similar?

    So, OSC has turned into Andy Rooney (2.25 / 4) (#435)
    by karlandtanya on Wed Jun 01, 2005 at 01:51:00 PM EST

    I RTFA. And a couple of his other columns from the same site. I read his Ender books, too. Are we sure this is the same guy? This seems more like the first draft of a rant (which could be turned into a decent column with a little WORK) than something I'd ask other people to read.

    Intellegentsia. "residents of smartland" is fucking insulting to your readers.

    Oh, and to the point (if there actually was one) that Card seems to be trying to make--Damn near everyone believes something, and each of us believes that he is right and anyone who disagrees is wrong. Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious.

    At least Tom Lehrer was funny when he said it... "Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics/ And the Catholics hate the Protestants/ And the Hindus hate the Moslems/ And everybody hates the Jews...

    Guess the k5 folks need the /. sig.

    Thought you were smarter than that.

    Oh, well.

    If all you can complain about is the spelling, everyone assumes you support the content.

    Who's the One Ranting? (3.00 / 4) (#485)
    by bobej on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 09:06:30 AM EST

    Wow, this goes to show, if nothing else, that OSC managed to write a book that draws out people's emotions, though in this case a rather negative one.

    I'm a fan so I'll try not to get my defensive dander up, but if his works are the definition of a fascist (and no doubt RAH slots right along next to him, of whom I'm also a fan) then maybe it's not so bad to be a fascist.

    Also, what's with this cult of the democracy? Democracy at all costs, even if it means insecurity and stagnation. The US is a republic, which is sort of democracy light, as a hedge against the drawbacks of democracy.

    And why is it so damn bad to feel superior? Sure, it makes you a prick, but we can't all go around thinking we're average.

    All this goes to show... (3.00 / 4) (#494)
    by avdi on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 03:43:54 PM EST

    ...is that some people take their SF way too fucking seriously.

    Personall, I think Something Positive's take on this subject was the best.

    You're going to have to substantiate your claims of similarity to Hitler's life, rather than just telling us that you personally are convinced, if you want anyone to believe you.

    Nor do I find what little info you gave us about getting punched at an alcoholic afterparty compelling.  Having tried, and failed, to sort through the he-said/she-said of drunken altercations in a certain other subculture, I can say with some confidence that such incidents are black holes from which the truth never emerges in a recognizable form.

    Now leave us, and take your fish with you. - Faramir

    I don't buy it (2.66 / 3) (#500)
    by benna on Thu Jun 02, 2005 at 05:51:09 PM EST

    I don't buy this hitler bullshit for half a second. You know why you have to look at the footnotes of obscure biographies to find the connections? Because there are no real connections, and if you search anyone's life in enough detail you can make false ones.
    "It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists." -Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Pretty sketchy (3.00 / 5) (#523)
    by fuchikoma on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 05:54:04 PM EST

    So basically, as proven by some writings you don't have online anywhere, some unprinted "incoherent" writings from card, writings you don't have the "rights" to reprint, and some other factors that you can't go into details on, Card is a fascist asshat. That's quite the verbose way to say "just because."

    Wow. (3.00 / 9) (#524)
    by djp928 on Fri Jun 03, 2005 at 06:18:12 PM EST

    The more I think about it, the more this whole article and the ensuing threads make me question localroger's sanity.

    First, he actually claims a cadre of Mormon conspirators wrote Ender's Game and Speaker in an attempt to snooker the world into accepting the "controversial" Mormon belief that Hitler could be forgiven by God.  I have about zero faith in the idea that a commitee of people with an agenda could write a novel as compelling as Ender's Game or Speaker.  Are you saying that there is a secret cadre of SF writers hidden in the LDS Temple in Salt Lake City that they bust out every once in awhile to do stealth propaganda like this?  Also, this is not that controversial a belief.  I think all Christians, not just Mormons, believe this.  How can this possibly be any sort of propaganda coup for the LDS church??  "Oh ho, look!  You've been tricked into believing Hitler might possibly be forgiveable!  NOW YOU MUST ALL BECOME MORMONS, BECAUSE WE HAVE SHOWN YOU THE WAY THROUGH ENDER!!!"  

