Paul's Reviews > Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
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Jul 09, 13

bookshelves: assorted-rants-about-stuff

Update !

I see this thing is now a hot topic :

http://skipendersgame.com/


_________________________________________


ORIGINAL NON-REVIEW FOLLOWS :



Holy shit!

I'm usually really late in catching up with stuff. This time it's only taken me 7 years to find an article Orson Scott Card wrote about gay marriage :

http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch...

which - forgive me - is a subject I can't get excited about one way or the other, and we know OSC is a Mormon, so I figure he won't like gay marriage, but it was this bit that made my hair stand on end:

Now, there is a myth that homosexuals are "born that way," and we are pounded with this idea so thoroughly that many people think that somebody, somewhere, must have proved it.

In fact what evidence there is suggests that if there is a genetic component to homosexuality, an entire range of environmental influences are also involved. While there is no scientific research whatsoever that indicates that there is no such thing as a borderline child who could go either way.

Those who claim that there is "no danger" and that homosexuals are born, not made, are simply stating their faith.

The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.


So okay, here's one Hugo and Nebula prize winning science fiction author I won't be reading any time soon.

I mean, what?

What??
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Reading Progress


Comments (showing 1-50 of 182) (182 new)


Hadrian For a homophobic author, he sure wrote a lot of scenes in this book about naked adolescent boys wrestling in showers.


Hadrian And it is always a shame to have an author completely lose it, even if you just liked him in middle school and his books became tea party fodder *cough cough Empire cough cough* or just batshit insane later on.


message 3: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Makes you wonder how repressed gay he was himself...
I haven't read this book yet, though I am curious to, but I've heard of his countless scenes with naked adolescent boys wresting...even though I hear it out of context it seems a bit icky to me...


message 4: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Funny, Bryan. I will still read this though.


message 5: by j (new) - rated it 3 stars

j not only naked scenes of wrestling, but special emphasis placed on the fact that all of the characters are prepubescent too.


message 6: by Manny (new)

Manny We were discussing this with a Christian friend the other day. She explained that homosexuality was basically about being tempted, and that you just had to resist temptation.

It sounds like OSC was severely tempted but managed to resist. I wonder if he did a lot of naked wrestling when he was an adolescent?


message 7: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely So, is he really gay? I read that this book became a required reading in the army.


message 8: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Manny wrote: "...It sounds like OSC was severely tempted but managed to resist. I wonder if he did a lot of naked wrestling when he was an adolescent? ..."

Well you know what they say: write what you know! ;-)


message 9: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely That's why it is hard to be a writer/novelist. Writing is like opening your inner self to the whole world.


message 10: by Rita (new) - added it

Rita Depends on what you write :-)
I believe that it's myth, and it certainly doesn't apply to myself, at least not on a conscious level.


message 11: by Josh (new)

Josh I wouldn't call him "batshit insane", this just sounds like the normal argument people against gay-marriage usually give. He even said:

"The sex life of the people around me is none of my business; the homosexuality of some of my friends and associates has made no barrier between us, and as far as I know, my heterosexuality hasn't bothered them. That's what tolerance looks like."

Doesn't seem too bad, really. I've heard far worse.


message 12: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Rita: Yeah, not on a conscious level. Careful.

Josh: I agree. That's still a bit lame.


message 13: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul Hi Josh - but he's saying a significant number of gay men are in some way kept prisoner in the gay world against their wishes, and that they were turned gay by being raped by men when they were young boys... that's a little crazy isn't it?


message 14: by Manny (new)

Manny Paul wrote: "Hi Josh - but he's saying a significant number of gay men are in some way kept prisoner in the gay world against their wishes, and that they were turned gay by being raped by men when they were young boys... that's a little crazy isn't it? "

To me, the question is whether he also thinks that there are many people who have the converse problem - i.e. they are really gay by nature, but are kept prisoner in the straight world after having been seduced/raped by someone of the opposite sex when they were young. My personal opinion is that there are, in particular, many lesbian women who have ended up in exactly this predicament.

If he is saying that, then I think it's just a very sad comment on how messed up the world is and I basically agree with him. But if he claims it's one-way, then it's preposterous. Since the world is mainly straight, the pressure to conform will primarily be in that direction.

A thought. Maybe OSC was seduced/raped by some unscrupulous woman when he was young, and has been unwillingly kept prisoner in the straight world ever since? In which case, this is a desperate cry for help and should be treated with respect.


message 15: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul Yes, completely agree - just to pursue a tangent a moment, i have previously suspected that some of the apparently irrational domestic violence dished out to women might be the result of some men being trapped by the unbreakable heterosexual mindset of their culture into living a heterosexual life they actually can't stand, and they take out their misery on the nearest human being, the spouse.

