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Hamlet's Father

2.48 of 5 stars 2.48  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  43 reviews
We all know Shakespeare's classic ghost story -- the young prince Hamlet's dead father appears to him, demanding vengeance upon Hamlet's uncle Claudius, who has usurped the throne and, to add insult to injury, married Hamlet's mother.

Hamlet dithers and delays, coming up with reason after reason to postpone his vengeance. But it's not for the reason Shakespeare told us. It'...more
Hardcover, Limited signed printing, 96 pages
Published April 29th 2011 by Subterranean Press (first published 2008)
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For the Celebrity Death Match Review Tournament

Kermit Prince of Denmark

The Muppets Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Meets Winnie-the-Pooh (conclusion)

The story so far:

Hamlet (Kermit) is strangely unconcerned about multiple murders and Ophelia's suicide. What really bothers him is that he's thrown out his old Pooh Bear toy (Fozzy) and replaced it with a plush Piglet (Miss Piggy).


[Pours himself a stiff drink, knocks it back, then pours another one]

My God, I need a glass or two of rye
Denmark is Denmark, that is, I am I

mark monday
Jan 24, 2012 mark monday marked it as unread-forever
i'm just going to repeat Katie's great comments:

"Awesome. Because just what Hamlet needs is rampant homophobia and dumbing down of the moral questions. There is nothing entertaining about this version, there is nothing to keep reading because he's taken away all moral ambiguity, all questions of life and death. Also, you can't make someone gay by raping them. The end."

what happened to Card? what made him go insane over the years? after reading his various anti-gay tracts, i can't help but wonder...more
Awesome. Because just what Hamlet needs is rampant homophobia and dumbing down of the moral questions. There is nothing entertaining about this version, there is nothing to keep reading because he's taken away all moral ambiguity, all questions of life and death.

Also, you can't make someone gay by raping them. The end.
Riku Sayuj
A simplistic but sometimes compelling reinterpretation. Of course, points taken away for inserting plot elements to further the ends of the reinterpretation. A better attempt would be to only try and reinterpret existing events and not include new ones just to drive the new plot. 85/100 for the attempt Uncle Orson.
Sep 10, 2011 Wealhtheow marked it as won-t-read
Recommends it for: bigots and people too lazy for Shakespeare
I'm astounded that this got published in the first place. Here's a straightforward review of some of the novella's problems. I can't say I ever read Hamlet and thought, y'know what this needs? Less emotional, moral and linguistic complexity, more barely serviceable prose and homophobia. I mean, that just never crossed my mind. I guess that kind of out-of-the-box thinking is why Card can charge $35 for a novella.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
So I am not attached the the story of Hamlet like some folks are, I enjoy it, but I do not dissect it or dwell on it in my free time. So I read hamlets father because I wanted to see why Orson Scott Card chose to write about it. What was his little twist on things. And I liked it (not the twist itself, that was gross...). I can see why he chose this story, it is very him, the father/son relationship is very complex and so up his alley and he just had to get his hands on it! So I give it 4 stars...more
Craig Childs
This story is a revisionist retelling of Hamlet. It first appeared in Marvin Kaye's 2009 anthology The Ghost Quartet; then it reappeared in 2011 as an illustrated 92-page hardcover by Subterranean Press (1000 numbered copies, each signed by the author).

OSC provides a plausible answer to the question that scholars have debated for centuries: Why was Hamlet so quick to swear to avenge his father's death, but then hesitate time and again to kill his uncle Claudius?

It's necessary to be familiar wi...more
A highly edited and extremely subjective retelling of Hamlet.
The only reason I made it through this book is because I like the original. Fortunately it's short.
A disappointing one from Orson Scott Card, who is usually a very engaging writer.
I love, love, love the Enderverse and I was so excited to see Card write Shakespeare fanfiction, but I wish I hadn't read this. There isn't much of the empathy and intelligence I loved in Ender's Game. Sigh.
Mar 20, 2011 rivka rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: osc
Hamlet's Father seems ever-so-familiar . . . until it is terribly, horribly, and all-too-believably NOT familiar.
Anne Francia Chavez
Oh hell no. This really, REALLY saddened me because I really, REALLY liked Ender's Game.
Truth be told, I have never actually read Shakespeare's Hamlet all the way through, making it difficult to review Card's adaptation without being able to compare and contrast with the original. So I'll just stick to a brief summary for now and I've got Hamlet in my queue for a more thorough review later on.