    Second, localroger apparently believes he and Elaine were actually directly responsible for "Ender 3:  Hitler Forgiven" not being published in 1987.  Because...  Well, because Elaine published an essay in a magazine that was about to fold!  I'm pretty sure magazines fold because nobody is reading them.  So probably nobody actally read her essay, either.  I'm so sure this essay in a magazine that not enough people read to even keep it in business kept this secret cadre of Mormon SF writers from fulfilling their master plan!  Also, localroger can't be bothered to quote any of the essay, he just assures us that the parallels are there.  Also, he tells us it was republished in Literary Review, but there are several threads in the discussion of the article about people searching for it and not being able to find it.  The halfhearted response from localroger is that maybe he forgot the name of the journal, but he's sure it's there!  But he can't get to the library to verify, since those dirty Republicans cut the budget and make the place close early now.  So, conveniently, nobody can actually make an informed decision on their own, since nobody can find the damn essay and response except localroger, whose library never opens.

    Finally, there's the whole conspiracy to beat him up at the end.  The story itself clearly indicates that localroger thinks (or thought) that the incident had something to do with Card.  However, in later posts to the discussion thread he changes his mind and says that it probably had nothing to do directly with Card--instead, this Adams fellow just enjoyed beating people up, and so as a prerequisite for his attending a con, someone had to line up a patsy for him to work over later on...



    Let me get this straight.  It was common knowledge in SF fandom for YEARS that if you wanted this Adams guy to come to your con, you had to provide someone for him to BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF?  And people STILL INVITED THIS GUY TO CONS?  WTF??

    I can't possibly buy this.  Sorry.  Either come up with corroborating evidence other than "Some people told me later", or freaking be quiet and take your paranoid delusions elsewhere.  

    What's really crazy about this is that localroger is just about as nuts as OSC is.  Lots of people are stunned to find out OSC's personal beliefs are at odds with their own after reading and loving his work.  I've just had the same experience with localroger--I absolutely loved Prime Intellect, and am shocked to find out that localroger is just as much of a nutter as OSC, just on the other end of the political spectrum.  Dude, seriously.  I think you need help with these paranoid delusions.

    -- Dave

    E&H:SftS Update (2.00 / 2) (#530)
    by localroger on Sat Jun 04, 2005 at 06:53:17 PM EST

    I had intended to go to the library today and find a proper cite for the reprint of Radford's and Card's essays which I know exists, but I got sidetracked doing a time-critical project for a friend. I am not sure whether the library is open on Sunday afternoon; if it is, I'll do it then and post it here.

    I have also now re-read the essay from Elaine's own copy of Fantasy Review, and I frankly feel much better about venting here as I did. The case it builds is not airtight, but it is quite solid. Even if you reject her central premise it will challenge your perception of Ender and his world. She has said that she may go ahead and put it online, but it will take a week or so because she is in the middle of another project. If and when it goes online I'll post the link here too.

    I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds -- J. Robert Oppenheimer

    This is excellent (none / 1) (#533)
    by tthomas48 on Sun Jun 05, 2005 at 04:36:47 PM EST

    And I think you've got the classic example of the German people being confronted with what was going on and saying, "What? Us? No we weren't involved... well, no that much... not like those other people." Re-read the book. It is a brilliant book emotionally, but it is definitely a justification for facism. I don't expect many Americans to cotton to this, however, as the rational for Ender's Game is much the same rational that is being used in the War on Terror. After all, we could have gone after the few rouge elements of Al Qaeda or we could take out the entire country of Afghanistan. We had to be safe...

    Oh, horseshit. (2.60 / 5) (#539)
    by jr55407 on Mon Jun 06, 2005 at 05:27:48 PM EST