But OSC is actually taking aim squarely against the notion that anyone is born gay. Many people think sexuality is a choice - if a choice, then some things may be read as "temptations" - I think this is 90% rubbish, people are born one way or another (a tiny number of hapless ouls may be caught in the middle). The idea that you have choice and therefore if you choose to be gay it's like choosing to sin is profoundly pernicious.


message 16: by Ian (last edited Sep 12, 2011 02:04AM) (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek If you accept that any particular form of adult consensual sexuality or sexual act is not pernicious, then I don't have a problem with the view that someone has chosen to embrace it.
A dichotomy between hetero and homo doesn't seem to account for bi.


message 17: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek I was looking at a new edition of "The Berlin Novels" today and liked the fact that the introduction by Armistead Maupin more or less started "My husband and I".


message 18: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely I liked Christopher Isherwood. Have a lot of respect for that guy. Having written those novels at the Nazi's back.


message 19: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul not sure I follow that - just to be clear - I think that you do not choose your nature but you can in some cases choose your actions. Bi people are fortunate in having a wider palette than the rest of us from which to choose.

But if men could choose to be gay or not, there would have been hardly any at all in all of history, as the pressure to be straight has been consistent from day one.


message 20: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely I agree with you Paul. I think most gays or bisexual men were, at some point in their younger lives, wished or encouraged by their parents to be straight. I have no basis but I just have that assumption in my mind.


message 21: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul nobody has ever been instructed to be gay by their parents!


message 22: by Whitaker (last edited Sep 12, 2011 02:55AM) (new)

Whitaker Oh absolutely! The Christian thinking on this is remarkably incoherent and convoluted. So much so that they have to deny the existence of gay acts among animals.

Nevertheless, I was rather amused by a woman on Goodreads reacting to a post about gay penguins stating, "They'll burn in hell."

As far as I'm aware (and of course I may be wrong), officially Christian theology states that animals don't have souls. The Catholic church got into a real tizzy about whether the Amerindians were people (and hence had souls and hence could be saved) or animals (and hence souless). Unfortunately for the Amerindians, the Church decided they had souls.

Not only is it only man that has a soul, but only man fell by Eve eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Animals were never tainted by original sin and therefore remain in state of perpetual grace. All of this, of course, means that Christians have to deny that gay animal sex exists, even though it is by now well-documented. But then, reality has never been their strong suit.


message 23: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek Paul wrote: "not sure I follow that - just to be clear - I think that you do not choose your nature but you can in some cases choose your actions. Bi people are fortunate in having a wider palette than the rest..."

Many bi's feel a pressure to choose between their two attractions, hetero and homo.

Whether or not they are born bi or choose to be bi, I think their choice is a legitimate choice of sexuality.

The fact that someone might have chosen their sexuality (rather than being born that way) doesn't belittle their embrace of that form of sexuality.

I want to refute any implication that something is OK because we were born that way, but not OK because we chose it.


message 24: by Paul (last edited Sep 12, 2011 03:24AM) (new) - added it

Paul The loony homophobes wish to denote sexuality as a matter of choice, in order that they escape from the uncomfortable position of condemning someone for the way they were born. We may recall that in former centuries disability was considered as proof of evil - you had been born cursed by God because you were evil, or some such nonsense. So the modern Christians don't wish to be quite so horrible anymore, and they instead say that in matters of sexuality everything is a choice. That way they can condemn people as sinners because they have chosen the wrong thing & been tempted by the tempter who is a notoriously queer fellow.

So to summarise, if you're born that way or if you choose to be a certain way, that's okay with me. But not with the religious people because they don't think you were born that way and your choices are all wrong.

I would also mention that a lot of Christians aren't homophobic, but you don't get to hear from them much. OSC is a Mormon which is not Christian at all, or if it is, is an extreme heretical sect.


message 25: by Ian (last edited Sep 12, 2011 04:04AM) (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek We're all born cursed, aren't we? It's our choices that prevent us from being saved. We're all buggered at and from birth.


Hadrian As regards my "batshit insane" comment, it did not apply to the previous article - sorry for the misconception. That seems rather ordinary fundamentalist, in context. Consider this piece which he wrote in 2008:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

Biological imperatives trump laws. American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-n...

