"Ender's Game" Is My Favorite Book But the Author Disappointed Me

4 years ago

You know that feeling...when something you had upheld and revered revealed itself to be less than worthy? Notasgoodasyouthink? Much. MUCH worse than you ever thought?

Let's preface this by saying I'm a pretty staunch fence sitter. I'm not a waffler, I'm not having a hard time making up my mind, I just don't want to join the fray. The absolute melee that occurs any time you bring up a polarizing topic. I hate the name-calling, the bullying, the verbal abuse, the isolation and the guilt. It disappoints me that sane, polite, level-headed human beings lose their minds over a difference of opinion. I don't advocate that those differences aren't meaningful or important, but bullying and shaming those with a different opinion than your own is not an appropriate course of action.

So. Clearly this is a sore topic. But with all that said and done, I don't usually take sides. My butt is planted firmly on that fence post, legs numb from years of the same position, as I watch the debate. Imagine my shock when I felt myself adjusting, slipping, jumping!, most decidedly, off that fence.

I support equal rights. For everyone. Regardless of sexual orientation.
And it took revealing a beloved author's stance on the subject to make me realize that.

Fiction books are my jam. I love them. The stories, the characters, the twists. Frankly, I don't care if it's made up or based on true events, just give it to me full of intrigue and trivia and heartfelt realizations. When I first came across Ender's Shadow, I fell head over heels. It was young, it was dystopian, it was brilliant. It was one of the first books that made me think about how I acted, how people around me acted. It stayed with me for weeks after I put it down. Science fiction, tactics, reflections of historical entities...and then I realized it had a series. A prequel. Ender's Game sits proudly on our shelf at home (we have two copies!).

As I flirted in and out of reading throughout college, I always found another reason I loved the author: Science fiction! Biblical stories about women! I loved the way Orson Scott Card wrote; his characters were flawed and realistic. His exposition painted pictures in the perfect hues.

And finally, a movie, based on Ender's Game. Mr. E and I watched apprehensively as they hired directors, cinematographers, actors. It was finally coming together and we wished and hoped and prayed it would be as good as the story we had always imagined. Please, Hollywood, don't mess this up. Don't commercialize it. Don't sell its soul.

Image: Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game" - Summit Entertainment via Yahoo! Movies

In the end, it wasn't Hollywood I should have been worried about. I had never looked much into the author besides his literary novels until a favorite geek site exposed a side of OSC that I hadn't encountered yet.

OSC is against gay rights. Not just believes-in-"traditional marriage", or "homosexual sex"-is-a-sin, against it. Religious beliefs trump all societal and governmental decisions (Source). Deny same-sex couples the right to adopt (Source). Ban all unions (civil, marriage or otherwise) between same-sex couples (Source). Gay partners do not "love" one another in the same meaning as straight partners (Source).

And THAT'S where I draw the line, guys. I'll be the first to tell you that I don't have much experience in this debate. I won't quote figures, I won't recite political agendas or speeches or arguments. I dislike being lectured as much as the next person, but I would be lying if I said this didn't surprise me like cold water to the face.

For someone whose books advocate tolerance, diversity and respect for others I was shocked to see that Mr. Card doesn't live up to what he preaches. For me, that's a dealbreaker. As in I don't want to support you, Mr. Card. I've removed your novels from my wishlists. I probably won't see your movie in theatres. I love your work and I acknowledge the effect your stories had on me and my imagination, but I cannot, in good faith, buy from you. I'm not encouraging a boycott, I'm not telling others to stop buying your books, too. In reality, saving my $50 worth of merchandise bearing your name won't even make a dent in your income, popularity or ratings. And that's okay. I'm not doing it for you. I'm doing it for me.

Does this start an inquisition-style-hunt to vindicate all the authors, artists and musicians displayed in my home? Time will tell. I like to think that I can separate the person and the product. I enjoy things everyday by people in history who supported slavery or phrenology and it doesn't mean that I support those things too. But this certainly makes me more aware of myself, my interests and how I, as a citizen in the world, can influence others. And that's a good thing.

So in the grand scheme of things, maybe I'm not as "for" or "against" as either side would like me to be. Maybe I'm still leaning against that fence to observe, avoiding jumping in. But at least I'm off. And it feels much better to have my feet on the ground.

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