    You are, to put it gently, full of it. I was in the room; Pournelle wasn't. (I think he may have been at the con; I'm not sure. It was some time ago.) You and La Radford invited yourselves to Adams' party, (normally not a problem; they were open parties, and new, polite people were always welcome; Bob prided himself, justifiably, on his hospitality, which was legendary throughout Southern fandom) criticized his scotch -- you said, at one point, with the sort of supercilious condescension that you must have practiced in advance, as surely nobody could be such an "asshat" without extensive rehearsal, "you'd actually serve this," (at this point, you interrupted yourself with a quick simper, "stuff to your guests?" -- and his guests, and his hospitality, and were told to leave. After your hissy fit, you did. Bob had his flaws, which I'll not go into when discussing him with a weasel like yourself, but among his many virtues was his hospitality, which you abused, and for which you were banished from his party, and are, apparently, still simmering over more than fifteen years later. Short form: fuck off, asshat. Strong language to follow. Joel Rosenberg

    It Just Felt Wrong... (none / 1) (#551)
    by KC7GR on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 01:56:37 AM EST

    Years ago, I forced myself to read "Ender's Game" cover to cover. It was kind of interesting in a weird way, but I could not shake the feeling, throughout the entire book, that there was something Just Fundamentally Wrong with it.

    Thanks to this article, I now know why it bothered me so, and why it never wormed its way into my heart, as a truly GOOD SF or fantasy novel will.

    I never read any of Card's other books. Once was enough for me. I think I ended up leaving the copy of EG in one of my former apartments for the next tenant.

    I have to agree with the OP: Card is indeed a first-class card-carrying fascist asshat, and it shows in his work.

    Keep the peace(es).


    Bruce Lane, ARS KC7GR,

    Salvadore Dali's computer has surreal ports...

    Absolutely. (3.00 / 2) (#552)
    by jr55407 on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 07:03:45 AM EST

    Do leave it to the reader to determine who's telling the truth -- you, who spin a preposterous, unsupported tale that's in contrast with what anybody (and there are many people) who knew Bob Adams, as a vague support for your bizarre conspiracy theory that Scott Card was out to get La Radford, or me. Fine by me. As to me being pro-self-defense, sure; it's hardly a secret. Google for "carry permit training," or my name or -- and at least you're capable of this -- go to my website.

    three things (2.50 / 6) (#562)
    by naught on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 12:04:56 PM EST

    this article was three things:

    1) jealous ranting against OSC -- who's more popular and well-known than localroger ever will be, despite view that localroger disagrees with.

    2) an advertisement for his own book and his friend's essays.

    3) a waste of bits.


    "extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.

    Appearances (2.00 / 3) (#592)
    by Skywatcher on Wed Jun 08, 2005 at 12:41:47 PM EST

    First let me say, I know none of the participants in this discourse, and have never been to this website before. I have read books by all three of the authors mentioned, and have supported all three by buying their books, so I guess I may have a built in bias. That said, just from reading the entire sordid thread, localroger does not come off as believable. The story keeps changing to accommadate challenges, a key indicator of problems with the facts. Anyone trying to recall events of 20 years ago, while drinking, and insisting his recollectation is the only possible intrepretation of events is deluding himself. Anyway, my first and last post, just thoughts from an observer.

    he´s also a religious fanatic... (none / 0) (#605)
    by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 02:00:16 AM EST

    read the "homecoming" series if you have any doubt.

    i don't have a personal bias against promoting your religion/political/sexual/economical beliefs, what bothers me is HOW card does that.

    the homecoming series is based entirely in the book of mormon according to this essay(note: the brigham young university is associated with with the mormon church).

    i´ve never read the book of mormon, so i can't comment on the similarities or differences. what i want to comment is in how he portrays his characters.

    there's basically two kinds: the faithful, piously aligned who are even willing to kill in the name of higher being (oversoul, keeper of the earth, whatever) and the unbelievers who are more concerned with other things than turning their lives upside down in exchange for a vague promise.

    as an example of the first kind of people card gives us nafai, volemak, issib, akmaro, akma (near the ending of the 5th book), oykib and others.

    in the second group we have people like elemak, mebbekew, sevet, kokor, gaballufix, akma (before his encounter with shedemei) and others.

    if you read the books you'll find a pattern here. the believer are courageous, honest, noble, selfless, intelligent individuals always willing to forgive, always defending the equality between them all. it's always them, following the instructions of the higher being, who saves the group from the perils of the journey and who have their way at the end.