Now consider that he wrote Empire, which is basically a Tea Party fantasy - Progressives lead an armed coup and impose a radical morality, etc. It seems that this guy has had both radical views on gay marriage (it'll destroy America as we know it) to more tolerant ones (leave them alone and let them do what they want). I'm not sure what he thinks now, and maybe he isn't sure, too.

Did you also know that he tried to rewrite Hamlet, stating that Hamlet's father was gay, and that's why he's a ghost - and that he raped several other characters and converted them to being gay? Repression does a lot of crazy things to you.

Hamlet's Father


message 27: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul yes, i think I was reading a review of his Hamlet rewrite and that led me to his nutty essay. Just to broaden the debate a little bit, he isn't the only very-right-wing science fiction writer of merit, Robert Heinlein was famously fascistic (see Stranger in a Strange Land) and so too, I think, was the lesser known but revered at the time A E Van Vogt.


message 28: by Manny (new)

Manny Whitaker wrote: "Not only is it only man that has a soul, but only man fell by Eve eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Animals were never tainted by original sin and therefore remain in state of perpetual grace. All of this, of course, means that Christians have to deny that gay animal sex exists, even though it is by now well-documented. But then, reality has never been their strong suit."

I have, with my own eyes, seen a couple of female cats engaging in... well, possibly you don't want all the details, but suffice it to say that I have no doubts about the existence of gay animal sex.

I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to go to hell? It seems kind of unfair.


message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Moorhouse Depending on the 'of merit' aspect, Niven and Pournelle.


message 30: by Jude (last edited Sep 17, 2011 01:14PM) (new)

Jude ETA: the missing ingredient in these reactions to OSC is that he's a Mormon- the texts about homosexuality are chapter & verse from the LDS "compassionate" handling of queers in their communities: denial, deprogramming, & if it doesn''t work, excommunication.
_________

It's a compelling book and a while ago was still being taught in american schools. I know many english teachers who love Ender- and lots of kids do. I listened to it on cd-good readers. I think it's cult following may be the best reason to read it-that and macho compassion for what a child has to go thru in order to be a true leader. OSC is a mormon and his vision for this country is action-packed, nearly homoerotic (surprise) in it's glorification of war, politics, traditional (in the sorta roman sense) families (oh the wives!)... The classroom and mentoring relationships in his novel- hell, begins with an A, I think, about insurrection in the states- sound like openings to slash fiction. Anyway- yeah, I'll look that one up for you. Skip Ender & go for some adult fantasy ;-)


Kelly I know, I was surprised and devastated to find out about Card's ridiculous beliefs. I'd read the book before learning this, though, and still think it's a great book by a great author who is a terribly misguided person.


message 32: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul Yes - the wider context of this debate is precisely that - can artists who have horrible views - and in some cases, not this one*, are horrible people - still produce great work which one could still enjoy?

*example I was thinking of : V S Naipaul


message 33: by David (new)

David Putting aside for a moment the insane proposition that peoples' sexual orientation isn't something they're born with, is OSC really suggesting that experiencing a homosexual rape can "turn someone gay"?


message 34: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul yep! that's exactly what he means! how repulsive is that.


message 35: by Jude (last edited Nov 21, 2011 11:26AM) (new)

Jude The mormons have such a tortured relationship to sexual minorities. They actually take it on- they don't deny the percentages or lead with a vocabulary of self hatred and shame-they have a ministerial approach- AND they're, yknow, insane.

There is such a wide streak of social responsibility running through that outfit, there is such joy in so many of the mormons I've met... but there really is that eyes spinning around in the head factor, too. OTOH, I'm not sure why other christians think that 2000 years seniority makes the Bible any less preposterous than the Book of Mormon, but I digress.


message 36: by Moriah (last edited Dec 02, 2011 06:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Moriah Writes-a-lot Just putting my two cents in. I have not read the article but sounds absurd, although slightly more logical than most homophobic sentiments, although most conversations I engage with are people may age, and most teens are quoting their parents on this topic. Fun fact: I have several friends who have homophobic parents but are not homophobic themselves yet I have never met a teenager who is homophobic when their parents are not.

Anyways in the end I think Orson Scott Card has stupid views, but I still loved his books.


message 37: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul I'm not sure why other christians think that 2000 years seniority makes the Bible any less preposterous than the Book of Mormon

Ah, just saw that comment.... very cheeky...


message 38: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek That's just the New Testament.


Ethan I would still recommend reading it if you have time. It's pretty short, and OSC is a talented writer, aside from his views as some others mentioned above.

