Monday, July 14, 2008

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

so card was awarded this fairly prestigious award this year, the yalsa lifetime achievement award for young adult literature. of course, due to card's (depending on what side of the fence you're on) contentious politics, there was a huge flap over him being granted this honour. the big question is, how much should our reading be influenced by the personal views of the author? i'm aware of card's political views (some of which i like and some of which i hate), but only because people made a big deal about him. otherwise i would have continued happily along, totally oblivious to what he thought about gay marriage rights, and would have judged his literature solely upon what was contained therein. the more i think about it, the more i think that that should be the way it is. i don't know what meg cabot's politics are, and yet i read her books. i couldn't tell you whether or not meg rosoff supports gay marriage, and i certainly couldn't tell you who charles de lint voted for in the last canadian election. and yet, i will happily continue reading their books without knowing any of that stuff, or even trying to find out. and perhaps that is the way it should be.

anyway, do this little debate i decided to read "ender's game". i'm not generally a sci-fi fan. i'm not that into alien races, space travel, and wars to save humanity. however, i did kind of enjoy "ender's game". "ender's game" takes place on a future earth, which is suffering from overpopulation. space travel has been developed. and the government seems somewhat dictatorial. in the past humans have experienced two wars with an alien race known as "the buggers", due to their resemblance of large bugs. a third war is eminent, and thus all of mankind is united in preparing to fight this threat. children are selected at a young age (6 years) and sent to battle school where they are constantly immersed in battle games, kind of like high stakes lazer tag or video games. to the children it all seems like a game, but really it is preparation for something much more serious. because young children are so easily molded and learn so quickly, they are the optimal choice for new soldiers. of course this brings up all sorts of questions about child soldiers, the greater good and all that.

because i am a nerd, i couldn't help seeing similarities between "ender's game" and "naruto". the characters in "naruto" are all selected from a young age to become ninja and dedicate their lives to protecting their countries by killing enemies. and this is a cartoon. i enjoyed "ender's game", it really is a good book. it didn't influence my politics. at all. it's the beginning of a science fiction saga, and i can't imagine such a thing changing the way i live and think in the real world. and that's what it comes down to, orson scott card, a man, with his own personal thoughts, writing a work of science fiction for people to read and enjoy. i would like to say though, that after becoming more familiar with "ender's game", that i now disagree with card being given the yalsa lifetime achievement award, because i'm pretty sure his books were written with an adult audience in mind, not teenagers. but that's a whole other debate, and i'm not sure i can be bothered.

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