    the others... the unbeliever, the doubtful are always portrayed as selfish, shallow, self-centered, power hungry misfits always plotting the most atrocious acts in name of money, power, revenge or simply to have fun between some lady's spread legs. even redeeming qualities some of them displays end up misused or played down, as is the case with elemak, who misuses his language skills to plot how he'll take the power over the colony from his brother nafai after volemak dies, and his traveling skills are played down after nafai learns some skills from... you guessed... the oversoul.

    what i want to point is how many wars were started by "true believers", by the "most pious", how many atrocities were committed by people of faith in the name of a higher power and how many valuable contributions to society, science, arts and such were made in defiance of religious beliefs ?

    do you really believe religion have anything to do with moral and ethics ? that an atheist is incapable of being generous and selfless ? that a man without faith in a deity won't go to great lengths to help the next guy ? if you do, i can line up people i know who'll prove otherwise. then i´ll mention by name a few vile acts of violence committed in the name of deities.

    the most troublesome of the books is certainly the last one. it's where the mormon propaganda is more clear. the most troubling part is how he portrays the non-believers. a ruthless mob of vandals and criminals moved only by hatred towards "the kept" (followers of the keeper of earth). it never passed by card´s mind that just because people don't believe the same things "the kepts" do, that said people will simply continue with their lives and their faith, coexisting peacefully with the former.

    the last two book were a pain to read, because the religious, bible style, sentences became to obvious and boring for me to handle. borderline pedantic in my opinion. i forced myself through it because i always finish reading a book (or a series of) once i begin. but trust me, if the rest of his readings are political nonsense like the article localroger linked or mormon proselytism like "homecoming", orson scot card can rule me out of his list of readers

    Early Hindsight (2.50 / 2) (#618)
    by cribcage on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 03:07:15 PM EST

    When I voted this story up, I explained: "I think it's good for K5. It's provocative, controversial, and exactly the sort of rant that drives traffic to a discussion site." Go figure. I was right.

    It's worth noting that the article has attracted replies from both OSC fans and readers who think his work is garbage. Yet everyone seems to agree that Roger's rant is thin, weak, and petty. His literary criticisms, while arguable, are unfounded. And the bulk is merely vindictive, uncorroborated gossip. I advised him (above) to delete this article. I wonder if he regrets his decision.

    Shortly after posting, this article appeared among the top results on a Google search for "Orson Scott Card." It will likely remain there for some time. I'm reminded of Internet 101: If you write it, be prepared to answer for it. I can't speak for Roger. But if this were my article receiving prominent placement, I'd hope its arguments would be better supported. And I'd be embarrassed by its title.

    Despite several insightful comments lower on the thread, the spotlight exchange has been the dispute between Roger and Joel Rosenberg. They began by accusing each other of lying about what happened at some party two decades ago, and the discussion has devolved into an argument about gun laws -- and, as I write this, is capped by Roger utterly lacking a sense of irony.

    Personally, I'm inclined to believe Rosenberg. As I commented, I think Roger's conspiracy tale is rubbish. But regardless of whose memory is faulty, the value of this exchange lies in illustrating an aphorism: The lower the stakes, the higher temperatures rise. The political disputes you'll find in Washington or on Wall Street are nothing compared to what you'll see in a small-town school board or condo committee. And when you pit two struggling, unknown, science fiction writers against each other on a nothing website...well, bear witness.

    It's a shame that repetition has rendered impotent the old quip, "Get a life." Sometimes it's absolutely appropriate.

    Please don't read my journal.

    Meh (none / 1) (#620)
    by Legion303 on Thu Jun 09, 2005 at 10:18:08 PM EST

    I find it nearly impossible to critically read this article. As it stands, it's a collection of anecdotes with little to no support. Sure, you give the name of an essay and the journal where it might be found, but I'm not going to do your homework for you. Regardless of whether your friend has the rights to republish what Card wrote, anyone still has the right to directly quote some of his responses along with a proper citation. At that point I can go look it up for myself if I wish. That's the proper way to do things.

    I'd also like to think that a writer of any talent would excise the nearly unconnected postscript from the article. To paraphrase you (paraphrasing your friend): I can only judge what you have written.

    Was _Ender's Game_ an apology for Hitler? Possibly. Was it influenced by the Mormon church? Possibly. I don't know and I don't care--I'm violently opposed to both fascism and religion, but in the end, good fiction is good fiction.