I think what Card is commenting on is that people abused as children are more likely to grow up and abuse others themselves (whether sexually or otherwise). Of course, the sneaky undercurrent of the argument is that pedophilia is linked to homosexuality...and I'm sure that was playing into the expectations of whatever audience he wrote it for.

I did see one argument of his that I thought was interesting. He was basically saying that people accept the idea that people are "born gay" or "born straight" when there's not much evidence either way. (of course he had his crazy slant to it, but that was the essence). I think that's an important point to consider actually. It seems like a lot of the pro-equality argument hinges upon the idea that "gay people have no choice, so therefor they aren't to be discriminated against." but really, if someone had somehow chosen to be gay, or somehow "made gay"...is that reason to hate a person?

Of course, I think Card was leading the other way with that question, but it was still interesting to consider.


message 40: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul Right wing idiots like to say that homosexuality is a matter of choice so they can blame the gay person for choosing to be gay. Their reasoning is clear. But it's obvious that gay people are indeed born gay.


message 41: by Manny (new)

Manny Paul wrote: "Right wing idiots like to say that homosexuality is a matter of choice so they can blame the gay person for choosing to be gay. Their reasoning is clear. But it's obvious that gay people are indeed born gay."

I don't think enough attention has been paid to the converse hypothesis: everyone is born gay, but most people are forced, against their will, to become straight. I'd like to see the results of an impartial study investigating this.


message 42: by Jude (new)

Jude Using pud (patriarchal universe of discourse) axiom of inversion, or the now fairly well-known continuum graphic of sexuality, you get about 10% each gold star hard-wired orientation out at the ends (same-sex, opposite sex), and 80% scattered along a range of bisexuality. To me this seems obvious.
The compassionate, respectful and rational cultural vision of sexual orientation would be that continuum-and I'm sure that children raised with it would sort themselves out in a way that would not change the percentages, but only have fewer people going thru their lives confused, heartsick, self-hating or suicidal.


Ethan Paul wrote: "But it's obvious that gay people are indeed born gay"

My point was just that why people are gay shouldn't matter so much. I think a lot of times, the left tends to counter the argument you listed above with it's opposite: "homosexuality is okay because it's not a choice". It makes it seem like gay people are doing something wrong, but just can't help it. Or at least, it seems that way to me.

I personally tend to agree with Jude, although I don't know about the specific percentages (not saying I disagree, I just haven't looked into it). But even so, it just doesn't matter to me. I wouldn't suddenly hate someone if new groundbreaking evidence revealed once and for all that homosexuality was a choice...and I don't think people who hate gay people now would change their stance in the opposite situation either.


Laurel I'm not familiar with Orson Scott Card, and so my first impression is from your quote. Online, context is everything. Glad to see Josh's addition.

I'm seeing a double standard. I'm sorry to see that you're not going to read any of his books because you don't agree with him. I don't agree with Elton John's sexual preferences, but I appreciate him and his talent. I'm LDS and I played Bennie & the Jets during my daughter's awards program at church because her nickname is Bennie. Let's look for the good in everyone and support each other's talents, even when we disagree or hold different beliefs.


message 45: by Paul (last edited Dec 15, 2011 11:30AM) (new) - added it

Paul Well yes, but it's hard to look at the good in a writer when he's so keen to point out the bad in other people who were minding their own business. As for Elton - one of a long, long line of British gay popstars, we like them to be gay over here - but then have you seen any British panto? - it's a gender bending nightmare, and it's been going on for centuries - anyway, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is a great song, magnificent tune, but the rest of his stuff can be shovelled into the gaudiest landfill you can find and quietly forgotten.

The Elton John/Orson Scott card connection!


message 46: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek Have you listened to "The Union" yet? It's the only album of his that I've bought since Yellow Brick Road.


message 47: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul hmmm... perhaps only you could convince me to do that....


message 48: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek I did it out of nostalgia for a period of my life when I read and listened to a lot of John Lennon, Leon Russell and Joe Cocker.

Early to mid-70's.

I saw him play live at the time of GYBR and it is still the greatest spectacle I have witnessed.

I saw a clip from a recent show somewhere recently and was stunned to see that the same guitarist was still in his band (Davey Johnstone).


message 49: by Paul (new) - added it

Paul I have a great prejudice against English people who sing songs in profoundly fake American accents. That means Mr Jagger too.


message 50: by Ian (new)

Ian Heidin-Seek That must rule out just about everybody before Paul Weller?


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