Hamlet's Father is essentially Hamlet but with one twist that I suppose is aimed at making us see the entire story in a new light (big hint: it has to do with his father). The problem for me w...more
Juanita Johnson
I used to be madly in love with Orson Scott Card, and he will always hold a special place in my heart, but I'm finding myself in a place where his books are beginning to be the same...different names on the characters but the same plot. In this book, however, he shows a spark of what enamored me with him in the beginning. Hamelet's relationship with his father is retold. His behaviors explained and his transgressions understandable. Honestly, I must have been a bit slow and I didn't see where he...more
Fantasy Literature
Those of us who majored in English in college have all read Shakespeare’s Hamlet at least once, and we’ve all seen at least one performance. Some of us go to as many performances as we possibly can, enjoying every new spin on the old tale. I’ve seen at least three movies made from the play and seen it staged at least five times. I’ve studied the text of the play in detail, and one thing never changes: Claudius murders King Hamlet in order to bed the king’s wife, Gertrude, out of good old heteros...more
Twisted but an interesting twist too! That was much more enjoyable than the original Hamlet which I can't even bring myself to continue to read. Lots and lots of death tho.
Bet Roberts
Dear Lord, this was awful.


I don't know what Card was thinking with this one at all. It's a re-telling of Shakespeare's Hamlet....that completely contradicts the actual play and turns a compelling tragedy into 96 pages of beige prose and stilted dialogue. The changes to the story, are ludicrous and insulting. (Spoiler alert: Hamlet's dad is a pedophile)It's as if Card didn't understand the play at all. Card used to be a very good writer, but I don't think he's produced anything...more
Scott Lee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne Moore
According to Card's version of Hamlet, Claudis kills Hamlet's father in revenge for molesting him when he was younger. Hamlet never felt close to his father growing up ... his father was always off "hunting" with other young men. Turns out his father was a closet homosexual/pedophile. As Hamlet uncovers the reason behind his father's death, he finds out more about himself and fears he will be cursed to an afterlife where his father will spend eternity, loving him in an "unnatural" way. This was...more
Laura Hogensen
This retelling started off well, but it quickly devolves as Card tries to move the plot forward instead of sticking with the philosophical questions that Hamlet debates at the halfway point. The idea that Ham's father was murdered for a different reason than in the play is fun to ponder, but Card's reasoning for the murder is overwrought. The big reveal came across as silly rather than scandalous. Also, quite simply, the book is just not well written. Don't bother with this one.
I've abandoned many Card novels for various reasons, but this is the first time I was just bored. I'm sure some basic knowledge of Shakespeare's play would've helped. Call me an illiterate swine, but I've never really enjoyed the Bard. *ducks to avoid flying vegetation*

Addendum: Having read a few reviews, it seems I was wise to quit when I did. Nothing like a king raping young boys to enrich my day. *shakes head at Cards preoccupation with homosexuality*
Zi Ying
Didn't finished the last few chapters. But raised some pretty interesting questions, like the relationship between father and son, and the real motive of Hamlet trying to kill Claudius. It's just a fanfiction of Hamlet.
I read this because of the line on the back of a novella collection this was part of. It said "What if Hamlet's father was killed by someone entirely unexpected?". That intrigued me, so I read it. And I felt like I wasted my time. It wasn't spooky or scary, just weird and twisted. I think I'm going to have to start actively avoiding Orson Scott Card books in the future. I'm always left feeling unsatisfied by his work.
Don Weidinger
whether Prince or pretty, cold water to make king wise, greater fool wise who does not know he is wise or wise who does not think wise, philosopher first and Saint, spirits in heaven or hell, don’t fear opinions of fools, a better father than you know, certainty as feeling right as what happened wrong to defeat a greater wrong is right, running pal along corridor, St Augustine Confessions, only do right if desire right.
This was an awesome short story. I've always loved Hamlet and this took the story, turned it sideways and inside-out, then shook it out again and it was still Hamlet. Just... different. And, while I usually see the ending coming in most shorts I read, I totally didn't see this one coming. Perfectly written and wonderfully read (I listened to the audiobook version).
I needed something to listen to at work so I thought I would give this a go. I enjoyed it as I listened. However, when I stopped listening at the end of the day I never went back to it. I decided I would rather listen to Hamlet than a water downed version. To be fair I never finished this story so it could have improved, but I rather doubt it.
Jane Night
What I liked- I am a fan of Orson Scott Card overall. This wasn’t his best work but it wasn’t his worst either. I thought it was a very interesting idea and it was, overall, well done.

What I didn’t like- I can only say that it was very weird. Bordering on too weird. And predictable. After the first chapter I had a pretty good idea what was going on.
I was so ready to love this. Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite authors--especially for taking on moral dilemmas--playing with Shakespeare? Yes, please! ...I really wish I hadn't. I found the subtexts and "plot twist" heavy handed and distasteful and the rampant homophobia and the equating of pedophilia and homosexuality disturbing.
Mary Richard
I'm not sure its possible to review this book without writing a spoiler. Perhaps its enough to say that the author has engaged in some revisionist fictional history. Unless the reader is familiar with Shakespeare's version, a reader might develop some misconceptions about the original characters and plot on reading this book.
Keturah Whetzel
I enjoyed listening to it, but likely wouldn't recommend.
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Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th...more
More about Orson Scott Card...
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet, #1) Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quintet, #2) Ender's Shadow (Ender's Shadow, #1) Xenocide (The Ender Quintet, #3) Children of the Mind (The Ender Quintet, #4)

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