    Finally, your accusation that Card probably didn't even write the book is also meaningless and almost slanderous given your lack of direct quotes and accurate citations. For all I (or any other reader) know, Card responded with something like "I never said that!" with the intention of refuting specific claims that Ender is a fictional Hitler. I've read the book, as well as the sequel and a couple of others. Personally, I thought his other work sucked compared to _Ender's Game_, but not once did I ever notice a lack of continuity in his writing style.

    Wow. Just wow. Wow. Wow. Just wow. (1.14 / 7) (#621)
    by Saeed al Sahaf on Fri Jun 10, 2005 at 08:57:59 PM EST

    Jesus. What a bunch of Nazi sympathizing pompous self-absorbed sci-fi stuck-up asses. So many people masturbating on their fucking keyboards to kiss someone's fucking ass. Amazing.

    go to another continent and all heck breaks loose (3.00 / 5) (#626)
    by elaineradford on Sat Jun 11, 2005 at 07:35:55 PM EST

    My first thought is, "The Eighties are Over." So why are we rehashing this? However, in the interest of fair play, and because it is clear that people are still interested, I'll make a few comments:

    1. The self-promoting writer who has a carry permit was not in attendance at the party described in the story. Please don't use his name or give him clicks on my account. Honest confusion is possible. As recently as the 1980s, getting drunk and randomly swinging at people without getting thrown in jail or sued was not only possible, it was common in the deep South. So I will be courteous and assume that this writer is thinking of another party, where another writer took a swing at another guest and was stopped by another courageous wife or girlfriend. Chivalrous women were everywhere in the 1980s.

    2. Orson Scott Card is not, cannot possibly be responsible for the bad behavior of Robert Adams.

    3. The article in question is dated, because we didn't have the internet or Godwin's Law back then, so I tend to think you'll be disappointed if you are hoping to be outraged. We didn't have the useful term "trolling" either but in essence I thought that Card was trolling the SF community for his own amusement. I have since satisfied myself that Card is devoid of any sense of humor whatsoever, so the likelihood that he was actually punking the SF community with the Ender books is fairly low.

    4. I actually would have found his work more interesting if it could be read as satire. I haven't read another of his books since Speaker for the Dead. Heck, to be honest, I haven't even read this whole thread.

    5. I love John Kessel. I can't believe he cited me in an article. Whoot! I have a whole entry in my diary called, "Actually his escape wasn't all that clean" about Kessel's story, "A Clean Escape." So why are we reading this silly thread when we could be re-reading Good News From Outer Space?

    6. I decided that having adventures was better than writing about adventures, and SF hasn't been a big part of my life since 1990 or earlier, but if you are patient and bear with me, at some point I will actually get off my duff and post a reprint of my article. I do still own the rights. It's just that as personal priorities go, boring friends and family with my digital photographs of Kyoto comes out way ahead of fascinating strangers with something I wrote almost two decades ago. I hope you understand.

    Interesting. (none / 0) (#631)
    by Andrevan on Sun Jun 12, 2005 at 10:38:58 AM EST

    I haven't read the article by Elaine Radford, but I am looking forward to taking it out of the library. I don't know if Ender's Game is a Hitler apologia based on this and the Kessel article, but it has made me highly suspicious.

    One thing caught my attention: your theory about the continuity of Card's writing. I actually felt that the writing was unusally different, not between 1987 and 1992, but between Children of the Mind and the new series that focuses on Bean, including Ender's Shadow and such. I wonder how this fits in?

    liked EG, hated the others (none / 0) (#658)
    by danny on Tue Jun 14, 2005 at 10:26:18 PM EST

    I really liked Enders Game, but I thought the sequels were feeble.

    Reading EG at 16 may have helped, though I reread it later and continued to like it. I think the emotional grip of EG was strong enough to stop me thinking about it too much, whereas with the sequels the manfestly fragile intellectual underpinnings of Card's thinking couldn't be concealed.

    I've never liked any of Card's other novels much, either.

    [900 book reviews and other stuff]

    Orson Scott Card Has Always Been an Asshat | 685 comments (670 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Display: Sort:


    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!